Admirals Road is an arterial road with higher volumes of speed and traffic, necessitating a need for enhanced separation between bicycles and motor vehicles. This section of road is also a critical connector between the E&N Trail and the Galloping Goose, both of which are high quality, low stress cycling facilities. The 1.5m bike lane suggested in the current plan is not in line with the class of facility as prescribed by the CRD’s Pedestrian and Cycling Master Plan. This is a critical gap between the E&N and Galloping Goose trails that needs to be closed with the same high quality facility that both of those trails offer.
Enhanced buffers for cyclists on Admirals Road (Class 1 Cycling Facility)
Township of Esquimalt Proposed section for Admirals Road
The concept drawings for this bike facility ignore the necessity to guide cyclists up to and through intersections such as Colville and Admirals. Most traffic conflicts occur at intersections. If we are to encourage more people to ride their bikes, reduce stress and decrease conflicts, intersection design must be unequivocal. Omitting cycling facilities at intersections altogether is not the answer and will not encourage less confident cyclists to ride more.
For example, right hand turns at the intersections of Admirals and Esquimalt and Admirals and Woodway show long right hand turn lanes. This allows motors vehicles to carry higher speeds into intersections and poses a challenge to cyclists wanting to continue straight. We need to decrease the speed differential between road users at intersections to decrease conflicts and improve safety. Shorter right hand turn lanes will slow motor vehicle traffic. Signage telling turning motor vehicles to yield to cyclists in combination with a bike box would also improve safety and decrease conflicts. Implementing these solutions are part of what it means to prioritize bikes and encourage more people to ride.
Finally, the current design does not recognize the challenges and inconveniences for cyclists at public transit bus stops. For people riding bikes ‘playing tag’ with transit buses is dangerous and increases the energy needed for cyclists by increasing stops and starts. Redirecting cyclists to the outside of the transit stop is becoming the common practice across North America. Placing the cycleway on the outside of the transit stop reduces delay for transit and cyclists and makes cyclists safer.
If the Township of Esquimalt has serious ambitions to meet its bicycle mode share targets outlined in its OCP and the CRD’s PCMP the local government must not waste scarce cycling dollars on obsolete cycling facilities. The cycling facilities outlined in the conceptual drawings will do nothing to encourage the large interested but concerned demographic to cycle. Transportation facilities must be designed and built to accommodate future growth. The bike facilities proposed here are designed for 1995 and not up to current best practices.