Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Archive for November 2nd, 2009

Good news

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Two good news stories this morning.

The Burrard Bridge trail looks like it has been a success. The report will go to the Transportation Committee tomorrow. Or you could could read the Vancouver Sun’s summary. (Or that of the Georgia Straight.)

Its popularity among cyclists – 90 per cent in favour, and pedestrians, with 79 per cent in favour — isn’t surprising, but the support among drivers may be.

Of those drivers who travel the Burrard Bridge without a passenger, 51 per cent support the continuation of the bike lane trial, with 31 per cent opposed.

So the promises of doom turn out to be wrong. Do you think there will be any public statement from the DVBIA aplogising? No, neither do I.

The other one is a bit further afield. The Guardian reports that one of the busiest intersections in Central London has been rebuilt. Following similar experiments in Kensington all the street furniture designed to pen in pedestrians has been removed.

This boosts available space for pedestrians by around two-thirds, as well as – the designers hope – encouraging all road users towards a more thoughtful, responsible attitude.

The biggest innovation is the use of diagonals for one pedestrian crossing phase. All vehicle traffic in all directions is stopped and pedestrians can cross diagonally, if they wish.  This is known by the unfortunate name of a “scramble crossing”. The reason for the redesign was exactly the same as that for Broadway in New York. There were far too many pedestrians for the space allocated to them. But due to the street furniture they could not spill onto the street, the way they did on Broadway, resulting in considerable congestion and a field day for pick pockets.

Oxford Street and Regent Street are two of London’s busiest shopping streets. Oxford Street has been closed to car traffic for a while now but is heavily used by buses, taxis and, of course, delivery vehicles.

Now that the cyclists can use Burrard Bridge safely, I hope someone will start looking critically at some of the busier intersections of downtown and thinking about where diagonal crossings might make a reality of Vancouver’s claimed priority for pedestrians.

And while I am thinking about that, will someone please reconsider the idiotic decision to limit the number of entrances and exits at Canada Line stations that are underneath intersections. Since the trains are below the street surface, it should be possible to get directly to the platforms. It should not be necessary to have to cross two busy streets, and then do a labyrinthe of tunnels and staircases. You can see how that is done at Oxford Circus too.

Oxford Circus

Oxford Circus

Written by Stephen Rees

November 2, 2009 at 10:17 am

Posted in cycling, pedestrians

Tagged with ,