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Thread: Cyclists and Pedestrians should share sidewalks

  1. #1

    Default Cyclists and Pedestrians should share sidewalks

    ..or so says David Staples: http://www.edmontonjournal.com/Stapl...474/story.html


    Iíve always wondered why the major push for bike lanes in Edmonton didnít centre on sharing sidewalks and multi-use paths. While cars and bikes donít mix so well and road space is at a premium, most of us have useless front yards. Perhaps folks might be more amenable to selling off a few feet of front yard for a wider sidewalk/bike path than to lose the parking in front of their house for a bike lane.

  2. #2

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    No.

    The cyclist is a big a menace to the pedestrian as it is to the motorist.

    I suspect Staples can neither cycle nor walk.

  3. #3
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    No. Dedicated bike lanes or get the **** out.

    No more half assing bike infrastructure.
    be offended! figure out why later...

  4. #4
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    Yes, bike lanes > wider sidewalks, but he does have a good point about useless front yards. All of the people who whine about the street parking in front of their houses being converted into a bike lane should be able to vote on whether they want to have the city move the sidewalk over by 2 m so there will be room for both.

    As for biking on sidewalks, it is the best place for slow, timid cyclists, but anyone wanting to cycle faster than 15 km/h (jogging speed) should go elsewhere.
    Last edited by Titanium48; 08-08-2015 at 07:30 PM.

  5. #5

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    Front yards are not useless.

    They offer the same minimal separation, horizontally, that living on the third floor and higher provides vertically.

    They are essential for privacy. Without them residential streets become instant slums.

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    ^ Streets are wider than alleys (and some subdivisions don't even have alleys), so it makes sense for the front setback to be substantially smaller than the rear setback. I have visited a number of houses where the house across the street was quite far away and the rear neighbor was uncomfortably close, but I have never seen the reverse. Besides, widening the street ROW by shrinking front yards would not change the distance between houses.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Titanium48 View Post
    ^ Streets are wider than alleys (and some subdivisions don't even have alleys), so it makes sense for the front setback to be substantially smaller than the rear setback. I have visited a number of houses where the house across the street was quite far away and the rear neighbor was uncomfortably close, but I have never seen the reverse. Besides, widening the street ROW by shrinking front yards would not change the distance between houses.
    And less stinkin useless lawn to mow!

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by AShetsen View Post
    They are essential for privacy. Without them residential streets become instant slums.
    There are countless residential properties with no front lot and they are hardly slums. Can you back up your claims?





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  9. #9

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    My reading of the idea, is not to stick bikes on existing sidewalks, but instead, to widen sidewalks (taking a few feet of property rather than road), and having a divider down the middle, so that bikes can safely pass pedestrians, like you see in mixed use trails all over Edmonton. I like the idea, but:

    1. This is fine for neighbourhoods with alleyways, but when there are garages on the road, I think it could be quite dangerous with bikes moving fast (people aren't trained to look sideways when reversing before the road)
    2. I'm guessing there will, be lots of self righteous horror from people losing a foot or two of grass (although in older neighbourhoods there is often grass between street and sidewalk)
    3. Might lose a lot of beautiful old trees.

  10. #10

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    Show me one other major city that has converted sidewalks for bicycles?

    It just does not work. There are too many conflicts at intersections. Bicycles are designed for being on roads. Sidewalks are for pedestrians. I do not feel safe cycling on sidewalks.
    Advocating a better Edmonton through effective, efficient and economical transit.

  11. #11

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    Well Staples claims it's done in Tokyo.

    I lived near Tokyo, and yes it's done there, but space issues and road safety is a completely different ballgame there. In comparison, sidewalks are extremely small and cramped here along our super wide speedways.

  12. #12
    highlander
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    Shared sidewalks can work in some places. Multi-use trails work OK, but only where traffic is sparse, and even in the river valley most paths are well enough used that there should be separate space for each.

    The city seems to be paranoid about giving pedestrians or cyclists enough space. Our multi-use trails are typically 3m wide, which might be wide enough if they were just for one more, but they're really too narrow for multi-use. Then the city narrows them further by adding swing barricades in stead of bollards, just to make them narrower and more dangerous. Then they design even tighter pinch points in at important intersections and apparently there's no one at the city who knows enough about cycling or pedestrian design to notice.

    Take the new LRT line, for example. I know it's a horrible design all over, but it's particularly bad design for pedestrians and cyclists. At MacEwan station, through which 105avenue is supposed to be a priority active transportation corridor, the current mixed use sidewalk has a light pole right in the middle of a crosswalk ramp, bottlenecks down to 1.6m wide at the track crossing(and station entrance), and takes a narrow sidewalk around a completely unnecessary cul-de-sac bulb, again under 2m wide and obstructed by a signand a fire hydrant. Just south of 111ave the constricted by a big crossing arm and pedistal that takes up about 1/3 of its width.

  13. #13

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    Don't get me started on the "shared use" trails by the Kingsway station or MacEwan stations. It's city incompetence at it's finest. Maybe people should just bike down the middle of the tracks since they're good for nothing else right now anyways.

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    ^ No kidding. How hard would it have been to do it right and put the trail on the south side of the tracks next to the new arena so the crossing would be at 102 St where the tracks are still underground?

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    We have spent enough on bike lanes, how's that working for us.Bikes can get off my path though.

  16. #16
    highlander
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    We've spent virtually nothing on bike lanes, and the ones we plan to spend money on will be hard minimum width, and shuffled off to side streets where cyclists are reasonably safe anyway. All the recent plans have narrow 1.5m lanes while the adjacent car lane varies from a reasonably narrow 3m up to over 4m, despite being on streets planned as main routes for bikes and access only for cars. 4m does nothing for cars except allow drivers to speed, but we can't get a bike lane wide enough for passing, or for riding beside a child.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by richardW View Post
    Dedicated bike lanes or get the **** out.
    Absolutely. And I would love to see them separated from cars as often as possible.

    I would ride my bike a lot more (and I am sure others would too) if my life wasn't at the mercy of careless drivers who cannot even keep their vehicle within their lane.

  18. #18
    highlander
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    ^ I don't think separated bike lanes are always necessary. Actually, in a lot of places the fastest and easiest way to make cycling safer is just to slow drivers down.

    Most of our neighbourhood streets could be decent bike routes if only there were not the expectation that that people biking need to get out of the way of people driving, whether or not it's actually safe to drive any faster. With a 30km/hr speed limit, fewer stop signs thanks to less need for traffic calming, intersections with parked cars kept well clear and better crossings between neighbourhoods we could make a whole lot of cycling (and walking) trips a whole lot better.

    That doesn't solve commercial areas or main roads where it doesn't make sense to slow traffic, but it would help.

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    ^ So long as it doesn't involve trying to use things like curb extensions to try to turn the cyclists themselves into traffic calming devices. When I am cycling, I don't want drivers that want to go faster than me to be unable to pass easily and safely, and I don't want to have to try to merge into a lane occupied by automobiles. Residential streets work because there isn't much traffic. Not many cars come up behind me, and when they do there is rarely any oncoming traffic to prevent them from passing. If there is too much traffic for this to work, you are probably dealing with a collector road where 30 km/h is too slow and there should be a separate bike lane.

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    ^Curb extensions are the bane of some of the terrible cycle 'lane's the city has put in some neighborhoods.

  21. #21

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    Shared use paths work and going forward there will be more of them.

    City standards already call for a shared use path along one side of every arterial road and the recently approved "Complete Streets" guidelines, give developers the option of also building shared use paths along collector roads. This applies to new neighbourhoods and road renewal projects.

    Not only are asphalt shared use trails much cheaper to build than concrete sidewalks, but they're also much more space effective than building dedicated grade separated cycling trails.

  22. #22

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    ^

    Wouldn't it be nice if they changed city standards so that arterials must have shared-use paths on both sides and collector roads must have separated cycle tracks?

    Edit: err..or maybe the other way around. Separated tracks for arterials if there are a lot of turns off and on to the road.

  23. #23

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    Yes, that would be nice. I even find it disappointing that adding shared use trails on collectors is optional, but at least it's something.

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    I don't see the problem with painted bike lanes. Keeping all cyclists on the right side of the road and forcing cars that want to turn right to cross the bike lane before they arrive at the intersection (instead of at the intersection) eliminates the intersection conflicts that happen with most other bicycle infrastructure.

  25. #25

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    The problem with painted bike lanes, as is well documented now, is that they don't increase the perceived safety of timid cyclists and children, and drivers don't respect them, using them to shortcut and for street parking.


    It's hard an expensive retrofitting existing infrastructure to have separated cycle tracks, but if it was built in the first stage, I don't think it would add too much to the bill. Certainly cheaper than retrofitting it later on.

    I'm fine with the dotted line and shared space just before an intersection. That's how it's done in older cycle tracks in Copenhagen, actually. Right-turning bypass lanes need to be removed though and drivers forced to make a 90 degree right turn.

  26. #26

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    The other problem with painted bike lanes is that when turning left at an intersection, the cyclist has the right of way, coming all the way from the far right side of the road, to literally cut in front of vehicular traffic which is going straight through. That's just stupid.

  27. #27

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    Left turns are always problematic. Nobody seems to understand the purpose of or how to use 'bike boxes'. The best longterm bet is 'Copenhagen lefts' which means you cross the first street first, turn, and then proceed when the light is green, but a lot of people don't understand those either.

    I'm not so sure of the 2-way cycle tracks they're building. I get why they're doing it..snow removal..the issue of taking away space from vehicular traffic. They are fine on one-way streets (good actually) and might be ok on the slower collectors and residential roads, but on busy 2-way streets they're going to be awkward.

  28. #28

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    This is why cyclists need to either follow the same rules that cars do (which means no bike lanes) or follow the rules of pedestrians (shared pathways) or have their own dedicated infrastructure with their own dedicated traffic control system. Adding bike lanes to an existing road does nothing but cause confusion. Nobody knows the rules.

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    Cyclists should not be turning left from bike lanes. They should either use the "Copehagen Left" method described by Snake Eyes, or if traffic is light use the regular left turn lane. Bicycle lanes are just a portion of the road from which some vehicles are prohibited, like a bus lane or a HOV lane. Regular rules of the road still apply.

    ^^^^ What's wrong with the right turn bypass lanes? The island between the through lane and the right turn lane makes the "Copenhagen Left" maneuver easier, and right turning drivers need to yield to oncoming traffic (including bicycles) whether there is a bike lane or not.

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    Turning left on my bike where I am is pretty simple. Usually I have a yield sign plus a little waiting area. Then when traffic lets up I can go to the middle island. And then cross again when it's clear.

    There's a lot of traffic circles here so left turns aren't a big deal.

    I do t understand why this is so complicated for the city.
    Literally just go break into any Dutch German or Scandinavian infrastructure office and steal all the plans and implement them here with variances allowing for our unique situation.
    Last edited by richardW; 10-08-2015 at 04:05 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AShetsen View Post
    Front yards are not useless.

    They offer the same minimal separation, horizontally, that living on the third floor and higher provides vertically.

    They are essential for privacy. Without them residential streets become instant slums.
    lol, i guess the row houses in montreal, new york, boston, chicago and countless other cities are slums, and not desirable to anyone at all.

    https://www.google.ca/maps/@41.87251...8i6656!6m1!1e1

    looks like a slum to me.

  32. #32

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    ^^^
    Most right-turning collisions with cyclists and pedestrians actually happen when right-turning drivers make soft turns, and by forcing drivers to make a hard turn, you force them to slow down. Even in Edmonton, already, I read last year one of the city's traffic safety department strategies is removing these in high pedestrian areas.

    I see what you mean about the space between the island the lane for people completing second part of the turn.

    Ideally, a protected intersection like this is best:


  33. #33

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    ^That takes a huge among of real estate.

    Most of the intersections in Edmonton do not have the room or alternatively you would be removing traffic lanes in all directions. Makes ot difficult gor trucks with trailers and 40 ft buses. Hugely costly as well.
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  34. #34

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    It doesn't take as much real-estate as you think assuming there's street parking because it's dead space. If you want to understand just how little space vehicles actually use, pay attention to the tracks made on the streets soon after a snowfall.

    Good point on too narrow of a turning radius for trucks and busses. These intersections work elsewhere, but..this is the land of the rig rocket.

  35. #35
    highlander
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    Screw Trucks.

    No, I take that back. Pickups will be able to turn easily.
    Buses should be making as few turns as possible, but if a bus has to make a right turn at that corner, then it should be considered.

    Other than truck routes and industrial areas semis are really rare enough that the occasional semi can swing wide onto the oncoming lane to start and/or finish the turn. It will work, it may obstruct traffic momentarily but an obstruction of half a minute every few days is worthwhile to make the corner safer the other 99.9% of the time. Really, people complain about accommodating 40-50 cyclists a day with a bike lane on 95ave that really doesn't bother anyone, how much less should we design every intersection in the city to accommodate a moving truck once in a blue moon.

  36. #36

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    Every country I've been to that has good cycling culture has the bike lanes on the sidewalks, not on the roads. Mixing bicycles and cars is just ridiculous.
    "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction" - Blaise Pascal

  37. #37
    highlander
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    If there are bike lanes on the sidewalks they aren't sidewalks anymore.

    But you're right. People on bikes should be protected from fast-moving traffic.

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    ^ Agreed, but what is "fast moving traffic"? I would hesitate to use a painted bike lane with no physical protection on Whitemud or Yellowhead, but I think they would work fine on any 50 km/h or 60 km/h arterial road.

  39. #39
    highlander
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    50 can work if there's not too much speeding. I've used a few 60km/hr roads and felt OK either because traffic was light enough, or because the shoulder (simulated bike lane) is wide enough.

    But then, I'm the stereotypical 35year old male with a fairly fast bike and a bunch of experience. You had better believe that my choices are different when I've got a 5-year-old on the trail-a-bike, or a 10-year-old beside me. Then anything other than a completely separated path or a slow neighbourhood street isn't safe enough.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AShetsen View Post
    Front yards are not useless.

    They offer the same minimal separation, horizontally, that living on the third floor and higher provides vertically.

    They are essential for privacy. Without them residential streets become instant slums.
    I had no idea all of England was a slum. It seemed quite nice while we were there.

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

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    Quote Originally Posted by Edmonton PRT View Post
    Show me one other major city that has converted sidewalks for bicycles?

    It just does not work. There are too many conflicts at intersections. Bicycles are designed for being on roads. Sidewalks are for pedestrians. I do not feel safe cycling on sidewalks.
    We saw it in Redhill, England where we were staying. We walked this route frequently as it was the way to the train station. The inside lane was pedestrian, the outside bicycle.



    Of course on this street the bicycles just used the road. Also note that the houses on this street were are £400k, so not a slum.



    I also saw it in Munich a couple years ago when we were there. In many cases it was just extra wide sidewalks that were shared, others were like this with a designated cycle lane:



    There are definitely a few places in Edmonton I can think of where it could work.

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

  42. #42
    highlander
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    Lots of places where it can work especially along busy suburban arterials where there aren't too many bikes and where distances mean there will never be too many pedestrians.

    But it really can't work well anywhere that there are really high pedestrian volumes, or where there are lots of curb cuts and driveways.

    On the other hand, I ride on the sidewalk for a small part of my commute, and pretty much everyone who uses my general route does the same thing. It's not at all ideal, as the sidewalk is a little to narrow although it's wider than most, and there are a handful of driveways. But it's used because the official bike route is a significant detour, and it works because there are enough (but not too many)of each user group that everyone is aware of each other but there is usually room to pass, and because most cyclists are willing to slow down for a short 300m because the rest of the route is much faster. it wouldn't work if the whole route were like that.
    Last edited by highlander; 23-08-2015 at 12:50 PM.

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