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Northfield / 85 Exchange upgrades?
#16
(07-23-2016, 11:57 PM)timc Wrote:
(07-23-2016, 07:20 PM)danbrotherston Wrote: Loss of lanes?  What lanes are lost?  It was four lanes, two each direction before, I believe it is the same after.  

Is it though? Northfield was four lanes before. There are now two sets of rails running down the centre, sidewalks on both sides (only one side had a sidewalk before), and I believe bike lanes were in the plan as well. How can four lanes of traffic also be maintained without widening the bridge?

I think that and more is answered in this report. The short answer is by eliminating the turning lanes that were there before. (See Street View.)
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#17
I don't know but they are. Clearly there was a lot of extra space on the bridge. At least one lane comes from the removed left turn lanes. There is also an enormous merge lane that I imagine is being removed. Regardless all the designs I've seen indicate four through lanes.
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#18
(07-23-2016, 11:16 AM)Canard Wrote: As much as I like the idea of a trail between the tracks for photo ops and LRV viewing, I think the safety aspect would probably quash that idea pretty quick - even with fences. It'd be a long walk with very high safety fences on both sides. I hate the term, but it would be the epitome of "hostile to pedestrians".

Uh, I’m talking about an amply-wide path between two LRT lanes. This is not in any way a safety hazard, and wouldn’t require any more safety fences than any other place the sidewalk runs next to an LRT lane (e.g., King St. in Uptown Waterloo). The sidewalks that are planned are much more dangerous — sandwiched between the edge of the bridge and a high-traffic vehicular lane, probably with no barrier other than a 15cm curb. Furthermore, the sidewalks will cross the expressway ramps at a point where motorists won’t be used to seeing lots of pedestrians. With my idea, all pedestrian crossings of general traffic would occur at signals. And I didn’t develop it down to the level of what sort of barrier would be provided, but I would suggest the same barrier between the pedestrian path and the LRT as at the edge of the bridge — essentially a handrail.

In short, while I welcome any explanation or clarification you can provide, I cannot understand at all why you would bring up a safety issue with my idea, nor can I understand why you would consider being between two LRT lanes to be more hostile to pedestrians than being right next to a general traffic lane. LRT lanes are usually empty, after all, even when they are carrying many more people than a regular lane can.

But my real complaint is that my suggestion apparently didn’t even warrant a response. Now arguably I would be even more annoyed with a nonsense response that clearly didn’t engage with the idea, which is what I typically expect to get, but I got nothing — not even an indication that anybody read it.
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#19
Whoah whoa! Sorry - I certainly didn't mean to sound like I was criticizing your idea.  I guess I was, though - I was just saying that I don't think it's a good idea (and the rail safety folks I'm sure would agree) to have a pedestrian path between two lanes of train tracks, with trains going by at 80 km/h.  At the very least, you'll need 1.5 m fences on both sides (so you'll be walking in a "tunnel" of fences - imagine the safety concerns there at night?  Would you feel safe?) and if it's running from either side of the bridge that's like a half a kilometre span with no breaks.  And you can't just put a pedestrian crosswalk anywhere on Northfield - it'll have to run as a narrow fenced path from the railway crossing at the Northfield station (a pedestrian crosswalk is going here) probably over to Colby Drive.

   

As for it being "more safe" than walking on a sidewalk on an overpass on a posted 60 km/h road... I don't buy that either. I've never felt unsafe walking on the wide sidewalks on Frederick where it crosses the Conestoga Parkway and that's about the same thing.

...unless I'm totally misunderstanding your proposal?
For daily ion construction updates, photos and general urban rail news, follow me on twitter! @Canardiain
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#20
(07-24-2016, 08:46 AM)Canard Wrote: Whoah whoa! Sorry - I certainly didn't mean to sound like I was criticizing your idea.  I guess I was, though - I was just saying that I don't think it's a good idea (and the rail safety folks I'm sure would agree) to have a pedestrian path between two lanes of train tracks, with trains going by at 80 km/h.  At the very least, you'll need 1.5 m fences on both sides (so you'll be walking in a "tunnel" of fences - imagine the safety concerns there at night?  Would you feel safe?) and if it's running from either side of the bridge that's like a half a kilometre span with no breaks.  And you can't just put a pedestrian crosswalk anywhere on Northfield - it'll have to run as a narrow fenced path from the railway crossing at the Northfield station (a pedestrian crosswalk is going here) probably over to Colby Drive.



As for it being "more safe" than walking on a sidewalk on an overpass on a posted 60 km/h road... I don't buy that either.  I've never felt unsafe walking on the wide sidewalks on Frederick where it crosses the Conestoga Parkway and that's about the same thing.

...unless I'm totally misunderstanding your proposal?

Frederick doesn't have ramps, and is only two lanes, and traffic moves slower, and there's fewer trucks.  I don't think its fair to compare them.

I think you're right about the social safety issue, but it is mostly because of the fencing you think is required, but I don't think it would be, it's only required on the other sections through the park because freight, regulations, bla bla bla, it's "different" in some special way.

Without the fence, it's probably a reasonable suggestion, but it may still *feel* more scary than walking on a traditional sidewalk, for no other reason than that it is unusual.  You are equally trapped in the middle of a highway interchange overpass whether you are on the edge or in the middle.  You just might not feel equally trapped.
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#21
(07-24-2016, 08:46 AM)Canard Wrote: Whoah whoa! Sorry - I certainly didn't mean to sound like I was criticizing your idea.  I guess I was, though - I was just saying that I don't think it's a good idea (and the rail safety folks I'm sure would agree) to have a pedestrian path between two lanes of train tracks, with trains going by at 80 km/h.  At the very least, you'll need 1.5 m fences on both sides (so you'll be walking in a "tunnel" of fences - imagine the safety concerns there at night?  Would you feel safe?) and if it's running from either side of the bridge that's like a half a kilometre span with no breaks.  And you can't just put a pedestrian crosswalk anywhere on Northfield - it'll have to run as a narrow fenced path from the railway crossing at the Northfield station (a pedestrian crosswalk is going here) probably over to Colby Drive.



As for it being "more safe" than walking on a sidewalk on an overpass on a posted 60 km/h road... I don't buy that either.  I've never felt unsafe walking on the wide sidewalks on Frederick where it crosses the Conestoga Parkway and that's about the same thing.

...unless I'm totally misunderstanding your proposal?

From your diagram it appears you understand it just fine, with the slight caveat that Kumpf is supposed to be right-in/right-out so the end of the setup would actually be at the Spur Line crossing, although I haven’t worked out the exact details where the LRT line turns the corner. Presumably the centre-of-road path would cross the southbound LRT track where it curves. It might also branch to also continue between the two LRT tracks across the eastbound traffic on Northfield and down to the LRT platform.

I don’t see why you think substantial fences would be needed. If a railing is enough at the edge of the bridge then it should be sufficient to separate from an LRT lane, especially given the total absence of any desire lines crossing the tracks.

I have to give you points though — you’ve already thought about my idea way more than any Regional staff ever did (apparently).
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#22
(07-24-2016, 09:59 AM)danbrotherston Wrote:
(07-24-2016, 08:46 AM)Canard Wrote: Whoah whoa! Sorry - I certainly didn't mean to sound like I was criticizing your idea.  I guess I was, though - I was just saying that I don't think it's a good idea (and the rail safety folks I'm sure would agree) to have a pedestrian path between two lanes of train tracks, with trains going by at 80 km/h.  At the very least, you'll need 1.5 m fences on both sides (so you'll be walking in a "tunnel" of fences - imagine the safety concerns there at night?  Would you feel safe?) and if it's running from either side of the bridge that's like a half a kilometre span with no breaks.  And you can't just put a pedestrian crosswalk anywhere on Northfield - it'll have to run as a narrow fenced path from the railway crossing at the Northfield station (a pedestrian crosswalk is going here) probably over to Colby Drive.



As for it being "more safe" than walking on a sidewalk on an overpass on a posted 60 km/h road... I don't buy that either.  I've never felt unsafe walking on the wide sidewalks on Frederick where it crosses the Conestoga Parkway and that's about the same thing.

...unless I'm totally misunderstanding your proposal?

Frederick doesn't have ramps, and is only two lanes, and traffic moves slower, and there's fewer trucks.  I don't think its fair to compare them.

I think you're right about the social safety issue, but it is mostly because of the fencing you think is required, but I don't think it would be, it's only required on the other sections through the park because freight, regulations, bla bla bla, it's "different" in some special way.

Without the fence, it's probably a reasonable suggestion, but it may still *feel* more scary than walking on a traditional sidewalk, for no other reason than that it is unusual.  You are equally trapped in the middle of a highway interchange overpass whether you are on the edge or in the middle.  You just might not feel equally trapped.

Thanks for your comments, which make a lot of sense to me. I agree my idea is unusual. One of the big problems with planning right now is that everything is checked against the manual, rather than actually thinking about it and considering whether a plan is a good fit for the specific situation. To me, having to cross highway ramps makes a route highly undesireable. I’d much rather cross halfway at a traffic light and then take a fully-protected path across the bridge.
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#23
What you're forgetting is that there are different operational modes to Light Rail. Yes, when it's on Caroline, it's right next to a sidewalk. It's also moving at 20-30 km/h. With no fences or signalling. When moving in a dedicated, railway right of way, it's 80 km/h and the railway protocol takes over and you need all sorts of fences and barriers and signals.

The segment on Northfield is slated for 60-70 km/h operations. If you were to put people right next to the tracks, you'd need to drop the speed to 30 km/h if you wanted no fence. Otherwise, 1.5m high minimum.

To me, that's a bad move. YMMV.
For daily ion construction updates, photos and general urban rail news, follow me on twitter! @Canardiain
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#24
(07-24-2016, 01:15 PM)Canard Wrote: What you're forgetting is that there are different operational modes to Light Rail. Yes, when it's on Caroline, it's right next to a sidewalk. It's also moving at 20-30 km/h. When moving in a dedicated, railway right of way, it's 80 km/h and the railway protocol takes over and you need all sorts of fences and barriers and signals.

The segment on Northfield is slated for 60-70 km/h operations. If you were to put people right next to the tracks, you'd need to drop the speed to 30 km/h.

To me, that's a bad move. YMMV.

I'm not forgetting, I simply have a different understanding of the "different modes".  As far as I understand, there are only two, one where it's governed by railway ish rules, and one where it's governed by road ish rules.  

When it's operating in a roadway right of way, I believe it's governed by road rules, including, specifically, speed limits.

On Caroline, it is limited to the road's speed limit of 50km/h.  I don't believe it's limited to 20-30 km/h.  Same for all roads it travels on, including Northfield, where it would be limited to the road speed limit of 60 km/h.

Only when operating in a railway ROW do the railway rules apply, so far as I understand.
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#25
It WAS widened, if I'm remembering correctly. That was the very first work that started happening on the bridge. I think they may have only widened one of the sides though.
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#26
They didn't widen it; they just had to shore up the sloping earth bits on each side of the Conestoga Parkway a bit. The "sidewalks" on the deck sides are exactly where they were before the project started; it's not like they built wing extensions or something on the sides.

I misspoke before; it will have two lanes in each direction still; my bad.
For daily ion construction updates, photos and general urban rail news, follow me on twitter! @Canardiain
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#27
(07-23-2016, 10:34 AM)ijmorlan Wrote: Unfortunately they didn’t take seriously my suggestion that instead of sidewalks across the bridge there should be a single wide multi-use trail running between the two LRT tracks (and no “side” walks at all). This would run from the point where the LRT tracks swing onto Northfield all the way to Conestogo Rd. and would eliminate conflicts between traffic using the expressway ramps and pedestrian/cycle traffic. Note that the trail would not cross any other lane -– regular traffic or LRT – between a point near the Waterloo Spur and Conestogo Rd. Overall pedestrians would have to make either the same or a smaller number of crossings of traffic as they will in the actual plan (depending on their route), and these crossings would take place at signal-controlled safe locations.

While MUT trails are a great resource for cyclists where appropriate, they constitute undue hazards and a lack of accessibility for others when not meeting the required planning act provisions.  MUT are NOT replacements for sidewalks. Placing only a trail down the middle of the road would be in contravention of the Ontario Planning Act, 1990 (Revised) as well as the Official Plan of the City of Waterloo and the Region of Waterloo. 

Here is an example for the City of Toronto. I could not find the City of Waterloo statement but they too must be compliant with the AODA and the approved Official City plans.

City of Toronto – Briefing Note on Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (herein referred to as AODA) section on the Design of Public Spaces Standards (Accessibility Standards for the Built Environment).

In December 2012 the Province of Ontario proclaimed the Design of Public Spaces Standards (Accessibility Standards for the Built Environment), Part IV.1 of Ontario Regulation 191/11, Integrated Accessibility Standards (herein referred to as the Standard).  The regulation is law as of January 2013 and governs the provision of public infrastructure including sidewalks, walkways, stairs, curb ramps, tactile walking surfaces, pedestrian signals and parking spaces. A standard for interior spaces is still in development and will be integrated into the Ontario Building Code.

The Standard applies to all newly constructed or redeveloped infrastructure and and the City of Toronto must be in compliance by January 1, 2016."

O. Reg. 191/11: INTEGRATED ACCESSIBILITY STANDARDS under Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005, S.O. 2005, c. 11]O. Reg. 191/11: INTEGRATED ACCESSIBILITY STANDARDS under Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005, S.O. 2005, c. 11]O. Reg. 191/11: INTEGRATED ACCESSIBILITY STANDARDS under Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005, S.O. 2005, c. 11
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#28
(07-28-2016, 05:29 PM)MacBerry Wrote:
(07-23-2016, 10:34 AM)ijmorlan Wrote: Unfortunately they didn’t take seriously my suggestion that instead of sidewalks across the bridge there should be a single wide multi-use trail running between the two LRT tracks (and no “side” walks at all). This would run from the point where the LRT tracks swing onto Northfield all the way to Conestogo Rd. and would eliminate conflicts between traffic using the expressway ramps and pedestrian/cycle traffic. Note that the trail would not cross any other lane -– regular traffic or LRT – between a point near the Waterloo Spur and Conestogo Rd. Overall pedestrians would have to make either the same or a smaller number of crossings of traffic as they will in the actual plan (depending on their route), and these crossings would take place at signal-controlled safe locations.

While MUT trails are a great resource for cyclists where appropriate, they constitute undue hazards and a lack of accessibility for others when not meeting the required planning act provisions.  MUT are NOT replacements for sidewalks. Placing only a trail down the middle of the road would be in contravention of the Ontario Planning Act, 1990 (Revised) as well as the Official Plan of the City of Waterloo and the Region of Waterloo. 

It had occurred to me that having separate lanes for bicycles in each direction, plus a pedestrian lane, would be a good idea. So your observation in no way invalidates the concept, it merely points out some necessary design considerations. The point is to take advantage of the fact that there is absolutely no traffic crossing the space between the two tracks for a long distance to put non-vehicular traffic in that space. Next I suppose somebody will complain that I haven’t explained exactly how bikes are supposed to get on and off the centre path at each end. Well, I don’t have a detailed design. I have an idea. And I haven’t seen any serious attempt at explaining a fundamental problem with the idea. There is, however, a fundamental problem with what is actually being built: pedestrians must walk immediately next to regular vehicular lanes and cross expressway on- and off-ramps, and I don’t even know what if any provision is being made for bicycles.

Hmmm, it just occurred to me that if we take what you wrote literally, then all those places on Fischer-Hallman and Weber where the “sidewalk” is actually a MUT are in contravention as well. Not sure what to think of that…
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#29
(07-28-2016, 05:36 PM)ijmorlan Wrote:
(07-28-2016, 05:29 PM)MacBerry Wrote: While MUT trails are a great resource for cyclists where appropriate, they constitute undue hazards and a lack of accessibility for others when not meeting the required planning act provisions.  MUT are NOT replacements for sidewalks. Placing only a trail down the middle of the road would be in contravention of the Ontario Planning Act, 1990 (Revised) as well as the Official Plan of the City of Waterloo and the Region of Waterloo. 

Hmmm, it just occurred to me that if we take what you wrote literally, then all those places on Fischer-Hallman and Weber where the “sidewalk” is actually a MUT are in contravention as well. Not sure what to think of that…

In fact they will be. Right now they are temporary walkways to keep people from walking on the roadway or in the construction area.

The current temporary construction pathways there will have to be replaced with sidewalks that meet the Ontario Building Code and the AODA.
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#30
(07-28-2016, 05:36 PM)ijmorlan Wrote:
(07-28-2016, 05:29 PM)MacBerry Wrote: While MUT trails are a great resource for cyclists where appropriate, they constitute undue hazards and a lack of accessibility for others when not meeting the required planning act provisions.  MUT are NOT replacements for sidewalks. Placing only a trail down the middle of the road would be in contravention of the Ontario Planning Act, 1990 (Revised) as well as the Official Plan of the City of Waterloo and the Region of Waterloo. 

Hmmm, it just occurred to me that if we take what you wrote literally, then all those places on Fischer-Hallman and Weber where the “sidewalk” is actually a MUT are in contravention as well. Not sure what to think of that…

I have not driven by the new Weber Street section with intent to notice the path of travel off the roadway. If I remember correctly there is a park on the east side of Weber where the road curves. I believe that MUTs are allowed as surfaces within parks so you may be correct on the Weber Street east side but only for the short section that traverses the park.
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