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Thread: Contra-flow segregated bike lanes

  1. #1

    Default Contra-flow segregated bike lanes


    Richmond Street Today


    Richmond Street Future

    I made these crappy photoshops with all images sourced from Google Street View.

    Why contra-flow is the best answer? Cyclists and car drivers are always within view of each other. Contra-flow presents the least opportunity for conflicts. No right-hook problems, for example.

    We need to get this kind of thing installed ASAP, even just as a temporary pilot project.

    Any thoughts?


  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by kettal View Post
    [Why contra-flow is the best answer? Cyclists and car drivers are always within view of each other. Contra-flow presents the least opportunity for conflicts. No right-hook problems, for example.

    We need to get this kind of thing installed ASAP, even just as a temporary pilot project. Any thoughts?
    They exist elsewhere, e,g. Montreal. From my experience there they are GREAT if they are PROPERLY segregated from car traffic. A white line is NOT enough!

  3. #3

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    I should mention that grey line is supposed to be a raised median.

  4. #4

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    There are some non-segregated contra-flow bike lanes in this city. Which are nice (but not as nice as segregated).

    I can think of Montrose, Logan, Knox Ave, and Strathcona Ave.

    They're all very short and on side streets.

  5. #5
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    Shouldn't the bike path allow for travel in both directions? Like in Montreal? A segregate lane just for one direction as illustrated above seems pointless.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by doady View Post
    Shouldn't the bike path allow for travel in both directions? Like in Montreal? A segregate lane just for one direction as illustrated above seems pointless.
    It should be mentioned that this lane on Richmond Street will be complimented with a bike path in the opposite direction along Adelaide Street.

    A two-way path on the side of a street is very dangerous.

    If both the bike and the car are travelling in the same direction, the cyclist will usually find himself in the blind-spot of a turning car. This is why so many accidents happen when a cyclist is on the right side of a right turning car.

    The segregated lanes in Montreal and New York which are not contra-flow may actually be more dangerous than riding in mixed traffic.
    Last edited by kettal; 2009-Oct-12 at 22:29.

  7. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by kettal View Post
    A two-way path on the side of a street is very dangerous.

    If both the bike and the car are travelling in the same direction, the cyclist will usually find himself in the blind-spot of a turning car. This is why so many accidents happen when a cyclist is on the right side of a right turning car.

    The segregated lanes in Montreal and New York which are not contra-flow may actually be more dangerous than riding in mixed traffic.
    I actually really like those two-way bike lanes on the side of a street, provided they are done right (may be a lot to ask from Toronto). I've biked the Boulevard de Maisonneuve in Montreal, and it's great.

    I agree that the Toronto applications of it (Eglinton, w of Jane, and the new Martin Goodman Trail beside Ontario Place) are dangerous at the intersections though. I find the problem is the car light signals and signage.

    In Montreal, they don't allow right turns on red, protecting cyclists from cars turning onto the Maisonneauve. Also, any left turns crossing a bike path are fully protected (cars can only do the left turn when they get the signal, and cyclists will have a red). As well, on other bike paths, they've put those metal pole things in the form of a circle where the bike path meets an intersection. Bikes can glide through them easily, and when they're stopped at the light, turning cars have to go around the poles, making a cool little bike box that's not just a painted line.

    It would be great if Toronto adopted this type of bike infrastructure, so long as they do the signaling right. I'm just waiting to hear about accidents happening on the new portion of the Martin Goodman Trail. All they have to do is protect the Lakeshore Blvd left turns, and put "no right turn on red" signs for vehicles exiting Ontario Place at those 3 intersections.

    Fred S

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by brainfreezed View Post
    In Montreal, they don't allow right turns on red, protecting cyclists from cars turning onto the Maisonneauve. Also, any left turns crossing a bike path are fully protected (cars can only do the left turn when they get the signal, and cyclists will have a red).
    Actually, it's impossible to turn right across the bike path in the first place due to the side of the street that the de Maisonneuve bike path is on, and because the street is one way, so the fact that right turns on red are banned is irrelevant.

    Also, left turns across this path aren't always protected. All traffic light signals on the street start off with a straight green arrow, and then switch to a normal green light after 5-10 seconds, during which time cars can turn left while cyclists are still moving. I've almost been hit numerous times on this path by drivers who don't both checking their mirrors and blind spots, and even by drivers that just ignore the straight green arrow and turn left anyways. From a safety point of view, a contra-flow only segregated bike lane would be far safer.

  9. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Molybdenum View Post
    Actually, it's impossible to turn right across the bike path in the first place due to the side of the street that the de Maisonneuve bike path is on, and because the street is one way, so the fact that right turns on red are banned is irrelevant.
    You're right, should of looked at my own photo...

    Though i still think if the signaling and turn restrictions are done right, this would be a better system on major corridors.

    Ultimately it would be nice to have separated bike infrastructure in either form instead of the painted lines.
    Fred S

  10. #10

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    I'm definately a proponent of increasing cycling and improving bike infrastructure around the city. As a driver, cyclist and downtown resident however I'm interested in bike advocacy groups really pushing for lane separations. I'm really not certain they are necessary or would provide an enhancement in safety or better sharing of the transportation network, particularly given the specific road network we have in the Old City of Toronto. The way that streets are set-up in the city there are any number of safe North-South routes to take on side-streets in mixed traffic. The only real problem we have is West-East. But I still don't see how a route like Harbord or College would be improved by having a curb separation. Frankly, while suburban arterial remain dodgy, I do not find biking (according to the rules of the road!) in mixed traffic in the old city of Toronto either dangerous or intimidating.

  11. #11
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    I suggest that you discuss your idea with Councillor Adam Vaughan very soon, as his plans are to turn Richmond and Adelaide back into 2-way streets through his Ward. I like your idea better than his.
    Last edited by Juan_Lennon416; 2009-Oct-15 at 17:44.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Juan_Lennon416 View Post
    I suggest that you discuss your idea with Councillor Adam Vaughan very soon, as his plans are to turn Richmond and Adelaide back into 2-way streets through his Ward. I like your idea better than his.
    The City Planners were told to look at this idea and report back; I suggest you contact the Manager Al Rezoski at 416-392-1791.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by TrickyRicky View Post
    I'm definately a proponent of increasing cycling and improving bike infrastructure around the city. As a driver, cyclist and downtown resident however I'm interested in bike advocacy groups really pushing for lane separations. I'm really not certain they are necessary or would provide an enhancement in safety or better sharing of the transportation network, particularly given the specific road network we have in the Old City of Toronto. The way that streets are set-up in the city there are any number of safe North-South routes to take on side-streets in mixed traffic. The only real problem we have is West-East. But I still don't see how a route like Harbord or College would be improved by having a curb separation. Frankly, while suburban arterial remain dodgy, I do not find biking (according to the rules of the road!) in mixed traffic in the old city of Toronto either dangerous or intimidating.
    What is your opinion on contra-flow segregated lanes as in the above rendering?
    Last edited by kettal; 2009-Oct-15 at 20:52.

  14. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by TrickyRicky View Post
    Frankly, while suburban arterial remain dodgy, I do not find biking (according to the rules of the road!) in mixed traffic in the old city of Toronto either dangerous or intimidating.
    I don't find it difficult either, but that's probably because there is a wide berth of about a meter and a half between parked cars and the lane of traffic that acts like a de facto bike lane. Of course, this presents a few problems:

    1. during rush hour, these on-street parking lanes are removed to add an additional car lane, so it's sort of a temporary set up.

    2. you have to be really vigilant about getting "doored". Admittedly, this is also a problem on streets with bike lanes where the on-street parking is to the right. Perhaps putting bike lanes to the right of parked cars, and separating the two with a curb would help.

    3. it works because there isn't a huge mass of bicyclists at the present time. If there were, biking in that dead zone between parked cars and the traffic would be chaotic because bicyclists would be continuously squeezing out into the traffic lane, and drivers attempting to parallel park would block traffic behind them while they wait for cyclists to past.

  15. #15

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    kettal,

    I'm not a fan of one-ways as I've indicated in previous threads. So my preference would actually be a two-way Richmond with regular mixed-traffic. Your contra-flow concept is fine in theory, however personally as a cyclist I prefer either regular mixed traffic or a standard bike lane, no curb separation, going with traffic. It's simpler and more flexible for everyone. I believe the culture of the road-ways should be that it is a shared space. The culture should develop where drivers and cyclists should expect each other at all times and behave accordingly.

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