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Sunday, August 11, 2013
Ontario Trails News - construction complaints get action in Toronto, on Toronto Trails
There was no advance warning given when construction forced a partial closure of the Don River Valley bike trail last Thursday, so Matt Turner complained.
This issue, he said, isn’t the closure itself but the fact that he had to bike several kilometres into the trail before it came to an abrupt dead end.
“It would have been nice if they had posted a notice so people who use the path on a regular basis for commuting would have known,” Turner said.
Just one email later and now everyone will know.
After getting to work, Turner fired off a letter to Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong, Toronto’s public works chair, Cycle Toronto and several others.
A day later, Enbridge, the natural gas distribution company doing work in the area, apologized.
Chris Meyer, a spokesperson for the company, said the closure was unanticipated, which is why there was no advance signage or notice for cyclists.
“We apologize for that inconvenience,” she said. “We know that is a very well-used bike path.”
The company has already implemented a new plan to decrease the impact of the construction on cyclists. More signage is being added well in advance so cyclists can choose an alternate route if they wish and Meyer said closures of the path will be limited to 10 minutes at a time to allow for construction vehicles to pass through.
The company will also avoid doing construction that would require the path to be closed during rush hour and construction notices will be posted to its Twitter account.
Construction near the Don River Valley bike trail is expected to end early next week.
Thursday’s emergency closure was for safety reasons, Meyer said, adding that typically the company tries to warn people in advance, “not unlike what would happen if we were working in a roadway.”
Although it might be a happy ending for cyclists on the Don River Valley, Cycle Toronto said cyclists tend to get the short end of the stick when it comes to construction across the city.
“Different construction companies get hired to do different components and there are set standards as to how construction companies are supposed to notify cyclists,” said executive director Jared Kolb. “Some do and some don’t.”
Similar to cars, Kolb said cyclists would like to see notifications ahead of time as well as more options for alternate routes.
“When it comes to bike lanes, there’s special accommodation that’s needed,” he said. “Cyclists have to be remembered because there are so many of us on the streets.”