Problems [and Solutions] on 10 Ave SW

Changes to the setup of the bike route on 10 Ave SW at the end of October prompted extensive discussion between Bike Calgary and the Transportation Department. Since the change added space on the road dedicated for cyclists, Bike Calgary overall found the changes to be positive at the time. Nevertheless, even before the paint went on the street, we put forward a number of concerns.  They included:

  • Lack of accommodations for cyclists at the 10 Ave/14 St SW intersection
  • Lack of pavement markings indicating that the WB lane is to be shared between cars and cyclists outside of the 3:30-6pm commute hour, when the bike lane is in effect.
  • Sharrows on the EB side of 10 Ave should not be placed in the door zone.
  • Concern that drivers will disregard the driving and parking restrictions in the floating bike lane, and the need for information, monitoring, and enforcement.

The City at the time assured Bike Calgary that our concerns would be taken into account, if not at the time of implementation, at least when the changes are reviewed next year, and that the use or misuse of the bike lane would be monitored and infractions enforced.

No changes were made to the initial plan, and cyclists now have no accommodation at the 10 Ave/14 St intersection, there are no sharrows on the north side of 10 Ave, and sharrows on the south side were placed in the door zone.  There are no signs instructing drivers to yield to cyclists when merging into the bike lane, and the city's information page on the 10 Ave SW bike route contains no such information either.  We expect these problems to be fixed when the changes are reviewed next year.

Although initially motorists seemed to for the most part obey the driving and parking restrictions in the floating bike lane during afternoon commute hours, the situation has deteriorated significantly after lighted information signs were removed and as cycling traffic has decreased with snow and lower temperatures. A youtube video posted yesterday by Cyclepalooza Calgary shows that the bike lane is well-used despite winter conditions: Even in the middle of December, over 5% of rush-hour traffic on 10 Ave consists of cyclists. 

However:

  • Drivers disobey the driving restrictions at an alarming rate. About 25% of car traffic uses the bike lane to skip car lineups leading up to bottlenecks at the intersections with 4, 5, 8, and 14 St SW.
  • Drivers regularly turn into the bike lane off 4, 5, and 8 Streets, and when exiting parking lots and garages. Even more dangerous is the apparently commonplace practice of exiting the driving lane impatiently to enter the bike lane, often without signaling.
  • Despite 10 Ave being a major cycling route, snow clearing of the bike lane and the EB curb lane is spotty at best.
  • There is no indication that cars parked or stopped illegally in the bike lane are ticketed or towed by the Calgary Parking Authority, despite repeated requests to do so.
  • There is no indication that the Calgary Police Service monitors or enforces the driving restrictions in the floating bike lane during the afternoon commute hour, despite repeated requests to do so.

Bike Calgary has brought the issues to the City's attention again. It remains to be seen if stepped-up enforcement of the floating bike lane and other small changes can make 10 Ave SW safe and usable for cyclists. The situation now, however, highlights significant concerns with the implementation of the 10 Ave floating bike lane.

Forums: 

The Herald just reported that

The Herald just reported that Calgary Police Service is now reacting to this, largely in part because of the complaints by cyclists. The article quotes Bike Calgary directors Richard Zach and Cate Hydeman, specifically. Great job to all the members here that took the time to voice their concerns to the City and CPS -- clearly it has at least brought the problem into the limelight, and it looks as thought CPS might finally respond in force.

http://blogs.calgaryherald.com/2011/12/16/calgary-police-launch-campaign-against-illegal-drivers-in-10th-avenue-s-w-bike-lane/

 

Thanks

Thanks to Bike Calgary directors, volunteers, bloggers, etc etc for raising awareness of this specific issue and supporting/representing all the cycling commuters out there.  It's nice to have a positive unified approach and voice for the media to reference.

RW

10th Ave S - Please Let us Know

Our volunteers have put a lot of effort into this and they deserve credit for the work they've done. Bike Calgary will continue to work constructively to ensure that cycle facilities on 10th Avenue S meet the need of cyclists. Please continue providing feedback on whether this cycle facility is meeting your needs, particularly as CPS steps up enforcement. Have you seen CPS enforcing the traffic/parking restriction? Did their effort make a difference or did the situation stay the same? Thanks.

No change at 5PM

I don't know when the targeted education efforts were underway but around 5 PM there were a number of parked cars around 3 St SW, vehicles driving multiple blocks in the bike lane, and cars in the lane just after 11 St well before the lane end marking.

Change at 5:15PM

When I went through on Friday evening, one person from the Calgary Parking Authority was talking to motorists attempting to park between 2 and 4 Streets.  I counted 5 parked cars in this stretch - only two were occupied.  A tow truck was across the avenue, but, at that time, no vehicles were being towed.  

I saw one member from the CPS in the parking lot immediately west of 4 Street talking to motorists in their cars.  Presumably the motorists were pulled out of the bike lane and into the parking lot for an education session.  

At the 5 Street red light, I turned around to take a picture of the car sitting right behind me, but it turned out too terribly to share. 

I'm hoping this wasn't a one day attempt at education and enforcement.  Will update on Monday.

Sign

Reposting hydec's picture of the City's sign. Before we blame motorists *too* much, try to imagine what this would mean to you if you had no idea there was supposed to be a part-time bike-lane downtown.

 

fix?

Perhaps if the City or someone put some duct tape across the first line of the sign, it might actually make some sense.

Monday

I rode onto 10 Avenue S this evening around 5:20. Starting at 2nd Street, the motor traffic was backing up and it was my first clue that the CPS was there. From there to 7 Street I saw, two CPS vans, and five officers. I stopped to speak to three of them. Most drivers they have 'educated' were already aware of the bike lane. Some were not. The officers that saw the sign Mike posted above agreed that it was ambiguous and could be improved - asked for me to say that actually. This route has been deemed high priority for patrol and the officers expect to be there for the remainder of this week and possibly until the end of the year. One interesting issue was raised by one of the officers - he said he looked and looked and looked for the actual traffic violation related to driving in a bike lane. Doesn't appear to exist in Calgary. The violation that does apply, and the one that he was using for 'education' purposes, was ignoring traffic control measures (signage and white paint). Anyone know if a specific one exists? Lastly, they said they will continue to be there as long as they are aware of the issue. Let's make sure they also know when it is working.

Unlawful Under Calgary Traffic Bylaw

The Calgary Traffic Bylaw explicitly defines bicycles as a high occupancy vehicle (HOV) (Section 2.1(q.2)), and HOV lanes to be designated by appropriate traffic control devices during all or part of the day. 

Section 36.1(3) of the act states:

"No person shall operate any vehicle other than a High Occupancy Vehicle in a designated High Occupancy Vehicle lane."

Section 36.1(6) further states:

"Any vehicle stopped or parked in a designated High Occupancy Vehicle lane contrary to the provisions of this Bylaw may be removed and stored by the City and any costs incurred in removing and storing the vehicle shall be recoverable pursuant to Section 58."

 

 Thanks for all your work on this Cate. Glad to hear it is going to make such a big difference.

 

flashing signs

I saw this evening that there are at least two large flashing signs (one west of 8th Street and one just west of 14th street) that read "bike lane/3:30-6:00pm/watch for bikes" (or similar). I think they went for a bit of irony by parking them in the bike lane itself for bikes to dodge, but definitely forced cars out of the lane. Anyway, a much better and clearer sign than the orange ones.

Thursday

I cycled on the Thursday the YouTube video was made and was cut off twice by cars.  Since they put the lights in at 14 Street & 10 Avenue S, most days the traffic is backed up in the bike lane from 14 street to 11th street.  I now turn onto 11 street and cut through Millenium Park to get to the bike path.  It's a slower but feels safer.  I think that might change when the work across 9 avenue is finished and more cars will be back on 11 Street. 

How many people still regularly cycle the west bound stretch from 11th to 14 street during 5pm rush hour?

I noticed the problem with snow on 10 Avenue S.  A lot of snow and gravel is tracked on to 10 avenue from all the parking lots on the north side of the Avenue.  The east bound lane is always in much better shape. 

 

Semi-regular

Because 11 St. becomes a mess at 7 Ave., I continue to try my luck down 10 Ave. to 14 St. to connect to the Bow MUP.  I've been passing the cars on the left and reentering the bike lane where it 'ends' (i.e. where the lane markings turn to dashed) a half block back from the 14 St. lights - although a sign by Community Foods indicates that the bike lane ends there, even though the lane markings continue for another block (more confusing signage!).  I think that three block section will need a separated bike lane (concrete dividers) or an off street path if it is going to work.  Then the next issue is what it connects to - i.e. the narrow sidewalk along 14 St.  under 9 Ave. 

I try the pumphouse route in

I try the pumphouse route in the fall and didn't like all the traffice that comes on 10th Ave at 18 street. 

BTW the bike police were out tonight on 10 Avenue tonight.  I'm really impressed with their effort.  Thanks to the police and everyone here for making 10 Avenue a good route to cycle. 

Close Call - 10 Ave. bike lane

There were plenty of impatient drivers on 10 Ave today.  Here's a close call just ahead of me courtesy of a brown Toyota Sienna AB ZMV 249.  Video at http://youtu.be/iomuNGO1oHE if not embedded below.  Also emailed to CPS. 

Cyclist ahead of me battling for lane space

Brutal

Seems pretty obvious to me that this floating bike lane idea should probably be sunk in favor of a real bike lane.

Take the lane!

If there was ever a time take the lane, it's in the bike lane! Wow. I can't believe the irresponsible driving. Hope you file a full report with the CPS as emailing a video might not go anywhere.

Have "Rumble Strips" been suggested already?

Since the 10th Ave lane is never a driving lane (parking or cycling only) what about adding highway style rumble strips as a "friendly" reminder to drivers who might not be aware of the bike lane, or a "grumpy" reminder to drivers who are intentionally violating the lane? For parking vehicles, I don't think this would be an issue, either and would act as a pseudo-barrier without need for massive concrete grade separation? 

-Ben

Signs up

Not sure how long it's been there, but there's a HUGE sign reminding people of the floating bike lane. Of course this is still being ignored. Hopefully this is an educational phase to be followed by some actual enforcement. A girl can dream, right?