CONTACT INFO FOR BURLINGTON COUNCIL: http://cms.burlington.ca/Page110.aspx
LITTLE: Lakeshore bike lane pilot both costly and frustratingHamilton Spectator, Dec. 20/12
A pilot project would eliminate the centre turning lane and add a bike lane on each side of Lakeshore Road, writes columnist Joan Little.
Any Burlington driver who ever uses Lakeshore Road will be left gasping in amazement at the latest hare-brained scheme for it.
There’s already frustration about its unnecessary narrowing at Brant Street, and resultant congestion, but wait till you hear about a “pilot project” from late summer to early fall in conjunction with the 2013 regional water main replacement from Torrance Street to Guelph Line. The pilot would eliminate the centre turning lane and add a bike lane on each side. The cost for painting lines on the new configuration is $35,000.
Councillor Jack Dennison wants the pilot extended easterly to Walkers Line. That would add $45,000 and be all summer — spring to fall. Tourist season. More bike lanes? Great! But bike lanes that totally disrupt traffic flow?
Fortunately, thanks to Councillor John Taylor, there’s a reprieve. This was to be dealt with Dec. 3, but is deferred at least until January, coinciding with a public information centre on the sewer and road work. It also provides time for people who knew nothing about this to call their councillors. Staff contacted the Burlington Cycling Committee, which supports it.
[NOTE: Ward 2 Councillor opposes the pilot project]
[Mayor asks for comments on bike lanes at his blog]
[Mayor asks for comments on bike lanes at his blog]
A bit of background: Burlington approved a cycling master plan in 2009. It directed staff to investigate widening Lakeshore Road to Burloak, “maintaining two narrowed travel lanes and a narrowed two-way left-turn lane,” and to begin design work. [I couldn't find any reference to this in the plan; see below for the actual recommendations in the cycling plan - rk]
Lakeshore is classified as an arterial road, but curb-to-curb the width ranges from only 9.6 metres downtown to 10.8 metres east of Guelph Line. The driving lanes are three metres wide, the turning lane 2.6, gutters 0.3, and there is a paved multi-use path on the south side, admittedly not ideal for cycling. Daily traffic is about 16,500 vehicles, plus 115 bikes (ratio: 143 to one), and the road already operates at capacity in peak hours.
The cost for the eight-kilometre widening? It’s $9.6 million. It would also require some property acquisition and removal of very large trees. Staff recommended against it. Back in the 1970s or 1980s, when Lakeshore was changed to its present configuration, the trees were a major issue for the public, and councillors actually walked the road, checked every tree marked by staff for removal and were able to save some. Such was the depth of concern for that scenic area, and it’s highly unlikely to have lessened.
The pilot road marking would have two 3.3-metre lanes, plus 1.5-metre bike lanes. Consider all the driveways on Lakeshore. Every left turn in or out would simply stop traffic. And what about emergency vehicles?
Staff’s rationale was that the region will be replacing area water mains, so a trial could be undertaken before the final course of asphalt is applied. Here’s an idea. Save the money. Save driver frustration.
- - - - -
REFERENCES TO LAKESHORE IN CYCLING PLAN
Page 76 - 78 City of Burlington Cycling Master Plan, Final Report
"Implement a pilot project on Lakeshore Road east of the Downtown, removing the existing centre two-way, left-turn lane and installing bicycle lanes"
"5.3 Lakeshore Road
Lakeshore Road from Martha Street in downtown Burlington, to Burloak Drive at the Burlington-Oakville boundary was reviewed to determine if it could be converted from three lanes (eastbound and westbound travel lanes and a centre two-way left turn lane) to two lanes (eastbound and westbound travel lanes) with on-road bicycle lanes. Such a conversion would provide bike lanes along the Lake Ontario Waterfront Trail as an alternative to the existing multi-use pathway parallel to the road, and connect Burlington’s Downtown and Waterfront to easterly areas of the City and Oakville. Currently this section of Lakeshore Road services a mix of local and commuter traffic.
Both the delay and occurrences of rear end collisions at signalized intersections within the study are appear to be related to heavy east-west traffic volumes and queuing.
Removing the centre left-turn lane from Lakeshore Road has the potential to significantly alter the traffic operations of the roadway. Presumably, the associated increase in peak period travel congestion (delay) would cause some, possibly a significant amount of the commuter traffic to seek alternate routes. The frequency of motor vehicle collisions/conflicts may also increase. However, adding bicycle lanes to Lakeshore Road has the potential to establish Burlington as a cycling destination, and it could result in economic, environmental, and safety benefits for the surrounding community.
Provided that the City of Burlington is prepared to accept the potential resistance to the increased vehicle delays on this popular commuter link, Lakeshore Road between Martha Street and Burloak Drive presents an opportunity to improve access to on-road bikeways within the City. The following recommendations should be considered if the City of Burlington elects to move forward with the conversion of Lakeshore Road from a three lane cross-section to a two-lane cross-section with on-road bicycle lanes:
• A pilot section, for example, Martha Street to Guelph Line, could be selected for initial conversion and observation (i.e., before and after monitoring of delay, collisions/conflicts, and lane use). Once the success of the pilot project is demonstrated, conversion of Lakeshore then could be extended eastward to Burloak Park to line with the Town of Oakville’s network.
• The auxiliary left-turn lanes at signalized intersections should be maintained through road widening, and the pedestrian signal timings and vehicle clearance intervals should be increased proportionally.
• The pedestrian refuge islands in the east end of the study area should be preserved through road widening.
• The 60 km/h speed limit east of Walker’s Line should be reduced to 50 km/h to reflect the surrounding recreational and residential land uses, and to provide a safe environment for on-road cyclists.
• Enforcement should be increased to reduce the incidents of illegal stopping and parking on Lakeshore Road.
• The timing of any modifications to Lakeshore Road can be co-ordinated with MTO’s proposed widening of the QEW so that commuters can respond to the increased capacity on the QEW corridor and the increase in delay on Lakeshore Road. This would support the City’s intent of accommodating less “QEW through” traffic on City streets.