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Cycling in Waterloo Region
#11
A question for cyclists. A report this week on the Region's dangerous intersections (Ottawa St and Homer Watson, come on down!), the intersection of King St E and Cedar St was cited as the most dangerous for cyclists, with I think seven collisions last year. What's the deal with that? It seems like a fairly mundane intersection, although with more turning cars than average.
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#12
(11-08-2014, 06:12 PM)panamaniac Wrote: A question for cyclists.  A report this week on the Region's dangerous intersections (Ottawa St and Homer Watson, come on down!), the intersection of King St E and Cedar St was cited as the most dangerous for cyclists, with I think seven collisions last year.   What's the deal with that?  It seems like a fairly mundane intersection, although with more turning cars than average.

I'm guessing that it's due to the higher-than-one-would-expect traffic due to the market. I think there's also a fairly steep hill on Cedar from Church to Charles, but that shouldn't really be an issue. On the other hand, I'd expect that the severity of collisions would be lower at Charles&King vs Ottawa&anywhere due to the volume of traffic that is doing maneuvers.

I don't think there's anything terribly misdesigned about that intersection.
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#13
It's a busy intersection for pedestrians and bikes during the week as well, I often ride through it on both streets... the lanes don't have room for a car and a bike to ride side-by-side safely... the "single-file sharrow things" they painted on the road start south of Cedar somewhere but the lane only starts to narrow close to the intersection.
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#14
Protestors prevent path paving.


Here's a map of the area, note the scale.

[Image: TyOc4vs.jpg]

I rode through this path yesterday and when it's done it really does make riding to Conestoga Mall from Uptown a much more realistic proposition for some people. Unfortunately the gap in that plan is the mini-speedway that is the 4 lane stretch of Lexington between Weber and Davenport. I rode down Lexington around 4:30 and the right-hand lane was blocked off for some pipe repair and traffic was flowing rather quickly despite most of the other roads in that area being congested with rush hour traffic. I really thing not doing the road-diet on Lexington was a huge mistake and it looks especially obvious now with the rest of Lexington (and Davenport) having cycle lanes.

There are other improvements on University to go along with the path, there's a small island east of Marsland where the trail crosses and they've painted sharrows on Carter Avenue to lead cyclists down to Moses Springer and on to the path that follows the creek up to Waterloo City Hall. I hope they put some sort of map or signage to help direct people, it's pain to cross at the lights at Lincoln Road or you can cross at MacKay if the traffic on Weber is in your favour and then just continue on the path. I think they should put a crossing island on this part of Weber it might keep traffic speeds down a bit too.
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#15
(11-12-2014, 09:33 AM)clasher Wrote: There are other improvements on University to go along with the path, there's a small island east of Marsland where the trail crosses and they've painted sharrows on Carter Avenue to lead cyclists down to Moses Springer and on to the path that follows the creek up to Waterloo City Hall. I hope they put some sort of map or signage to help direct people, it's pain to cross at the lights at Lincoln Road or you can cross at MacKay if the traffic on Weber is in your favour and then just continue on the path. I think they should put a crossing island on this part of Weber it might keep traffic speeds down a bit too.
There is a tunnel under Lexington so there's no need to dodge four lanes of traffic when crossing it.

Unfortunately that's where the city's enlightenment ends. As you point out, crossing Weber to get from the mall and Moses Springer is a disgrace. So is crossing Bridgeport Road at Laurel Creek and to a lesser extent crossing University. At least there's a traffic light at Marsland for the latter crossing.

What's needed is either more tunnels or at least button operated traffic lights like the Erb St crossing. Only then will it be safe and attractive to walk or cycle between the Conestogo Mall area and Uptown.
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#16
The issue is not that one has to cross under Lexington, so much as that one has to get across all four lanes in order to use Lexington to cross highway 85, to connect with Davenport. When I use this route to get from Bridgeport and King to Northfield and King, Lexington is the worst part, followed by crossing university, and crossing Weber. I will be glad to not have difficulty stopping at my casual speeds on the trail; the washed out path and loose soil makes it tricky to handle, unsafe as much for me as for others.
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#17
(11-12-2014, 09:58 AM)ookpik Wrote: There is a tunnel under Lexington so there's no need to dodge four lanes of traffic when crossing it.

If your destination is on the other side of the expressway, you have (at absolute minimum) about 400 metres of Lexington Road to contend with. I've dealt with this for years, having biked through Hillside Park and the Eastbridge neighbourhoods to get to work. You can use trails and Dearborn Blvd to cut down how much of Lexington you have to use, but it's still there.

That will change a little, soon. A multi-use trail is planned for King Street under the expressway that will be accessible from the Forwell Creek trailhead near the big Manulife building. But if your destination is over on the northeast side, Lexington is still a problem. The good news there is that the city knows it wants to improve Lexington for active transportation... but it's going to take a while.

Anyway, as a frequent user of Hillside Park I've been very vocal in my disappointment with the protesters who blocked the work on Tuesday. My thoughts are printed as a letter to the editor in the Record. I also have taken some pictures over the years because there has been substantial work in the park. (If the images below aren't visible, I posted the letter content and photos here.)

This is in Hillside Park, two years ago, during sewer reconstruction work. The bridge was removed and replaced, and as you can see, a wide swath was cut through that has since been resodded and planted. So there has already been a lot of change in the park.

[Image: VdIDv2z.jpg]

This image is from almost the same spot, but earlier in the project. You can actually see the rubble from the old bridge footing and in fact this part of the trail was paved up until it was dug up in 2012.

[Image: EGkDxAY.jpg]

Those images are basically to show that this is not some kind of time capsule that needs to be preserved unchanged. The park has rebounded quite nicely since the heavy work that took place in 2012. But, the weather of 2014 has been very punishing.

This is the kind of damage the gravel trails sometimes see. This one was very recent, September 2014 in fact. As you can see, the runoff ripped the gravel down to the foundation stone. Even after gravel was replaced, it was still too lose to cycle through. The strip along the right was the only (precarious) path you could take without dismounting for a couple of months.

It's also important to note that the trail surface has been damaged in other locations over the years, too.

[Image: mdZLMw5.jpg]

This flooding and damage came up during the consultations. It's now incumbent on the city engineers to get this right, but paving (apart from improving accessibility) should prevent this kind of damage.
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#18
(11-12-2014, 10:27 AM)zanate Wrote:
(11-12-2014, 09:58 AM)ookpik Wrote: There is a tunnel under Lexington so there's no need to dodge four lanes of traffic when crossing it.
If your destination is on the other side of the expressway, you have (at absolute minimum) about 400 metres of Lexington Road to contend with.
I understand. I was referring to the route from Uptown out towards Conestogo Mall via Hillside and Forwell trails. A few key improvements especially road crossings would make that practical. Of course when you get to Manulife HQ at Four Wells there's still King St and the Expressway to contend with. 

I'm not sure exactly what sections of Hillside trail are about to be paved. Hopefully it includes the part along Laurel Creek from University to where the trail forks towards Lexington. That section is now closed in the winter. Once it's paved presumably it will get plowed out regularly like other paved trails.

Another puzzlement is how the townhouse development between Marshall and University got built without a right-of-way for a trail along Laurel creek. Mind you that was built in the 1970s IIRC.
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#19
(11-12-2014, 10:42 AM)ookpik Wrote: I'm not sure exactly what sections of Hillside trail are about to be paved. Hopefully it includes the part along Laurel Creek from University to where the trail forks towards Lexington. That section is now closed in the winter. Once it's paved presumably it will get plowed out regularly like other paved trails.

That part will be paved (I don't know exactly which parts will be paved either, but it will be at least what is part of Waterloop, which includes the University/Carter entrance through to the Lexington underpass). I am hoping that it also includes the branch that leads to MacGregor Crescent, as that part is winter maintained currently.

But when I asked at consultations about winter maintenance for the creekside leg as a result of paving, the answer was that there were no plans to change winter maintenance... yet. (There are also concerns about the shaded trail there getting a lot of thaw runoff and freezing.) I hope that one the Waterloop trail takes form, we'll be able to push for making it all a part of a maintained winter trail network.

That part of the trail definitely sees heavy use despite the lack of winter maintenance, though. I've been through there in early spring and observed rutted, heavily trodden down snow and ice. It's impossible to ride, but there is evidence that people try anyway.
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#20
I wonder if the city's plows can cross the bridge?
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