Saturday, 31 October 2015

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. 

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