Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Complete Streets. Part 3

The next part I am going to talk about is how the guides integrate transit and bicycle facilities. If you haven't seen part 2, here's the link.

This section proposes a few ideas about how to design a road to cater for cyclists and transit.

It has a table showing what to do. Lets see what it says:

At or over 20 buses per hour, you have use a dedicates bus lane plus a dedicated bike lane, or a mixed traffic lane (open to all types of vehicles). Under 20 buses per hour, you can have a dedicated shared bike/bus lane or a mixed traffic lane. At or above 60 km/h, there should be a dedicated bus lane, under it, there can be a dedicated bus lane, shared bus/bike lane or a mixed traffic lane.

All of these are terrible ideas. You have to have much lower speeds and much lower frequencies if buses and bikes could ever be in the same road space. It would be on access roads, at 30 km/h, and no more than 6 buses per hour, or one every 10 minutes. Anything above that and on some collector roads you can use bike lanes, but on everything else in urban areas, use a cycle track. You can look to London as an example of why bikes and buses don't mix. There are so many buses and a lot of bikes on some routes, and they have similar average speeds, but this is because cyclists don't stop as often but don't have a high top speed, with buses stopping frequently and having a higher average speed. In Utrecht this year, a 6 year old boy was killed while cycling and a bus hit him. It was a city wide tragedy. It's simple physics. A bus has a mass of 24 thousand kilograms, a bicycle has a mass of perhaps 100 kilograms. You'd never mix trucks and bikes like that would you?

This also does not prioritize buses well. A bus route deserves a bus lane at any more than 6 buses per hour peak frequency. The speed matters less, the volume does though. In fact, sustainable safety from the Netherlands shows that it is preferable to have buses in their own lanes because cars only have a mass of maybe 1.5 tonnes, only 1/16th the mass . In the city centre, IE Downtown, Strathcona, Garneau and the UofA, the speeds for buses could be 40 km/h, but because of the frequency, the buses deserve their own lanes. Whyte Ave has plenty of room for a cycle track, median busway, bidirectional and a pair of car lanes. Same with Jasper Ave and 109 St.

Next is how goods are transported in the city. Page 92 is particularly a problem.

It suggests that if cyclists have their own dedicated part of the street, then the travel space for general purpose traffic should have 3.5 metre lanes. This is as wide as Dutch motorway (freeway) lanes! It is extremely likely that speeding WILL occur here. Trucks are not 3.5 metres wide. They are less than 3 metres wide, usually less than 2.7. If they are traveling in more or less a straight line, they do not need so much extra space. They do need some more space at intersections, but then again, most trucks don't belong on most streets. Very few roads should be designed for semi trailers. Pretty much the freeways in the city, Manning Drive, Terwillegar Drive, 170 St between the Yellowhead and Whitemud, St Albert Trail between the Henday and Yellowhead, 75 St and Wayne Gretzky Drive, 82 St, and a couple others perhaps. Small un articulated trucks 10 metres long or smaller will serve businesses and home deliveries well. In Downtown something I found that would be useful is something that Utrecht already has, something like an electric road train that is about as wide as a man stretching out his arms left and right. Link here from Mark Wagenbuur: https://bicycledutch.wordpress.com/2012/03/28/because-we-dont-want-large-trucks-in-the-city-center/. It would be used in downtown, the UofA, pedestrianized centres and town centres. It makes it smaller, cleaner and efficient. Light commercial vehicles would transport most goods within Edmonton, and semis transport it out of Edmonton and into Edmonton. So would trains.

It suggests having truck aprons, but they are using it incorrectly. Massachusetts has it right with their separated bike lane design with the protected intersection design. Here is the picture:

Given separate signal staging or if you can't do that, something like a 10 second head start on the green light, it would minimize the risk of a right hook, particularly dangerous to a cyclist because they often have no way to predict this and stop in time. The protected intersectios design gives you the visibility to see if this is happening, makes the truck go at a slow speed, so the truck has enough time to check and cyclists time to stop if the truck will not yield. 

We often believe that big vehicles and bicycles mix. They will not. Move on from this crazy idea Edmonton! Next post here: https://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=6756907006054199604#editor/target=post;postID=7194974292925227000;onPublishedMenu=allposts;onClosedMenu=allposts;postNum=0;src=postname

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