Ward 2 Councillor Jason Farr confirmed in an email to RTH this morning that most of the parking spots will be retained.
By Ryan McGreal
Published November 10, 2014
The two-way conversion of Rebecca Street will no longer result in the loss of 13 parking spots.
Rebecca Street between Catharine and John
On October 31, the City announced that it will convert Rebecca to two-way between Wellington and John. The plan included removing 11 curbside parking spots in the block between Catharine and John.
Last week, we argued that this is a bad idea. Curbside parking protects the sidewalk, and narrower lanes are safer than wider lanes because they discourage dangerous speeding.
Ward 2 Councillor Jason Farr confirmed in an email to RTH this morning that most of the parking spots will be retained:
Please be advised (and feel free to share) that as it relates to the Rebecca Street conversion, we will be maintaining the parking metres between Catharine and John. With the exception of a few in the middle to create a gap and allow for east west passing. Though in most cases, east west passing should not be an issue.
I went out today and measured the width of Rebecca at various points between James and Catherine. Granted that my measurements are somewhat approximate, the street is around 24-26 feet in width both east and west of John (it widens to around 30 feet closer to Wellington).
24 feet is plenty wide for two-way traffic and curbside parking - wide enough for two vehicles to pass each other next to a parked vehicle. It just means drivers have to slow down a bit when passing each other, which on a downtown side street is an advantage, not a drawback.
On the other hand, 12 feet is far too wide for a vehicle lane on an urban side street. That's the standard lane width on the U.S. Interstate Highway system.
Other cities are busy installing alternating "chicanes" - midblock bumpouts - on their side streets to slow traffic by forcing drivers to "slalom" and wait for each other to pass.
Chicanes in Cleveland (Image Credit: Cleveland.com)
We have to get in the habit of regarding street features that slow traffic as a good thing rather than a problem to be eliminated.
It's nice to see the City changing its position on removing curbside parking. It would be even nicer to see the two-way conversion extended all the way to James instead of stopping arbitrarily at John.
Rebecca's utility to drivers and cyclists is drastically undermined by leaving the last two blocks one-way.
The only place Rebecca narrows appreciably from 24 feet is right at James, thanks to a curb bumpout on the northeast corner. However, the bumpout merely extends as far as the curbside parking would extend. Rebecca is still wide enough for two lanes - one to turn left on James and one to turn left or right on James.
Given the low volumes of automobile traffic on Rebecca, it is unlikely to cause significant problems by making Rebecca two-way all the way to James. Drivers can slow down, negotiate and share the space, as they do successfully on streets across the city.
Rebecca looking west from Hughson
Since Rebecca does not continue west of James (the exterior wall of the City Centre faces Rebecca), there should not be much involved in the signalized intersection.
Cars going west on Rebecca already have working traffic signals, and cars going east on Rebecca will be turning from James, where they also currently have traffic signals.
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