Comment 40161

By Roundabout (anonymous) | Posted April 26, 2010 at 12:30:10

I think, going by these comments (reported and originated) that we may have lost sight of objectives. It's clear to me that there are conflicting ideologies at work: bikers vs. cars. I'm not convinced this conflict can or should be worked out either in public meetings or on the city's roads.

I bike about 3-4 times a week for recreation and exercise. I'm trying to incorporate more of that with life-style: running errands, local shopping etc. I do not expect a white line painted down the side of the road provides any amount of safety on a busy street. I'm not opposed to well-defined bike lanes on these streets where they are necessary, but I also note that where there is a lot of fast-moving traffic there are few bikers and few pedestrians on the sidewalks. By and large, quality of life involves moving cross-town traffic to the perimeters of residential communities.

On quieter residential streets, which I prefer to ride, I don't stop for stop signs simply because they are there and the law says I should. I slow and look for cross-traffic and yield accordingly. My point here is that the rules of the road are not designed for cycling. Most motorists on residential streets recognize this, and often yield to cyclists even when the law does not require this.

I like to ride local trails. I notice there that, by and large, cyclists, pedestrians, roller-bladers, boarders, wheelchair and electric cart jockeys seem to co-exists fairly well, away from cars.

I ride Queensdale and Brucedale Avenues across the mountain on occasion because both have much less car traffic than Fennell. I prefer Brucedale because Queensdale is a bus route. I agree with local residents that neither should require a marked cyclists' lanes. The entire neighbourhoods they pass through, between the major car-traffic arteries, are bicycle, pedestrian, human-powered vehicle friendly. Why limit cyclists to one lane? At the same time, why expect them to stop at an empty corner when there is no cross traffic? Stop signs exist primarily
to discourage cross-town car traffic. I do think that life-styles in these communities would be improved if some of the major intersections with cross-town routes were closed to car traffic entirely, open to pedestrians and cyclists, but that's up to the locals.

When I head west from Upper James I end up on Fennell. Here I use the sidewalk. This is illegal, but from West Fifth to Garth I seldom encounter a pedestrian, and when I do we make way for each other. In areas like this biking would be encouranged with wider sidewalks, not a painted line down the side of the road. I'd rather see money spent on this than on painting lines in low-traffic, residential areas. So I guess, overall, I don't mind bike lanes that seem to start and stop arbitrarily, but in fact connect quite, open, residential streets where I have the freedom to go where I want. There are plenty of such areas in the city, a lot of them going north and south across our east-west major car routes.

I think we make a mistake when we separate cycling needs from broader quality-of-life issues in residential areas, and take the bait by arguing with the proponents of "obey the law first" before spending to limit these transportation conflicts. I also think bike proponents would be more successful politically to find common cause with pedestrians and others who use human-powered transportation systems in order to lobby for better marked "routes" and to separate potential points of road conflict.

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