Negative anecdotes about cyclists are no basis on which to decide whether to implement a planned bike route as part of an integrated network already approved in the city's Cycling Master Plan.
By Walter Furlan
Published April 15, 2010
I attended the public meeting on April 7 regarding the Queensdale Avenue bike lanes. It was encouraging to see so many people in attendance. However, several events that transpired do not sit well with me.
The city staff person who presented an overview of the project spoke of improvements and safety enhancements, such as widened sidewalks and traffic calming measures, but referred to the bike lanes as an "obligation" that they were required to explore.
I felt this set a biased and negative tone for the entire meeting.
Later in the meeting, a participant indicated that bike lanes should not be implemented because they had observed cyclists going "through stop signs", as if this should be reason enough to cancel all bike plan implementation.
As this comment was made, I observed city staff, with the exception of Alternative Transportation Manager Daryl Bender, to sympathize with this participant, nodding in agreement and actually laughing.
I take strong exception to both these comments and the city staff's behaviour. Anecdotal observations regarding a specific cyclist's behaviour have absolutely no bearing on whether bike lanes should be implemented, yet this groundless comment was basically endorsed by staff through their lack of appropriate response and their unprofessional behaviour.
I do not support cyclists breaking the law, and to suggest that we all do it is malicious. It is well known that many motorists regularly break laws, from rolling through stop signs, to texting, yet that is never taken as a reasonable argument to reduce road construction.
The majority of comments made against the implementation of the bike plan had no basis. There was agreement that there was room for a shared bike lane. There was absolutely no issue with that. Regardless, comments ranged from, "there should be no bike lanes regardless of the cost", to, "I've lived on this street for 50 years and don't see a need for bike lanes".
Other comments concerned a loss of parking space, though it is my understanding that parking demand is currently low enough that limiting parking to one side of the street will still be sufficient to meet demand (as per Daryl Bender's study on parking demand on Queensdale, presented to the Hamilton Cycling Committee, April 7, 2010).
Much of the discussion seemed to be a conflict between progressive and active use of our road resources (bike lanes) and publicly resourced storage of citizens' private vehicles (street parking).
I was embarrassed and saddened for our city that this meeting even took place. We have a Cycling Master Plan that has been endorsed in principle by council. The city has set goals for increasing alternative transportation use.
We've been recently identified as the city with one of the highest obesity rates in Canada. We're aspiring to become the "best place to raise a child".
Hamilton deserves better.
Let's make it easier for children and all citizens of Hamilton to ride their bikes on Queensdale Avenue and ensure immediate implementation of the bike lanes on Queensdale.
I have trouble understanding the degree of antipathy some people feel toward cyclists - it so often seems all out of proportion to the actual impact any cyclist could have on a motorist's life. It must signify something deeper, but I've never figured out what.
That said - the disregard that most cyclists have for the rules of the road is only fodder for those who have disdain for cycling and cyclists.
As a daily cyclist and occasional motorist, I'm very well aware of the behaviour of most of my fellow riders: running red lights and stop signs, turning without signalling, riding at night without lights, riding on the sidewalk, yielding to neither car nor pedestrian. Granted, it may be worse in the West end, what with all of the university students.
I'm certainly not saying that we don't deserve bike lanes until we start riding like grown ups. But that's not an incomprehensible position and we should have a sensible response ready.
What is that sensible response? Well, I'll come back to that later - I've got to figure it out :)
Comment edited by moylek on 2010-04-15 20:36:42
By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted April 16, 2010 at 05:09:17
Does Queensdale really need bike lanes? This is kinda like the bike lane on Markland, or the suggested lanes south of Aberdeen...flagship projects where they aren't needed, and are going to be totally ignored anyway. When I think of mountain streets in need of bike lanes, I could write a long list, and I really don't think Queensdale would even occur to me. A friend of mine was run down from behind on Fennel during morning rush hour, and lay bleeding in the lane while not a single driver stopped to see if he was ok, they all just swerved around him. And this was a student, on his way to school, on a block which houses two of the city's most known educational institutions.
Getting bike lanes put in will inevitably be a brutal battle wherever they go in. Why waste effort and gain ill will putting them in on side streets?
By Michelle Martin (registered) - website | Posted April 16, 2010 at 07:21:11
Walter advocates for those who cycle in this city because of choice or circumstance. He believes in the 8-80 idea: that our streets should be safe for an eight- or eighty-year-old to navigate.
Preach it, Walter!
It is nowhere near as safe for my children to ride bikes independently to get where they need or would like to go as it was for me in the 70's.
Does Queensdale really need bike lanes?
I asked myself that question after asking another: where the devil is Queensdale? I was pretty sure that I'd never encountered it. It appears to be a residential street between Upper James and Upper Ottawa.
Granted, most Mountain cyclists enjoying their own lane on this side street will still have to share lanes on fast, busy roads to actually get anywhere. But on a more positive note: it's another reminder to some motorists that cyclists belong on the roads; it's a safe bicycle route across the mountain brow; and it's good practise for the bike-lane painters, I guess.
When the Sterling St and especially the Sanders Blvd bike lanes went in, each just a few blocks long, I immediately pronounced them a waste of paint: but getting to Mac from East or West is much more relaxed for those stretches. And I will often take Sterling over King even when the latter is faster just because the former is less stressful.
Comment edited by moylek on 2010-04-16 06:51:31
By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted April 16, 2010 at 08:44:06
"Later in the meeting, a participant indicated that bike lanes should not be implemented because they had observed cyclists going "through stop signs", as if this should be reason enough to cancel all bike plan implementation."
Yesterday a car ran a red at Cannon and Queen and smashed up three other cars, sending people to hospital, including infants. It sounds logical and reasonable that all roads should be closed to cars immediately. /s
Such shallow minded people are definitely not thinking clearly about issues. BTW from the escarpment you could see a nasty thick brown cloud of smog hanging over the GTA yesterday. Asthma rates are on the rise. Stay classy, you drivers who hate alternatives to the point of lunacy. Don't forget, if we install even one more bike lane, the Communists are going to come and take away your car ;)
By Jarod (registered) | Posted April 16, 2010 at 09:14:15
This might demonstrate just how infrequently I cycle (primarily because Mer and I sold both our cars so we could walk or bus where we needed to go) and we sold our bike to someone who REALLY uses it.....
But when we lived in TO they had a system where you could call up some city office and request a bike locking station or some for of bike rack wherever you wanted - for free. Do they have that kind of system in Hamilton? I just don't notice to many places to legitimately lock up your bike...maybe I'll just look closer to see something I haven't been seeing as of yet....
By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted April 16, 2010 at 09:54:07
"I just don't notice to many places to legitimately lock up your bike..."
Many large shopping plazas were done such that developers put in parking for many hundreds of cars (obviously), but there is no bike rack, or a tiny little crappy one off in some distant corner (made from flatbar with sharp edges that scratch your bike). The result is that the bike rack is always empty, and a half dozen bikes are locked up to trees, signs, etc, much closer to the store entrance.
Recently they renovated a Barn (turned it into a Metro). There used to be a bike rack right beside the entrance - there was tons of room for it - a spacious wide walkway. They removed it; now bikes are locked up to trees and signs, and the crappy bike racks off in distant corners of the plaza sit empty. So now I bring mine right inside the store with me. The thousand car parking spots are NEVER completely full, not even at the busiest time.
Another time I rode to the Mandarin at Upper James too meet mom for lunch. Neither myself nor the restaurant staff could locate a bike rack ANYWHERE in the entire gigantic plaza parking lot, not behind the store, nowhere. I had to ask a manager for permission to lean the bike near the entrance. Bless her, she let me.
Unfortunate ... shows nobody really cares yet about anything except cars. In other healthier cities I have seen the empty space in front of the store lined with a bike rack which is heavily used ...
By jonathan dalton (registered) | Posted April 16, 2010 at 10:27:01
The King / James entrance to Jackson Square has no place to lock bikes, despite there being 100 square feet allocated to cigarette butts. There's only the garbage can next to James which can accomodate 2 bikes max.
By schmadrian (registered) | Posted April 16, 2010 at 10:41:26
"I have trouble understanding the degree of antipathy some people feel toward cyclists..."
I have no trouble at all understanding it. I don't agree with it, but I understand it entirely...because I see the car as more than just another means of people getting around. Some don't want to admit the place the car holds in our value system in North America, but from my perspective, it's central, so much of our way of life is predicated on it; one only has to take away from history automobile production and consumption and consider the sea change result in 'How Things Might Have Been' to appreciate this. It's not just a matter of car manufacturing being the engine that drove the North American economy for almost a hundred years...it's the place the car has within the psyche of the average person/consumer. Deny this at your peril. (Declaiming as to 'how things should be', or 'how people should live their lives' is, at best, hilarious, and at worst, saddening.)
I was discussing the notion of 'car driver antipathy' with my father just yesterday. The notion that when a person gets behind the wheel, it's like a Dr. Jeckyll/Mr. Hyde process that unfolds. Putting aside the whole 'Car as an expression of self, as validation' theory (one I embrace as a facet of what I referred to in my initial paragraph), what seems to happen is a sense of urgency to get where they're going, and indeed, primacy for that mission; there's nothing more important in the entire world to them than getting to where they want to go. (This is half the explanation as to why people speed, even in residential settings.) They view stoplights and stop signs as consternating impediments to their mission. Other drivers as potential adversaries. And beyond the shadow of a doubt, pedestrians and cyclists as...
...well, as factors they'd much prefer just went away. Disappeared.
Regarding pedestrians, I see this mindset at crosswalks, both on the streets and at shopping centers. (I don't know what's worse; the driver who doesn't seem to understand the real purpose of having a 'Yield' sign at a crossing...or shoppers-in-cars who would make vanish all foot-traffic if they could...especially as it pertains to slowing down their mission's progress. Shameful behaviour in both regards.
As far as cyclists? It's simple; most drivers resent the presence of people-on-bikes. You have to remember that the only valid state of existence the average driver believes in (yes, I'm generalizing, but ya know what? decades on my feet 'out there' combined with being a driver for more than thirty years as well as time spent as a commuter-on-wheels has provided me with empirical evidence to more than back up my viewpoint) is that of driving a car. Everything else is- Well, it's pathetic. And in terms of the inconvenience felt at having to 'accommodate' cyclists, how it means more attention must be paid to something other than simply getting to where they're wanting to go as rapidly and as expediently as possible...well, there's your antipathy, right there.
None of this should be of any surprise to anyone with an open mind and not unreasonably attached to 'how things ought to be'. This antipathy is a form of arrogance. Similar to the arrogance that smokers used to display, but much, much more deeply rooted in the bedrock of North American life. To take issue with anything having to do with even the hint of somehow lessening the paramount status of The Car And Its Drivers will, until we manage to effect a conscious and unconscious shift in perception (and by extension, our societal value system) will continually be met with disrespect, derision and resistance to the tune of howevermanydriversthereareoutthere.
In closing, I have to point out that this ever-expanding subject is directly connected to something I've touched on elsewhere this week on RTH, the notion of 'customer service'. Which, at the core, comes down to respect, to graciousness, to honouring how we move through our world.
By MarkWhittle (registered) - website | Posted April 16, 2010 at 13:13:21
That street has more stop signs than you can shake a stick at. Will city hall rip all those sign's out too?
By JM (registered) | Posted April 16, 2010 at 13:22:38
i grew up by Highview Park on Brucedale (between gage and ottawa). Queensdale doesn't need bike lanes... there is not enough traffic to justify a "big project" like this. There is plenty of room for cars to safely pass cyclists, and the frequent stop signs should and often does prevent speeding. However widened sidewalks would be welcomed! Bike lanes belong on roads with higher traffic volumes, and provide direct routes to amenities... (such as Fennell) but remember, they do nothing if they suddenly appear and then disappear...........For the mountain, i think Stone Church Road is a great example....traffic moves freely and safely with plenty of room for cyclists. AND its continuous! (at least when the construction is complete). I think they should also be considered for Rymal road, as it connects directly to Turner Park and the YMCA. Same goes for WEST 5th... all you need is more N-S connections.... use the minor arterials such as Wellington, Sherman and Ottawa..... theres your network!
By z jones (registered) | Posted April 16, 2010 at 14:22:30
there is not enough traffic to justify a "big project" like this.
Car traffic, bike traffic or both? If you put in a bike lane, the amount of bike traffic will go up.
Also, "big project"? It's paint lines on the road.
There is plenty of room for cars to safely pass cyclists
Then there's plenty of room to add bike lanes.
Bike lanes belong on roads with higher traffic volumes, and provide direct routes to amenities
I'm with you there but bike lanes on lower traffic streets is a good place to start to get people to start riding again.
but remember, they do nothing if they suddenly appear and then disappear
Also agreed but we have to start somewhere.
By JM (registered) | Posted April 16, 2010 at 14:30:56
sorry - i will clarify:
by traffic i meant car traffic on queensdale. the road is often clear, so no need to shove cyclists up against the sidwalk.....
and by "big project" i was just making note of how big of a deal people make painting a line on the road (mentioned somewhere above). cause it really shouldnt be that big of a deal, especially on a street like that!
By nobrainer (registered) | Posted April 16, 2010 at 14:48:37
That street has more stop signs than you can shake a stick at. Will city hall rip all those sign's out too?
They could make the stop signs work as yields for bikes.
By schmadrian (registered) | Posted April 16, 2010 at 14:51:11
"Of course, there are still some angry, hostile drivers out there, but they're a tiny minority."
Um, this reveals just how you're viewing this discussion.
Because I never said anything about 'anger' or 'hostility'.
Methinks the tenor of my contribution to the discussion is entirely different from yours, Ryan. And that your optimism fuels yours to an excess. As usual, I find that admirable...but once again, the dialogue is skewed.
Disagree? Did you take a look the comments this week on the Star articles about bike lanes? 'Antipathy, thy name is motorist.'
By frank (registered) | Posted April 16, 2010 at 15:56:39
Mark Whittle wrote: "That street has more stop signs than you can shake a stick at. Will city hall rip all those sign's out too?" I'd say that street has so many stop signs, if you swing a stick you're lucky if you miss one. Queensdale is hardly a high traffic area (I mean cars) so cycling should be easy.
My view is the same as others who've posted earlier, put the bike lanes where they're needed most and make them continuous first then move on to other streets. Perhaps then it won't be possible to state (on a factual basis) that bike lanes don't work and we won't have to use anecdotal evidence from other cities to support the installation of bike lanes across the city.
Ryan and Adrian...you should learn to work together rather than continually point out why the other person is wrong. Adrian's sort of right and so is Ryan. Perhaps focusing on a common goal rather than each other might amount to something more than arguments...
Comment edited by frank on 2010-04-16 14:59:08
By frank (registered) | Posted April 16, 2010 at 16:01:22
I mean "schmadrian" not Adrian...
By Ropbert D (anonymous) | Posted April 16, 2010 at 16:42:47
The same people who say "there's not enough traffic to justify bike lanes on Queensdale" would undoubtedly be getting out the pitch forks if there was a suggestion to put bike lanes somewhere that has sufficient use - like Mohawk, or Fennell.
By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted April 16, 2010 at 17:53:52
I grew up near Queensdale and I agree with JM, that if they really do they need bike lanes along that road. I used to ride across Brucedale from upper james to past upper ottawa and there never was much traffic, it was very easy to ride a bike along that way.
Shouldnt a bike lane go where there is more traffic.
And on Wednesday a vehicle went through a red light coming down John street at KIng. Good thing we were watching and did not just start ot cross as we had the green light to walk across the crosswalk.
Otherwise, the three of us would of been squashed, road kill!
By michaelcumming (registered) - website | Posted April 17, 2010 at 05:57:59
I can't understand why people are against building cycling infrastructure. It's like a motherhood-type issue for me. Good for young and old; cyclist and non-cyclist.
By alrathbone (registered) | Posted April 17, 2010 at 13:26:02
While I completely dislike the antipathy shown towards cyclists at the meeting I agree with a lot of other posters here. We need to spending our energy getting bike lanes on the streets where it isn't safe to cycle in traffic rather than installing them in streets where the traffic is mostly slow and calm as it is.
bigguy1231, you write that "there is no need to put bike lanes on busy streets when there are less used alternatives available."
What do you see as the purpose of bike lanes?
Comment edited by moylek on 2010-04-17 20:24:03
Bigguy, I think you might underestimate the psychological importance of bike lanes. "Less used" alternatives don't really help.
Today I was talking to someone as I did their hair, and they just bought a condo at Upper Ottawa/Fennell. Although they have to drive to work, they would love to bike, but told me "the bike lanes on the Mountain near my dad's house just stop and start, there's no connection. I would ride if there's bike lanes, but it's not safe on the roads."
This is a female in her late 20s who's been working at the same place for several years. She likes her city, she likes the idea of biking - but she won't do it if there's not bike lanes, because she's scared of the cars in her area of the city, and the bike lanes that are somewhat near there don't connect to other ones.
And she's in a totally different area of the city than I am, but we still want the same things. It shouldn't be routine to be hit by cars when you're biking (among those who do bike). I like biking, but it's not safe to be on the main streets.
Even when I bike on the less used streets, I get people edging out into the road and catcalls for making turn signals with my arms... If the roads gave a physical signal that "bikers do have a place" maybe my little bike ride (stopping fully at stop signs, btw) wouldn't mean watching out for speeding cars or having idiots yell at me for making the proper signals.
Infrastructure matters to people like me.. and I would bike a lot more often if I felt safer doing it.
I can't imagine when I have kids trying to use a bike trailer for them... I know a car would bump that trailer at some point on a main road, and that would be it for my kids... it's VERY hard to safely bike with children in this city. I know teenagers who bike everywhere, signal, have lights on, use their helmet, stop at stop signs etc.. and they get hit by cabs an average of once a month. Once a month! That's nowhere near acceptable.
Comment edited by Meredith on 2010-04-17 20:27:09
By alrathbone (registered) | Posted April 18, 2010 at 02:55:11
"There is no need to put bike lanes on busy streets when there are less used alternatives available. The only time that bike lanes should be put on busy streets is when no alternative is available."
That of course assumes there are alternatives on the Mountain. Of course we know that for the most part there are no continuous alternate routes over most of the mountain because of the way we designed our neighbourhoods. If you live between Fennell and Mohawk you can either cycle north to Queensdale or south to Limeridge. People would be outraged if we demanded cars do the same, yet bicyclists, for whom a detour of equal length incurs greater costs is expected to do so?
And what of North-South routes along the Mountain? For example I used to attend Westmount Secondary School and lived near Stone Church Road. Getting East-West was no problem (for the most part, although the not so great part is fixed now). Yet to safely get down to the school (near Mohawk), required riding through a small wood and a neighbourhood, walking the bike over a pedestrian bridge, cycling a bit more, and walking the bike down a hill between apartment buildings. For that reason I can only recall making the trip once. Unless traffic suddenly got a lot more calm along West 5th I doubt the trip would be much better.
By z jones (registered) | Posted April 18, 2010 at 07:32:54
Insistance on putting bike lanes on the busiest streets is what has stalled the process.
Busy streets are busy for a reason. People who choose to ride bikes instead of drive cars still want to go to the same places - places on busy streets.
Meredith writes of the "psychological importance" of bike lanes, addressing the messages they send to cyclists and drivers.
One of the messages I as a bicycle commuter received from the bike lanes that went in on Sterling a few years ago quite surprised me: the message was "you are traffic." Before the bike lanes went down, I blithely ran stop signs on Sterling. Why? I guess because I saw myself as contending with traffic, not being part of it.
The bike lanes made me feel part of the official traffic and I felt compelled to start acting that way. And yes, I am well aware that I am in a minority - but a slowly growing minority, I allow myself to optimistically believe.
Comment edited by moylek on 2010-04-18 07:43:09
By frank (registered) | Posted April 19, 2010 at 13:32:35
Ropbert D let me take a minute to shoot a gigantic hole in your assertion.... I would love to see bike lanes on Mohawk and Fennell... There with that out of the way, what I'm afraid will happen is that after putting bike lanes on a street where they will undoubtedly have little or no impact, those who don't want bike lanes on busy streets will say, "See? they don't work!"
If I'm not mistaken, in Hamilton when the AADT (annual average daily traffic <- this is how roadways get classified)of a roadway goes above 3000 on any roadway with a average operating speed of 30-50 and there's a high % of truck traffic or parking a bike lane should be installed. If the average operating speed is 50-70 and AADT is above 3000 a bike lane is installed regardless of truck traffic or parking lanes. If the speed limit is above 70 and the AADT is above 5000 you could install a multiuse path. I think our problem is our designers look at speed limit as opposed to average operating speed. Take Mohawk or Main Street as examples. By definition they should have a bike lane (and despite all the recent work on Mohawk there isn't one!!) because their operating speed is in the range of 63 kph (I can't find AADT data for the streets here but I assume that it'd be over 3,000). However if take their operating speed as 50 it's possible to get away with a wide curb lane...
Comment edited by frank on 2010-04-19 12:34:57
By frank (registered) | Posted April 19, 2010 at 14:18:37
It appears all the design elements are in place for proper cycling infrastructure... Love the jug handle intersections that solve left turns for cyclists across busy streets at T intersections. My guess is the hesitation is a result of the old school designers not clearing out the brain cobwebs...
By UrbanRenaissance (registered) | Posted April 21, 2010 at 08:47:35
That's a fascinating document frank. It's a shame that someone did all that work and yet after 10 years nothing has been done.
By Mark Harrington (anonymous) | Posted April 21, 2010 at 09:43:51
Walter Furlan seems to have deliberately failed to mention need to move all of the fire hydrants to the opposite side of the street from where they are now, and the associated cost, which would absolutely have to be done to accomodate bike lanes on queensdale.
I was at that April 7th meeting and this cost was initialy kept hidden by pro-cycling city staff who, when asked, said the cost was just that of the paint. Only on very pointed questioning was the need and cost of moving all the fire hygrants to accomodate the bike lanes revealed.
Seems like lies of ommission to me, by both po-cycling city staff and commentors on RTH.
By nobrainer (registered) | Posted April 21, 2010 at 10:06:59
^Why on earth would they need to move the fire hydrants? It's not like there isn't plenty of room on the street for bike lanes.
By Arlington, VA (anonymous) | Posted April 21, 2010 at 13:14:31
The argument we get against bikes is that they frustrate automobile drivers and therefore make them drive more dangerously. Actually, we get that argument with any measure that has the potential to interfere with free-wheeling motoring - like putting in crosswalks, narrowing lanes, tightening corner radius, etc
By Mark Harrington (anonymous) | Posted April 21, 2010 at 13:29:47
The argument, to me, seems not against bike lanes but about placemant: let's not spend money putting them on streets such as Queensdale Ave., that are already incredibly safe, very low traffic and super easy to negotioiate on a bike. Let's put them where they offer some advantage.
By Brandon (registered) | Posted April 22, 2010 at 10:28:24
Those who don't really want any inconvenience will say put them on side streets to test them and then claim that they don't make any difference because no one uses a system that doesn't get you anywhere.
As far as fire hydrants go, everyone knows that the fire trucks responding to an emergency will get ticketed for blocking the bike lane (either with the truck or the hose), so they can't be on the side of the bike lane.
How could we not see that? Crazy arugula eating cyclist moonbats!
By Mark Harrington (anonymous) | Posted April 22, 2010 at 14:31:44
First I want to apologise for being inflamitory in regard to the "lies of ommission" part of my previous comment. That was uncalled for.
What was presented at the April 7th public meeting was:
The bike lanes would completely eliminate parking on North side of the steet, so all parking would be moved to the South side where the fire hydrants are, so the fire hydrants would be moved to the North side where there would be no parking.
I suppose in the stictest sense that's moving fire hydrants to preserve parking, but do diconnect that part of the plan from the bike lanes, as is now being suggested, is too much of a stetch to be considered reasonable in my book.
All on a quiet, calm, safe, street with no need for bike lanes in the first place.
To be quite honest I feel(not trying to inflame, this is how I FEEL) like a special interest group is trying to use tax dollars to shove something down my throat that I neither want nor need. I have 5 children 10 and under,(soon it'll be 6) and live on a block bordered by Queendsdale. I see Queensdale as totally bike-safe - a good street for my children to practice the rules of the road, which they need to know - there will never be bike lanes everywhere.
I do not support bike lanes as a promotional tool for a special-interest group, on a street where they're not needed and add no value.
I would be in support of bike lanes on streets that need them (and there are lots), where they would truly add to safety and access.
By Kiely (registered) | Posted April 22, 2010 at 16:16:18
My view is the same as others who've posted earlier, put the bike lanes where they're needed most and make them continuous first then move on to other streets. Perhaps then it won't be possible to state (on a factual basis) that bike lanes don't work and we won't have to use anecdotal evidence from other cities to support the installation of bike lanes across the city. Ryan and Adrian...you should learn to work together rather than continually point out why the other person is wrong. Adrian's sort of right and so is Ryan. Perhaps focusing on a common goal rather than each other might amount to something more than arguments... - Frank
I Agree with both points Frank.
One of the messages I as a bicycle commuter received from the bike lanes that went in on Sterling a few years ago quite surprised me: the message was "you are traffic." Before the bike lanes went down, I blithely ran stop signs on Sterling. Why? I guess because I saw myself as contending with traffic, not being part of it. The bike lanes made me feel part of the official traffic and I felt compelled to start acting that way. - moylek
Good point moylek
I do not support bike lanes as a promotional tool for a special-interest group, on a street where they're not needed and add no value.
I would be in support of bike lanes on streets that need them (and there are lots), where they would truly add to safety and access. - Mark Harrington
This is where the streets need to be picked carefully. Where do we REALLY need bike lanes or paths, let's build those now. Arguing over every single stretch of bike lane down some quiet side street is just going to delay this process unnecessarily.
Comment edited by Kiely on 2010-04-22 15:16:51
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.
By MS (anonymous) | Posted August 15, 2013 at 06:07:40
I live on Queensdale. They just turned my street into chaos a few weeks ago. Is this how are taxes and government funding is being spent? Build a school, or a hospital, or employ another teacher or nurse, build more shelters, PAVE THE ENTIRE ROAD or another road that needs it(I saw that parts will be paved, but the road is a disaster). There are a lots better ways to spend our money.
I lived on this street for 3 years now. I've seen 10-20 cyclists the whole time. And to the stop sign comment, they ride right through them. And its not just one or two of them. It's 80-90% of them or more. They don't usually obey the rules of the road. I don't mind cyclists that obey the rules of the road and I will give them a full lane on the street any day of the week.
By MS (anonymous) | Posted August 15, 2013 at 21:24:46
When cars are still driving down the wrong side of the street and not really sure where there are lanes, I would say that is a little bit of chaos. At one point there were two cars driving side by side in the same direction and a third car going the opposite way. Sure this could be chalked up to stupidity but there was/still is confusion.
When they did this transformation we lost a whole bunch of parking which makes things really inconvenient for a lot of people on the street. Not really for myself personally, I just see that this was money well wasted.
However, I do understand that if they want more people to cycle this is possibly the start to the way to do it
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