For those that need to go to work in an IRL kinda way, the pandemic has pushed cycling into a starring role. For commuters and joyriders alike, we’ve never been so psyched to bike. The city has added far more protected bike lanes, with 25 km of a total 40 km done! But what to do when you’ve arrived?
If you’ve been looking for a “COVID-silver-lining”, I present the biggest bike parking infrastructure project UHN has ever done! We’ve wanted to do these projects for a while, and because of everything, we’re “building bike better” (groan).
In the before-times, the #1 way most staff traveled to UHN was via public transit … TTC, GO-train, the usual. Some jobs just don’t work via zoom or MS-Teams, as many nurses, doctors, therapists, kitchen staff, housekeepers and building operators can tell us. People’s fears around transmission have prompted more people to bike and walk … a great thing for sustainable transportation, individual health and our collective environment!
Unfortunately, the same fears have also driven more people to drive. Unless it’s a climate-friendlier EV, that’s a lot more people burning a lot more gas. If the alternative is convenient, more staff may skip the car, especially if they live reasonably close to work. The definition of “reasonable” can vary, from a fairly flat 5 km for me to a whopping 28 km for Steve Merker, a VP at the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation! Extra points for Steve as his route is downhill on the way, which means uphill on the way home. There’s a reason it’s called Richmond Hill.
Regardless if you’re route is 2 km or 28 km, knowing there’s bike parking at the end can smooth the way. These projects are still in development with a lot more coming soon, but we wanted to give a sneak peek:
Toronto Rehab Institute – Lyndhurst & Rumsey Centres
Our lovely northern post of Toronto Rehab had open racks, but no secure bike parking, i.e. locked and fenced. We’re practically finished, minus on tiny detail … a door. It’s coming :).
We replaced some rusty bike racks in the front along St. Patrick, and added a whole lot of new ones in the back by McCaul!
Toronto General Hospital – Part 1
You’ll notice this says Part 1 as there’s a massive, enormous, gigantic Part 2, so please stay tuned. Part 2 should provide bike parking to not just Toronto General, but also Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and Toronto Rehab Institute University Centre.
We reinforced security for our Eaton cage by extending the fence higher, making it much harder for someone to hop over who is not supposed to be there … a.k.a. bike thieves.
We also added some open racks for visitors or staff on the University Avenue side near the Munk entrance on both sides of the steps.
Toronto Western Hospital
The Toronto Western Cage on Leonard got quite a makeover, with new asphalt, new racks fit more bikes, and best of all … swipe ID access for all UHN staff. No more going to the parking office to pay deposit on a key. Any UHN ID badge will do, so there’s no friction to starting to use this cage. This adds to the already excellent bike room in Krembil.
It may still be winter now, but the days are getting longer, sun is shining (sometimes) and there the sweet promise of spring in the not-too-distant future. But we don’t have to wait to start biking. As long as it’s reasonably dry and clear outside, biking in winter is a breeze. With all the extra bike parking, the healthy choice becomes an easy choice too.
P.S. Big thanks to Greg Brady, Ramya Kumareswaran, Stephen Black, Vera Kan, Ian McDermott, Ashley Taylor, HN Construction Ltd, and Classic Displays.