Saturday, 31 October 2015

Parking cars. They take up a huge amount of space on the road. What else could it be used for, even just 12.5% of it?

     If you take a look outside at the nearest road, chances are that there are parking cars on it. Even if it is well designed, like in this post by David Hembrow: Car parking, it still takes up space on the roads. A huge amount of land is turned over to the storage of metal boxes on wheels and an engine. It does absolutely nothing. Except for occupying valuable space in the urban realm. If we even turned over 1 out of every 8 parking spots, we would have a huge amount of space to do something else with it.

     We already should be building curb extensions where it is illegal to park cars but is ordinarily permitted along a road (like near a fire hydrant or at a bus stop), but elsewhere, reclaiming parking spots to use for things like plants, trees, bike parking, benches, wayfinding, eating areas, tables, (the latter 4 usually used in commercial areas) (note that all of these alternative amenities should be protected with a curb, for the bike parking, use a rolled curb so that you do not have to dismount and lift your bike up, so that it is less likely that cars will try to use it and makes it feel permanent), and anything except car parking, is really effective to create a completely different feel of the street.

     Combined with making remaining car parking like the parking bays the Hembrow blog post talked about, with the slight elevation, curb extensions, very different paving material, etc, and making the street itself suitable, like removing car parking on main roads, like Jasper Ave, and the mixed 30 km/h brick paved traffic calmed street. Street, place, not road. Like this example in Downtown: Good Local Road Design

     Sometimes, you could even make the parking area almost exactly like how the sidewalk is, as if the street did not have car parking. But it would be, it would be signed and marked with white bricks on the sidewalk to make it clear where it is. Here is the example I mean: Mariaplaats. It would be useful in commercial areas where you ban motor vehicles during the day but allows deliveries at night. The sidewalk is fully usable during the day.

     We need to realize that we put far too much space on the roads towards parking cars. Things that are useful to people at all times, bus stops, plants, benches, wayfinding, bike parking, widened sidewalks, etc should take their place.

     Dedicating 1/8 of the parking cars towards these greater goods is a key step in making people realize just how wide our roads really are and what they could be used for. Don't make it so that you cannot park at all, but most people on a residential street like the one I live on have garages and visitors are infrequent. Having 7/8s of the parking left should be plenty. Possibly even too much. The more you don't need parking, the better it is.

     If you can entice people to ride by creating 30 km/h zones and cycle paths elsewhere which are efficient, subjectively, socially and objectively safe, fast and wide, you need far less parking. Assume that transit got up to 20% of the modal share, cycling up to 25% and walking up to 10%. Assume that 25% of people were able to abandon cars completely. That would mean that you would need about 25% less of the space for parking cars, you could eliminate 1 in every four spaces where this kind of modal share is present.

Write your councillors and traffic planners in your area to fight for this kind of retaking the streets. If enough people can agree, the less opposition the politicians and road engineers can put up.

109 St Jasper Ave. Part 2.

Continuing from last post, link here: Part 1, which you need to read first in order to understand what I am talking about now.

The traffic light signal staging is fairly simple. It has 5 stages technically, but it is really only 3. 1 is a simultaneous green stage. All cyclists and all pedestrians get green, the cyclists able to make diagonals if they want. This lasts about 20 seconds. The third stage is NB and SB thru movements and the right turns from northbound and southbound flows. This lasts for 22 seconds. The second stage is a very short one, it's essentially a queue jump for buses, who get to leave their bus lane 6 seconds before motor traffic gets to. It applies in both directions and traffic turning right from the northbound and southbound flows also get a protected right turn. Note that all right turns are protected, but are prohibited on red. The fourth and fifth stages are a rotation 90 degrees to the right or left of the second and third. It has a (maximum) cycle length of 76 seconds, plus all red and amber clearance times, and a maximum wait of 56 seconds. Under a minute. Note that all left turns except by bicycle are prohibited. Buses do not need to make a left turn anyway.

Buses get their queue jump phase, which lets them go ahead of traffic. In downtown they mostly alternate. 

Also, note that I would prohibit any vehicle longer than 7 metres except for buses and heavier than 3.5 tonnes, except buses. This keeps trucks out of downtown. Deliveries take place with cargo vans, but only during off peak times (peak also including when pedestrians roam the streets looking for lunch or a friend around noon and the happy hours at bars and clubs).

If the volume is low enough, I would take out the dedicated right turn lanes and mix the right turn/thru traffic into one lane, so a second bus lane can be created for the other direction of buses. This allows even more bus prioritization. If this were the case, the queue jump phase would not be used. Keeping in the centre of the road allows buses to avoid conflicts with right turning vehicles. Keeping cyclists on the side gives them much closer access to shops and homes, and keeps them close to pedestrians. 

Cyclists can turn right on red. You will notice under the top down view that I even provide dedicated bicycle right turn lanes for this purpose, already at an angle. The idea for the right turn slip lane is borrowed from the London Cycling Campaign, although don't swallow the two stage left turn design they promote. The protected intersection is a much better way of doing a two stage left. 

The cycle tracks are wide enough for easy passing. 2.5 metres in both directions. Combined with a low curb with a bevel, angled at 30 degrees, with a rise of 5-6 cm, it makes for a lot of space to use. Overtaking is easy, you could even ride two abreast having a conversation with a friend or family member and be passed by someone. This is because you can ride very close to the curb, you do not have to worry about a fall. The .8 metre wide curbed barrier, and again on the side of the cyclists, there is an angle and only a 5-6 cm rise (the entire street raises up to this level at intersections, with an angle sharp enough to encourage a speed of 40 km/h) provides a good separation from cars, and makes you feel subjectively safe. Subjective safety and whether it is strenuous to cycle somewhere (stop signs every block for example) are the top two concerns for cyclists, and if a parent can be convinced by anything to let their 5-8 year old child ride on their own, they need to be sure that he/she will be safe. From cars and thugs. 

You can see a lot of advantages to this design. Cars do not belong in a dense urban area like downtown to nearly the extent they are. Giving the road space to those who are more worthy is a very good idea. I know road traffic planners get a bad rap when they even suggest things like this, so we need to encourage them. A lot. To make them convinced that we are rejecting cars as our main means of transport and want the ability to use other options. We can make sure that they respect safety and the environment. Our roads murder dozens each year. 26/27 (sources differ), and maim hundreds. Almost all of these are preventable in some way. Either by drivers not being drunk, but even more importantly, the roads keeping us safe from our own fallibility. Edmonton adopted Vision 0 recently. It is up to us to keep the city to it's mission. 

109 St Jasper Ave. Part 1

In West Downtown, 109 St is a major artery. It is also a bit of a chokepoint for buses on Jasper Ave. A new bus route could be added on 109 itself. I mentioned this in my BRT post. It also suffers from a lack of good pedestrian and bicycle accommodation, and it is not a friendly place to be walking or biking now. Just look at it:Jasper Ave 109 St. It allows right turns on red, which is another safety risk. The waiting times are also often a bit long, especially at night.

First, lets try to disperse the traffic on 109. Promoting alternate routes to the High Level Bridge will help a lot, and diverting traffic onto the Dawson, Groat Road and 98 Ave/Conners Road bridges will also do a lot. The LRT which could be built at some point on a roughly parallel route also works nicely. This will lower the volumes considerably.

Second, we need to redesign the intersection. Add cycle tracks, bus lanes, removing parking which slows traffic down because cars have to be very slow in order to not hit anything while parking, a raised intersection design, and banning left turns by private motor vehicle (SUVs, cars, motorcycles and vans essentially), banning right turns on red, except by bicycle, adding waiting time indicators, bus traffic light priority and a simultaneous green design here will aid the intersection considerably.

I chose simultaneous green because of it's helpfulness at smaller intersections, dense areas and areas where cyclists are likely to come from every which way. It also allows left turns in one go.

A 40 km/h speed limit will help traffic flow smoother.

Another aspect of this is the use of actuation, rest in red, flashing modes, and the ability for the signal controller to not be tied to a set pattern of cycles. During late nights, the signals will go to flashing amber and flashing red. The red (meaning stop and then let other traffic go first) will be shown to 109 St, and flashing amber, which just tells you that the cross street has flashing red and that you need to be extra careful, will be shown to Jasper Ave. This also applies to the bicycle specific signals. The actuation means that pedestrians get a passive detector, be it thermal, motion, or maybe something else, plus an extra button, just in case. Cyclists get inductive loops, one 50 metres away and one near the stop line, and an extra push button, again, in case the loops do not detect you (there would be some indication that it as acknowledged, like a beep and a small red light). Motor traffic gets inductive loops too, and the bus lanes get inductive loops but also a traffic signal priority transmitter.

So what would this look like? Here is my vision physically. See the next post for part two.
Top down

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Streetmix

I really like this program. It's called Streetmix. It makes it a lot easier to simulate a road design. I can't go to the nearest 5 cm, but 10 cm is close enough for most people I guess. It also does have the lack of ability to mix cyclists and pedestrians (like in a pedestrianized square), but you can pretend that it's a shared area. Not that you should really use shared use paths ordinarily. It also lacks the ability to choose which colour you want a bike lane to be, or to use different kinds of curbs and intersection designs, but it isn't bad.

I recommend checking it out, playing around and reply in the comments with the most perfect complete arterial road in your opinion. Here's mine: http://streetmix.net/CyclingEdmonton/1/perfect-arterial-road-design-on-the-approach-to-an

See what you think so far

Take a look at this for a little bit. It uses simultaneous green and no turns on red. Tell me in comments what your reactions to it are.

I also made a video on the Youtube Channel. Link here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ar29R8WDBMU

The time it takes

Something that makes me rather annoyed is when city planners say it took 40 years to get where the Netherlands is today. Literally that is true, but the idea of having a bicycle culture where cycling was a genuine option for all people, it was not long after, even after just 10 years it was of fairly good quality in the Netherlands and in 1990, it was 25% of all journeys, or more in some cities. And it was a very rapid change. Even if 40 years was true, if we began today then we would eventually get there. But we can skip over what was tried and found to not work in the Netherlands and we could easily allocate a large amount of money to making it work. Somehow in the 1940s-1960s, in 20 years we found the money to turn the streets from only somewhat car centric to extremely car centric. So much so that 109 St st was actually believe it or not, intended to become a freeway. And this happened on a global scale. If we could have turned Canada from people centric to car centric within a single generation, surely we can with smaller machines that need less room to ride and park and even less resources to build and cater for in less than a generation.

We can never even hope to get there by remaining as we are. We can ONLY get there by starting. Vancouver is starting. London is very early, but building tens of kilometres of cycle tracks this year. And a couple of even those aren't bad. It takes the realization that bicycles and walking and public transport is good for business, look at how thriving the shops are in totally car free areas in the Netherlands, good for people, thousands of lives have been saved, and countless more have not been injured or had a collision, billions of dollars worth of savings comes from cycling, walking and public transport, realizing that we are locking children indoors, either at home, school, a designated sports field or in a motor vehicle. It is impossible to justify cars. Impossible. If we had a God given right to cars, the Bible would have said so already. Go and download a copy and Control F search for right to cars if you want. Our efforts to reach so low standards and not nearly dense enough network to improve things is not working. It is making it worse by making people think that it is hopeless. But give people good enough conditions and they WILL cycle, walk or take transit.

I challenge anyone, anyone reading this to try and come up with a good reason why we should not rebuild our cities just like our grandparents and great grandparents did to change our cities for the worse. We as their children can learn from their mistakes. We can change our cities for the better. I believe that we may already have hit peak car, possibly also peak oil. Just another reason to change. Not tomorrow, today, we can already adopt these policies. We can declare it a priority and change our standards for roads. We can give the orders to make our roads safe, efficient and inviting. And at far less cost than a freeway. The Northeast Anthony Henday Drive in total will cost 1.8 billion dollars for just 9 km of roadway. What else could those funds have been used for?

Halloween safety

First, go read this. It was made by the Health Canada department of the federal government: http://healthycanadians.gc.ca/security-securite/home-maison/halloween-eng.php.

OK, now that you read that, lets take a look at what I find questionable and sometimes over the top, and in some cases pinning the blame on the wrong person.

It says to cross roads only at the corners, and never between parking cars. How about a definition of between? Are you including the area where there is something like 4 metres of a curb extension used for a tree? And also, jaywalking laws really need to change. Sure, don't try crossing a freeway. Find a bridge or underpass. But on a residential road (which really should have 30 km/h speed limits, and maybe on Halloween night, I suggest even a 20 km/h limit, if the street is already not a woonerf), the onus should be on the cars as to whether it is safe to proceed, and driving at a walking pace should be enough for a driver to see, even in the dark, if there is an obstacle. Why not reinstate the olden rules in the early 20th century which required a driver to have someone get out and precede the car with a red lantern and warn people of the car's approach?

It also suggests putting reflective tape on costumes and props. Did that little 11 year old ask for reflective tape on that sword?

I also question how old of a child are we talking about? I think that a 10 year old child is perfectly capable of carving a pumpkin, not with a machete, but with a carving tool. Having the small child draw and let an adult, or I would suggest older person in general carve is a good idea. Those little carvers are not that sharp, and it is not likely to really hurt anyone if you tried. It also suggests that children should not handle matches. I have used matches to lit candles on birthday cakes since I was about 10, and I could have started a lot younger. I once read a guide that suggests 5 years old, granted it does suggest an adult monitor and demonstrate.

Onto costumes. It suggests face paint instead of masks on the grounds of vision limitation and breathing problems. I have a mask that I am going to use (you can never be too old to have a sack or two of sweets) and I can easily breathe out of it and I can see out of it, so well that I can ride a bicycle in the dark with it on. Even if it did limit my vision, most masks are of a design that I can flip it up easily. Including mine. I also am not sure whether this also includes cloth around faces. When I was 13 I tried to go as a Ringwraith from the Lord of the Rings. It didn't go as well as I had hoped because I wasn't allowed to even bring a foam sword from home. I even had trouble with a broomstick. People kept mistaking it for a scythe. I didn't like that. I used a see through cloth around my face to try and hide my face while not tripping over anything or walking off the sidewalk, Is that against Health Canada recommendations? I had no trouble breathing through it.  It did get a little warm though. Choosing costumes that fit well and can be used over clothing used to combat weather, yeh that is a good idea. People joke that their costume fits over a snowsuit, and most of them aren't kidding. My own costume in fact would do that.

I am a little annoyed about the helmet laws for cyclists because I plan on using mine to carry extra sacks for candy (I have a sweet tooth, and you probably do too) and I would like to have a thicker hat than foam, which is only insulating if it doesn't have holes. And yes, I ride with lights, I have a dynamo in fact.

All of these show a bit of a heightened safety culture we have. Safety isn't a joke, I respect that, but things this detailed are a little over the top. Many cities even have laws requiring people to not carry more passengers than it is equipped to carry. I don't know whether the rack on the back of my bicycle would meet that, as most Dutch luggage racks are intended to carry as much as another person. They are called girlfriend racks (do not have the girl in question though) for a reason. It is just one example. Focus your efforts on things that really cause harm. If parking cars are so dangerous, why not ban parking on the road between 4:00 PM and 11:59 PM on Oct 31 each year rather then telling kids to avoid them? Why not ban the cars or restrict them as much as we did 100 years ago, requiring someone to go walk in front with a flag or lantern rather than telling kids to be kids and play around on the day (night) of mischief?

Rural roads

Now I usually talk about urban areas, but rural areas are worth a mention. I have been looking for the best speed limits in these rural areas. Here is what I say:

Most rural roads outside of urban areas that are not expressways, divided highways or freeways will be 70 km/h zones. This is an decrease from the 100 that exists today on some secondary provincial highways. However I would not use this everywhere. Pretty much only on the one lane per direction non shouldered roads with no barrier between the two directions and only a prohibition on cyclists, pedestrians and mopeds. Don't worry about where they will walk or ride, they would get their own asphalt or concrete paths, between 3 and 4 metres in width (for bidirectional use, one ways would be between 2.2-2.5 metres in width), a maximum speed limit for mopeds at 50 km/h (if you think that is fast, think about the fact that you right now would have to cycle with much heavier flows of much larger and more massive traffic at higher speed), with the right of way over minor side roads (but not at rural roundabouts), but bending out the path so that at least 5-8 metres of width is between the path crossing and the main road crossing, the former of which would be built on a raised table. I take the inspiration for this design from here:https://www.google.ca/maps/@52.7500449,6.0231271,3a,52.3y,212.46h,80.22t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1ss1-uwIxYe4PRSQ2IVNBLCA!2e0!6s%2F%2Fgeo3.ggpht.com%2Fcbk%3Fpanoid%3Ds1-uwIxYe4PRSQ2IVNBLCA%26output%3Dthumbnail%26cb_client%3Dmaps_sv.tactile.gps%26thumb%3D2%26w%3D203%26h%3D100%26yaw%3D45.398132%26pitch%3D0!7i13312!8i6656

(video made by a Dutchman named Koen) Attentive viewers may have noticed there that there was a sign giving the minor road a 60 km/h speed limit, which applies until further notice, even if you switch roads and do not see an end of one sign (what the word ''zone'' means). That is what I would do here. On the minor roads in rural areas, that preform the function of access to homes and estates, and even businesses in some cases, that are lower volume. These for the most part would be pretty much a 4 metre wide strip of asphalt of if you really wanted to, concrete or brick, with intersections that do not have any sign or signal controlling them and that are raised so that driving faster than 60 over them is not advisable. At higher volumes, a 3 metre wide black asphalt section in the middle flanked by a pair of 1.5-2 metre wide sections of red or black asphalt on either side with dashed white lines marking off the 1.5-2 metre wide pseudoshoulders. If it gets too high volume, over 2000 per day, or there is a high volume of cyclists, especially children, then a 3-4 metre wide cycle path, built with concrete or asphalt, and a 5-6 metre wide area for motor traffic, can be built. If the latter two are built, then the road with the cycle path or pseudolanes have the right of way. Examples of these can be found in this video I found, made by someone in the Netherlands known as Koen, and republished by Mark Wagenbuur. Video to the right.

In order to feel safe, it would need to have low volumes of motor traffic. This can be done by closing off small sections of roadway, by closing off accesses to main roads, adding speed humps and tables, and adding one way road systems. If it is on a main cycle route, or one frequented, and always at intersections, it would be lit. Intersections are always lit for cars and cyclists and pedestrians, but in other areas, it would generally only apply to the pathway. Cars have very powerful headlights and all the retroreflectivity should work well. Bicycles and pedestrians do not have the power to light up a path on their own. They can only carry lights to make them more visible to others.

People live in the countryside, about a million people in Alberta. They may not live close together, but given the right conditions, people will ride bicycles. It is even more of a concern for safety purposes because of higher speed and volume of traffic. Having only a road shoulder on very busy roads with a rumble strip to protect you is not good protection. It is also a place where you could enjoy the terrain and scenery. Especially in the rural mountain valleys and forests. For some people it could even mean not needing a car. Not everyone will do this, probably not even 5%, even with perfect cycle infrastructure, but even then, that is more people off cars. Velomobiles are very quick, and for much less money than a car, could provide at least somewhat similar transport for things like groceries and school. People will cycle longer distances if they have few enough stops and slows. Remember that not everyone lives in urban areas but all of us deserve choice in how we get from A to B.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Criminal offenses (there is a formatting error I can't fix. Highlight the text to read it)

The Criminal Code of Canada says the following:

Death that might have been prevented
224. Where a person, by an act or omission, does any thing that results in the death of a human being, he causes the death of that human being notwithstanding that death from that cause might have been prevented by resorting to proper means.

By my interpretation, if you have the power to prevent a death, you must use that ability. The code does not say that you are exempt if it might cause traffic congestion or make people unhappy with you. This means transport ministers, traffic engineers, city councils, that it is a criminal offense to fail to prevent a death on the road when you have the ability to prevent that death. Designing a road to prevent things like head on collisions with roundabouts, prevent trucks from side swiping a cyclist, killing him/her by designing a cycle track, is part of your duty, as it is likely to prevent death, let alone all the injuries. The sentence? Up to life in prison. I believe you can get parole, but not for years after the beginning of the sentence. 

It is murder to deliberately fail to do this. It is criminal negligence to recklessly or wantonly do or by failing to do something that it was their duty to do, shows disregard for lives and safety. 

BRT for Edmonton

Edmonton is considering something called bus rapid transit. In systems like Bogata, it looks and feels like a subway than a light rail, and has similar capacity. We don't need that capacity and Bogata's system needs a lot of space and money. Councillor Michael Walters floated around the idea, especially given that Edmonton's lease on the Century Park Park and Ride is going to expire in a few years, leaving all but about 300 parking spaces to the developers around the station.

What could this look like for Edmonton? I would like to suggest that it should be designed in such a way that you could have buses use a corridor for fast travel to a transit centre or LRT stop, and then near the neighbourhoods it branches out. For example, putting bus lanes down the middle of 111 St between 23 Ave (actually a little further to the North, near the transit centre access), and Ellerslie Road, (actually there would be a short bus lane from the NB lanes on James Mowatt Trail to create a bit of a queue jump too), adding enhanced stops, raised curb, off board ticketing, nice shelters, and traffic signal priority at the traffic lights at Ellerslie Road, MacEwan Rd, the ramps off Anthony Henday Drive, 9, 12, 19 and 23 Ave North, and the traffic lights controlling the crossing from the transit centre to 111 St, it would allow all the buses that serve Heritage Valley to bypass a lot of the congestion. Cameras can help enforce said bus lane, and raised plastic dividers making a tactile feedback if you use the lanes also would help enforcement. If you add a left turn from the bus lane, then it also lets buses bypass congestion for routes that make left turns. The 77 for example. The general corridor would help many routes. The routes use 111 St to some length, and once they are at the neighbourhoods they already serve, they leave 111 St to go on the local route.Ottawa follows this sort of system.

This is just an example. I also use curbside lanes here because they can be implemented with the current layout of the road, just switching the rightmost through lanes for buses only, making the stops better, adding traffic light priority and left turns from the curb lane. Most routes would use the middle of the road. The centre two lanes, adding a concrete curb like what this design used on 105 St 105 St, a number of cases would forbid left turns. It also would have signals for buses that look a bit like this:Cleveland BRT traffic lights. It accounts for the higher mass of buses when telling them to stop, and also if there are left turns, they would be on a separate phase. Articulated buses are also a useful feature on routes like this. If public transport is a realistic alternative for people, and given a low enough fare and low enough travel time, then people will begin to use it on their own. It is likely to lead to a massive increase in the number of people using transit. I envision something like these lanes in Amsterdam: Amsterdam median transitway

The corridors would need to go to many locations in the city. A corridor on 23 Ave, Riverbend Road and 170 St where bus route 23 goes now is a good starter. On 109 St is another good place to consider it. It has 6 lanes for motor traffic. It could look like this: 109 St redesign. It would have to be a broad network, with lots of routes. These sorts of lanes in the middle of the road in an area that dense and congested isn't unprecedented in North America. San Francisco uses them a lot. San Francisco median transitway. It would need to be fast, able to insert the traffic light signal stage they need to go, shorten red times, extend green ones, have lanes that are not used by private cars, and have quick boarding. Depending on the design, it could even be possible to give the bus lanes a higher speed limit than the roadway. The LRT between Century Park and Southgate has a speed limit of 70 km/h while cars get 60 km/h.

Stations should be of high quality. They should look something a bit like this:Utrecht bus stop. It would have bike parking, raised curb, tactile paving, off board proof of payment ticketing and all door boarding, a shelter, preferably heated, at least 2 metres of width, preferably 3.5 metres, with a guardrail between waiting island and car lanes, safe crossing to the sidewalk, and a real time indication of the waiting times for the next buses.

Frequency is very important. About 5-7.5 minute frequencies during peak hour, 7.5-12 minute frequencies during off peak times midday and daytime on Saturday, 10-20 minute frequencies during late nights and Sundays. It leads to people having enough confidence that the bus will be soon, and the total trip time will be less. Combined with SmartBus tech being used in 304 buses now in Edmonton, traffic signal priority and bus lanes on almost every newer arterial road and many older ones, and on the ones where there is only 4 lanes total, plus turn lanes and a sidewalk, I would either close it off to private cars, like in downtown, or use the outer lanes as cycle tracks and keep the other features of BRT except for the bus lanes, it leads to high reliability and confidence in the transit system.

Other details are needed to make this work, but removing even basic things that slow down buses could be removed beginning in 2016, like traffic light priority at each intersection, also designed to detect emergency vehicles and give them preemption. Bus stops could be raised, have off ticketing and all door boarding, be equipped with departure boards, more shelters, and more frequency. Add bus lanes over several years and many problems with the buses of today could be rectified fast.

Speed Limits

Speed is a critical part of how our roads work. Whether at 30 km/h or 140 km/h, roads can be designed to be safe at many different speed limits. But we often use the wrong limits for roads.

Residential areas really should be 30 km/h. It is proven that when you mix bicycles and motor vehicles together and the pedestrians you can expect on a residential road like this, you get way more casualties at 40 km/h+ than you would had you been driving at 30 km/h or less. It also lowers emissions, gives everyone more time to react, lessens the need for wider lanes, and greatly civilizes residential and even commerical areas. 20 mph zones in the UK and NYC have proven to very successful, millions of people there now live in them. Most people in the Netherlands live on 30 km/h limited residential roads. A number of them live on car free streets. But that is a topic for a future post.

Arterial roads in urban areas should go between 40 and 70 km/h. In general, 50 km/h is a good speed for arterial roadways. For some roads like 91 St in Edmonton at 23 Ave, 70 km/h is a good speed as the type of road makes it work better. Believe it or not, 91 was once intended to be part of a freeway towards downtown. It is very wide, has a wide ROW and wide lanes, and a wide median, for this reason. 70 km/h is a good speed for huge arterials like this. But we must be very careful with applying limits this high. Given the wrong conditions, we can end up with a terrible road. 50 should be the standard.

40 km/h is a good option for some areas like 104 Ave in Oliver, 101 St north of Downtown, 109 St and Whyte Ave in Garneau and Strathcona, and a few other areas. It also means that we don't need lanes as wide as a 60 or 70 limit would. This also includes the design speed. If the posted limit is 50 but the design speed is 60, you can expect most people to go 60, because there is nothing making you feel like that is the wrong speed to go. Calming like narrower lanes, wiggles at unsignalized crossings, roundabouts and speed tables designed to be taken at 50 km/h or less helps Dutch roads look like 50 km/h is a natural speed to follow.

Let's skip over some rural roads like how most township and range roads work and go right to the freeways and divided highway limits.

Freeways are high speed roads, no conflict points except at the ramps, which are usually spaced about 1.5-5 km apart. They have wide lanes, at least two per direction, usually have shoulders, and a median. It comes naturally that these types of roads have high speed limits. Some places like Ontario and Quebec have lower limits, 100 km/h to be exact, or as ridiculously low as the 90 km/h limit on freeways until 1995 in the US after the 1973 Oil Crisis, and as high as no limits, like in Germany most famously and Montana used to do that a while ago until the rule that "reasonable and prudent" was too vague. What could Alberta use for it's freeways? I suggest 130 km/h. Many European use this limit, the Netherlands, with the safest roads in the world, France, Italy, most of Central and Eastern Europe plus most of the Balkans, plus a large part of the Western US, South Dakota, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Colorado and Nevada, all use these limits for their freeways. Germany is much denser and half of it's autobahn system has no limit but an advisory limit of 130, which many people break, and people aren't dropping dead. They have a very low rate of casualties on their freeways. It is as safe and maybe even safer than the low speed limits we have. 110 is exceeded by almost everyone. 120 is what some petitions like this call for. We could go at least to 120, even better at 130. Not many people will go over that. If you see the sign in the bottom left, then 130 km/h is the max you can go unless a sign otherwise says. It can be reduced with variable speed limits, like the one to the bottom right, if needed due to collisions and congestion, or even construction.

It would be the highest in Canada, unless stop100ontario.ca gets their way.

Speed limits can be reformed in the province. Begin today Albertan and municipal governments.

Update 12:58 Oct 29

I forgot to mention about freeways that a limit should be designed for large, slow and heavy vehicles, so that they do not impede passing. If they can go at the same speed as you, then overtaking them is impossible without breaking the speed limit. I suggest a 100 km/h limit for trucks over 3.5 tonnes and a 110 km/h limit for RVs and cars and light trucks, also minivans, towing trailers that may or may not be RVs, plus buses would be subject to the 110 km/h limit. This can be changed with signs on the road, but I suggest these as the defaults. It also would only apply on freeways, indicated with the sign to the left.