Pork chops, islands, tracks – digging into London’s new cycle infrastructure

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The town hall defends a new bus stop and a new cycle path design criticized for its potential to cause collisions between cyclists and bus riders.

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The facility – which requires passengers to cross the cycle path to get on and off a bus – will be located where there is no room for separate flows for cycling and public transport.

The recommended design has been used in many other cities, say city hall and a cycling advocate.

“I fully understand the apprehension, but there’s a reason it’s a proven design elsewhere, and there’s a reason London is a test market for things. We are wonderfully normal. If it works elsewhere. . . there’s no reason it can’t work here, ”said Jamieson Roberts, chair of City Council’s Cycling Advisory Committee.

It protects “the most vulnerable road users”, including cyclists and pedestrians, by keeping them out of traffic and cars, he said.

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City Hall and the London Transit Commission (LTC) are preparing public communications on how to navigate the new stops. Cyclists must stop and wait for bus passengers.

Jamieson Roberts, chair of the City Hall Cycling Advisory Committee, rides behind three generations of cyclists - Lisa St. Croix, left, Stacy St. Croix and Max St. Croix, two - at the first intersection of London which uses a concrete island that keeps drivers away from the area, adding protection for cyclists, pedestrians and others who are not in vehicles.  (Mike Hensen / The London Free Press)
Jamieson Roberts, chair of the City Hall Cycling Advisory Committee, rides behind three generations of cyclists – Lisa St. Croix, left, Stacy St. Croix and Max St. Croix, two – at the first intersection of London which uses a concrete island that keeps drivers away from the area, adding protection for cyclists, pedestrians and others who are not in vehicles. (Mike Hensen / The London Free Press)

Daniel Hall, the active transportation manager at City Hall, said that while these campaigns don’t affect everyone, the way the bike path is built will help pass the rules.

“They are designed to intuitively tell cyclists that transit users have the right of way,” he said. The lane will be slightly raised at bus stops and painted with crosswalk markings. Signs will indicate that bus users have priority.

He will present the new design to the Cycling Advisory Committee on Wednesday, and a report will be delivered to the transit commissioners next week.

The new design will be used in the bike lanes being built on Brydges and Wavell streets. It’s a workable compromise there, said LTC chief executive Kelly Paleczny, because there isn’t a lot of bus traffic.

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But concerns arose during the LTC’s latest meeting about its use on busier streets. “You put something like that on Wharncliffe (Road) or Highbury (Avenue), it’s very different,” Paleczny said.

Transit Commissioners have raised concerns about the potential for “catastrophic” collisions between cyclists and bus users. Roberts isn’t worried about how Londoners navigate the new design.

“The vast majority of people who are. . . traveling on a cycle path are fully aware of being a vulnerable road user. They will take their time at these public transport stops, ”he said.

But it points to better design along the Dundas Street bike path.

There, bus users get on and off on a transit island. It is a raised cement slab between the vehicle lane and the cycle lane that extends to the nearest pedestrian intersection where people can access a sidewalk.

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Dundas’ design includes what Roberts calls a “cement pork chop,” another slab of cement raised in a corner to protect cyclists and pedestrians from vehicles turning right.

Roberts calls the combination of these protections the “gold standard”.

The design on Dundas is used when there is room, Hall said. But some streets are too narrow to have it all.

“We can’t blow up buildings all the time, but there are a lot of adaptable options to create safer streets,” Roberts said.

He applauded the introduction of the “protected intersection”, saying London is ahead of many cities.

“We are leading the charge on this,” he said. “I’m super pumped.”

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