Grosvenor treatment

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Gord McGonigal

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Oct 15, 2010, 5:11:11 PM10/15/10
to River Heights-Corydon-Osborne
Add me to the list of people that currently don't understand the
treatment on Grosvenor.

West of Cambridge, at the traffic circles every couple of blocks, the
bike lane ends and bikes must merge with cars before going through the
circle. The geometry further implies that cyclists must yield to
overtaking motorists (as it is clearly the bike lane that ends). I am
not sure how this is an improvement for me. I suppose it is nice I may
not have to stop at a 4-way stop, but the constant need to merge I
found to be quite annoying (even in light traffic). And for
inexperienced cyclists it seems downright dangerous if they have to
merge with cars every several blocks!

East of Cambridge it is not as bad, but there is still a problem. The
sharrows are not placed far enough away from the parked cars. It makes
no sense that the safest line for a bicycle should be along the edge
of the sharrow and not the middle.


Gord

David Wieser

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Oct 15, 2010, 5:13:44 PM10/15/10
to rh...@googlegroups.com
I agree with everything Gord said. I do like that there are the traffic calming circles instead of stop signs. They could just be designed better for cyclists.

David

Sent from my iPhone

On 2010-10-15, at 4:09 PM, Gord McGonigal <gord.mc...@gmail.com> wrote:

> Add me to the list of people that currently don't understand the
> treatment on Grosvenor.
>
> West of Cambridge, at the traffic circles every couple of blocks, the
> bike lane ends and bikes must merge with cars before going through the
> circle. The geometry further implies that cyclists must yield to
> overtaking motorists (as it is clearly the bike lane that ends). I am
> not sure how this is an improvement for me. I suppose it is nice I may
> not have to stop at a 4-way stop, but the constant need to merge I
> found to be quite annoying (even in light traffic). And for
> inexperienced cyclists it seems downright dangerous if they have to
> merge with cars every several blocks!
>

> East of Grosvenor it is not as bad, but I think there are still
> problems. The sharrows are not placed far enough away from the parked


> cars. It makes no sense that the safest line for a bicycle should be
> along the edge of the sharrow and not the middle.
>
>
> Gord
>

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Mark Cohoe

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Oct 15, 2010, 7:33:15 PM10/15/10
to River Heights-Corydon-Osborne
I agree with Gord on the issue of the placement of sharrows on
Grovesenor, but disagree about the design of the traffic calming
circles.

I measured the location of the sharrows for west bound traffic last
Sunday, and found that they were centered just 10ft (3m) from the
curb. Given that a typical car door will open to 9 1/2 feet, a
cyclist traveling in the center of the sharrow (which is the intuitive
and intended positioning of cyclists) would be cycling within the door
zone, which defeats the purpose of the sharrow. The lane widths along
this section of road are 2.4m (8ft) for parking, plus 4.3m (14ft) for
each of the travel lanes. So far, so good. The Transportation
Association of Canada recommends a minimum distance of 3.4m from curb
to the center of the sharrow marking when they are painted next to
parked cars. Clearly, that is not the case here. I sent an email to
Kevin Nixon and Ruth Marr pointing out this discrepency on Sunday. I
have not yet heard back. Presumably this can be fixed.

Regarding the traffic circles, Gord is right that the geometry will
force cyclists to merge into the travel lane prior to the traffic
circle, with bicycles and cars traveling single file through the
traffic circle. In the CROW manual I have, the recommended best
practice for bike lanes entering roundabouts (and presumably traffic
circles) is to drop the bike lane and merge cyclists into the travel
lane. Although this seems counter intuitive, it does make sense.
Anyone approaching a traffic circle must scan for vehicles already in
the traffic circle and give way to any vehicles that are present.
That means drivers will be focused on traffic from their left as they
enter the traffic circle. I think asking them to merge to the right
as they come up to a traffic circle would have led to drivers cutting
off cyclists. Similarly, I think that if the bike lane extended up to
the traffic circle, cyclists would have been tempted to ignore the
traffic circle and follow the straight line through without yielding
to traffic already in the traffic circle. The one complaint I may
have with the design is that the dashed line leading up to the traffic
circles does not begin early enough (although I have not measured
it). I would like to see the dashed line start 10m in front of the
traffic circles to give a reasonable amount of space to complete this
merge.

This need to merge in and out of the traffic lane is a bit of a catch
22. The traffic circles slow down traffic, which is good, and having
cyclists merge in and out heightens awareness of our presence. The
downside is that some cyclists might not be very comfortable doing
that. One area where the city definitely failed was in public
education over how to use the new traffic circles. We asked for and
received assurances there would be an educational component to the new
infrastructure, but obviously that never came through. I guess it
will be up to us to provide that education.

Mark


On Oct 15, 4:13 pm, David Wieser <davidwie...@gmail.com> wrote:
> I agree with everything Gord said. I do like that there are the traffic calming circles instead of stop signs. They could just be designed better for cyclists.
>
> David
>
> Sent from my iPhone
>
> On 2010-10-15, at 4:09 PM, Gord McGonigal <gord.mcgoni...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>
>
> > Add me to the list of people that currently don't understand the
> > treatment on Grosvenor.
>
> > West of Cambridge, at the traffic circles every couple of blocks, the
> > bike lane ends and bikes must merge with cars before going through the
> > circle. The geometry further implies that cyclists must yield to
> > overtaking motorists (as it is clearly the bike lane that ends).  I am
> > not sure how this is an improvement for me. I suppose it is nice I may
> > not have to stop at a 4-way stop, but the constant need to merge I
> > found to be quite annoying (even in light traffic).  And for
> > inexperienced cyclists it seems downright dangerous if they have to
> > merge with cars every several blocks!
>
> > East of Grosvenor it is not as bad, but I think there are still
> > problems.  The sharrows are not placed far enough away from the parked
> > cars. It makes no sense that the safest line for a bicycle should be
> > along the edge of the sharrow and not the middle.
>
> > Gord
>
> > --
> > You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "River Heights-Corydon-Osborne" group.
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>
> - Show quoted text -

Gord McGonigal

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Oct 17, 2010, 12:43:12 PM10/17/10
to River Heights-Corydon-Osborne
Hi Mark,

You said:
> In the CROW manual I have, the recommended best
> practice for bike lanes entering roundabouts (and presumably traffic
> circles) is to drop the bike lane and merge cyclists into the travel
> lane.

Note that on Grosvenor, the bike lanes are not dropped, but go right
up to the circle. Yes, the stripe does become dashed before the
circle, but it is plain that the bike lane still exists. I would like
to see the line completely eliminated 10m before the circle.


> Anyone approaching a traffic circle must scan for vehicles already in
> the traffic circle and give way to any vehicles that are present.
> That means drivers will be focused on traffic from their left as they
> enter the traffic circle.

Which is another problem I see with these circles. At 4-way stops,
and uncontrolled intersections, we have to give way to the right. But
here we have to give way to the left? No wonder people freeze when
they come upon them.


> The traffic circles slow down traffic, which is good, and having
> cyclists merge in and out heightens awareness of our presence.

I'm currently not convinced that having cyclists merge in and out
increases safety, even though it may heighten awareness.


> The
> downside is that some cyclists might not be very comfortable doing
> that.

I have no trouble negotiating merges with motor traffic, but I do find
it uncomfortable to have to be doing it constantly. We have gone from
a situation where the onus was on the motorist to negotiate around the
bicycles to one where the majority of the onus has been placed on the
bicycles to negotiate around the cars.


Gord
> > > For more options, visit this group athttp://groups.google.com/group/rhcoc?hl=en.-Hide quoted text -

Jeremy Hull

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Oct 17, 2010, 1:29:03 PM10/17/10
to rh...@googlegroups.com
There is a potential weakness in the bike lane approach to bicycle traffic, that by painting lines on the road we are saying, "bikes go here, cars go there and everyone is separated and safe."  Cyclists tend to buy into this, even though in real life they may need to go outside the painted bike lane at times, for various reasons, such as car doors opening, or the need to make a left turn.  So in real life cyclists still need to appreciate that they are riding in traffic, bike lane or no bike lane, and behave accordingly.  If they take this approach, the idea of merging with traffic in a traffic circle becomes normal rather than being the loss of what they see as protected space.

It sounds as if the people who planned and painted the bike lanes and sharrows didn't understand the realities of cycling.  I think the three improvements that have been suggested - signage telling cars and bikes to merge before the circles, wiping out the bike lanes as you approach the circles, and relocating the sharrows - are good ideas that should help.  I don't see the issue of yielding to traffic on the left as a problem - it's the same way we usually yield when turning right and entering a new street or stream of traffic. 

The idea of cyclists taking the middle of the lane, both when entering the circle and once they are in it, is a good one and is consistent with what is taught in the Can-Bike course about making turns.  Encouraging double-turns with cyclists and drivers side-by-side in a single lane is not a good idea.  If possible the signage for merging and yielding at traffic circles should somehow show the positioning of cars and bicycles in a single file, both in the middle of the lane, to demonstrate this.

Jeremy

Mark Cohoe

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Nov 1, 2010, 12:31:08 AM11/1/10
to River Heights-Corydon-Osborne
Hi Gord,

Sorry for the slow reply.
> <gord.mcgoni...@gmail.com>wrote:
>
>
>
> > Hi Mark,
>
> > You said:
> > > In the CROW manual I have, the recommended best
> > > practice for bike lanes entering roundabouts (and presumably traffic
> > > circles) is to drop the bike lane and merge cyclists into the travel
> > > lane.
>
> > Note that on Grosvenor, the bike lanes are not dropped, but go right
> > up to the circle. Yes, the stripe does become dashed before the
> > circle, but it is plain that the bike lane still exists.  I would like
> > to see the line completely eliminated 10m before the circle.

The TAC guidelines would suggest something similar to this. Heres
what they write:

No special bicycle facility is recommended within a single lane
roundabout. The solid white line of the bicycle lane should be dashed
for 30 m to 45 m (minimum 15 m), ending 30 m before the circulatory
roadway, and then tapered for 15 m to a point 15 m before the
circulatory roadway. This will provide cyclists with the opportunity
to merge into the motor vehicle lane. The taper is recommended to
encourage cyclists to merge fully into the lane before entering the
roundabout. Merging before entering the roundabout does create a
conflict point. However, this is a preferred conflict location to
those in the roundabout because the driving task in a roundabout is
more difficult (motorists are generally looking forward or to the
left, not for cyclists on their right) and there are more points of
conflict in a roundabout if a cyclist remains to the right.

A shared use lane marking should be placed in the centre of the
roadway both prior to entering the roundabout before the dashed
pavement marking is ended and after the exit, indicating to cyclists
where they should be positioned and to motorists of cyclist presence/
right to be in the lane.

The drawing that accompanies the above text includes signage
indicating an end to the bike lane, plus the single file sharrow
marking sign.

Going from memory, I belive the dashed lines start around the back
lane as you approach the traffic circle. That would put the start of
the dashed line at about 40m. The bulb out before the traffic circle
is definitely well below the 15m recommended. Perhaps cross hatching
could be used to delineate this section of roadway as a no go zone.
I'm not sure where the province stands on the use of single file
sharrows in roundabouts/traffic circles. They asked the city to
remove the single file sharrows that were put in on McDermot/Bannatyne
last year as they felt they did not comply with the HTA.

>
> > > Anyone approaching a traffic circle must scan for vehicles already in
> > > the traffic circle and give way to any vehicles that are present.
> > > That means drivers will be focused on traffic from their left as they
> > > enter the traffic circle.
>
> > Which is another problem I see with these circles.  At 4-way stops,
> > and uncontrolled intersections, we have to give way to the right.  But
> > here we have to give way to the left?  No wonder people freeze when
> > they come upon them.
>
> > > The traffic circles slow down traffic, which is good, and having
> > > cyclists merge in and out heightens awareness of our presence.
>
> > I'm currently not convinced that having cyclists merge in and out
> > increases safety, even though it may heighten awareness.
> > > The
> > > downside is that some cyclists might not be very comfortable doing
> > > that.
>
> > I have no trouble negotiating merges with motor traffic, but I do find
> > it uncomfortable to have to be doing it constantly.  We have gone from
> > a situation where the onus was on the motorist to negotiate around the
> > bicycles to one where the majority of the onus has been placed on the
> > bicycles to negotiate around the cars.

I would say that the onus is on cooperation. The one thing working in
everyone's favour is that this section of Grosvenor is residential and
deadends at Centenniel, so you are generally sharing the road with
your neighbours, who are quite close to their destination (or origin).

It might be worth printing out information sheets on how to cycle
through these and handing them out to cyclists over the course of a
couple of days.

Ultimately, I believe that the installation of these traffic circles
will act as a physical reminder to motorists that this is a
residential neighbourhood (in fact their neighbourhood), and that we
will see less speeding in the neighbourhood, more attention to
cyclists, and more attention to pedestrians. Time will tell, and I
could be wrong.

Mark
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