You wait all this time for urban road design guidelines and two come along at the same time. The Global Street Design Guide was just released online for free (see previous post), and now the 18 year old TAC Geometric Design Guide for Canadian Roads is being updated (unfortunately its not free). The TAC Guide while being a "guide" is often treated as the "bible" of road design in Canada, with practitioners fearful of straying from it for fear of designing something not to standard. Many of the details in the current 1999 version are considered out of date or just missing, particularly for urban roads and active transportation. Other guides such as the NACTO guidelines are frequently considered more relevant and practical but they're not TAC. Therefore, its great to see the big changes to the TAC Guide focusing on urban road design. There has been a huge shift in the design of urban roads in the past 10 years, never mind the past 18, thus these changes will be welcomed by many who are trying to address urban transportation challenges. Watch the video providing a high level overview of the changes here. But to sum up, it's acceptable to use narrower lane widths than may have been previously preferred, and on roads with a speed of 50 km/h the recommended bicycle facilities are protected lanes or separate paths. Other finer details such as the inappropriateness of clear zones in urban areas and targets speeds rather than design speeds are discussed, and a process for design exceptions is also included and should allow greater freedom with appropriate supporting evidence.
Its too hilly to cycle here is a common reason provided for not cycling in hilly locations. North Vancouver in my case, is a good example where hills can be problematic to encouraging more people to cycle. But could we use our hills to our advantage? The Grouse Grind is often referred to as mother nature's stair master and attracts a huge following, could our hilly streets become something similar? Can we challenge drivers to get out and cycle them? Encourage people to use them as a way to improve their health? Could the be an opportunity and asset rather than a barrier? Would such road markings suggest the road is an amenity for cyclists rather than a space for cars? Is this just wishful thinking? Is this something only a regular cyclist would think is a good thing?
Almost every community planning document stresses the need to achieve a mode-shift away from the private automobile towards a more sustainable and equitable transportation network. That's easy if you're starting from scratch, but in established locations less so. With endless money, and no regard for neighbouring residents, its also easy, but how do we go about de-prioritizing the car, with little money, without changing the road footprint. Here are two concepts close to my home along with some notes...
Watching a design documentary on Netflix, it got me thinking what could we redesign in the transportation world? Biking is the hot topic on everyone's lips these days, and while the protected bike lane is the ultimate solution, it takes a lot to implement. There are hundreds, if not thousands, or even millions of kilometers of regular bike lanes out there, so I got to thinking if there is something we can do to improve the humble bike lane without changing anything else. Something that could be done quickly and easily with little impact to anyone else. What do you think? Any merit in these ideas? Would you feel safer? Anyone out there feel like a trial project?
I've been aware of Jeff since I first read his book Walkable City a couple of years ago. You can read my overview of that here. This TED talk was recorded a couple of years ago but was just released online today. I highly recommend you watch it.
This is a great video by City of Ottawa on zoning and parking requirements, parking is killing our cities, lets reduce it!
We never add capacity to our roads on the basis that traffic will continue to grow at historic growth rates #alternativefact
Over the holidays, we drove from Vancouver, over the Coquihalla Highway (Highway 5), for a ski trip to Big White, just east of Kelowna. The summit of the Coquihalla is renowned for its steep grades on approach to the summit, the great bear snowshed that protects a section of the road from avalanches, chain up areas, high snowfall, dangerous driving conditions, and many collisions as a result of all of that. The BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure recently installed variable speed limit signs along part of the route. The goal was to "improve driver safety during unfavourable weather conditions and to reduce serious crashes in areas where weather patterns are prone to change quickly, making driving conditions dangerous". Here are my thoughts on it after driving through in less than ideal conditions.
This post is nothing more than excuse to post a picture of a bike with xmas lights on it that I found walking around my neighbourhood, but... If you find yourself bored of xmas movies, tired of eating and drinking, you've heard the same stories from your relatives a million times before, and you didn't get that new bike you were hoping for, perhaps there are a few articles below that may fill your void... Happy Holidays!
Today, the long awaited Evergreen Line goes live (the light yellow section in the above map) providing grade separated rail based rapid transit service from Coquitlam Centre to the Lougheed area of Burnaby and beyond on the existing network! The new line will provide a high quality frequent rapid transit service from Coquitlam and Port Moody town centres to other centres in Burnaby, Surrey, Vancouver and Richmond. Read on for a comparison with other modes and some benefits...
"I have to say a lot of people have been asking this question. No, really. A lot of people come up to me, and they ask me. They say, 'what’s a protected bike lane'? And I tell them, look, we know what a protected bike lane is. We've had almost eight years, eighty years even, of the worst kind of bike lanes you can imagine. Oh, my God, I can't believe it. The bike facilities you’re using now are just terrible. It's just terrible. Look, if you want to know what good bike infrastructure is, do you want to know what good bike infrastructure is? I'll tell you. First of all, the bikes, by the way, I love bikes. It's probably my favorite mode of transportation, no it is my favorite mode of transportation, except for my private plane, did I tell you I had a private plane? You know what, it's probably more a mode of transportation for poor people. If I'm being honest, I mean, if I'm being honest. I like poor people. As long as they don’t hold me up when I’m trying to make a right turn, it’s those people I don’t like. Though, I probably shouldn't say that. Cyclists are nice people too, but they’re like, give me protected bike lanes, on and on, like that. You know what I mean? I don't know. I mean, you know. So, we have all these cyclists, and we can let them share our roads or we can build separate space for them. You know what we’ll do? We’ll make them pay for the bike lanes. Did you know that? We can make them pay! They pay taxes already, but we can make them pay more, they don't tell you that, and I'll tell you, no one is better at making people pay for things. You wouldn't believe it. So, we're gonna make the best protected bike lanes in the world."
A few weeks back I wrote about the comments posted online regarding the planned downtown bike lane network in the City of Edmonton. In the last week or two, the construction got underway on the first protected bike lanes in my own neighbourhood, Lynn Valley in the District of North Vancouver, BC, Canada. The image above shows the original condition, albeit they central median for the vehicle left turn lanes have already been removed. The usual comments ensued...
Spot the Pedestrian... As the dark nights are well and truly with us, pedestrian safety becomes a hotter topic than usual. Messages from organisations such as ICBC and the RCMP have been warning pedestrians to be careful crossing the road, which subsequently face criticism calling for the messages to target drivers rather than pedestrians or for our streets to be better designed. Read on for some thoughts on that...