The Free Press has seen the pushback from those in the bike interest groups. On Saturday, an article by Anders Swanson from One Green City was published.
In the article, he wrote:
Traffic-calming circles may be new to Winnipeg, but not to other cities. They are very popular, especially for local residents. Emergency vehicles aren't going to be left stranded. Engineers generally don't design things that don't work -- it's not in their nature. Some designs may need fine-tuning upon completion, but they can be revisited. Property values on the routes will go up, not down.
The problem is that traffic circles and bike paths are not compatible according to studies in the U.K. I have shown this in my previous post.
I am open to see any study that says mini-traffic circles are safe for cyclists if they can be produced. They may be good for cars but I am not convinced they are for bikes. There is some evidence they aren't that great for pedestrians either. Certainly the studies in Britain has a lot to say about mini-roundabouts.
On the One Green City website, they say:
On-road Bikeways are established on the safest streets for
bicycling. Delineated and permanent, they are best situated on low-volume residential streets running parallel to arterial thoroughfares. When combined with traffic calming, they are the most attractive on-road routes for new users. These streets are ideal choices, as the immediate residents are most likely to welcome traffic calming and the establishment of a bikeway as it raises property value - discouraging through-traffic usage of their street and creating a family-friendly area. Regular bike lanes are particularly necessary on certain collector and arterial streets given their high traffic volumes and because these are often the only streets crossing waterways and railway lines. In general, on-road routes are the least expensive addition to the route network as they take utmost advantage of existing concrete/asphalt.
I don't know that Grosvenor Avenue counts as a low-volume street. It is a bus route. I certainly know that Sherbrook Street is not a low-volume street.
I don't have traffic volume numbers for Grosvenor Avenue but it can get pretty busy.
Sherbook Street numbers are definitely not low-volume:
Anders Swanson has said he is not anti-car but he is also an advocate for ending car travel on Albert Street.
In 2007, Swanson led a group of like-minded Albert Street business owners lobbying to turn the short block into a permanent pedestrian mall, something like Ottawa's famous Sparks Street Mall. The proposal, which Swanson said was unanimously supported by Albert Street businesses between Bannatyne and McDermot, ended up percolating through city hall, where it eventually "fell into a black hole," he chuckles.
The record on pedestrian only malls is a decidedly a mixed one.
The fact that Albert is an important area for accessing a parkade and businesses in the surrounding area has probably not been lost on city officials.
Bike interest groups do have a legitimate demand that it is in the interest that the city of Winnipeg should have safe and effective routes for cyclists.
However, closing streets, ending parking for organizations and constructing ineffective mini-traffic circles does not make cycling safer nor does it endear residents to the bike groups.
If anything bike organizations should be upset with the city for involving them in this poor planning that has resulted in conflict.
The safest routes for bikes will continue to be dedicated paths.
In terms of east/west traffic in River Heights, I wonder why the center of Corydon Avenue is not considered. While there are trees in the median, many have been dying as a result of disease and salt contamination during winter. In any event, the median is wide enough for bikes to pass between the trees on the left or right side.
It is just a thought about how this might work from Kenaston Street to Cambridge Street but the median would be safe enough. Each intersection would pose challenges but would they be worse than travelling in the curb lane along Corydon?
The best choice is still probably the Burlington Northern line north and south and then along the CN Rail line south of Wilkes Avenue.
However, I am not an engineer nor do I know the thoughts and minds of the rail lines, businesses or residents to say whether any of these choices are a good idea.
What I know is that studies say that mini-traffic circles are not great for bikes yet many cyclist interest groups believe they are. I would like to see the studies that indicate that.
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