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Thread: Railtown Bike Route

  1. #1

    Default Railtown Bike Route

    I use this route daily to commute from downtown to the U of A and for the most part it is a very good route. It is direct, efficient, and relatively safe. However, I have noticed a few things that could use improvement:

    1. The crossing at Jasper Ave. is somewhat confusing. The trail on the North side of Jasper ends right at the entrance to a parking lot and then you are required to cross the entrance to go to the sidewalk to wait for the crossing signal (the wait time for this signal is very long). A bit of investment in this intersection could go a long way to improving safety for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists. I was thinking of a lane or bike box specifically for cyclists but perhaps there are other options to make it more efficient and safer as well.

    2. The 100 Ave. crossing is better, but I think some bright green paint and a bicycle stencil might improve the safety of this crossing. Slightly raising the asphalt of the crossing might help as well.

    3. The 97 Ave. crossing should also be improved. A mandatory stop or yield sign for motorists may be necessary here.

    4. As the popularity of this route continually increases, I think it will be necessary to separate the cyclists and pedestrians at some point. Perhaps one side of the High Level bridge could be designated for cyclists and the other designated for pedestrians. Anybody that rides or walks on the High Level, particularly in the summer, will notice how congested it gets. I always try and ring my bell to warn pedestrians, but when they are wearing headphones it's hard for them to hear.

    I have a few other ideas as well, but I just thought I would share a little and see if other users of this route had suggestions for improvement.

  2. #2
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    ^
    1. It's not just confusing, it's terrible. You forgot to mention the wrong-way bike lane on the south side of Jasper Av. It is very unfortunate that the old rail bridge over Jasper Av wasn't left in place to serve as a pedestrian/cyclist crossing. A pedestrian bridge would still be the best option, but replacing that bike lane with a widened sidewalk that could be designated as part of the multi-use trail would help.

    2. Perhaps a set of lights on the 100 crossing would help more. Sync the lights to the lights at 109 St and they will help pedestrians and cyclists without delaying motorists.

    3. The sightlines at the 97 Av crossing are decent heading north and traffic isn't usually too bad, but having to yield at the bottom of the hill sucks when heading south. I usually approach the High Level from downtown, so I just ride down the hill on 109 St itself and cut over to the side just before crossing the bridge.

    4. Perhaps a wider trail on the upper deck of the bridge could solve both the congestion and 97 Av crossing issues?

  3. #3
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    I should add another issue with the railtown trail - it dead ends at the MacEwan parkade just 50 m across an empty field from 105 Av. The way north is blocked by stupid fences and gates until 112 Av. There's even a fence between the Macewan parking lot and the 112 St connection that you have to backtrack south to get around! Once you find your way through this obstacle course it's not terrible if you plan to head west, but it is a 4 block detour if you want to go east on 105 Av.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Titanium48 View Post
    ^
    1. It's not just confusing, it's terrible. You forgot to mention the wrong-way bike lane on the south side of Jasper Av. It is very unfortunate that the old rail bridge over Jasper Av wasn't left in place to serve as a pedestrian/cyclist crossing. A pedestrian bridge would still be the best option, but replacing that bike lane with a widened sidewalk that could be designated as part of the multi-use trail would help.
    We did the Oliver Jane's Walk on Monday night, and this came up; according to the guide, the bridge was in need of serious work. I don't think it was possible to leave it in place even as a bike/pedestrian overpass without serious expenditure.
    I think of art, at its most significant, as a Distant Early Warning system that can always be relied on to tell the old culture what is beginning to happen to it. —Marshall McLuhan

  5. #5

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    ^ It was an ugly visual barrier to boot from the pictures I have seen.

    Jasper should not be a challenge to cross. Ped brides are for crossing 7 lane 170st type roads.

    Get a proper light there and get people on the street not over it.
    "Do you give people who already use transit a better service, or do you build it where they don't use it in the hopes they might start to use it?" Nenshi

  6. #6
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    Top_Dawg has seen a lot of near misses at the 97 avenue intersection during afternoon rush hour.

    It's all the westbound drivers who just came out of the love tunnel on 97 and are zooming to use 110 street cause 109 is a clusterfukk.

    Some of them are completely oblivious to pedestrians and cyclists.

    Never mind dawgs.

  7. #7

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    These are all great suggestions. I totally agree about the trail once it hits MacEwan. It would be such an easy little fix to lay a little pavement and cut a hole in that fence so that it could continue North towards NAIT/Kingsway. There are just a few little investments and adjustments that could turn this trail from good to great in terms of efficiency and safety.

  8. #8

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    A bridge would be nice, especially if it eliminates climbing the hill going southbound.

    It's very hard to cross the road here and if you don't trigger the light at the right time you have to wait two full phases of lights at 109st which these lights are sync with, but only if someone triggers them.

  9. #9
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    There was a proposal to put a multi-use bridge over Jasper at the time they were redeveloping that area and taking the rail bridge out. There was even a bridge engineer willing to do the design work for free, however city council did not approve it.

    I agree that intersection is a mess for cyclists. Since my office moved I don't have to go that way anymore but when I did, if I was northbound I took the driving lane with the cars. Southbound was dodgier as I really didn't trust the right turning northbound vehicles to spot me all the time.

    Even more entertaining was the winter that the counter-flow bike lane started being used a right turning lane by vehicles. I was winter riding that year and it caused no end of problems. They tightened up the barriers since then.

    I think a bridge would be ideal as even turning it into a fully controlled intersection wouldn't eliminate the confusion over the counter-flow bike lane.

    "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong"

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