By RTH Staff
Published November 01, 2013
RTH has received a response from Christine Lee-Morrison, manager of mobility programs and special projects in the public works department, explaining why cyclists are not allowed to use the new transit lane on King Street. Following is the text of her response:
Consideration was given to bicycles during the design process for the dedicated transit lane. The rationale for not allowing bicycles was made considering the long-term strategic plan for transportation.
As the City grows, we need to manage our travel demand. A modern, attractive and cost-effective public transit system will be key. Such a system includes service that people can depend on and one that gets them to their destination as quickly as possible. When transit vehicles are caught in general traffic, the attractiveness and efficiency of the service can be significantly reduced. Transit Priority Measures give transit vehicles priority over general traffic. As you know the Main-King-Queenston corridor is a Primary Corridor in the City, intended for high order transit.
A transit only lane is a specific application of a "reserved vehicle lane". While we recognize the importance of expanding all mobility choices, especially walking and cycling, we specifically did not allow cyclists in the transit only lane as the purpose is to test a fully dedicated transit lane, rather than create an HOV lane whereby a variety of more efficient and sustainable modes are permitted.
Certainly a reserved vehicle lane is typically a safer place for a bicycle to operate; however, bicycles typically travel slower than a bus. A mixed usage situation would not allow the City fully test the acceptance and impacts of a future rapid transit scenario.
Consideration was also given to the fact that the Cycling Master Plan does not propose bike lanes on King Street. On this basis, staff do not recommend reconsidering to allow cycling in the transit only lane.
Having said that, we have received a number of comments respecting this matter. We will consider the request for sharrows and other cycling suggestions as part of our ongoing evaluation and monitoring process for this pilot.
RTH also asked about the possibility of initiating transit signal priority, i.e. traffic lights will turn green for buses as they approach an intersection. Lee-Morrison replied:
While we were not in a position to initiate transit signal priority along with this pilot, it is certainly another form of transit priority measure that was included in our Rapid Ready report that we will be looking at moving forward.
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