Then this. I rode the new track last week. And Ottawa. . . We need to talk. We need to talk about this.
What. . . what is this?
What. Seriously. Was. The. Rationale. This not only makes it dangerous for cyclists and for drivers, it also throws a wrench into any opportunity to extend this lane a little further west to Alta Vista, which is the obvious next cycling connection point.
I drove past it today. If anything, it's worse from the point of view of a driver. Don't just take it from me: there's a whole conversation on reddit about how messed up this is. My favorite comment:
That stretch is rather funny now.
Some people in the left lane don't realize that the lane bends over a little bit because of the curb so they think people in the right lane are attempting a lane change/cutting them off; many honks to be heard. Some people in the right lane don't notice the curb until its too late and make an erratic move to avoid it and I've seen people bump right over it.
Then at the Baycrest, Sandlewood, Herongate intersections with Heron, its not immediately clear that its a bike lane they've created because they haven't painted the appropriate lines or placed signage and so some drivers seem to think its a right turn lane to turn onto the streets/into Herongate Mall and I've seen bikers get cutoff quite often.
This is seriously dangerous.
And it definitely didn't look like that in the designs posted by the City:
The bike lane descending to grade just before the intersections is another confusing detail. Without paint (I assume the paint and signage are yet to come) it really is unclear what that is. It does look like a right turn lane. Albeit a narrow one, shared with bikes. In fact:
So the bike lane turns into a right-turn lane, but one that happens to also have bikes going straight on it. I can hear the explanation: drivers are meant to yield to cyclists, who will then take the lane. Except we know what will happen is that drivers will be honking their horns behind cyclists at red lights trying to get them to move out of "their way" so they can turn right, or they will be trying to pass cyclists and other cars on the right. This is infrastructure based on the "if everyone just" model. And as a wise person recently said on Twitter, everyone does not just. Everyone has never just. You should never build road designs based on everyone behaving properly. You should always assume that people are stupid, or ignorant, or distracted, and make mistakes.My brother commented on that. Driver passed him on right to make right turn while he was stopped at a red light. There never was a right 1/— Bicycle Seen (@frpaul1) October 9, 2017
And it wasn't like that before. Before, the intersections had plain old, ordinary right turns on them.
And then the bike lane comes to an end well before the entrance to the mall, dropping cyclists into the right turn lane to share with car traffic. If the cyclist's eventual destination is not the mall - say, they're trying to get a block or so east to Conroy, where there's a painted bike lane - they have to merge across that lane and join the traffic on the other side of the turn lane.turning lane there before. Compare a screen grab of Kate's video and Google Street view at Heron/Sandlewood. Diagram shows this will have 2/ pic.twitter.com/R4xyIbQgYr— Bicycle Seen (@frpaul1) October 9, 2017
Here's the full experience, from Alta Vista to Heron Gate Mall. . .
Like I said, I wanted to be happy about this lane. I've been pulling for it. But I can't see that it improves Heron much at all. If anything, I think it creates more potential for conflict than just riding in the narrow (scary) traffic lanes. Especially since most cyclists (I predict) will still be riding on the sidewalk in both directions, with a few taking the bike lane and some staying in the road, which will make them even less easy to predict.
What I pictured, when we first started talking about repurposing those paved stretches at the side of the road, was a separated track, on both sides of the road, with protected intersections, which connected the bike lanes on Alta Vista and Conroy and gave people a reasonable link to some of the MUP connections to Pleasant Park and the rest of Guildwood. What we got was this, because of budget and design area boundaries (and whoever signed off on building that curb out into an arterial street).