FEEDBACK TO CITY DUE JUNE 05
The 10 St NW Bike lanes (from 23 Ave NW to 5 Ave NW), installed last October, were designated as a pilot project and are subject to review; we have the opportunity to provide feedback on the lanes. As a starting point, we have put together an initial assesment below.
Do you use the 10 St lanes? Do you agree with the assesment below? Are there other good or bad aspects about the lanes? Have you had a good experience? A bad experience? Do you think the lanes should be permanent?
1. Area under review
10 St NW from 5 Ave NW north to 23 Ave NW. (We will have another post to provide feedback on the portion of the lanes from 23 Ave northward.)
The road is two or three lanes with a speed limit of 50 kph and one school zone with a 30 kph limit (between 20 Ave NW and 23 Ave NW). There is a pedestrian crossing at 13 Ave NW serving SAIT. Calgary transit buses (routes 4, 5, and 404) use the route with several stops along the way. Routes 4 and 5 run very frequently (every 10-15 minutes). The 404 is a community shuttle with limited runs.
There are painted bike lanes on both sides of the road.
There is a bike box on 5 Ave NW at the junction with 10 St. The purpose of this box is to provide a safe way to turn left at 4 Ave NW to access 9A St NW.
There is an advance "bike signal" at the intersection with 16 Ave. This works in conjunction with the bus signal and allows cyclists and buses to proceed through the intersection ahead of motorists.
This route is of high importance for the bike network. It connects a large swath of NW neighbourhoods to the Bow River Pathway (BVP) system and the central business district. Since the lanes were put in there has been a steady increase in usage.
At the south end, the route connects to 9A ST NW and the overpass to get over Memorial Drive to the BVP with easy access to the LRT bridge and the Peace Bridge.
The route also connects to 5 Ave NW, which provides access to the Hillhurst neighbourhoods.
The Ward 7 neighbourhoods served by this bike lane have the city's highest bike mode share and the route has long been identified as a primary cycle route.
4. Safety Concerns
4.1. The intersection of 5 Ave and 10 ST
The bike box on 5 Ave NW is a great idea and would work well except that drivers routinely ignore the "No Right Turn on Red" restriction and routinely ignore the stop line. It is only a matter of time before there is an incident with a cyclist entering the bike box and a driver ignoring the bike box.
The "No Stopping" zone paint on 10 ST northbound, which was to provide cyclists with a safe way to make a left onto 4 Ave, has worn off and is now ignored by drivers. It was also fairly regularly ignored when the paint was there.
With the "No Right Turn on Red" and the change in light timing (10 St gets a longer green now than they used to) there is a pedestrian/motorist issue developing. Pedestrians are wating to cross 10 St and motorists are impatient, having had to wait, and frequently enter the crosswalk while it is still occupied. This occurs both with left and right turning motorists. An advance pedestrian signal may fix this.
When approaching the intersection, southbound cyclists share the right turn only lane with motorists. If the light is red, cyclists will wait for the green, and motorists may be waiting behind them to turn right. If possible, a safe place for cyclists to wait and motorists to turn could be created.
4.2. Entrance to SAIT
The intersection is restricted so there is no left turn either into or out of SAIT. This is routinely ignored.
The long deceleration lane and the merge lane are problematic. Drivers are merging into and out of the lanes, crossing the bike lane. Cyclists are travelling down the hill, going fast, and making it difficult for motorists to accurately judge speed. Painting the shared space blue would help to remind both cyclists and motorists that they are entering a possible conflict zone.
4.3. Intersection with 16 Ave NW
The northbound right turn lane encourages high speed turns and there is little regard for slow moving cyclists (it is still a hill there) which must cross the turn lane. A sign, "Yield to cyclists in bike lane" may help, or perhaps blue paint in areas where motorized traffic will be crossing the bike lanes.
When crossing 16 Ave NW northbound, the roadway jogs to the west, motorists tend to go straight, which puts one wheel into the bike lane when it resumes on the north. In summer this is not too bad, but in winter with snow and ice near the curb, there is not much room to maneuver.
4.4. Bus lanes
At the intersection with 16 Ave NW, cyclists use the bus lane as a bike box. Normally this works well, but some cyclists pass the stopped buses, on either the left or right side, neither of which is a safe practise. There are some times when the bus will wait at the stop; it is a timing point. This means that cyclists must pass and need to either "take the lane" to the left and then reenter the bike lane ahead of the bus, of pass unsafely. It may be difficult to tell is a bus is waiting, or just slow off the mark.
Buses have an "Advance Green" signal and an "Advance Green" bike signal has been added. The southbound lane allows cyclists to proceed, but quickly changes to a northbound left turn signal, possibly creating a conflict if a cyclist is slow to get through the intersection. Perhaps having a cyclist stop during the left turn part of the cycle would help.
4.5. From 16 Ave to 20 Ave
There are several alleyways just north of 16 Ave and motorists often try to turn left into them. Being so close to the intersection this causes lots of traffic snarls. Restricting left turns there may be a good idea.
4.6. Access/Exit to the South end of the Lanes
It may be unclear/difficult for a northbound cyclist to get into the lanes as the access via 4 Ave and the alley is not obvious or intuiitive.
5. Security Concerns
Snow and ice removal and gravel sweeping this past winter has been good. There are a couple of spots where the lane is a little narrower and the plow operator did not want to pile snow on the sidewalk, so the bike lane was half unusable.
Gravel tends to accumulate at the alley exits southbound between 16 Ave and 20 Ave.
There is no curb cut where the Sunnyside Pathway joins the route. So far, vehicles parking in the bike lanes have not been a problem. The few instances have been taxis and delivery trucks (UPS).
Many cyclists turn left from 5 Ave NW onto northbound 10 St. It would be great if something could be done to start the bike lane at the 5 Ave intersection.
Overall this is a good, useful piece of bike infrastucture. This is a route I would recomend to an "interested but concerned" transportation cyclist.