Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Some signs I would like to see...

Someone took away our fall weather and poured thick, damp and disgusting smog over Toronto today. The humidex reached 38 Celsius, a level I very much hope it will not reach again this year. I stayed home most of the day, which gave me an opportunity to work on my traffic wish list. Here I present some signs I would like to see on the roads and in mass transit stations.

Cars stop/bicycles yield

This sign means: cars stop and yield to bicycles and pedestrians; bicycles yield to pedestrians. I would like to see signs such as this replace the four-way stop signs used for traffic calming. Traffic control measures designed to slow down motorized traffic or channel it onto arterial roads should not do the same to cyclists. Requiring motorists to stop and cyclists to yield to pedestrians achieves the safety and quality of life goals of traffic calming, while encouraging cycling. In fact, since bicycles produce much less pollution and congestion than cars, providing for the needs of cyclists actually serves the goals of traffic calming measures better than simply four-way stops.
Idaho law allows cyclists to treat four-way stops as yield signs. I prefer to have specific signs for traffic calming stops, because in some cases, it may really enhance safety to have everyone stop. Also, it helps to have measures to accommodate cyclists seen. Such measures offer a healthy response to the refrain we hear too often from drivers and even community leaders, that roads really exist for motorized traffic.

Winter bicycle routes

Toronto City Council seems to think they have a responsibility to keep the salt mine in Goderich in operation. The way the city slathers salt on the streets every winter eats away at bicycles. This gives cycle shops and manufacturers plenty of business, and leaves cyclists who do not want to replace their bicycles every couple of years grinding our teeth. Assuming the advantages of slightly speedier winter traffic justify the environmental and other costs of salting the roads, I would like to see the city devise some winter bicycle routes, where they will not salt the roads, and where they will take other measures to keep cyclists safe from other winter cycling hazards, such as narrower lanes, congested traffic, and reduced visibility.

Bicycle waiting area

A bicycle waiting are at the commuter rail or subway implies that at least one of the cars on each train will have seats which tilt up to allow more room for cyclists or bicycle racks. I would also like to see bicycles allowed onto the subway and commuter rail system at rush hour, with a surcharge for the privilege. A bicycle takes up room and offers its rider significant convenience. I see no reason cyclists should not pay for this convenience, during peak hours. I would rather pay than not have my bicycle allowed on the system at all.

1 comment:

FixedXorBroken said...

I was actually quite happy to have another summer day.

I like the first sign the best. I bet they've already been implemented somewhere.