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Aiming for Bare Minimum: Why Cycletrack Networks Are the Only Way Forward
#21
(10-07-2018, 09:13 PM)jamincan Wrote: FWIW, I've been working on this map of major trunk trail routes (in my opinion anyway), and marking significant missing connections or barriers. I've mainly worked on the west-end of Kitchener, but already you can clearly see where there are some significant holes and how investment in some key areas would greatly improve the connectivity of the whole trail network. Importantly, the entire area south of the expressway and west of the rail lands/Courtland is pretty effectively cut-off from the rest of KW right now.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1sbARRO7wpt973Zf8qOUCEbqHgtcsfE5W&usp=sharing

That's a great start! 

Is there a (partial?) trail along the Shoemaker Greenway, to get from Homer Watson to the IHT?

Would it make sense to mark, maybe on a separate map layer, quiet neighbourhood streets that can reasonably well supplement the trail network? That could help identify alternate connection points.
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#22
This is the link to the tool for submitting ideas for a minimum grid.

It has a layer with the cycling facilities mapped out (offstreet, cycle tracks, buffered, bike lane, and sharrow/signed).

As of April this was the list of ideas:
[Image: DaxmU4dVwAEKXyO.jpg:large]
Everyone move to the back of the bus and we all get home faster.
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#23
(10-07-2018, 09:13 PM)jamincan Wrote: FWIW, I've been working on this map of major trunk trail routes (in my opinion anyway), and marking significant missing connections or barriers. I've mainly worked on the west-end of Kitchener, but already you can clearly see where there are some significant holes and how investment in some key areas would greatly improve the connectivity of the whole trail network. Importantly, the entire area south of the expressway and west of the rail lands/Courtland is pretty effectively cut-off from the rest of KW right now.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1sbARRO7wpt973Zf8qOUCEbqHgtcsfE5W&usp=sharing


Wow.  That's fantastic!  Well done!
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#24
(10-08-2018, 04:38 PM)Pheidippides Wrote: This is the link to the tool for submitting ideas for a minimum grid.

It has a layer with the cycling facilities mapped out (offstreet, cycle tracks, buffered, bike lane, and sharrow/signed).

As of April this was the list of ideas:
[Image: DaxmU4dVwAEKXyO.jpg:large]

That map appears to be incomplete. How does one suggest corrections?
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#25
Is there a way to indicate planned trails, maybe with dashed lines?
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#26
I have been thinking about YKF's question about what makes is a minimum grid for cycling and what that term means to me.
 
I started with my understanding of the definition of connectivity:
Connectivity of a network is the degree of completeness of the links between nodes without regard to distance between the nodes. The greater the degree of connectivity within a network, the more efficient the system.
 
After thinking about it for a bit, I came up a definition more directly applicable to cycling:
"The least amount of cycling infrastructure required that still allows for direct, prioritized, protected, and redundant connections between all areas of a community, and is useable by all ages (8-88) and abilities."

It even converts to a handy acronym Wink : 
Get anywhere (in town)
Redundant
Independent (from other modes)
Direct
Safe

Note that I am not saying that every single address in the region needs to have a protected bike lane up to its front door, but rather that you should be able to get to different areas (neighbourhoods?) within the region in a direct, prioritized, and protected manner, and then find your way for the last kilometre to the places in between those corridors (quiet side streets, etc.).
 
Think of it as the regional arterial network for motor vehicles or the GRT’s eventual high frequency network (with the Ion, the iXpress routes, and other high frequency routes) for transit users, but for cycling. We don’t build regional roads that don’t connect to other regional roads, but that’s what we do all the time with cycling infrastructure (see the latest cycling lane on Erb for the latest example) and we are in the process of transitioning from the hub/spoke model to a grid system on the transit system now.
 
Under that definition, the IHT and the spurline trail contribute less than their full potential to the minimum grid at the moment because,
1)    Trail users do not have equal or greater priority than other modes; e.g. even at quiet side streets, like John, trail users are not prioritized or protected.
2)    The routes are not continuous (yet). For example, you are still legally required to dismount most intersections e.g. at Victoria, or at Ottawa/Nyberg. It would be like dead-ending Weber SB at Bridgeport and Weber NB at Erb and leaving 200m break in the network (although it is the break that matters, not the length of the break/distance; it could be 2m or 2000m the effect on the connectivity is the same).
3)    The trails do not connect to other protected and prioritized routes. For example, pretend for a moment that the painted cycling lanes on Glasgow were fully protected. The lanes on Glasgow end less than 100m from the IHT, but there is no connection between the two (let alone a protected and prioritized one); they might as well be in different communities because they don’t benefit each other.
4)    It is not efficient (i.e. you shouldn’t have to take a 12km route to ensure your safety when your destination is only 4km away).
5)    There is no redundancy e.g. unlike the regional arterial road network, when the IHT is close these is no alternative to take, where as if Columbia is closed you can take Bearinger or University, etc.
 
For example, take the hypothetical community below. You are in neighbourhood A and need to get to neighbourhood E (a minimum distance of 4), but the only protected and prioritized route is A-G-M-S-Y-T-O-J-E (a distance of 8, 100% longer).
   
 
As you start to build a grid, that trip becomes A-G-M-N-O-J-E (a distance of 6, 50% shorter) and many other trips become much easier and faster. You still can’t get directly from every neighbourhood to every other neighbourhood, but the detour penalties are greatly reduced across the network.
   
 
But let’s say construction or freak flooding takes out the M-N-O link, suddenly you are back to A-G-M-S-Y-T-O-J-E (a distance of 8) as there is no redundancy in the network:
   
 
Or, let’s say you plans change and you now you need to get from E to U and then back to A. Again, without a minimum of connections (below, E-I-M-Q-U-P-K-F-A a distance of 9) there is a huge penalty (above, E-J-O-T-Y-S-M-R-W-V-U-V-W-R-M-G-A a distance of 17).
   
 
I vaguely remember studying transportation networks in university (GEOG 351 with Dr. Jean Andrey at UW?). There are standard ways (Link 1, Link 2, Link 3, Link 4) to objectively quantify connectivity (alpha, beta, gamma indices, etc.), centrality of the network (Koning number), spread/coverage of a network (eta index), detours (detour index), and accessibility (Shimbel Index; and not in the AODA kind of accessibility, but as in how connected a node on the network is to other nodes).
 
I wonder if this might be a good approach to improving the connectivity of the cycling network. Prioritize the cycling infrastructure dollars on the projects that will contribute the most to the connectivity of the network. Similarly, there is probably a way to quantify the equity and social inclusion level of the network as well. Basically, what change to the network will not only add the most benefit to the network itself, but also benefit the most people.
 
Sounds like a project for TriTag.
Everyone move to the back of the bus and we all get home faster.
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#27
I hadn't quite formulated exactly whata minimum network is, but I think what you've written is excellent.

I do think that redundancy is not necessarily something I expect of a minimum network. It's a good quality to have, but cycling does have regular roads that it can fall back on. I also feel that where possible, the network should be on off-road trails. Certain neighborhoods have been built in ways that prevent this, and on street facilities are impossible to avoid, but it should be a goal.

Finally, signage is important. Networks are only useful if you know where you are going. That means major wayfinding signs at major junctions and some sort of route naming system, and some clear indication where a given route travels. How many people know that you can travel from the Greenbrook Drive area all the way to Columbia Lake almost entirely on trails? How many know you can reach even Victoria Park on trails, or The Boardwalk?
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#28
Pheidippides, that is a truly great post, fantastic.

So thinking about the grids that you have posted, and our city's layouts, what are some logical places to start this? And are segregated bike lanes the best option or is it MUTs, or a combination?

I feel like these are things I've always thought about but never THOUGHT about until recently
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#29
(10-11-2018, 05:16 AM)jamincan Wrote: I hadn't quite formulated exactly whata minimum network is, but I think what you've written is excellent.

I do think that redundancy is not necessarily something I expect of a minimum network. It's a good quality to have, but cycling does have regular roads that it can fall back on. I also feel that where possible, the network should be on off-road trails.

For our household redundancy is a must. My wife usually rides to work 2 or 3 times per week from spring to fall, but did not ride to work once this year because of the work on the IHT. She simply did not feel comfortable taking the roads despite having taken a CAN-BIKE course.

Plus when we are out as a family it would be nice to have options for shorter, safe routes home when our son gets tired or the weather turns or our plans change so avoid a huge back tracking just to stay safe. Plus you explore more of your community when you are not on the old route all the time and have options.

I think there is a place for off-road trails, they are certainly convenient when they take the tangent/direct route across a city where a road does not go and they are enjoyable for their often nature-like settings, but there are no more places to build trails like that within the urban cores. Our cycling network is going to have to layered on to the existing transportation networks of other modes.
Everyone move to the back of the bus and we all get home faster.
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