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Ottawa's New Intersections

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Ottawa's New Intersections

Old 12-14-21, 09:10 PM
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Korina
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Ottawa's New Intersections

What do you think?

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Old 12-15-21, 08:18 AM
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If you're going with a bike lane strategy, this seems like the right approach, given that you aren't going to be able to retrofit the roads entirely. Intersections are obviously the weak point of segregating and need to be thought out as an integral part of the scheme.

Specifics--I don't think the staggered signaling "solves" the right hook issue unless there's absolutely no overlap between the bikes proceed green light and the cars proceed green light, and there's no turn on red. If both the bicyclist and the driver get to the intersection when it's green, they're both just as likely to go as they would be if the lights turned green simultaneously.

Honestly, if I was a cyclist and was told I needed to do the two step left turn and that involved two waits for the light to turn green, I'm probably going to cheat and try to take the vehicle lane to do the left turn in one step. I think the two step left turn is probably going to be obeyed just a tiny bit more often than the command to walk your bike at an intersection, and I have literally never seen anyone obey that sign anywhere.

I think Ottawa's on the right track here, but I'd bet on further refinements dealing with those issues.
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Old 12-15-21, 02:04 PM
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It's a step in the right direction. More attention to the needs of cyclists is a good thing. Like livedarklions says, not a fan of the two step left turn, and if it was not a busy intersection I'd just as soon go the the vehicular left-turning lane.

I rode a couple of hundred kms over a weekend in Ottawa a few months ago and I was very impressed with their cycling infrastructure. There are segregated bike trails that traverse most of the city, as well as bike lanes. But what really impressed me was that whenever there was construction that forced a detour on the bike trails, they were actually well thought out, logical, and more or less seamless. Many of the trails had underpasses to roads so that there was no need to stop and cross. Contrast this to Toronto where I do live where there are none of the the things I just mentioned. Here, when a bike trail is closed, it's just closed. Too bad, so sad. Find another route. Many trails and routes do not connect to each other so you have to get on the road and then find the next trailhead. Our crack smoking mayor of a decade ago probably set us back a millennium when he declared war on cyclists.
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Old 12-15-21, 02:23 PM
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At 1:13, there is a building on the right that houses (housed?) a business called 'Intercontinental Music', which was the worst and most ridiculous retail establishment I have ever been in. They had several of their own brands of Chinese made instruments, and a crazy old man who would yell at you and chase you away for asking too many questions. The store is (was?) plastered on all surfaces with tattered and faded signs saying 'Big Sale! Today Only!', and other signs accusing the Better Business Bureau of being a criminal enterprise.

All the guitars had prices on them similar to what you would expect on US made instruments, but most were (surprise!) marked down to tiny fractions of these prices. I was looking at a classical guitar with a $1200 price tag and the guy said 'make me an offer', so I said "two hundred bucks" and he said "two fifty!" The guitar was very poorly made, plywood top and the neck waved to and fro down its length.

I bought a set of guitar strings the one time I went in because they were cheap (2 sets for $8 or something) and I felt guilty for going in just to gawk at the weirdness. Out of the first pack, 2 out of 6 strings snapped before being tightened to their final tune. The other pack went straight in the trash.

I don't kno how this guy stayed in business so long - I heard some indication that his ultra-cheap instruments were commonly bought by members of school bands, but even that doesn't explain the decades in a large location on the corner of a major thoroughfare. Maybe money laundering?

If anyone is out exploring Ottawa's new cycling infrastructure and you see this place, DON'T GO IN, just admire the dusty 25 year old Chinese guitars hanging in the windows soaking in the sun.
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Old 12-15-21, 05:24 PM
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I'm not sold. I have reservations about treating bicycles differently than cars. If the "bike lanes" are not universal, at some point, the bikes have to return to the real world. Also, I worry that special lanes nourish resentment against bikes and their riders. I find a little common sense goes a long way. Many times, to cross a big intersection, I go pedestrian and walk my bike, with the benefit of the lights.
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Old 12-15-21, 09:24 PM
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For anyone interested, here's a link to Ottowa's Protected Intersection Design Guide.
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Old 12-16-21, 07:05 AM
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I'm also not a fan of the two-step left turn, I just go over to the left side of the road, just like a car. As for prevention for the Right Hook, I take the lane behind cars to guard against the Right Hook. I don't have many problems riding in traffic, since I've been doing it for years and I've never lived in a large city.

Seems to me that many large cities have to address many other issues besides just intersections.

See here for a good example of cycling issues, which go beyond intersections.

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Old 12-16-21, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Pratt View Post
I'm not sold. I have reservations about treating bicycles differently than cars. If the "bike lanes" are not universal, at some point, the bikes have to return to the real world. Also, I worry that special lanes nourish resentment against bikes and their riders. I find a little common sense goes a long way. Many times, to cross a big intersection, I go pedestrian and walk my bike, with the benefit of the lights.
This is actually opposite to my experience. I have bike commuted in Ottawa for 9 years. I've had exactly one encounter with someone that got heated, and that was 8 years ago (driver pulled right into bike lane right in front of me to block me while in line of stopped cars). All of this cycling infrastructure brings more cyclists, more motorists are cyclists, and all motorists seem to be watching for cyclists more and driving more considerately towards cyclists......

I understand things are different in other locations, but the city and National Capitol Commission are both pushing cycling infrastructure, and drivers' attitudes have improved along with the infrastructure.
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Old 12-16-21, 09:12 AM
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I notice a few of you suggest that the two step turn is not suitable for you... I think this depends highly on traffic load.

When I was a regular bike commuter in San Diego, one road I used often was Genesee, to get beyond University City... the speed limits of the road were 45MPH. At times during the typical commute hours, the fast heavy traffic made it impossible to make a left turn by merging over two lanes and ultimately into the left turn lane... the two step turn was my salvation.

Now note, I said "at times." Sometimes the traffic was so heavy that it moved at about 10MPH... thus easy merges. Sometimes the traffic was so light (albeit fast) that I could merge quickly, and make the turn.

But generally at the times I needed to go... the two part turn was my best solution... because it was safe, and it worked.
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Old 12-16-21, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by work4bike View Post
I'm also not a fan of the two-step left turn, I just go over to the left side of the road, just like a car. As for prevention for the Right Hook, I take the lane behind cars to guard against the Right Hook. I don't have many problems riding in traffic, since I've been doing it for years and I've never lived in a large city.

Seems to me that many large cities have to address many other issues besides just intersections.

See here for a good example of cycling issues, which go beyond intersections.

https://youtu.be/FNFS1CUU5h4
Ahhh... yes, the "I own the road" attitude. Looks like they forgot to learn "sharing" in kindergarten... acting like little brats on the road.
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Old 12-16-21, 10:09 AM
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Originally Posted by genec View Post
I notice a few of you suggest that the two step turn is not suitable for you... I think this depends highly on traffic load.

When I was a regular bike commuter in San Diego, one road I used often was Genesee, to get beyond University City... the speed limits of the road were 45MPH. At times during the typical commute hours, the fast heavy traffic made it impossible to make a left turn by merging over two lanes and ultimately into the left turn lane... the two step turn was my salvation.

Now note, I said "at times." Sometimes the traffic was so heavy that it moved at about 10MPH... thus easy merges. Sometimes the traffic was so light (albeit fast) that I could merge quickly, and make the turn.

But generally at the times I needed to go... the two part turn was my best solution... because it was safe, and it worked.
You're right, there have been a few times, because of heavy, fast-moving traffic, that I had to either stop and wait for a clearing to get over or I've actually used the two-step turn.

However, and this is just a personal observation, I have also noticed that drivers (including myself) have not been able to get over to the left (or right), because of heavy traffic. I just saw this the other day with a motorist in front of me (I was driving my truck) was attempting to get over to the right, then he (I'm guessing) missed his turn, so now he was trying to get over to the left, presumably to make a U-turn -- no one wanted to let this guy over. I can't count how many close calls I've seen when motorists forced themselves into another lane.

I'm sure if I cycled in a busy city more often, I'd have to employ the tactic more often.


.
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Old 12-16-21, 03:57 PM
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Originally Posted by genec View Post
I notice a few of you suggest that the two step turn is not suitable for you... I think this depends highly on traffic load.

When I was a regular bike commuter in San Diego, one road I used often was Genesee, to get beyond University City... the speed limits of the road were 45MPH. At times during the typical commute hours, the fast heavy traffic made it impossible to make a left turn by merging over two lanes and ultimately into the left turn lane... the two step turn was my salvation.

Now note, I said "at times." Sometimes the traffic was so heavy that it moved at about 10MPH... thus easy merges. Sometimes the traffic was so light (albeit fast) that I could merge quickly, and make the turn.

But generally at the times I needed to go... the two part turn was my best solution... because it was safe, and it worked.

I've had to use it from time to time, but only do it if there's no other alternative. I'm just saying if there was this setup as the default rule, I'd probably cheat it where I could.
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Old 12-16-21, 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by work4bike View Post
I'm also not a fan of the two-step left turn, I just go over to the left side of the road, just like a car. As for prevention for the Right Hook, I take the lane behind cars to guard against the Right Hook. I don't have many problems riding in traffic, since I've been doing it for years and I've never lived in a large city.

Seems to me that many large cities have to address many other issues besides just intersections.

See here for a good example of cycling issues, which go beyond intersections.

https://youtu.be/FNFS1CUU5h4
Large cities do have many issues to contend with, but this thread is about Ottawa's new intersection design. (Not trying to be rude, but the rest of the forum is about road rage; I'm trying to talk about advocacy.)
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Old 12-16-21, 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by genec View Post
Ahhh... yes, the "I own the road" attitude. Looks like they forgot to learn "sharing" in kindergarten... acting like little brats on the road.

What he's describing is actually what my state's law says you are supposed to do--take to the turn lane on a left turn, take the lane if going straight where a right turn is possible. Can you save the ignorant little snide comments?
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Old 12-16-21, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
What he's describing is actually what my state's law says you are supposed to do--take to the turn lane on a left turn, take the lane if going straight where a right turn is possible. Can you save the ignorant little snide comments?
Uh, sorry, bit of miscommunication there... I was referring to all the motorists there that seem to feel it is their "right" to block others...

I thought this little scene was particularly poignant... As the police get the truck to back off so the car can go...

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Old 12-16-21, 06:38 PM
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Originally Posted by genec View Post
Uh, sorry, bit of miscommunication there... I was referring to all the motorists there that seem to feel it is their "right" to block others...

I thought this little scene was particularly poignant... As the police get the truck to back off so the car can go...

Sorry, I get it now, I thought you were responding to the text when you were responding to the video.
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Old 12-17-21, 07:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Korina View Post
Large cities do have many issues to contend with, but this thread is about Ottawa's new intersection design. (Not trying to be rude, but the rest of the forum is about road rage; I'm trying to talk about advocacy.)
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Old 12-17-21, 08:50 AM
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I will say I like these intersections.

Ottawa is TRYING a whole lot to see how it works.

Some of the best things:
  • Loads of pathways. Many of them not along roads. These are amazing, even if many of the MUP. Would be nice to be widened, have space for cycling and space for walking, taking off the 20km/h speed limits that no one pays attention to.
  • Raised cycleways - Churchill is a really good one - in between the sidewalk and the road. Garbage day is a bit of a mess sometimes, but I slow down when there are pedestrians around and I have to dodge into the sidewalk.
  • The O'Conner 2-way bike lane (on left side of one way street) - it seems like it's really obvious, people see you. Some people still can't drive, but that's just what it is. There are some others like this
  • Bulge-outs with cycle path over them. Bulge-out is a standard traffic calming measure, purposefully create pinch point for cars, catches up cyclists normally

I'm not as huge a fan of:
  • Bike lanes at the same level as the road with parked cars between the lane and traffic - This creates a real visibility problem with the higher percentage of cars that are tall nowadays. We've had at least one fatality at an intersection that was at least contributed to by the cyclist and driver not being as aware of each other because of the parked cars. I've had a couple times where I had to brake quickly when cars didn't do what I thought - I'm fairly tall (6'0") and still sometimes am just seeing glimpses of what's going on on the other side of a line of SUV's parked.
  • MUPs with "cyclists must dismount" signs where they hit a transit hub. I HATE this. No one listens to it, and it's an excuse not to do something better, because the cyclists aren't obeying the sign.
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Old 12-17-21, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Viich View Post
I will say I like these intersections.

Ottawa is TRYING a whole lot to see how it works.

Some of the best things:
  • Loads of pathways. Many of them not along roads. These are amazing, even if many of the MUP. Would be nice to be widened, have space for cycling and space for walking, taking off the 20km/h speed limits that no one pays attention to.
  • Raised cycleways - Churchill is a really good one - in between the sidewalk and the road. Garbage day is a bit of a mess sometimes, but I slow down when there are pedestrians around and I have to dodge into the sidewalk.
  • The O'Conner 2-way bike lane (on left side of one way street) - it seems like it's really obvious, people see you. Some people still can't drive, but that's just what it is. There are some others like this
  • Bulge-outs with cycle path over them. Bulge-out is a standard traffic calming measure, purposefully create pinch point for cars, catches up cyclists normally

I'm not as huge a fan of:
  • Bike lanes at the same level as the road with parked cars between the lane and traffic - This creates a real visibility problem with the higher percentage of cars that are tall nowadays. We've had at least one fatality at an intersection that was at least contributed to by the cyclist and driver not being as aware of each other because of the parked cars. I've had a couple times where I had to brake quickly when cars didn't do what I thought - I'm fairly tall (6'0") and still sometimes am just seeing glimpses of what's going on on the other side of a line of SUV's parked.
  • MUPs with "cyclists must dismount" signs where they hit a transit hub. I HATE this. No one listens to it, and it's an excuse not to do something better, because the cyclists aren't obeying the sign.
Thanks for your comments, directly from the location... Nothing quite like an "on scene" reporter.
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Old 12-17-21, 12:15 PM
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Some intersections on Toronto's University Avenue and the Danforth have intersections like this except instead of concrete islands there are bollards.

Makes it rather confusing when you approach them but they become clear when you're there. I guess, it's Toronto's way to remind cyclists that those bike lanes are only temporary. But so far, they do make drivers steer clear during right turns.

Last edited by Daniel4; 12-17-21 at 12:23 PM.
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Old 12-17-21, 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
...
Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
Our crack smoking mayor of a decade ago probably set us back a millennium when he declared war on cyclists.
He would flip over the news that seven temporary bike lanes set up during the pandemic are now going to be permanent.



Originally Posted by work4bike View Post
...
Originally Posted by work4bike View Post

Seems to me that many large cities have to address many other issues besides just intersections.

...


I was curious, so I googled it. Forty percent of collisions occur at intersections.

I know a former coworker who was rear ended on his bike while making a left turn. I know that intersection. It's busy (Eastbound Overlea to North bound Don Mills Road in Toronto). And when it's not congested, traffic can be pretty fast.

I have made left turns on occasion, but on major roads I have to ensure there are no cars I would be cutting across just because I don't trust that they would react properly (as in the case of my friend).
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Old 12-19-21, 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Viich View Post
This is actually opposite to my experience. I have bike commuted in Ottawa for 9 years. I've had exactly one encounter with someone that got heated, and that was 8 years ago (driver pulled right into bike lane right in front of me to block me while in line of stopped cars). All of this cycling infrastructure brings more cyclists, more motorists are cyclists, and all motorists seem to be watching for cyclists more and driving more considerately towards cyclists......

I understand things are different in other locations, but the city and National Capitol Commission are both pushing cycling infrastructure, and drivers' attitudes have improved along with the infrastructure.
I think that's one of the hardest things is changing people who drive cars mind set about cycling that they shouldn't feel the need to punish a person riding a bicycle for getting in their way or that the road is only for them. As people who ride bicycles we can also teach others to behave more responsible on the roads such as using lights and obeying traffic laws. Motorcyclists face a lot of the similar issues that cyclists do because people who drive cars are looking for cars. They aren't really looking for people who ride bicycles or riding motorcycles and that's more because people don't really take the time to actually look and process what's in their vision.

Having infrastructure in cities where we can eliminate these conflicts is overall the best solution. You get the same conflict people walking their dogs on mups and people trying to cycle on them or pedestrians using the wider mups as wide sidewalks. Looks good. Liked the video.
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Old 12-20-21, 07:40 PM
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Originally Posted by JayKay3000 View Post
I think that's one of the hardest things is changing people who drive cars mind set about cycling that they shouldn't feel the need to punish a person riding a bicycle for getting in their way or that the road is only for them. As people who ride bicycles we can also teach others to behave more responsible on the roads such as using lights and obeying traffic laws.
Not a lot you can do about someone with the mindset that they should punish this bike rider for what another rider did. I don't see how someone with that mindset is a functioning member of a sane society. I don't think trying to police other cyclists is going to do anything but get you frustrated and into a lot of arguments.

Originally Posted by JayKay3000 View Post
Having infrastructure in cities where we can eliminate these conflicts is overall the best solution.
You're never going to eliminate conflicts. I think enough infrastructure that makes it sink in that the cyclists are supposed to be there is the thing. Lots of education, politicians behind it, and the National Capitol Commission doing things in addition to the city all help.
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