I've been looking at intersection design a lot lately between Collector Streets and Local Streets. Local streets should prioritise low speed and safety so why don't we adopt designs that support these priorities?
Yesterday we decided to go for a ride to a new(ish) pizza place on Hastings in Burnaby. Sopro Sotto if you're interested, great pizza! But this is a tale of comfort (or rather discomfort), level of stress, and and unfortunately coming home to the news a that someone riding their bike had been killed by an errant driver. Could this have been prevented, could safer infrastructure have saved a life?
This is my first blog post in many months, and sorry, but it's another roundup of conference happenings. But it's worth a read as there were many useful lessons and perspectives at the BC Active Transportation Summit arranged by the BC Cycling Coalition. Perhaps somewhat surprisingly for an event arranged by a cycling organisation, this was much more about inclusivity for all modes and abilities, not just cycling. The sessions provided some great lessons that can be applied whether you're a designer, advocate, or simply interested in accessibility. I have too many notes to share in full here, so i've tired to summarise some key takeaways from each session I attended. Hopefully I don't misquote anyone too much when interpreting my scribbles. I've also broken up the text with some photos from New Westminsters recent waterfront upgrades which I visited for the first time while attending.
A few weeks ago I was at the Winter Cycling Congress in Calgary. This was the 7th Annual event hosted by the Winter Cycling Federation. I came away with about 40 pages of notes from the event and a fantastic lineup of speakers. Rather than transcribe all of that, i've tried to note the main takeaways from each presentation I attended. These are interspersed with some photos from riding around Calgary and Canmore in conditions truly appropriate for the conference, typically around -20 with an extra -10 added for windchill. Hopefully I don't do anyone a disservice by misquoting you...
A few of us went for a walkabout along 10th Avenue in Vancouver to see how the City accommodated everything within the constrained, but also very typical 20m right-of-way. As shown above, people were mostly staying on the sidewalk which is encouraging. Read on for some more quick observations.
Over the holidays I moved from North Vancouver to the UniverCity neighbourhood on Burnaby Mountain. I lived here previously about five years ago, and back then, I just sucked up the large climb up the mountain when I'd bike back from work. Fast forward five years and i'm back, and ebikes are becoming increasingly popular. It would seem crazy not to take advantage of them. So how much easier is it? How much quicker is it? read on...
Shared lanes with painted Sharrow symbols are not a bike facility. They’re an admission that this is a good route for bikes, but a proper safe bike facility is missing. They do not provide safe space to ride a bike, nor do they encourage anybody to ride a bike. But there's another problem, even a wide shared lane isn't really all that good. Is it time to scrap the wide shared lane entirely?
Quite a lot as it turns out. Does your street have just four travel lanes and sidewalks? A design pulled from the golden era of the automobile? If it does it's likely around 20 metres, a pretty common right-of-way width for streets. How a 20 metre wide street can look and function can be very differently depending on your priorities. Read on for many different examples and some thoughts on the pros and cons of each.
Last time I was in Edmonton, there wasn't much positive to say about the street network. Fast forward a few years and theres a grid of protected bike lanes, LRT lines under construction, and interesting streets intended to blur the lines between streets for vehicles and streets for pedestrians.
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.