Engineering Student Projects: Design Solutions for Harbord Village?

Having U of T students next door can be a real advantage! In Spring 2017, three teams in a first-year Engineering Strategies and Practices course worked with residents to analyze local issues and look for design solutions. The three topic chosen: bicycle parking, cycling safety, and noise.

Carlo Drudi, HVRA Treasurer and a U of T Engineering graduate himself, coordinated the interactions and provided this summary. Follow the links to read the full student reports, including illustrations.

Project 87, Bicycle Parking within Harbord Village

Student Team: Apoorva Srivastava, Shekhar Kumar, Zhiren Zhan, Dongfang Cui, Linda Ren
HVRA reps: Carlo Drudi, Tim Grant.      Special mention: Andrew Sliwa, Custom Prototypes

This group looked at the issue of bicycle parking within Harbord Village. They met with Tim and myself and came up with designs for enhanced and improved bicycle parking. They also posted an online survey with their designs to have residents rank them based on look and aesthetics. A model of the final design was 3-D printed by resident Andrew Sliwa of Custom Prototypes.

TEAM 87 STUDENT REPORT: The final report includes images of the design, notes on legal requirements for street installation, a map of suggested locations, and information on cost.

Note from Carlo: Coincidentally, I was in Silicon Valley and noticed bike racks similar to their design. I thought they looked great and took up much less space than the classic ring and post.

U of T Engineering students, Team 87, HVRA project
Team 87 (including instructor Phil Yaneff) with their 3-D model

Project 66, Cycling Safety within Harbord Village

Student Team: Yuyang Wen, Chenhong Qiu, Yan Wu, Alex Buck, Inês Gomes, Michael Jia
HVRA rep: Carlo Drudi

This team looked at bicycle safety within HVRA. Two main issues were crossings/intersections and riding the wrong way on one-way streets. The students were required to focus on only one problem, and after my discussion with the Board they decided to focus on one-way streets. They looked at various ideas of utilizing contra-flow bike lanes to increase cyclist, pedestrian and motorist safety. The final design was a bike lane on Brunswick from Bloor to College. This design has the added benefit of linking up with the new bike lanes being installed on Bellevue and Denison (see this May 2017 article in Metro News). 

The net result would be a safe, continuous route from Bloor down to Queen. It would dramatically reduce the number of cyclists going the wrong way throughout Harbord Village.

TEAM 66 STUDENT REPORT: This includes maps of the proposed route and notes the necessary (small) changes in existing infrastructure to facilitate contraflow on some blocks. It also diagrams the ways the new design would affect cyclists’ decisions and experiences.

Project 60, Reducing Unwanted Noise in Harbord Village

Student Team: Miguel Andal, Arumuga Ganesan, Deep Pandya, Tony (Beiqi) Li, Farhan Wadia
HVRA rep: Carlo Drudi       Special mention: Bob Stambula

Noise is typically one of the top two or three issues brought up at HVRA meetings, so I suggested that the students approach the problem and potentially come with an outside-the-box solution. The team researched the available literature, met with Bob Stambula and conducted on online survey of residents in HV. The challenge was finding a design within the parameters of the problem and with a reasonable budget. Large-scale public infrastructure projects were rejected as a) too expensive, b) too impractical and c) too ineffective. The final design was to recommend commercially available earplugs to those who had problems with sleeping due to the noise.

TEAM 60 STUDENT REPORT: This briefly considers causes and potential solutions for noise complaints in Harbord Village, then gives detailed information and justification for focussing on custom-molded earplugs.