Friday, November 29, 2013

More on Toronto Transportation Cycling Infrastructure Group's call for YOUR Suggested On-street Routes and Informal Connections

As some of you may know, I have been lobbying through my Bike Mapping Wiki Project and elsewhere for several years to get the City to recognize the importance of these kind of off-arterial cycling routes - but most importantly, at every turn on this I have called for investment in these routes by the City - which I have termed 'Enabling'.

Enabling means:

  • Beginning with the understanding that the infrastructure is car centric in its' essence,

  • So we need to Enable off-arterial routes that cyclists are using so that the existing traffic calming infrastructure that was installed to calm CAR traffic - are Modified to enable cycling traffic - rather than impede that mode, which they - almost without exception - do (because moving cars was the dominate planning form though the period when they were applied to various problems)

  • So for example - off-arterial routes that have traffic signals at major intersections are great off-arterial routes for cyclists. ..So now Enable those routes for cyclists by Modifying the phasing of traffic signals along a designated cycleway for cycling traffic rates of speed.

  • Along these routes where 4-Way Stops have been installed - Modify the intersection with Stop Signs on the intersecting roadway by adding Yield Signs, with with information, "Cycleway" underneath (see diagram Example 1).

  • Along good cycling routes where speed bumps are installed - Modify the speed bumps' form so it Enables a cycleway (see diagram under Example 2

Example 1: Modify 4-Way Stop intersections to enable Cycleways

So a vehicle traveling on the vertical street in my diagram (and that means ANY vehicle: car, cyclist or electric bike...) are required to stop. If they see a cyclist or group of cyclists coming they must allow them to pass before proceeding.

Pedestrians as always, have right-of-way at these intersections.

This is one example.

The idea is to make existing cultural forms already developed by users better - towards our stated policy objective of encouraging cycling - by building cyclist enabling infrastructure on parallel to arterial roadways that are efficient and safe.

Where these parallel routes are not possible, Bike Lanes should be a priority on the arterial roadway that connects neighbourhoods - and enables a commute-cycling infrastructure.

In this - the City is actually making changes on the street - taking the next step - after identifying existing cultural transportation forms.

Example 2: Modify traffic-calming Speed Bumps on residential streets to enable a Cycleway

Another example is narrowing the width of speed bumps on residential streets where Cycleways are designated by the City.

This is not as simple as it sounds. We know that where speed bumps exist now, drivers regularly run their curb-side wheels right over to the side of the street in order to allow them to cross the speed bumps at a higher rate of speed.

Narrowing their width will actually make the situation worse for cyclists by drawing more cars off arterial roadways because motorists would be able to increase their speed through these neighbourhoods; and at the same time, would draw cars into conflict with cyclists by encouraging them to drive near the curb where the enablement intended that cyclists have priority.

So now we have to think about ways to keep cars from doing this, in a way that will not hamper snow removal, for example.

Short traffic islands at the edges of narrower speed bumps would accomplish this (see diagram).

The city already has small sidewalk-width plows that they are using to plow the separated bike lanes on Sherbourne - these cycleway egress islands could be placed far enough from the curb so that these could be cleared in winter. City Transportation would have to consider whether or not these speed bump traffic islands would impede snow removal on the main section of the roadway - perhaps flexible pole mounted reflectors might need to be installed on the corners of the islands so snow plow operators could see them under snow cover --- for example.

These are just a couple of solutions that I have been on about for years. With these diagrams I hope inspire City Planners to envision new ways of enabling off-arterial Cycleway routes that cyclists have identified are good and needed, routes.

If the City decided this was a priority - and we should, there is a traffic-volume Crisis that is costing the economy of  Toronto, of Ontario, of Canada - Billions of dollars per year - projects like this should be tried in Pilot Projects in order to work out the bugs.

Michael Holloway
Bike Route Mapping Wiki:

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