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Stair Decisis

Soon to be bike-friendly
Dragging a bicycle down the stairs of a subway station often comes with an abundance of “tsks” and dirty looks from fellow passenges, and a wayward pivoting front wheel can catch on clothing or trip up the flow of human traffic. Plus, some riders can get royally peeved if something is impeding their way as they fly frantically down the stairs to beat the door chimes—waiting for the next train is, of course, unthinkable.
To better serve its two-wheeled ridership, the TTC plans to install prototype bicycle conduits in two station renovation projects, according to the Star. The tracks will be fitted beneath the stairway handrails, assumedly similar to the grooves on the stairs of Toronto’s bicycle-friendly bridges, which allow the wheels to remain inside a metal channel so that a bike can be guided easily down the stairs via the handlebars rather than carrying it awkwardly.
The plan is currently a pilot project, but is to become standard system-wide if they turn out to be as effective as hoped. An earlier pilot program that installed bicycle racks on the front of buses was successful, and the Commission hopes to have the entire fleet racked-up by 2010. Cycling and public transit in Toronto have always had a troubled relationship, but for many cyclists, it seems like the TTC might actually be back on track as The Better Way.
Photo by funinthegym from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.


  • ariehsinger

    There is a bicycle track that comes off the Don Valley bike route at the Queen Bridge (you have to go South under the bridge, then it the staircase), but it is quite helpful. It is great when my crate is full of groceries, but you have to lean the bike a fair bit so your pedals do not catch the supports….I find it’s just a whole lot easier to throw the bike on the shoulder though – which is easiest with my road bike to boot!

  • sodapop

    it’s about time! this will definitely make toronto a truly bike-friendly city, i think. this idea has been implemented for a long while now, in cities like copenhagen and amsterdam, the true bike cities of the world and i found it made biking in the city a lot less of an ordeal. it’s a simple and subtle intervention of what already exists in public transit.

  • David Topping

    I Bike TO called this “a small step in the right direction,” which seems to characterize pretty much all of the TTC’s decisions––bike-related or not––of late.

  • torontothegreat

    When I was in Vancouver, I noticed all the buses had bike racks on the front of them… I thought… What a BRILLIANT idea!
    I wish we were so lucky here, I’d love to actually take my bike somewhere far and bike back but I hate taking it on the TTC.

  • Chris Taylor

    I usually just haul the bike up into a vertical position (resting on its rear wheel) and walk it down the stairs, using the handlebars. Works fine with both an 18lb carbon wonder and a much heavier 80lb Canadian Tire special.
    And as a bonus you can use the rear brake to arrest forward movement, if you need to.
    It also works pretty well for getting on and off the subway in a hurry. Much better than dragging it aboard in the normal horizontal position.
    Getting up the stairs is the real hassle. You have to cart it, or hunt for the slow hydraulic elevator.