Tag Archives: bicycles

“Remove a lane to improve traffic? Expert explains his Calgary cycle track proposal”

Remove a lane to improve traffic? Expert explains his Calgary cycle track proposal.

I get why the people in cars think this won’t work but there are solid observational results that say it will.  In Calgary, even.

This is definitely a case where a trial could be done, either with paint or with those flexible posts or even Jersey barriers.  If it doesn’t work after a reasonable trial period (like 6 months or a year), then you take it out and you haven’t spent a lot.

Do you buy this critique? Not sure I do.

The problems with modern roundabouts

I think this critique is based too much on aesthetics and not enough on moving people.  I’m also not convinced that rotaries are  “traffic calming”.  Certainly most of those installed in Norman have been installed for that stated purpose.  I think those fail, too.

I think that the design is intended to move people.  People may be on foot or on bicycles or in buses or automobiles, and all need to be treated with respect.

Screen Shot 2014-03-08 at 18.58.55
Okemos, Michigan

That said, there are a few things in this image that I don’t care for.   It seems to me that having the auto traffic cross the crosswalks then prepare to enter the circle is not right.  Seems to me that the crosswalk ought to be right at the point where the car has to slow anyway.  The writers seem to think this is over-engineered.  I don’t see that myself.  I think, maybe, the engineers were still automobile-centric in their thinking but I don’t see how it’s over-engineered.

I like them.  If motorists are respectful of people on foot and on bicycles, I think they are much better than an intersection with signals.  If motorists aren’t respectful, then I suppose it doesn’t matter what kind of intersection is built.

Road Diet before they were called that

Continuing on the theme of early influences …

The main “east-west” arterial (actually more SW-NE) in the area I was raised was built, mostly, as a 6-lane, undivided boulevard, thankfully with sidewalks (eventually), and with a high school, retail, and multi-family housing (way more now than back in the day).  A good mile or more of it actually went through what we called “the swamp” but would now be recognized as a wetland!

Not very attractive, not especially safe, and, interestingly, mostly under-capacity.  So about a decade or so after it was completed, it was put on a road diet at first with the use of paint.  A two-way (unprotected) bike lane was put along the north edge, taking up the space of about one lane.  Then the city painted a median in the middle of the remaining five lanes.  This allowed left turn bays at intersections as well as some separation between traffic flowing in opposite directions.


That’s a representative view of the road long after (long after) it was put on a diet.  The brick building is a fire station.  The large parking lot to the right of the firehouse was once the parking lot for a hockey arena that has been gone for over 20 years (but that hosted a concert featuring Procol Harum and The Eagles <mumble> years before that!).  I don’t know what the AADT is for this road, but I’m certain it’s much more than it was when it was put on a diet.

Oh, and there are 5 transit routes along here, too.  A local route (30-minute headway 0500-0100 plus extra runs at peak hours) and 3 express routes providing about the same number of buses but that end after the evening peak and that all end at either a commuter train or subway station.  There is a night route that fills in the other hours, so basically 24-hour service.  And this is far out in the ‘burbs.  We had good transit when I still lived there <mumble> years ago –around the time of the diet, actually — but not nearly this good.

Do you love transit?

I’m not sure I do.  To me, it’s like saying “I love electricity!”  Well, yeah, doesn’t everyone?

This guy, former chief planner for Vancouver, BC, and now a consultant, has some important points here, most of which should be familiar to folks who follow Jarrett Walker’s Human Transit.