News   Aug 17, 2022
 3.1K     6 
News   Aug 17, 2022
 3.2K     4 
News   Aug 17, 2022
 581     0 

Cycling infrastructure (Separated bike lanes headed downtown)

MisterF

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 24, 2007
Messages
3,519
Reaction score
2,840
1651167330680-png.396418


Don't like. :mad:

I we have to, then I would raise the bicycle lane (green boxes) where motorists would make the right turn, forcing the motorist to slow down. If the motor vehicles don't slow down, they get a jolt from the raised crossing, so they don't do that again.
Bikes lanes aren't support to cross live traffic lanes like that, period. It's appalling we're still designing crap like this.
Don't forget to provide input to the City. They can sometimes be convinced to improve bad design if they get enough public feedback. For example the Port Union bike lanes went from paint to physically separated after public feedback. Painted bike lanes aren't good enough on a street with a 50 km/h speed limit like Martin Grove.

There is no perfect answer, if you keep the bikes in the right lane then vehicles turning right will cut them off. I actually prefer the way it's handled above, as long as there is lots of green paint, poles etc etc. In the rendering above I would keep painting a bit further east..
Keeping cyclists on the right is safer if the intersection is designed properly, ie. where turning drivers encounter cyclists at a right angle. Protected intersections are best. A forced merge at an intersection is always a bad idea and guaranteed to turn off people who are "interested but concerned" about cycling, which is the majority. Which of course defeats the purpose of this project.
 
Last edited:

Ward8

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Sep 6, 2020
Messages
186
Reaction score
556
There is no perfect answer, if you keep the bikes in the right lane then vehicles turning right will cut them off. I actually prefer the way it's handled above, as long as there is lots of green paint, poles etc etc. In the rendering above I would keep painting a bit further east..
Yeah, I hate these too. You're open to live traffic on both sides. At least when the lane stays to the right there is only one conflict to worry about. It also makes the conflict happen at a lower speed area for the car. The design above puts the cyclist in a position where a driver could accelerate through them trying to make the light. The bridge part is great.
 

afransen

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 22, 2007
Messages
5,607
Reaction score
4,996
Some significant upgrades to the Bloor/St George intersection, part of the general Bloor St Reconstruction between Spadina/Avenue.


View attachment 396457
Awesome. Basically standard Dutch protected intersection. One improvement would be to move the car signals to the near side of the intersection to dissuade drivers from creeping into the crosswalk.
 

Northern Light

Superstar
Member Bio
Joined
May 20, 2007
Messages
20,397
Reaction score
48,588
Location
Toronto/EY
Perhaps people who know this area well could comment.

The issue raised above w/the bike lane crossing traffic is one of a right-hand turn lane at what I take it is Rathburn.

Is the traffic here really such as issue a dedicated right hand turn lane is required at that intersection?

MG is a single vehicle lane SB, then splits into 3 vehicle lanes at the intersection. That tends to strike me as excessive, but perhaps its merited, I don't know.

Still, removing that lane would seem to solve that problem. It also might allow for landscaped boulevard between a cycle track and the road, in one of the two travel directions.
 

imerk

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Feb 10, 2013
Messages
109
Reaction score
287
Perhaps people who know this area well could comment.

The issue raised above w/the bike lane crossing traffic is one of a right-hand turn lane at what I take it is Rathburn.

Is the traffic here really such as issue a dedicated right hand turn lane is required at that intersection?

MG is a single vehicle lane SB, then splits into 3 vehicle lanes at the intersection. That tends to strike me as excessive, but perhaps its merited, I don't know.

Still, removing that lane would seem to solve that problem. It also might allow for landscaped boulevard between a cycle track and the road, in one of the two travel directions.
Removing the right turn lane still wouldn't eliminate the conflict between vehicles turning right and cyclists continuing through. In fact, it would probably create more pressure for vehicles to make risky and high-speed right turns, as they try not to impede traffic in the shared through-right lane. That said, I'm definitely not a fan of the proposed design, right turning vehicles should give way to cyclists the same way they do for crossing pedestrians..
 

afransen

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 22, 2007
Messages
5,607
Reaction score
4,996
Right turns lanes are fine if done with protected intersection design (where cyclists/peds stop well ahead of stopped cars in their field of view) and protected turn signals. So bikes stop on the right turn phase.
 

W. K. Lis

Superstar
Member Bio
Joined
Dec 24, 2007
Messages
21,998
Reaction score
12,138
Location
Toronto, ON, CAN, Terra, Sol, Milky Way
Awesome. Basically standard Dutch protected intersection. One improvement would be to move the car signals to the near side of the intersection to dissuade drivers from creeping into the crosswalk.
Article on...

Near Side Signals: Thinking Outside the Pedestrian Box

See link.

How often do you think about stoplights? Not just to acknowledge that the light is green or red or how many times the “Don’t Walk” hand on the pedestrian crosswalk counter has flashed so you know how long you have to cross, but the design and placement of that signal. (The red hand flashes 17 times at the freeway exit intersection on the Lowry Hill Greenway on Lyndale Avenue, for reference.) I will grant, the readership of this fine blog is more likely to have thought about this than most.

I have had a growing irritation with placement of signals over the past few years, particularly after my most recent trip to visit a former host family in Austria, where I lived off and on for almost three years. Like many others who have commented on differences between European and American street design, I was struck by how much safer I feel as a pedestrian there. A part of that was because the crosswalk was significantly less blocked than the average U.S. intersection. That could relate to cultural norms, more driving training (getting a license in Austria is both time consuming and expensive) or a stronger restriction on right turns on red (generally not allowed anywhere), but another aspect was simply where signals are placed at intersections. Most often, they are on the near side of the intersection. If there is a signal in the middle or on the far side of the intersection, it is supplemental, not primary.

What does that mean for user safety? Vehicles see the light sooner before reaching the intersection, which makes it less likely that cars run red lights. Importantly, though, vehicles need to stop farther back to see the signal, meaning that the crosswalk is kept clear for pedestrian use. In Austria and Switzerland, a stop bar serves as an extra indicator of where cars should stay, but the signal placement itself is doing most of the work. This intentional design choice makes it safer for multiple road users to interact in the same space. Pedestrians have less fear of cars inching forward and encroaching on the crosswalk, and cars are less likely to run red lights because they can see the signal sooner. Keeping cars farther back also allows for a tighter turning radius for a vehicle coming from a perpendicular road, allowing intersections to be smaller, use fewer materials and have shorter crossing distances for pedestrians....
Picture2.png

15685188-2619-4f3b-a370-bbc74f6069ec-767x1024.jpg
 

Towered

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 24, 2007
Messages
7,469
Reaction score
7,370
Perhaps people who know this area well could comment.

The issue raised above w/the bike lane crossing traffic is one of a right-hand turn lane at what I take it is Rathburn.

Is the traffic here really such as issue a dedicated right hand turn lane is required at that intersection?
No. I grew up in the area and still frequently travel through it. I've never seen heavy traffic on either road at this intersection.
 
Member Bio
Joined
May 1, 2020
Messages
66
Reaction score
102
Right turns lanes are fine if done with protected intersection design (where cyclists/peds stop well ahead of stopped cars in their field of view) and protected turn signals. So bikes stop on the right turn phase.
I have written about this before, but spending a lot of time on the Isle of Montreal, I have become a big fan of the 'No right hand turn on a Red' rule, and the differing sequencing of lights at intersections. In my view, this has a great effect on calming vehicular traffic and controlling the way pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles interact at the intersection - and safer for all. Yes, it is a bit slower for cars to get around, and as someone who commutes and drives a lot, so be it. This system is far friendlier and safer then what we presently have in the GTA.
 

sche

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 5, 2019
Messages
268
Reaction score
836
Perhaps people who know this area well could comment.

The issue raised above w/the bike lane crossing traffic is one of a right-hand turn lane at what I take it is Rathburn.

Is the traffic here really such as issue a dedicated right hand turn lane is required at that intersection?

MG is a single vehicle lane SB, then splits into 3 vehicle lanes at the intersection. That tends to strike me as excessive, but perhaps its merited, I don't know.

Still, removing that lane would seem to solve that problem. It also might allow for landscaped boulevard between a cycle track and the road, in one of the two travel directions.
If done properly, dedicated right turn lanes (and dedicated left turn lanes) can be a good thing for pedestrians and cyclists. Allows for dedicated turn signals, which allows fully protected turn phases which can completely eliminate conflicting traffic movements, so there are no turning cars at all when bicycle/pedestrian lights are green. For this reason, you see one lane splitting into 3 (right turn, straight, left turn) on almost every Dutch two-lane arterial or major collector road (basically, whenever you can expect a non-negligible number of each traffic movement).

It's not unprecedented in Toronto, @reaperexpress made a really good video 10 years ago about protected turn phases at Eglinton and Allen:

Certainly getting rid of the right turn lane would afford more space for the cycle track and buffer space, but the same right turning conflict still exists, only there would be no way of eliminating it by installing an extra right turn signal.

(that said, I doubt Toronto would start widespread implementation of such protected signal phases anytime soon, we still have just started figuring out how to do the hard infrastructure properly, let alone these 'invisible' measures)

EDIT: Actually, looks like the project at Bloor/St George has a westbound to northbound right turn lane for exactly this:
1651436833579.png
 
Last edited:

sche

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 5, 2019
Messages
268
Reaction score
836
Some significant upgrades to the Bloor/St George intersection, part of the general Bloor St Reconstruction between Spadina/Avenue.


View attachment 396457

Really exciting!

Minor nitpick time:

Near side bicycle signals are great to see, and the little mini light on the pole (for satisfying redundant light requirements I assume) is also nice to see
The pole and the big overhanging main light look kind of comically large though...
1651438560173.png


Compare it to a Dutch one. They also use the big light + mini light setup, but it's just so much better looking.
1651438261520.png



And the other main nitpick, the pedestrian crosswalk treatement:
Normally at a Dutch intersection the area between the roadway and cycle path at the crosswalk is paved and treated like part of the sidewalk, like a refuge island, making it clear to pedestrians that they can cross the cycle path and wait to cross the street between the cycle path and roadway, as seen in the picture. They also place the crossing button there. This makes the pedestrian crossing a bit shorter and allows for shorter signal cycles. However, on the Toronto design, even when there is clearly enough space for a nice and wide refuge island, this area treated as part of the crossing.
1651438714010.png
1651437202605.png


The Dutch even do this when there is less than a meter of space. Not sure if this a good idea if there are high pedestrian volumes (since this island can maybe accomodate 3 people before people start blocking the cycle path), but for moderate pedestrian volumes, I imagine it's probably fine if the cycle path gets partially blocked once in a while, as long as the cycle path is appropriately wide (2m).
1651439437915.png



And of course, I will continue to bemoan the lack of coloured asphalt.
 

Attachments

  • 1651437703998.png
    1651437703998.png
    1.3 MB · Views: 27

reaperexpress

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Nov 20, 2009
Messages
2,525
Reaction score
3,740
Location
the original Holland Marsh
Near side bicycle signals are great to see, and the little mini light on the pole (for satisfying redundant light requirements I assume) is also nice to see
The pole and the big overhanging main light look kind of comically large though...
View attachment 397138
The 2016 Highway Traffic Act admendment reduced the redundant light requirements for Bicycle Signals. The only requirement now is that at least one signal head be on the far side of the intersection, whereas other types of signal require at least two. Any near-side signals are optional.
3.JPG

Personally I would have just put a single full-size head on the far side as the primary signal head, and the mini-light on the near side as an auxilliary signal head. Note that the Netherlands exclusively uses near-side signals, so there the full-sized bicycle head above the mini light is the only full-sized signal head at all.

During that same HTA amendment, they officially mandated the use of bicycle-shaped lenses to designate Bicycle Signals, making the "BICYCLE SIGNAL" sign obsolete.
4.JPG

The City did start installing bicycle-shaped lenses fairly soon after that amendment, but has continued to install redundant BICYCLE SIGNAL signs nearly everywhere, even when bicycles are the only vehicles facing the signal in the first place.

Shaw Street northbound at College, from Google Maps:
5.JPG


I think the redundant signage and excessive number of signal heads are due to a bizarre form of paranoia among certain City staff.

And the other main nitpick, the pedestrian crosswalk treatement:
Normally at a Dutch intersection the area between the roadway and cycle path at the crosswalk is paved and treated like part of the sidewalk, like a refuge island, making it clear to pedestrians that they can cross the cycle path and wait to cross the street between the cycle path and roadway, as seen in the picture. They also place the crossing button there. This makes the pedestrian crossing a bit shorter and allows for shorter signal cycles. However, on the Toronto design, even when there is clearly enough space for a nice and wide refuge island, this area treated as part of the crossing.
View attachment 397140View attachment 397131

The Dutch even do this when there is less than a meter of space. Not sure if this a good idea if there are high pedestrian volumes (since this island can maybe accomodate 3 people before people start blocking the cycle path), but for moderate pedestrian volumes, I imagine it's probably fine if the cycle path gets partially blocked once in a while, as long as the cycle path is appropriately wide (2m).
View attachment 397144
This is not just a nitpick. This is a major problem. The longer the signalised portion of the crosswalk, the longer the Flashing Don't Walk. And the longer the FDW, the less chance you have to introduce protected turning phases without seriously messing up the efficiency of the intersection (including for pedestrians). In the Netherlands they go to great extents to keep pedestrian clearance times as short as possible, since protected turning phases are a key part of the safety of their traffic signals.

On top of having a separate unsignalised crossing for pedestrians across the bicycle path, they also divide the signalised crossing itself up into multiple crossings, to help the signals be more flexible.
The order of right-turn and bicycle/pedestrian phases can be changed in real time to better acommodate the waiting peds/bikes/cars. Pedestrians get a green wave across the intersection, not necessarily a simultaneous green. So after the pedestrians reach the median island, there could be a right turn phase while they cross the second half of the roadway.

Toronto is going to the opposite extreme, making signalised crossings as long as possible, and thereby making signals as inflexible as possible. This will make fully-protected signals extremely nonresponsive, and thereby fiercely hated by everyone at the intersection (since they make them sit at red lights for no visible reason). I don't need to explain why this will make it difficult to roll out fully-protected signals on a widespread basis.

Even within Ontario, Toronto is an outlier in this respect. Ottawa's brand new protected intersection guidelines recommend keeping signalised pedestrian crossings as small as possible, just like the Netherlands.
1.JPG


The reason Toronto is implementing such a grossly inefficient design is that they received pressure from advocacy groups for blind and visually impaired pedestrians. They argue that it is difficult for blind people to cross bicycle paths - even when the pedestrians have the right of way (as in Ottawa) and thus technically don't need to look for bikes at all. This is of course a genuine design challenge, but I believe there are other less-intrusive options to mitigate this conflict, such as raising up the bicycle path to sidewalk level, which physically slows down cyclists at the conflict point, and using paving materials which subconsiously emphasize that crossing pedestrians have the right of way (e.g. not continuing the asphalt through the pedestrian crossing).

After all, blind and visually-impaired pedestrians benefit just as much as anyone else from more efficient intersection operations. And they probably benefit even more from fully-protected signals than the average pedestrian, since they are less able to respond to a turning driver failing to yield.
 
Last edited:

Top