Friday, January 23, 2015

Off-road cycle paths along roads

Separated cycleways are becoming increasingly popular worldwide. I have posted previously about the latest guidelines from TMR for separated cycleways.

But the concept of separating cyclists from cars in the road corridor is not new. Previously the standard was to provide wider footpaths that allowed sharing of the facility by pedestrians and cyclists. I recently saw an example of one of these on Cotlew Street on the Gold Coast.
 This included separation between cyclists and pedestrians.
 Unfortunately the pathway is only a total width of around 2.5m. So with separation it provides a footpath and a cycle path that are both too narrow. If the cycle path was only on one direction that would be better, but there was no corresponding facility on the other side of the road. one-way pathways are also unlikely to work as cyclists are unlikely to cross the road to access the pathway on the other side.
The pathway also crosses several side streets with no priority given to cyclists over the traffic on the side roads. This solution is inconvenient and slow for cyclists and not very safe.

To make matters worse, the facility was not part of a continuous off-road cycle route.

Can it be retrofitted to be a viable separated cycleway? If it was part of a broader network of off-road cycle paths, it may be worthwhile to investing in:

  • removing the separation between pedestrians and cyclists to provide a 3m wide shared path
  • providing priority to the pathway across the side streets.
I am sure a lot of our older suburban cycle paths along modern arterial road corridors could benefit from a similar investment to reduce delay to cyclists and improve safety by increasing their priority through intersecting streets.

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