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Commuting trends: transit vs driving vs ...
#21
(11-30-2017, 05:34 PM)creative Wrote: Dan how can you comment on my situation if you do not have kids. I was just explaining my scenario and as you usually do you immediately attacked me and disagreed with me without being able to personally be able to compare apples to apples. I don't live in the suburbs which you seem to imply for some reason. I live a 3 minute drive from downtown Kitchener and 7 minutes to downtown Waterloo and have no difficulty finding parking. My point in my original post that people need to realize that everyone's personal situation is different. I did not attack those that cycle and take transit. I merely tried to explain my situation and for some reason I get attacked for doing so because you disagree with me.

First of all, I am sorry that you feel I was attacking you.  I did not "attack you"....I barely "attacked" your position.  I disagreed with your point, I wrote no personal attack, nor do I feel I was harsh in disagreeing with the position you took.

You explained your personal scenario, then claimed to apply it broadly as "many people have busy lives which prevent them from taking transit or cycling".  Frankly, I have a busy life, I'm providing a counterpoint that I get by just fine biking most of the time, I don't find it a problem making multiple stops, nor traveling with people.

And a point for you and also Canard, I bike as my primary mode, but as I said, I also use cars when needed.  If I'm making a big shopping trip or traveling out of the region to an area with poor public transit and easy driving, I'll drive a car.

I'm not demonizing driving, and I'm not demonizing those who have to drive.  I am just pointing out that I don't see biking (and to a lesser extent) transit is not a hardship or "commendable sacrifice".

I know you said that you lived downtown, my point was, if you live in the suburbs, it is substantially harder to get by without a car than in the core.  Location matters, some places are more friendly to biking or transit or walking than others.  So many people have a lack of perspective, they see their neighbourhood, and don't really imagine the ways in which it differs from others.
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#22
I haven't had time to delve into the census data yet, but I am having trouble understanding how the proportion taking transit as their primary mode has gone up despite the fact that GRT ridership was 19.7 million in 2011 (the previous census) and was 19.7 million for this census (2016).

I guess that means fewer ad-hoc riders and more dedicated riders?
Everyone move to the back of the bus and we all get home faster.
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#23
(11-30-2017, 10:42 PM)Pheidippides Wrote: I haven't had time to delve into the census data yet, but I am having trouble understanding how the proportion taking transit as their primary mode has gone up despite the fact that GRT ridership was 19.7 million in 2011 (the previous census) and was 19.7 million for this census (2016).

I guess that means fewer ad-hoc riders and more dedicated riders?

One viable explanation would be fewer student riders and more adult ones.
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#24
I think I might be the only person in the world who doesn't have a "busy life." I mean, I have obligations for my job (which include showing up for it, among other things), but not much else. I do have kids, but they don't do all that much. Swimming lessons and so on. Our rec centre isn't all that far. There's a park around the corner.

Sorry for the digression. Unfortunately, I know that the perfect system probably has to take account other people, and not just me. Oh well!

The median commute in this country is apparently now 7.7km. A commuter on a bike can do that in probably about half an hour around here without worrying too much about getting sweaty or over-exerting himself. I don't really think it's the distances involved.

We've all seen the charts from different parts of the world (some very analogous to here, culturally and otherwise) showing that bicycle commuters and potential commuters fall into a few different categories, the largest being "interested but concerned [about their safety]." These are the people we should be designing the infrastructure for- not the assertive cyclists who are comfortable or even happier in mixed traffic, and not the "no way no how" people who feel that they "have" to drive. If they feel that way, that's okay.

The perception of safety is what's important. We need to stop using paint and start separating cars from traffic. I have coworkers who do bike (who have kids, and probably busy lives, unlike mine), but they're the ones who happen to live right near a trail and can avoid cars for the most part. This is my situation- when I bike, I don't do it because I really like it, I do it because it's cheap and the trail lets me do it in relative safety.

I have other coworkers, on the other hand, who don't live much further away, who might bike at least part of the week during parts of the year, but don't because it would mean spending some time on a street like Victoria or Weber. They openly laugh at things like the green paint force field on Northfield near the expressway onramp, and wonder why we bother with that.

My reasonable and achievable proposal would be to find the most common short-ish (less than the median) commutes in the region, and start installing separated bike paths on them. I'm thinking streets like Weber, Victoria when Highway 7 opens (politically I think that would be possible), Northfield, University, one of either Bridgeport or Erb- and any other four lane street whose traffic volumes could be accommodated with two lanes and a turning lane.

Someone who lives in the suburbs near RIM Park can bike to St. Jacob's. University could easily accommodate real bicycling infrastructure, instead of the line on the road it has now. Something like that should be politically very achievable.
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#25
Speaking of segregated bike lanes, the Region of Waterloo is planning a pilot next summer and running some public consultations. I'll be at the Tuesday one. Bring all your friends!

https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/separated-bi...ailordconf

(They are happening on Tuesday, December 12 at the Albert McCormick Community Centre and Thursday, December 14 at the Main Branch of the Waterloo Public Library.)
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#26
(12-01-2017, 09:13 AM)MidTowner Wrote: The perception of safety is what's important. We need to stop using paint and start separating cars from traffic. I have coworkers who do bike (who have kids, and probably busy lives, unlike mine), but they're the ones who happen to live right near a trail and can avoid cars for the most part. This is my situation- when I bike, I don't do it because I really like it, I do it because it's cheap and the trail lets me do it in relative safety.

I have other coworkers, on the other hand, who don't live much further away, who might bike at least part of the week during parts of the year, but don't because it would mean spending some time on a street like Victoria or Weber. They openly laugh at things like the green paint force field on Northfield near the expressway onramp, and wonder why we bother with that.

My reasonable and achievable proposal would be to find the most common short-ish (less than the median) commutes in the region, and start installing separated bike paths on them. I'm thinking streets like Weber, Victoria when Highway 7 opens (politically I think that would be possible), Northfield, University, one of either Bridgeport or Erb- and any other four lane street whose traffic volumes could be accommodated with two lanes and a turning lane.

You mention Northfield, Victoria, Weber.  These are all major streets (maybe all regional roads, too), and really need some bicycling infrastructure to be comfortable for casual cyclists (who I agree we need to target). But how about residential streets, are they OK without infrastructure? If yes, where and how do we draw the line?  That should enable us to have a map of comfortably bike-able streets and trails, and then identify the key gaps, rather than looking at just the trails.

Or is the idea if bicycling (without infrastructure) on residential streets unreasonable?
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#27
(12-01-2017, 11:53 AM)tomh009 Wrote:
(12-01-2017, 09:13 AM)MidTowner Wrote: The perception of safety is what's important. We need to stop using paint and start separating cars from traffic. I have coworkers who do bike (who have kids, and probably busy lives, unlike mine), but they're the ones who happen to live right near a trail and can avoid cars for the most part. This is my situation- when I bike, I don't do it because I really like it, I do it because it's cheap and the trail lets me do it in relative safety.

I have other coworkers, on the other hand, who don't live much further away, who might bike at least part of the week during parts of the year, but don't because it would mean spending some time on a street like Victoria or Weber. They openly laugh at things like the green paint force field on Northfield near the expressway onramp, and wonder why we bother with that.

My reasonable and achievable proposal would be to find the most common short-ish (less than the median) commutes in the region, and start installing separated bike paths on them. I'm thinking streets like Weber, Victoria when Highway 7 opens (politically I think that would be possible), Northfield, University, one of either Bridgeport or Erb- and any other four lane street whose traffic volumes could be accommodated with two lanes and a turning lane.

You mention Northfield, Victoria, Weber.  These are all major streets (maybe all regional roads, too), and really need some bicycling infrastructure to be comfortable for casual cyclists (who I agree we need to target). But how about residential streets, are they OK without infrastructure? If yes, where and how do we draw the line?  That should enable us to have a map of comfortably bike-able streets and trails, and then identify the key gaps, rather than looking at just the trails.

Or is the idea if bicycling (without infrastructure) on residential streets unreasonable?

There are multiple types of residential streets.  Residential collectors like Keats Way and Westheights Dr. are busy enough to need infrastructure, but slow enough that bike lanes are probably comfortable for most users.

Other smaller residential streets are probably fine without.

But that's just my opinion.

What I would say though, is virtually every residential street in the city with only a few exceptions is way overbuilt and encourages dangerous speeds by being so.  These are the streets where people live and children play, they should not be designed for 50-60 km/h speeds.  If they were 30 roads, they'd be safer, and people would be more comfortable biking....but this issue is much larger than just cycling.
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#28
I mentioned those streets because they are the types of major arterials that most commuters take, and they’re where employers are often located. And people commuting by car now are driving down those streets every day, and thinking very sensibly “no way would I bike here.”

To get to those streets, if you live on a residential street, you have to bike on a residential street. I think most people with even just a passing interest in bicycle commuting would generally be comfortable with that.

Insufficient data…I can’t claim to know what a typical person is comfortable with. We’d need to ask people. If it’s a residential street with an average speed pushing sixty kilometres per hour, maybe that’s not going to be comfortable. If it’s a residential street almost only used by its residents, with an average of a hundred cars a day, on which motorists drive slower, I would guess it would be.

We should be able to have a formula of volume and speed and other factors that determine whether a street needs bicycling infrastructure. I would hypothesize that it would be politically more achievable, in the cases where streets are not comfortable, to calm a street generally, than to install that infrastructure. And then we’d get all of the ancillary benefits danbrotherston mentions.
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#29
Downsizing a significant percentage of (non-arterial) residential streets is probably a non-starter even in the medium-long term. Maybe someday, but for now the combination of costs and resident resistance would surely kill any such initiative.

We do have traffic data for city streets. I think I might want to do some data exploration over the holidays to see whether there is another way. Even if your employer is on Weber St, for example, doesn't mean that you need to ride on Weber to get there, if there are other good alternatives. As an existing example, I can ride on Iron Horse Trail rather than on Park or Courtland. A little bit less direct if my employer is on one of those streets, but not that far out of the way. Non-arterial neighbourhood streets could nicely complement a decent trail network.
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#30
I meant data about people’s preferences. We can look at traffic data for a street and make educated guesses about whether most people would be comfortable riding on a street with that volume of traffic, but it’s still a guess.

If your employer is on Weber Street, you really do have to ride on Weber Street to get there, if only for a short distance. I guess the exception would be those workplaces with a smaller street or trail behind (I wonder how many Manulife employees in Waterloo commute by bicycle?). But it’s going to get quickly complicated to try to figure out the back way to get to every major or minor employer in the region. Most are located on arterials because they want people to be able to get to them. Those arterials are by and large overbuilt, and could accommodate protected bike paths. Doing so would provide an immediate safe route for many commuters.

The City of Kitchener did have a map of smaller streets it identified as good for cycling. I have no idea what the criteria for a street’s inclusion were.
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