Archive for ◊ May, 2009 ◊

09 May 2009 Marking a bike lane
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The question on the issue of visual signage  was brought to council May 5th meeting.  It was put on the agenda to provide clarification on the topic of bike symbol placement on our city streets.
In the past we have had different ways of implementing the term “Active Transportation Routes” while it is often seen as a bike path it can be any mode including but not limited to walking, running, jogging, roller blading, skateboarding and cycling or any other form that describes the word active.  While we have many bike path ways and sidewalks we need to make more room for our cyclists on our streets.

Direction from this council is to include visual signage in the form of bike symbols on designated bike paths and active transportation routes. These bike symbols are to be painted on the streets to indicate where bicycles are to travel sharing the roadway with other motorists within our community..

Marking bike lanes in important as it will educate bicyclists where to ride on a shared roadway and the motorists will be educated as they will see the signage that they are expected to share the road. We need to have a combination of marked bike lanes along with a public awareness/education program so that everyone on our streets feels safe.

Reviewing different information regarding bike lanes signage we could potentially use at least two different symbols. One symbol is designated as a bike lane allowing no vehicle traffic and limited parking on the street. One example is the Hespeler from #52 to Loewen Blvd be painted with such a symbol. Another example is Loewen Blvd, Mackenzie to be painted with a shared bike symbol indicating a bike and parked cars share the space.

Information is available thru the Bike Lane Design Guide developed by the City of Chicago in 1999. They have successfully put bike lanes on to narrow streets with a width of 44 feet.

In the case of the law a bicyclist have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists when traveling on the streets. In Steinbach it we have many bike riders on our sidewalks, especially Main Street. This is not only illegal but dangerous and we need to educate and provide the cyclists a safe place to ride. In most cases the street is the safest place for bicyclists to ride. Ride on the sidewalk, especially in the wrong direction, is a significant contributor to car/bike collisions because the motorist is not looking for a relatively fast moving bicycle on the sidewalk.

Bike lanes encourage bicyclists to use the street as opposed to the sidewalk, which eases congestion and improves safety on the sidewalks.

Bike lanes need to be put in so that street parking is not effected. At intersections we need to make sure that a minimum of 20 feet back of the stop sign is no parking so that bike traffic has a stopping and starting point.

Bike lanes encourage the safe interaction of bicycles and motor vehicles. Bike lanes don’t solve all the problems on the road, but that can make it safer for both motorist and the cyclist alike.

Recommendation

1. Use the Official Community Plan as a guideline using Reference Map 3, named Active Transportation Network & Community Facilities

2. Use a combination of paint and road signs, with the first step painting bike lane signs indicating either shared bike/car lane or designated bikelane.

3. I didn’t review our specification book for signage but international sign this purpose are available as stensils to be used.

4. I would suggest that for 2009 start with Mckenzie, Hespeler, Loewen Blvd, bike path

5. lastly for administration to present a 2 year plan by fall study session to paint other streets with signage or solid lines indicating bikelane location as indicated in our Community Plan so that if required we can budget for expenditures.

I feel this will be a good start as we develop a plan moving forward.  Of course the first step was getting this thru council, which they agreed to unanimously.