I attended ExpoCycle, Canada’s annual bicycle dealers trade show in Toronto, a couple of weeks ago. Afterward I had a few days to explore the town on my bike.
If you took everybody in Greater Cincinnati and cloned them nine-fold, and put each iteration on one of the aforementioned transportation modes, then took the last batch and divided them up to travel by skateboard, roller blades, roller skates, and “other” (I’m not exaggerating, there really are a number of commuters in the streets with traffic, using skates and skateboards), I think you’d have an idea of what’s happening out on the streets of Toronto.
In Toronto, I had to interact with dozens of cars, pedestrians, cyclists, skaters, boarders, and “others”, just to get out of the parking garage driveway, then dozens more as I plowed my way to the first intersection, all the while overtaking and being overtaken by cyclists traveling various speeds on and amazing array of bicycle styles.
But it’s more complicated than that. Bike lanes come and go. Street car tracks seem to be everywhere just begging your tire to slip on the steel track or get wedged in the gap between the track and pavement. Pedestrians are swarming the sidewalks and oozing onto the streets at intersections.
From my description, you may think that it’s bumper to bumper gridlock. No, actually it’s not even what one might call “crowded” much of the time. There’s a lot of traffic moving, but it’s a sort of roomy traffic like on a busy college campus. Except on the “expressway”—there it’s grid-lock. Could the prohibition of bicycles be a contributing factor? Hmmm…