Category Archives: Public Service Announcement

Was Queens Quay Ready for her 2015 Opening?

Was Queens Quay truly ready for her 2015 opening in anticipation of the PanAm Games? Was the street ready for this significant one-time Toronto event? Here are my impressions from running along the Martin Goodman Trail on the eastern half of Queen’s Quay on June 19, 2015. I think of this as a bit of a public service announcement: here are some things to watch for, and to watch out for!

"Queens Quay Lacks a Trail or Sidewalk near Lower Sherbourn in June 2015" image (c) by Mike DeHaan
“Queens Quay Lacks a Trail or Sidewalk near Lower Sherbourn in June 2015” image (c) by Mike DeHaan

Just at the Eastern end of Queens Quay

The construction area next to the Martin Goodman Trail still affects the corner of Queen’s Quay and Lake Shore Blvd East. The trail diverts onto the sidewalk at that point, although both cyclists and pedestrians can move along nicely. Officially, cyclists should take their lane on the street along that eastern portion of Queens Quay.

I did not take a photo of this construction, because it stretches eastward between Lake Shore Blvd and the Martin Goodman Trail. I did not want to count it as a Queens Quay problem.

A Promising Start

I took my first photograph (top of page) on Queen’s Quay near Lower Sherbourne, where a trench has kept at least one lane blocked for months. It was spectacular to see all the automobile lanes were open.

But why are pedestrians walking in the bicycle lane on the south side of Queen’s Quay? Where are the sidewalk and the Martin Goodman Trail? Why should a flashing arrow warn westbound cars about something in the north lane?

"The Martin Goodman Trail interrupted on Queens Quay" image (c) by Mike DeHaan
“The Martin Goodman Trail interrupted on Queens Quay” image (c) by Mike DeHaan

There’s the reason: this non-road area is still under construction, although all the car lanes are now open. Note that the sidewalk and bicycle trail are still cut off.

Warning Paint on the Martin Goodman Trail

"Blue Intersection Warning on the Martin Goodman Trail on Queens Quay" image (c) by Mike DeHaan
“Blue Intersection Warning on the Martin Goodman Trail on Queens Quay” image (c) by Mike DeHaan

A bit further west, we find the sidewalks and Martin Goodman Trail in reasonable condition. The blue area, along with the stenciled white maple leaves, warn cyclists that they are approaching a driveway (or intersection?). I would need to spend more time with the fairly official guide to the Revitalized Queens Quay to be sure.

This section looks pretty good and works well.

Are Pedestrians Confused about Sidewalks and Bike Paths?

"Pedestrians off the sidewalk and on the Martin Goodman Trail bike path" image (c) by Mike DeHaan
“Pedestrians off the sidewalk and on the Martin Goodman Trail bike path” image (c) by Mike DeHaan

Further west, a section of the Martin Goodman Trail has not yet been completely paved and marked. Note how pedestrians are walking on the bike path, although the sidewalk is available.

I must confess that I ran on the edge of the bike path from time to time, rather than staying on the sidewalk. The sidewalk was quite crowded with people walking east from Yonge Street toward the Redpath Waterfront Festival at Sugar Beach. I did not photograph that “crowd”, but for a couple of stretches, it did affect where I could run.

By the way, that’s a slightly elevated boardwalk to the south of the sidewalk. I ran on it when heading home, but it’s only a short strip in front of a few buildings.

Two Queens Quay Puzzles in One Photo

"An Orphan Section of the Martin Goodman bike path on Queens Quay" image (c) by Mike DeHaan
“An Orphan Section of the Martin Goodman bike path on Queens Quay” image (c) by Mike DeHaan

Probably I am not the only person confused by this orphaned stretch of bike path for the Martin Goodman Trail. The two people walking west, in the upper right of this picture, may have been on a car lane. Or maybe not.

At any rate, this little stretch of bicycle lane left me very puzzled.

(Updated June 22, 2015): A photo and explanation in today’s Toronto Star leads me to believe that the area in the foreground of the photo is a mixing zone, where cyclists may encounter cars from a driveway. The Hume’s TorStar article, “New Queens Quay a redesign for everyone“,  showed a pedestrian/cyclist mixing zone. The bollards help keep cars off the bike path. Hopefully it will be self-evident to cyclists and everyone else on Queen’s Quay.

(Updated June 22, 2015): Hume’s article quotes Dutch landscape architect, Adriaan Geuze, explaining that “Every block had to be negotiated”. Hume reported that some property owners declined to participate in this project. That may explain why I found the Queen’s Quay makeover to be incomplete: perhaps this is as good as it will get, because all the work is done where the willing parties had agreed to it.

However, my general impression was that it’s a very pretty section of Queen’s Quay.

A Blue Ribbon to Open Queens Quay

"A Blue Ribbon to Open Queens Quay in 2015" image (c) by Mike DeHaan
“A Blue Ribbon to Open Queens Quay in 2015” image (c) by Mike DeHaan

Here’s the blue ribbon being waved by volunteers, before the official opening of Queens Quay in 2015.

In “Queens Quay Officially Re-Opens“, 680 News reporter Nicole Bauman stated the ribbon was 650 metres long. I would have believed it to be much longer; it seemed to stretch on forever.

Here, the Martin Goodman Trail bike path has its proper lane markings. A slight gutter separates it from the granite sidewalk, although it’s certainly possible for people to walk in that gutter.

You can’t see it in this photograph, but the TTC streetcar right-of-way is just behind me. While taking these photos, I saw a couple of men walking beside the tracks, as though it were a sidewalk. Just as I drew breath to shout at them, the approaching streetcar rang its bell. The men dodged south, out of harm’s way.

Is Queens Quay Open? Does the Martin Goodman Trail Function?

I did not have time or energy to run the rest of Queen’s Quay. (Updated July 13, 2015): My report on the western end of Queen’s Quay is less than a month tardy, in “Queens Quay West during a TO2015 PanAm Weekend in Toronto“.

Several years of work, and years of planning before that, have gone into improving Queens Quay. It should be a magnet to draw tourists to waterfront amenities, to induce Toronto residents to buy condos, and to welcome recreational athletes to get some exercise near Lake Ontario. Oh yes, and to be a photo op for some PanAm Games events.

While Queen’s Quay is “officially open”, several sections still require attention, especially for the bike path. (Updated June 22, 2015): Or perhaps all the work is done that was permitted by property owners.

I assume there is, or will be, a continuous bicycle path along Queen’s Quay once the work is complete. That’s a tremendous, day-versus-night improvement over the earlier incarnation of this street. At that time, the painted bike lanes simply disappeared from the central stretch of Queens Quay, leaving cyclists to squeeze between every parked motor coach bus and moving automobile.

It’s hard to predict how quickly the majority of people will figure out how to share the space. Certainly pedestrians are likely to wander across the cycling lanes, except for extremely busy periods in the summer.

However, I do rank it as the best and prettiest pedestrian-friendly street that I’ve encountered in Toronto. But was it really ready to be officially open? Will cyclists consider Queens Quay to be ready for PanAm festivities when there are gaps in the Martin Goodman Trail?

Looking for More Events or a Holiday in Toronto Canada?

My blog tracks many of the annual Toronto events that I find interesting, free or frugal.

Disclaimer: DeHaan Services has no relationship to the organizer(s); I am not reimbursed for writing this article. However, DeHaan Services does write web site or advertising copy for clients. Our skills are demonstrated in online articles in Decoded Science, Decoded Pregnancy and other online sites. That’s why DeHaan Services highlights those online articles on this site.

Click the “Public Service Announcements” or “Toronto Events” categories at the bottom of the left-hand column for similar previous articles. Thanks!

Thanks for reading about the 2015 opening of Queens Quay.

Why Write Two Running Tips for Cold Weather?

Why did I write “Two Cold Weather Running Tips from Two Frigid Days” in my DeHaan Fitness blog? To fill a gap I noticed in other articles on that subject!

Why should I mention that article here? Since this site promotes my writing, this lets me explain about changing my writing style for different situations.

"A Halifax Harrier (UK) Demonstrates Cold Weather Running" image by AdamKR under CC license
"A Halifax Harrier (UK) Demonstrates Cold Weather Running" image by AdamKR under CC license

Why Write a Pair of Cold Weather Running Tips?

As I explain in my DeHaan Fitness post, most of the other articles recommend “the right cold weather running gear”. That may help someone who is beginning running in winter. At that stage in my journey to fitness, I simply wore what I had. That included a cotton T-shirt, sweat pants, sweatshirt, a really old overcoat, an old toque and worn-out gloves. Now that I’ve earned some technical fabric T-shirts, and bought proper running pants and jackets, I’m much less likely to perspire heavily and then freeze.

But everyone else suggests buying the right clothing for running in the cold. So I wrote different tips for running.

My article relates two running tips for cold weather that one might not find elsewhere. Probably they have been suggested by others; but they felt rather new to me when I thought of them.

Why Publicize my Article on Cold Weather Running Tips?

As a freelance writer, my task is to convey my client’s message in a “voice” that authentically represents that person or company.

For example, a service company may want to project how helpful they are, and the results they can achieve. Perhaps each section of an article should include a “call to action”, such as “contact us to learn more”. A professional tone may be needed; or perhaps one of reassurance and comfort.

By contrast, when I write for Decoded Science, my articles blend my insight into the topic with the tone and style of that web site. Many other science articles adopt a passive voice: “The experiment was performed successfully, but significant capital expenditures were accrued”. That’s not the Decoded Science style (thank goodness!), but one must adapt to a publication’s requirements.

I’ve deliberately chosen an informal first-person voice for my DeHaan Fitness articles. That site provides some of my own views and experiences.

By contrast, the Toronto events covered in this site are usually written before the event. For example, I do not recount “what I did for March Break”; instead, my article covers what you might plan to do, locally, with your own family.

Why am I publicizing the article I wrote about a pair of tips for cold weather running? In part, to inform prospective clients that I can write in different styles. Use my contact information in the right-hand column when you need some ghost-writing for your business!

However, this publicity is also a public service announcement to other runners (and cyclists, hikers and outdoors enthusiasts) who may have the same problem as the young man I met while running in the cold the other week.

Thanks for reading about why I wrote an article with two running tips for cold weather.

How to Drive to Toronto without the Skyway Bridge in Hamilton

This weekend’s great question for every American tourist heading for the Caribbean Carnival in Toronto is, “How to drive to Toronto without the Skyway Bridge in Hamilton”? The Toronto-bound side of the Burlington Skyway Bridge was damaged on July 31, 2014. But you want to play mas at Caribana (as it used to be known). How can you get from Niagara Falls to Toronto without that bridge?

"Heading to Hamilton ONT from the USA" image by image by Mike DeHaan via milermeter (gmap-pedometer)
“Heading to Hamilton ONT from the USA” image by image by Mike DeHaan via milermeter (gmap-pedometer)

Driving to Toronto via Hamilton

Whether you crossed the US/Canada border at Buffalo, New York; at Niagara Falls; or the I190/405 crossing south of Lewiston and Queenston: you’re planning to drive the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW) to Toronto, Ontario. The obvious route takes you across the Burlington Skyway Bridge.

A dump truck crashed into the Toronto-bound Burlington Skyway Bridge on Thursday. It’s closed. The red ‘X’ and dot marks the spot.

What are your alternative routes to get to Toronto for the Caribbean Carnival or any of the other 2014 Civic Holiday festivals in Toronto?

"Lift Bridge Detour past the Burlington Skyway Bridge" image by Mike DeHaan via milermeter (gmap-pedometer)
“Lift Bridge Detour past the Burlington Skyway Bridge” image by Mike DeHaan via milermeter (gmap-pedometer)

You Won’t Get a Lift from the Lift Bridge

The obvious route is to take the Burlington Lift Bridge. You can’t tell the difference in routes from the above map; the bridges are very close to each other.

All in favour will say:

  • This is the shortest alternate route.
  • The detours are clearly marked. Just follow everyone else.

Those opposed will argue:

  • There is a massive backup of vehicles trying to cross the lift bridge.
  • Beach Blvd has fewer lanes and a lower speed limit than the QEW, any 400-series highway, or any provincial (2-digit) highway.
  • The lift bridge lifts out of service every hour or so, to allow ships in and out of Hamilton Harbour.
  • The most obvious detour will have the most tourists, so it will be more crowded and congested than the others.
"Drive through Hamilton to avoid the Skyway Bridge" image by image by Mike DeHaan via milermeter (gmap-pedometer)
“Drive through Hamilton to avoid the Skyway Bridge” image by image by Mike DeHaan via milermeter (gmap-pedometer)

Drive through Hamilton to Avoid the Burlington Skyway Bridge

The next shortest routes go through the city of Hamilton to avoid the Burlington Skyway Bridge.

Please note that the milermeter / gmap-pedometer web site supports runners and cyclists to plan routes. It seems smart enough to avoid some restricted access highways, if it can find a longer alternative route. If I spent the time to map each alternative for drivers, the bridge would be repaired and open for business before this public service announcement would be online.

Exit from the QEW to Hwy 20, the Centennial Parkway; or to the Red Hill Valley Parkway. Or, if you miss those exits, take the very obvious Burlington St. East exit and stay on Burlington St.

Burlington eventually takes you to Bay St. Turn south (left), then east (right) onto Cannon St. West. Merge onto York Blvd to drive around Burlington Bay. Eventually you should find ramps to Hwy 403.

If you exited the QEW earlier, onto Red Hill Valley Parkway, you would be swept onto the Lincoln M Alexander Parkway (“the Linc”) and then toward Hwy 403 without those bothersome inner-city Hamilton streets.

Had you taken Hwy 20 south, you should take minor highway 8, Queenston Road, east. You could then leap onto Red Hill Valley Parkway south to “the Linc”, or continue east. Hwy 8 jiggles a bit to become Main St. and King St.; they later recombine. If you get a glimpse at MacMaster University, you’ve missed the on-ramp to Hwy 403. Sorry.

The advantages of Hamilton Routes include:

  • You may find food or shelter on your journey.
  • More routes means fewer tourists per route.
  • The parkway routes should be fairly quick, especially compared to the actual city streets.

The only real disadvantage is that each route is longer than the lift bridge detour. But none of these roads are closed on an hourly basis to let commercial shipping cross.

Heading to Toronto after Hamilton

Once you’re past Hamilton on Hwy 403, it will merge with the QEW, right where you would have been if you had been able to drive over the Burlington Skyway Bridge. To do this, you must avoid Hwy 407, the toll highway, which takes you north to Hwy 401.

Looking for More Festivals in Toronto Canada?

You can find more annual events and festivals in Toronto Ontario, through my web site. I track many of the annual Toronto events that I find interesting, listing many fascinating, free or frugal things to do in Toronto.

Disclaimer: DeHaan Services has no relationship with the Caribbean Carnival, tourist agencies nor highway departments. I am not reimbursed for writing this article. However, DeHaan Services does write web site or advertising copy for clients. Our skills are demonstrated in online articles in Decoded Science, Decoded Pregnancy and my Fitness and Weight Control blog. That’s why DeHaan Services highlights those online articles on this site.

Click the “Toronto Events” category at the bottom of the right-hand column for recent articles in this category. Thanks!

Did this article help you drive to Toronto by avoiding the Burlington Skyway Bridge in Hamilton? Let me know by clicking one of the “Like” buttons in the left margin or sharing with your friends. Thanks for reading, and have a good trip.