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Cycling in Waterloo Region
City of Waterloo quarterly cycling email, on the UpTown protected lanes:


  1. shorter crossing distances for cyclists and pedestrians;
  2. continued separation for cyclists (versus having to merge back into traffic);
  3. safer refuge for cyclists to wait at the signals for the lights to change;
  4. off-set crossing locations which provide more time for motorists turning to react and stop when a cyclist/ pedestrian is crossing the street (similar to the crosswalk design at University and King);
  5. more visibility for cyclists/pedestrians as the refuge area is further ahead from vehicles stopped at the light (motorists can look to their side as opposed to over their shoulder) and;
  6. a meandering approach for cyclists entering the intersection which encourages cyclists to slow down before crossing the street.



3. I'm a bit confused. To me, I wonder if how far back from the intersection the cyclists are waiting makes it more likely that a left- or right-turning vehicle will miss them, compared to pedestrians right at the curb.

4. The off-set crossing locations "provide more time for motorists turning to react and stop" similar to Uni/King seems horrible to me. Daily, the more off-set a crosswalk is, the more that drivers who have a stop line behind it tend to drive right over the crosswalk and use either the far crosswalk line, or the curb of the intersecting street as their "stop line" (more often their slow slightly line). It also widens the viewing range a driver has to comb over in order to see crossing vulnerable road users.

5. The refuge area is offset sideways, in order to accommodate the crossing offset from 4., which makes it a less-obvious place for drivers to look, making VRUs more likely to be missed.

6. The meander and speed change, on one hand I think a cyclist moving fast enough that a driver could think they could turn but would hit a cyclist, that kind of speed is more likely to see the cyclist in traffic. The twisting and speed changes make it more likely that a cyclist might alarm pedestrians who think the cyclist is going to run into them, brings the cyclist closer to the pedestrians, and makes pedestrian/cyclist interference more likely. The changing speeds/movements also makes it more likely that a driver misjudges and times their turn improperly; you think a cyclist is going to comfortably ride through, check a different area before judging the correct delay in your turn, but turn into a cyclist who was slowed down, whether your judgement of their clearing time was based on the speed in the cross-ride or protected lane, because of the differential at the transition. Cyclists, drivers, and pedestrians all know that navigating around others is easiest when the others move consistently in direction and speed. When a person stops to tie their shoe, a bike dodges left and right, or a car slows down or switches lanes without warning, our ability to navigate safely around them is very much worsened, not improved, by the change.
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I rode North through Uptown this morning. Two construction crews were blocking the cycling lanes. On the way back I just took Regina as I normally would. I'm passing through and it's faster to take Regina anyway, but there's nothing about the infrastructure there that makes me especially want to ride my bike through the core of Uptown.

In fairness, I avoid the core of Downtown as well, I just don't need the volume of traffic that typically exists in the cores and am able to bypass it. I don't think these lanes serve a real purpose though, and even as a highly visible indicator that cycling in the area is supported by the city they fail terribly.

In theory I'll be riding from Homer Watson and Ottawa area to the Waterloo Manulife office on a regular basis next year, and the fastest route will be along the cores and I'm pretty sure my ride will be relatively unpleasant as a result. In 2016 and 2017 I rode to Bridge and University largely via Lancaster and Bridge and that was overall a very enjoyable ride but there's enough points of genuinely bad infrastructure between those points that I'm worried I'll be discouraged from riding altogether.
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(07-19-2018, 01:17 PM)robdrimmie Wrote: In theory I'll be riding from Homer Watson and Ottawa area to the Waterloo Manulife office on a regular basis next year, and the fastest route will be along the cores and I'm pretty sure my ride will be relatively unpleasant as a result.

A fairly large portion of that trip can be handled by the Iron Horse/Laurel/Forwell trails. Maybe not the most direct, but it is pretty fast.
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(07-19-2018, 01:33 PM)timc Wrote:
(07-19-2018, 01:17 PM)robdrimmie Wrote: In theory I'll be riding from Homer Watson and Ottawa area to the Waterloo Manulife office on a regular basis next year, and the fastest route will be along the cores and I'm pretty sure my ride will be relatively unpleasant as a result.

A fairly large portion of that trip can be handled by the Iron Horse/Laurel/Forwell trails. Maybe not the most direct, but it is pretty fast.

And to avoid the Ottawa/H-W intersection one could head over to Westmount and then take the trail through Concordia & Lakeside parks and then use the Henry Strum trail to connect to the Iron Horse. Not so manageable in the winter but it's nice riding most of the year otherwise. Can also by-pass the henry strum and follow Glen Rd. over to the Highland Courts park and pick up the Iron Horse on Mill street.
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Quote:A fairly large portion of that trip can be handled by the Iron Horse/Laurel/Forwell trails. Maybe not the most direct, but it is pretty fast.

This is especially precious, but I simply don't enjoy riding on the Iron Horse trail through the cores. I'm the sort of cyclist who is easily frustrated by ambling pedestrians and I believe that cyclists shouldn't ride at top speed along the trails because it's unsafe for the other users. And for the past couple of summers as an infrequent user it's always been a crap shoot as to whether or not a stretch will be under construction. I'll go a block or two out of my way to navigate side streets over the Iron Horse, and I assume that the Spur Line is similar. 

Quote:And to avoid the Ottawa/H-W intersection one could head over to Westmount and then take the trail through Concordia & Lakeside parks

During construction of the roundabouts I took exactly that detour, though I took it to Stirling not to the Iron Horse. The routes through the parks were wonderful, but Ottawa's asphalt is garbage along that stretch and Westmount is one of the streets I consider far too unsafe to ride on (along with Weber and Homer Watson and most of King). Coming back along that route is especially unpleasant, crossing to the proper side of Westmount at the trail head at 5:30ish is very difficult, and turning left onto Ottawa immediately after increases the complexity. Now that the roundabout construction has settled I feel much safer crossing at Homer Watson and Ottawa and either taking HW up to Stirling, or continuing along Ottawa to Mill. 

I appreciate both suggestions, thank you.
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I take it you're an advocate of the proposed Strasburg-Avalon bridge, then, as that will get you right to the foot of Stirling...
My Twitter: @KevinLMaps
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(07-19-2018, 02:41 PM)robdrimmie Wrote:
Quote:A fairly large portion of that trip can be handled by the Iron Horse/Laurel/Forwell trails. Maybe not the most direct, but it is pretty fast.

This is especially precious, but I simply don't enjoy riding on the Iron Horse trail through the cores. I'm the sort of cyclist who is easily frustrated by ambling pedestrians and I believe that cyclists shouldn't ride at top speed along the trails because it's unsafe for the other users. And for the past couple of summers as an infrequent user it's always been a crap shoot as to whether or not a stretch will be under construction. I'll go a block or two out of my way to navigate side streets over the Iron Horse, and I assume that the Spur Line is similar.

Yes, these are certainly multi-use trails. Montreal has infrastructure with separate pedestrian and cyclist lanes (segregated by grass). I think the pedestrian was stonedust and cyclist was paved.
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(07-19-2018, 03:13 PM)KevinL Wrote: I take it you're an advocate of the proposed Strasburg-Avalon bridge, then, as that will get you right to the foot of Stirling...

Yeah, absolutely. As long as I work north of where I live, it would provide a significant benefit to my commute. I can empathize with some of the objections, but in general am an advocate of increasing the number of ways to cross the expressway. I think there's a lot of places where a bridge or tunnel would make a big difference. When I was commuting to the eastern side of North Waterloo I had to cross it twice and where to cross was probably the single most important factor in deciding my routing.
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(07-19-2018, 02:41 PM)robdrimmie Wrote:
Quote:And to avoid the Ottawa/H-W intersection one could head over to Westmount and then take the trail through Concordia & Lakeside parks

During construction of the roundabouts I took exactly that detour, though I took it to Stirling not to the Iron Horse. The routes through the parks were wonderful, but Ottawa's asphalt is garbage along that stretch and Westmount is one of the streets I consider far too unsafe to ride on (along with Weber and Homer Watson and most of King). Coming back along that route is especially unpleasant, crossing to the proper side of Westmount at the trail head at 5:30ish is very difficult, and turning left onto Ottawa immediately after increases the complexity. Now that the roundabout construction has settled I feel much safer crossing at Homer Watson and Ottawa and either taking HW up to Stirling, or continuing along Ottawa to Mill. 

I appreciate both suggestions, thank you.

It's one of the few areas I regularly ride on the sidewalks. I also snake through the townhouse on Chandler that has a path to their parking lot to avoid the Westmount/Ottawa intersection. I was riding through there today going up to the sunrise centre and even during midday it is hard to find a gap in traffic to cross Westmount. Shoulders are so wide on Westmount between the expressway and the hydro corridor trails they could just put in a MUP along there so we wouldn't have to sidewalk ride.
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