On August 16th, 2012, I met with a number of residents to discuss the purpose, side-effects, and any suggestions to the Harrow barricade at Academy Road.
I was asked a number of questions, which I have provided answers to below:
Why does Harrow have a barricade?
The barricade was placed as part of the City of Winnipeg Active Transportation network (insert link) and includes a traffic light, to make the Harrow/ Academy intersection safer for bicycle and pedestrian crossing, while not allowing for an increase in vehicle traffic to and from Wellington.
The traffic light was placed to allow safer crossing along Harrow at Academy Road. It connects the Harrow Active Transportation Corridor from Wellington Crescent to Pembina Hwy, and crosses the other Active Transportation Corridors at Grosvenor and Warsaw.
Providing a four-way light at Harrow would have provided access via Harrow St. to and from Wellington Crs.
The results would be making
-Increase vehicle traffic along Harrow and Wellington Crs as a through route for people going and coming from downtown.
-Harrow from Academy to Wellington Crs would be a lineup of cars waiting to cross Academy Rd in the morning, and a lineup of cars along Kelvin High School to cross over Academy to Wellington Crs going home.
-Increasing the amount of cars speeding along Wellington Crs
-Provide a less safe crossing point for cyclist and pedestrians to cross Academy Rd. to the Wellington Crs paths.
Before the barricade vehicle cut-through traffic originating at the Maryland Bridge would travel through Wellington and on to Harrow, as an alternative to Academy and Stafford which has more traffic lights.
Additional vehicle cut-through traffic originating from the east would travel through Wellington and on to Harrow, as an alternative to Academy to Stafford, which has more traffic lights.
Traffic counts along Harrow Street before the barricade were at 350 vehicles per day to the north of Academy, and 5500 vehicles per day to the south of Academy. The four-way light would have dramatically increased the traffic along Harrow, a non-regional street, to the north and south of Academy.
The barricade provides the safe crossing for bicyclists and pedestrians, while not increasing this vehicle traffic.
Did Council vote to have the barricade put up?
There was no council vote for the Harrow barricade. The barricade was a part of the 2009 Active Transportation Stimulus plan, which was a plan to design and construct a network of active transportation paths where they are most needed across the City of Winnipeg.
The City contributed one third of the cost, with the province and federal government paying the other two thirds.
The plan to fund an Active Transportation Stimulus Plan was adopted by Council on December 15th, 2009 as part of the 2010 Capital Budget. The infrastructure changes along the proposed routes were managed by the Public Works department with public input into the designs.
Were public consultations held before the Harrow barricade was constructed?
The coordinating consultant for the 2009 Active Transportation Stimulus Plan held public consultation events for input and feedback on the proposed changes for the Harrow, Grosvenor, Fleet, and Warsaw. The details are below:
January 30, 2010 - Earl Grey Community Centre
·Promoted through Free Press and community newspaper ads
·Colour posters along the routes and nearby commercial corridors
·Listed on the Winnipeg Active Transportation website
February 24, 2010 - Earl Grey Community Centre
·Promoted through the Free Press
·Colour posters along the routes and nearby commercial corridors
·Letters hand-delivered to all households and businesses directly adjacent to the proposed routes
·Letter and package hand delivered to all local schools
·Emails to residents from first consultations
April 12, 2010 – Kelvin High School
§ Local Residents received invitations from the City of Winnipeg to an information session regarding the Barricade.
Were the Public Consultations Adequate?
I believe the public consultations fell short of what was required. As such, I took initiative in sending out post cards to all residents north of the CPR tracks in February 2010, notifying residents of the proposed changes, inviting them to attend the public consultations, and inviting any feedback or suggestions they may have. Additionally I sent out emails to as many residents and community leaders I could reach, provided neighbourhood updates on my website, and encouraged residents to sign up to my email updates on the issue.
Why was Harrow chosen as a bike path route?
The city conducted a bicycle route study in 2009, which showed that both Harrow and Stafford combined were one of the highest used bicycle routes in the city. The counts were consistent with the counts of the local bicycle lobbyist organization, Bike to the Future. Harrow was chosen as an Active Transportation Corridor because it’s a safer alternative to Stafford. Also, fewer bikes on Stafford would improve traffic flow along Stafford.
Have more bicyclists been using Harrow?
The city doesn’t have current bike counts for cyclists using Harrow to/from Wellington, although Bike to the Future counted bicyclists traveling along Harrow crossing Grosvenor. During the 2011-2012 counts, there was an increase of 136% in bicycles using Harrow at Grosvenor.
Were alternatives to the barricade considered?
The other choices reviewed by the department included crossing lights and pedestrians corridors but were considered as unsafe alternatives.
I met with a number of local residents in late 2010 to discuss suggestions regarding the Harrow barricade. Residents came up with an alternative design allowing westbound Academy traffic to access northbound Harrow, and allowing southbound traffic along Harrow to turn right onto westbound Academy. This option was designed to not allow for northbound Harrow traffic to cross the Academy intersection. The department reviewed the request and denied it in January 2011. The department stated these turns “would be contrary to the intent of having refuge areas for cyclists as they proceed across Academy Road. Allowing the turn movements would place the cyclists in conflict with turning vehicles.” In other words, the vehicles would need to drive over top of the bike lanes in order to make these turns.
I met again with local residents on September 16, 2012 and another alternative was presented by some community members which allowed traffic to go west bound onto Academy from Harrow. This alternative was denied by department for the same reasons as stated above.
What is the impact of the barricade on local residents?
Since the barricade has been put up, some local residents have expressed concerns about increased traffic in the lane between Guelph and Harrow, increased traffic along Guelph Street north of Harrow, exiting onto Academy from Guelph, accessing their properties and difficulty with parking along Harrow. :
What has been done about the increase in back lane traffic between Harrow and Guelph?
Once the barricade came in, a number of drivers began using the lane adjacent to Academy connecting Harrow and Guelph to go onto Harrow and then onto Wellington Crescent. Drivers also turned from Wellington onto Harrow, and down the lane to Guelph. While traffic counts were relatively high at first, a number of things were done to decrease the traffic volume.
·In June of 2011 and 2012 my office notified the local churches at the corner of Wellington and Academy of upcoming Sunday road closures and appropriate traffic routes for parishioners to use during Sunday closures.
·In June 2011, my office asked the city’s traffic control unit to ensure that clear passage is made along Wellington to allow vehicles to travel along northbound Guelph to eastbound Wellington Crescent. I ensured this passage has continuously been maintained.
·I requested that on Sundays ‘Local Access Only’ signs be installed along east and westbound Wellington for summer and fall 2011, and again 2012.
·I arranged for an additional “Local Access Only” signs to be placed at the intersection of Wellington Crs and Academy, facing incoming traffic, to remind them of the closure and divert them away from Wellington Crs. and towards Academy before they arrived at Harrow and Wellington Crs. and the Sunday road closure signs.
·I requested a traffic volume and speed study, which measured two full weeks of traffic between Sept 17 and Sept 30, 2011 along the back lane. The average daily counts were 113 vehicles per weekday, and 125 vehicles per weekend day. The city concluded this is below the expected normal volume of 9.8 vehicle trips per day per household (totaling 130 trips along Harrow per day). The majority of vehicles were below the 30 km per hour speed limit with the average speed being 21 km per hour and the 85th percentile being 29 km per hour.
·Speed humps were not installed along this lane because the speed study showed the percentage of speeders was too low to meet the city warrant criteria for speed humps.
Can anything be done about the increase in traffic on Guelph?
I have asked the department to do a traffic study and provide options to address this traffic.
Has anything been done about the parking on Harrow north of Academy?
Because the lack of motor vehicle traffic now makes this section of Harrow safer for cyclists, I requested that the parking be re-instated along Harrow, despite the bike lanes. The department re-instated parking along the west side of Harrow in December 2010. In July 2011, the department decided not to allow parking because it would encourage further traffic to use the lane between Harrow and Guelph. I also requested that this portion of Harrow be no longer designated as a no-parking snow route during the winter months. The criteria was reviewed and a decision will be made by the department shortly.
Is the barricade safe?
The barricade, with the traffic lights, allows pedestrians and cyclists to easily cross Academy with reduced conflict with motor vehicles. This intersection had dangerous crossing beforehand. While Sunday traffic has increased along the lane, I ensured a dead-end sign was installed in 2011, and have worked with the local churches to ensure visitors have received information about alternative routes. I will continue to work with residents to ensure side effects do not pose a safety hazard.
Can the crossing time at the Harrow light be increased?
The current light crossing time is approximately five seconds of green light time. The department chose this timing because they do not want to promote traffic on Harrow as an alternative to Stafford. The department noted this is sufficient time for several vehicles to get through and for most people to get across. Longer time would encourage more drivers to use Harrow as an alternative to Stafford.
I discussed the crossing time at this light with the department in July 2011, five months after the installation of the traffic counts. At that time 311 had not yet received a request for an increase in crossing time at this intersection. The department advises that this light provides more than sufficient crossing time at the average walking speed. Should you have any reason to request an increased in crossing time, I will be happy to ask the department to review it.
Can a park with trees be placed on Harrow instead of a barricade?
Possibly. This would likely further reduce the potential of vehicles making illegal turns, and replace the barricade with a beautified landscape. However, at this point, local residents continue to bring suggestions for changes or removal of the barricade. A park should only be considered if there is plenty of agreement amongst the community that this should be done.
Can the Harrow traffic light be put on Wellington Crs instead?
No. Wellington Crescent at Harrow is an intersection of two residential streets within a residential neighbourhood. The more logical location is the intersection of Harrow and Academy. Wellington Crescent is widely used as a leisure route, open to pedestrians and cyclists during Sunday closures. A traffic light would have a significant negative impact to the beauty of this street.
Could a photo radar camera enforce traffic movements, reducing the need for a barricade?
A photo radar camera can only monitor traffic – it cannot enforce it.
Cyclists must travel through the traffic circle in a counter-clockwise direction, entering and exiting the circle on the right.
A cyclist or motorist already in the circle has the right of way. If a cyclist and motorist arrive at the same time, the vehicle to the right has the right of way (similar to a four way stop).
How to cycle through a traffic circle
Safely merge from the bike lane into the traffic lane before entering traffic circle.
Watch for pedestrians. Be prepared to stop in advance of the sidewalk if pedestrians are crossing.
Yield to circulating traffic already in the intersection, on your left.
If arriving at the intersection at the same time, yield to vehicles and cyclist on the right, allowing them to enter the intersection first.
When clear, enter and keep to the right of the center island and travel around the traffic circle in a counter-clockwise direction.
Upon reaching your exit street, signal a right turn. Watch for pedestrians as you exit.
Return to the bike lane.
Since these traffic circles are a single lane in width, cyclist need to adjust their position closer to the center of the lane before the traffic circle and holding that position as you travel through.
Once you exit, return immediately to the most practicable position on the road.
Bomber Fane Fare service is subsidised by the Winnipeg Blue Bomber Football Club, which is why this service can be offered. Unfortunately, with the number of games involved in the hockey season it does not look like we can form the same sort of partnership with the Jets Hockey Team.
On December 12, 2010, Councillor Orlikow met with residents concerned about the safety associated with traffic circles. There were a number of suggestions recommended and the following is a reply from the City of Winnipeg’s Transportation Department's response to those recommendations.
Q - Add speed humps to slow traffic as cars enter the intersection but only ¾ the length of the road to allow for cyclist to travel at either side.
A - As per the City’s criteria for installation of speed humps (approved by the Standing Policy Committee on Public Works on January 13, 2003 and approved by City council on January 29, 2003), speed humps are not permitted to be constructed on a transit route, snow route or a residential collector streets. Grosvenor Avenue is a transit route, snow route and a residential collector street, thus does not qualify for speed humps.
- Speed humps are most effective when spaced at 100-125 metre intervals along a route to effectively reduce vehicular speeds along a route. It is not the City’s practice to construct one speed hump to reduce vehicular speed at a certain point.
- Providing an open area to allow cyclists to travel beside the speed hump as suggested may encourage motorists to swerve such that one wheel can bypass the speed hump to reduce the impact of the vertical deflection. This commonly occurs in parking lots. This creates safety concerns for motorists, especially when traveling at or near the speed limit, as well as for cyclists which may be traveling within the adjacent open area.
Q - Add Pedestrian-crossing corridors and signage to assure that pedestrians have the right of way.
A - All of the City’s traffic circles are signed as according to the “Canadian Guide to Neighbourhood Traffic Calming” developed by the Transportation Association of Canada and Institute of Transportation Engineers. The manual includes installation of a “yield” sign when entering the traffic circle on each approach. The “yield” sign indicates to motorists that they must yield (and stop when necessary) the right-of-way to those that are in front of them (i.e., other motorists, pedestrians wishing to cross the street and cyclists), before entering the traffic circle, and must not proceed until it is safe to do so.
A yield sign requires that drivers must yield the right-of-way to all motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians that arrive first to the intersection. As well, the City would not add a pedestrian crossing sign to a yield sign as it is not a proper traffic engineering practice to have two forms of traffic control devices at the same location. It should also be noted that there is a hazard marker below the yield sign on the approach to the traffic calming circle, which would be obstructed by a crosswalk sign. For the reasons stated above, the City is unable to recommend installation of pedestrian crossing signs at traffic calming circles.
Please note that the City is currently working with Manitoba Public Insurance to enhance their education campaign to remind the public about what they are expected to know as drivers/cyclists/pedestrians when approaching and traveling within a traffic calming circle. Please also note that MPI already published earlier this month ads in the Free Press information about traffic calming circles and other driving concepts required when driving through a traffic calming circle. Below are links to both MPI and the City’s website containing this information:
Q - Remove bump-outs due to the danger associated with merging of bikes and cars.
The bump-outs are designed to reduce vehicular speeds of motorists when entering the traffic calming circle. The bump-outs also help reduce the distance a pedestrian needs to walk on the street (hence reducing the collision potential) and increases the visibility of pedestrians. Removing the bump-outs may increase vehicular speeds which may decrease safety of both cyclists and pedestrians.
A continuous bike lane, that was suggested, through the intersection goes against proper traffic engineering practices as it would force drivers to drive over the bike lane in order to negotiate the traffic circle
Please note that under the Manitoba Highway Traffic Act, motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians have a responsibility to conduct themselves appropriately when approaching each other.
Based upon Canadian engineering publications and sound engineering judgment we feel that the traffic calming circles are appropriate along this corridor.
Traffic Calming Circles are known to calm traffic. Used at the proper frequency they can actually reduce the overall speed of the roadway by 10%.
They can be used at intersections that do not have existing stop signs or at intersections with two-way or four-way stops.
When implemented they reduce conflict points and decrease collision rates by up to 70%. They have been used successfully in the United Kingdom since the mid 1970s and have caught on quite dramatically in North America in the last ten to fifteen years.
Their purpose along this bike corridor is to provide cyclist route continuity and to also to calm and potentially reduce traffic. The traffic calming circles will be signed and marked appropriately so they are not dangerous to the travelling public
Q- Concern about removal of parking around the church on Grosvenor at Lanark
A - The parking lane along the north side of Grosvenor is under-utilized the majority of the time. In order to provide for a safe bicycle corridor this space is required; it is recommended that parking be shifted to Beaverbrook and Lanark. Alternatives for this current proposal are as follows:
a)End bike corridor at Lanark and revert to a shared roadway for cyclist traffic was not approved by administration.
b)Look at constructing bump-ins to accommodate Church patrons and park users. However, this would be a drastic measure as mature trees would have to be removed and property would have to be acquired. As well, with the construction of bump-ins for parking, the sidewalk would have to be reconstructed further north which was not approved by adminstration or the Councillor.
Q - Where the bike path goes once it dead ends at Lockwood
A - The Grosvenor Bike Boulevard ends at Lockwood after crossing the former CN rail right-of-way by a 3.5 metre multi-use pathway. Via Lockwood, cyclists can cross Kenaston at the traffic signals at either Tuxedo or Lockston. Tuxedo currently has a cyclist activated button to give cyclists a priority green light ahead of the traffic on Tuxedo on the west of Kenaston. As part of the Route 90 widening project a bike path has been proposed for two-way cyclist travel on the west boulevard of Kenaston. The Grosvenor Bike Boulevard via Tuxedo and Lockston would connect to this future bike path. In addition Tuxedo to the west of Kenaston is currently on the City of Winnipeg Active Transportation (AT) Network map as a future AT route that would connect to Grosvenor.
August, 2010 - For instance lots of students walk across Waverley on their way to River Heights School.
Could you tell us how the traffic calming circles will improve safety for pedestrians?
At all intersections with traffic calming circles vehicles must yield to pedestrians crossing the road as laid out in the Manitoba Highway Traffic Act.
Traffic calming circles are designed to slow vehicle movements through intersections. A vehicle can “roll” through an intersection controlled by a stop sign, however, a traffic calming circle creates a physical obstacle in the roadway to attract motorists’ attention and slow them down. The combination of slower moving vehicles and more attentive drivers creates a safer pedestrian environment.
On Grosvenor the type of traffic calming circles constructed will not cause vehicles to encroach upon pedestrian movements.
As well, by design the traffic calming circle will reduce pedestrian-vehicle conflict points. Prior to the implementation of these circles the intersection of Waverley and Grosvenor had 24 pedestrian-vehicle conflict points, whereas it now has been reduced to 8 pedestrian-vehicle conflict points.
Sidebar re: Crash Reduction
There are two basic premises on which roundabouts achieve crash reductions of 50 to 90 percent when compared to two and four-way stop control and signalized intersections and greatly reduced severity on those few crashes that do occur.
One is the simple decision making combined with the low level of conflicts.
At a four-way intersection there are 32 possible conflict points between vehicles and only eight at roundabouts.
Pedestrians face six conflicts when crossing only one leg of the road whereas at a roundabout they only have two. (See figures attached to email. Traffic Circle 1 shows a regular intersection. Traffic Circle 2 shows an intersection with a traffic circle.)