Are ‘bump outs’ safe?

Rob Adams is not impressed with how the city’s incorporating bike access to the Roncesvalles Avenue Streetscape Improvement project.

“I cycle Roncesvalles everyday in the summer,” said Adams, who has lived in the area for over 20 years. “What we have (currently) is good for cyclists because you have a wide parking lane and a travel lane. The parking lane is wide enough for you to cycle in.”

So what will change?

When construction starts later this year to replace the streetcar tracks, the road and sidewalk will also be redesigned. There will still be one travel lane for transit, vehicles and cyclists plus a parking lane in both directions on the four-lane road but with one main difference.

The city is trying out a concept to accommodate the new accessible streetcars that will travel this route starting in 2011. At surface transit stops, there will be sidewalk “bump outs” that curve out to the road replacing the parking lane. The curved sidewalk will serve as a TTC platform that allows pedestrians to have a flush surface to board and dismount the new low floor streetcars.

At transit stops, cyclists have three choices:

• If there are no streetcars, they can continue in the travel lane unobstructed but this will mean navigating tracks.
• They can mount a specially designed portion of the sidewalk bump out and then re-enter the road on the other side.
• If there is a streetcar at the stop, transit riders are using up the portion of the sidewalk platform designed for cyclists. So in this case the only option is to wait behind the streetcar until passengers have boarded.
Adams is concerned that cyclists will ignore the bump out’s design features choose to ride in the through the traffic lane and get caught up in the streetcar tracks.

“You have to make a life and death decision and if you make the wrong decision, it could be fatal,” he said.

Robert Mays, a public realm project officer with the city’s Transportation Services said the sidewalk will be well marked and may even include an asphalt section for cyclists and a concrete portion for pedestrians to make it crystal clear.

“We are still working out whether to have a physical barrier between the two,” he said.

The final concept has not been approved as some details are ironed out.

Explanations aside, Ronci resident Adams is still concerned about the plan.

“This is an experiment the TTC hasn’t done before and we are victims of that experiment.”

About this article:

By: Kris Scheuer
Posted: Mar 3 2010 1:17 pm
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto