Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Strange Case of Adanac at Windermere

The Strange Case of Adanac and Windermere.

You do not have to wait long at this intersection before you see a motorist subvert the traffic calming measures in place. The east-bound blue truck conveniently came along, and without hesitation slalomed through the calmed intersection, no doubt part of his daily route.

This calmed and restricted intersection is the final impediment along the eastbound Adanac bike route and the only one between Commercial Drive and Boundary Road, so it is no surprise that the restrictions are regularly ignored by motorists.

Adanac St. east of Windermere is used extensively by motor traffic, especially during the afternoon as drivers seek to avoid Hastings St. on their way to turn onto Boundary Rd.

Unfortunately, many motorists still use bicycle routes as convenient speedways, subverting the intention of the bike routes, while endangering vulnerable road users with a false expectation that “bicycle route” is actually meaningful besides some paint on the roadway and a few intersection buttons.

Also notice the sign across the road. The ‘no left turns except bicycles’ sign has been rotated 90 degrees so it no longer faces the intended oncoming traffic, to prevent northbound drivers from turning left onto the bike route. The sign in its incorrect orientation may also confuse eastbound drivers, the majority of whom seem to have little regard for the posted signage, correct or not.

I don’t think it would need a survey of the local residents to measure their displeasure with the current configuration, their actions speak. I’m sure that sign didn’t rotate itself.

Clearly the design of this intersection fails its users. It doesn’t create safety for cyclists, nor does it seem to keep motor traffic from turning onto the bike route, and it likely frustrates many motorists, (but then again, what doesn’t?) Yet because the hill falls away eastward on Adanac, it would be impossible to put in a traffic circle here.

It demands a better solution; this is well used residential intersection by motorists subverting the main traffic route, and also by bicyclists along the busiest bike route in the city.

I’d respectfully suggest normalizing this intersection by removing all of the traffic calming measures--the concrete island and the pylons-- and install a four way stop instead.

Of course, the smarter, more forward thinking solution would be to close both east and west access along Adanac to all motor traffic, and allow only bicycle and pedestrian access. This could be part of a general push to gradually restrict motor vehicle access along all bicycle routes throughout the region.

In the meantime though, when motorists regard signs as mere suggestions, when illegal vehicle movements are normalized, collisions will happen, the most vulnerable people will suffer.