I've spent a lot of time lately thinking about the widths of bike facilities and how much width we need for a given type of bike facility. While design manuals give you values for the upper limits, lower limits, practical lower limits, absolute minimums, its not always so straight forward when faced with a constrained right-of-way. What is the user experience on facilities of different widths? Lately I've been out with a tape measure to better understand this.
In the last few months I've come across a number of transportation things that are worth sharing, so read on for some very cool fixes for missing links, growing popularity of dockless bike share in BC, old transportation infrastructure being utilized for recreation, bike racks, and some Richmond bike facilities.
During a brief trip to Saskatoon to attend the Transportation Association of Canada (TAC) Fall Technical Meetings, I managed to fit in a quick walkabout to see what the City of Saskatoon looks like. On a side note, the TAC project I requested to review the use of Share the Road signage has begun but is in the early stages. This volunteer project will hopefully recommend alternative signage and usage guidelines as per my older post. Back to the walkabout, carry on for some images from Saskatoon.
Today, the first rain in a while is falling, providing some much needed moisture to the ground, water to our reservoirs, and hopefully helping extinguish or control some of the wildfires burning across the Province of British Columbia. Every summer increasing levels of water use restrictions are put in place to preserve our water supply, and with climate change taking effect, it appears that is only going to get worse, in BC at least, Scotland might still be ok. Our roads are a finite resource just like our water supply. Is it time to start thinking about vehicle restrictions like we do water restrictions? The graphic above may be somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but maybe its time to start thinking along these lines...
"Every location is different and it's never as simple as copying-and-pasting their methods" is one of the first lines that struck a chord in The Dutch Blueprint for Urban Vitality, Building the Cycling City, a new book by Melissa and Chris Bruntlett. It’s a stark contrast from the sentiment of the book I finished prior to this one. Copenhagenize, the book by Mikael Colville-Anderson who runs a blog and company under the same name, very much advocates that everybody should just “copy/paste” the Copenhagen design.
There’s no doubting that the Copenhagen design works well, but in my experience, trying to fit such cycling infrastructure into constrained urban streets is often not possible, whether because of site constraints, funds, or political will and the risk of upsetting car drivers. The Copenhagen design may be the pinnacle and there’s no doubt it could be cited as such, but if it’s not feasible, whether for valid reasons or not depending on your perspective, other options have to be considered. Maybe the Dutch approach will be more flexible and applicable.
I've been collecting still images of bike facilities from places I've been for a few years now, but I figured it doesn't give you quite the same appreciation as actually riding them. So with that in mind, i'm experimenting with some video, starting with my ride from Lynn Valley in North Vancouver to Spanish Banks in Vancouver. The first bunch of videos are posted to my youtube page and embedded below.
Back in October last year, I sent an inquiry to the Transportation Association of Canada (TAC) to ask them to review the 'SHARE THE ROAD' sign. I am very pleased to say that this proposal was approved and a new volunteer project was established at the Spring Technical Meetings in April this year. The scope of the project is to review the potential addition of a lateral dimension on the sign as well as comprehension testing. Read on...
Six degrees of separation is the idea that all living things and everything else in the world are six or fewer steps away from each other. That has absolutely nothing to do with this but it makes for a good title! There are many ways to design an intersection to accommodate pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles. There are certainly more than six configurations of protected intersection, but those shown below, may constitute the most common types. What kind of facility would you feel safest riding through?
E-bikes are getting a lot of press these days, often negative due to the perceived laziness or "cheating" by their riders. If nothing else, the naysayers are keeping the meme generator websites busy. I've been somewhat in that camp in the past thinking technology should have a lesser role in cycling. But times are changing, and I keep seeing people on e-bikes all around North Vancouver. As a mode of transportation rather than recreation or sport, they provide a very good alternative to the single occupant vehicle for those not interested or not physically able to put in the effort required on a regular bike. I've never had the opportunity to try a proper one, and its an itch that's needed scratching for a while. This week that itch was scratched! Read on for a bit of a bike review and my thoughts on riding around Canmore...
Traffic Engineers often use Level of Service A to F to describe the amount of delay and invariably recommend wider roads. What might Level of Service be for cyclists?Maybe Quality of Service is a better measure. Unlike cars, congested facilities should almost be the objective for such facilities, to recreate the scenes we observe so often in the Netherlands or Denmark if we are successful. The graphic gives my take on what Quality of Service might look like and what cyclists often think of such facilities. Read on for close ups of the graphics...
Today I find myself responding to an RFP that will remove a 'road-diet' like cross-section, removing bike lanes, two travel lanes, and a median turn lane, replacing it with four travel lanes, all in the name of road capacity (bike facilities potentially provided off the roadway). I thought the generic part of my write-up would make a pretty useful blog post...
These days I try not to read Lawrence Solomon's articles on bikes. Its pretty much guaranteed to make obscure references and illogical conclusions. However, earlier this week I had a client forward an email from a concerned member of the public about a project we're working on that will improve one of the main streets through town. The improvements will help not just cyclists, but pedestrians, the disabled, it will formalize parking and provide facilities on both side of the road. The email contained a link to the Lawrence Solomon article about bike lanes suggesting the project is not needed.
Elon Musk has been getting a lot of flak recently for his comments about public transit, and rightfully so. On the surface, he seems to want to save the world and reduce our reliance on oil. Below the surface, is he simply a guy trying to sell cars? Regardless of his motives, A Tesla will never be as space efficient as a bus, and in a city environment, efficiency of road space is a top priority. Here's a quick comparison of a bus and a Tesla.
...and a walking city, and a transit city? The bike paths of Amsterdam and Copenhagen get a lot of praise for their role in making biking in the city so easy, and of course, that is entirely true. But do people bike because they want to? Do they bike because its the best thing ever? (Of course, it is the best thing ever!) Is owning a car so much less convenient than say in North America? So much less convenient that the bike becomes the defacto choice, or walking or transit for that matter.
They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. While that may not be the actual definition of insanity, it is quite applicable to the use of trip rates in traffic engineering. To rephrase... Approving the same type of development with the same amount of parking with the same type of road improvements, and expecting more people to walk, bike or take transit, might not be insane, but its certainly not smart!