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Old 04-02-07, 08:54 PM   #1
ViperZ
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Toronto Commuters & Other Rail Car Cities, I Salute You!

I amazed that commuters in big cities like Toronto have to deal with the amount of traffic and pedestrians that walk out in front of you, but add to that the rails on the streets, and a person would certainly have to be alert.

This is a picture I took that was not even one of the worst ones like I seen on Dundas heading into Chinatown. There it had rails running every which way that looked like the best option was to ramp jump that section! Add to that the narrow streets, cars, trucks, mob of people and rail cars


So, to Torontonian commuters and others that deal with this everyday, I salute you


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Old 04-02-07, 09:41 PM   #2
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We have Trams in Melbourne. You need to be careful crossing the tracks, but it's not too bad besides that.
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Old 04-03-07, 06:44 AM   #3
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In town here we had these one set of rails that cross the road at a very parallel angle on one side. I think those rails has grabbed everyone I know at one time in our lives. Thankfully they are no longer there.

I was just thinking as I was walking down King Street, that the rails them selfs aren;t so bad, however if you have to make a sudden direction change due to traffic, cars, people etc.... It's then that they can become a trap.
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Old 04-03-07, 07:18 AM   #4
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You know, most of us who ride downtown hardly pay any attention to the streetcar tracks anymore. We're so accustomed to crossing them safely, it becomes second nature. A friend of mine whom I encouraged to get into cycling four or five years ago had his first spill as a result of streetcar tracks and most others I know have had their tires stuck in them at one time or another, including me many years ago, but once you have you never will again
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Old 04-03-07, 10:32 AM   #5
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You know, most of us who ride downtown hardly pay any attention to the streetcar tracks anymore. We're so accustomed to crossing them safely, it becomes second nature. A friend of mine whom I encouraged to get into cycling four or five years ago had his first spill as a result of streetcar tracks and most others I know have had their tires stuck in them at one time or another, including me many years ago, but once you have you never will again
That's for sure. The only time that scared me was when I got my front wheel stuck in one at an intersection with my son in his seat behind me -- talk about clipping out in a hurry! We were okay, BTW.

The only time they ever bothered me was with an inch or two of snow on the road, but I generally avoided riding most of those days anyway. We lived right above the CNE in happy and safe Parkdale so I often just went down to the lake and enjoyed the longer, streetcar-free ride down there.

Now that I live in the middle of nowhere NW Ontario my commuting days in Toronto are little more than a frazzled memory. . . .

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Old 04-03-07, 12:33 PM   #6
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Yes, I'm sure they become second nature when you deal with them everyday, but man they could make for a crappy day too
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Old 04-03-07, 01:02 PM   #7
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I don't ride downtown but I have rode down there before. Yah all the tracks sometimes scare me. I had a few slippages when I was riding from the T.O MEC store. I think downtown roadies fear those.
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Old 04-03-07, 01:26 PM   #8
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Never had a streetcar track bail. Mind you I usually ride my DH bike downtown.

Streetcars, unlike most other vehicles on the road, follow a predictable path.
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Old 04-03-07, 01:49 PM   #9
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I've not spilled on a streetcar rail, but since I broke my wrist following a nasty catch in some regular rail tracks last year, I'm extra-careful - inconvenience of having my wrist in a cast for 6 weeks was lesson enough for me.

The worst time is having to dice the danger area between parked car door zone and the centre streetcar railed lane (like on King Street West). If crossing in parallel, I always pull the wheel up unless I'm able to use a good angle - that little effort is worth it to not spill in front of a bunch of traffic IMO - same goes for the 4-way intersections like those on Spadina (as in the photo above).

I usually try and take non-streetcar roads, I live near Roncesvalles (yay Parkdale ) and that's a hairy ride at times heading north, I hate it and usually veer west to take Indian Grove Road or whatever it's called there - southbound I head to the lake instead of King.

All that being said, I like riding downtown - makes me feel good to ride with and faster than traffic at times, I like behaving like and being (usually most times) treated like a vehicle out there.
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Old 04-03-07, 03:42 PM   #10
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We have only have two lightrail lines in SLC, but the street where one line turns and joins the other line is kind of like that picture. It's a little kooky but it's not bad. You definatly have to pay attention when turning across them, especially where the tracks are turning as well. I'm super dooper extra careful when they're wet.
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Old 04-03-07, 07:21 PM   #11
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I wish I would have taken pictures of that one street (Dundas I think), it had tracks going every which way, almost twice as many as in my photo.
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Old 04-03-07, 08:56 PM   #12
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Are you referring to Spadina and Dundas? I agree with what other posters have said -- getting caught in the streetcar tracks is a very educational experience!

The place I liked least was going under a (rail?) bridge on King between Bathurst and Dufferin. Cars were not very forgiving, and neither were the tracks!
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Old 04-03-07, 09:46 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gbcb
Are you referring to Spadina and Dundas? I agree with what other posters have said -- getting caught in the streetcar tracks is a very educational experience!

The place I liked least was going under a (rail?) bridge on King between Bathurst and Dufferin. Cars were not very forgiving, and neither were the tracks!
It could have been, it was during a day when were were heading to Chinatown along Dundas, however it may have been a few blocks before Spadina... I can't be sure, but it was Wicked
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Old 04-03-07, 09:56 PM   #14
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It reminds me of Philadelphia in some ways. I fell off my bike with a car just 10 feet from me. Fortunately, we were crawling at 1 mph so he was able to stop in time. I still like street cars and prefer them to buses any day of the week.
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Old 04-03-07, 10:10 PM   #15
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It reminds me of Philadelphia in some ways. I fell off my bike with a car just 10 feet from me. Fortunately, we were crawling at 1 mph so he was able to stop in time. I still like street cars and prefer them to buses any day of the week.

That is fortunate...

I remember one time I was riding a road bike with cleats and straps (before clip-less). As I was pulling up to a curb and stop light on Preston Ave, crossing 8th Street (busiest Street in Sask), my front wheel fell into a small crack between the pavement and the curb, I did not see it, but I felt it happen. This would be the equivalent of falling in a rail track.

I'm not sure how I did it to this day, but I was able to reach down to loosen the strap somewhat, yank my foot out and touch down as I was falling over.... It all happened so fast, I think I was running on survival instincts only
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Old 04-03-07, 11:15 PM   #16
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I switched to wider tires - it seems to solve the streetcar track problem, that and taking care to cross them at an angle.

If an obstacle comes up - I've learned to stop rather than swerve - definitely better than wiping out on streetcar tracks.
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Old 04-04-07, 05:45 AM   #17
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I, and every single kid that grew up in downtown Toronto, has a story of hitting the tracks at the wrong angle and falling flat on their faces or getting their wheel caught in the middle of the tracks and falling flat on their faces. It is like a rite of passage but it never happens to you more than once and if it does, you take up rollerblading.
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Old 04-04-07, 09:27 AM   #18
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When I lived in Toronto on the 70s, I dreaded the tracks going down the hill West of Casa Loma, some when staight ahead and some turned left, so there was no way to avoid crossing at a fine angle.
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Old 04-04-07, 10:39 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gbcb
The place I liked least was going under a (rail?) bridge on King between Bathurst and Dufferin. Cars were not very forgiving, and neither were the tracks!
I lived right at King & Dufferin, so the rail overpass was one of the first joys of my commute. The best way I found to handle it was to aggressively take the inner lane and just frickin' hammer through the tunnel as much over 40 km/h as you could manage.

So long as drivers weren't pissed at getting stuck behind the streetcars it was fine. Coming away strongly from the lights on either end was also a good idea and told the drivers you meant business.

If I had my son on behind me I always wimped out and took the sidewalk, though.

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Old 04-04-07, 11:00 AM   #20
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I remember watching a rollerblada take an intersection full of crossing tracks at speed, quick stepping over them like it was nothing. Now that was impressive.
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Old 04-04-07, 12:17 PM   #21
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Heh. Seems like we all have stories. I've never had an incident with streetcar tracks, but most of my bikes had wider tires so it were never a real threat. My current bike though has small thin tires, so I pay closer attention to the danger now. As was said by someone else: avoid the streetcar routes as much as mossible and you'll be fine. I love all the residential backroads. They're so much better for cycling than main routes anyway.
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Old 04-04-07, 01:54 PM   #22
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We have these in Boston too, some of them aren't even in use anymore but still in the road. Most of the above ground trains have a dividing island so they are not in the road, however.
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Old 04-04-07, 04:38 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by ViperZ
This is a picture I took that was not even one of the worst ones like I seen on Dundas heading into Chinatown.
You're right, it's not the worst. If you want real nasty, try... I donno, King and Dufferin or, even better, Queen and Spadina.

As many downtown commuters, the tracks did get me... I was actually in the inside lane, keeping up with traffic, and didn't notice that we were coming up to an intersection where the tracks were branching off... I am SO glad the driver behind me was not tailgating!
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Old 04-04-07, 04:43 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by EnigManiac
As was said by someone else: avoid the streetcar routes as much as mossible and you'll be fine. I love all the residential backroads. They're so much better for cycling than main routes anyway.
I sort of used to feel the same way... but lately I've been biking a lot on Queen and King, and it didn't feel bad at all. A lot of downtown doesn't even have residential backroads anyway. One good thing about streetcar routes is that streetcars slow down other traffic quite a bit, so if you get and keep just ahead of a streetcar, you will not have to worry about any cars passing you... they'll be stuck behind, waiting for the streetcar (it's illegal to pass a streetcar when the passengers are entering/exiting).
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Old 04-04-07, 07:14 PM   #25
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When I was downtown a few times and around those streetcar tracks I tend to 'jump' the tracks. Not a full both wheels off the track as I often have locks on the rack and a backpack so I can't do a full jump off but more a front wheel up to land on the other side of the track then have the rear wheel roll over while I've got one side already on the other side.

Works better if you can lift both wheels off the gorund but I've yet to find a trials or trickster guy to teach me.
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