Thursday, February 11, 2010

BikeWest - Tunney's Station

How BikeWest could By-Pass Tunney’s Transit Station

The current Scott Street multipurpose path travels along the north side of Scott. At Holland, it passes the Tunney’s Pasture transit station. This passing is awkward for cyclists, pedestrians, and bus users alike. The route of the path is not apparent.

As shown in the photo below, people exit the pedestrian overpass at its south end facing Scott. They step out directly onto a concrete walk, crossing the asphalt multipurpose path to get to the concrete sidewalk that forms the bus waiting area for local westbound buses on Scott.

current situation - spot the bike path ! -- click to enlarge

Cyclists or pedestrians using the east-west multipurpose path face an unclear path between the bus stop and the pedestrian bridge. Not surprisingly, transit users linger on both the asphalt and concrete areas.

When the transitway is converted to LRT service, it will terminate at Tunney’s Station for a number of years, maybe decades. A major transfer facility is proposed for the site. Most buses will arrive at the transfer station using the western portion of the bus transitway; passengers will transfer on the north side of the cut in the Tunney’s campus area. The south side bus stop shown in the picture will remain primarily for local westbound bus routes on Scott, eg the #16. The preliminary conceptual layout for the transfer facility is shown below. At the time of the drawing, there was no provision made for cyclists using the east-west multipurpose path or for a more modern BikeWest route.

Tunney's Transfer Station - DOTT proposal
click to enlarge

The City needs to ensure that the provision of a large transfer facility at Tunney’s does not permanently block the BikeWest opportunity. Whether BikeWest is built as a dedicated cycling facility with parallel walkways or initially as a multipurpose path, care needs to be taken now. Transit Committee has directed staff (Dec, 2009) to “explore options to ensure that there is room for the BikeWest project to safely pass the Tunney’s Station on the south side between the station and Scott Street”. What could such an arrangement look like?

In the modified photo below, the suggested changes are very simple. The south facing doors at the Scott Street end of the pedestrian bridge have been replaced by doors facing east and west. Instead of stepping out directly into the path of cross traffic, pedestrians would step out onto a sidewalk that leads them several meters away from the building, to a point with open view lines, where they could easily cross over the east-west path on a typical pedestrian crosswalk.

This may not be the only or even the best way to address the issue. Presumably city staff could come up with several alternative means of safely reducing the conflict between east-west users and the pedestrians accessing the local bus waiting platform. Whatever solution is chosen should be replicable in other locations and follow principles for safe cycling for cycling arterials and multipurpose paths.

Note: if the BikeWest route is constructed as a multipurpose path with pedestrians and cyclists sharing the same pavement then presumably only one route is needed through the station. If BikeWest is constructed with two separate paths (much preferable for both categories of users, and the Scott right of way is wide enough for this) then the cycling route could be located as shown in the modified photo and the parallel pedestrian walkway located probably on the south (right) side, sharing a widened bus waiting area.

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