The fact that staff are circling back to this bike lane to improve it holds out hope that other poor connections can also get retrofitted to work better.
By Ryan McGreal
Published November 05, 2015
As Hamilton's incipient cycling network has slowly come together over the past several years, one of the problems has been the poor connections between bike lanes. A route is only as accessible as its least accessible section, and connectivity gaps - both large and small - are a huge barrier to increased cycling.
Every effort to improve those connections is a necessary step in the right direction, and the City is currently taking one of those steps on Dundurn Street at Main Street. The City installed bike lanes on Dundurn Street South between Aberdeen and Main in 2010, and on Dundurn Street North between King and York in 2012.
The obvious gap here is the stretch of Dundurn between Main and King, where it widens to four lanes with a raised boulevard down the middle. The City has not yet addressed this stretch, but the Dundurn Street South connection is getting just a little bit better for cycling, with the southbound bike lane starting right at Main instead of farther down the street.
Southbound Dundurn bike lane will start right at Main
Previously, the southbound bike lane did not start until past the slip-ramp for eastbound vehicles on Main turning right onto Dundurn. Meanwhile, the two southbound vehicle lanes on Dundurn merged into one at the same spot. It could sometimes get a bit gnarly as vehicles from three lanes merged into one.
North of Main, Dundurn southbound is three lanes wide approaching the intersection. The left lane is a left-turn lane, the middle lane was a left-turn and straight-through lane, and the right lane was a straight-through lane. (Main is one-way eastbound, so there's no right-turn lane.)
Under the new configuration, the left and middle lanes are both left-turn only, whereas the right lane is the only straight-through lane.
Middle southbound lane on Dundurn at Main is now left-turn only
The bike lane starts right at Main and vehicle traffic will be directed to veer to the left of it.
Vehicle traffic directed to veer to the left of the new bike lane
The bike lane extension is currently just stencilled in and still needs to be painted. I hope staff will also paint markings through the intersection to guide vehicles to the left of the bike lane.
This might not seem like it's worth getting excited about, but a high-quality network is ultimately a collection of carefully designed elements. It's the attention to small details - like the ten metres immediately adjacent to an intersection - that makes or breaks a cycling route.
The fact that staff are circling back to this bike lane to improve it holds out hope that other poor connections can also get retrofitted to work better - including the section of Dundurn between Main and King, of course.
With files from Jason Leach
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