Bicycle Transportation Infrastructure (Signage/Connectivity) in the Area of Laurentian University and the core of the City of Greater
Sudbury from the Perspective of a Laurentian University Student. A Review of Urban Centres with Interconnected Bicycleway Networks, Connective and Supportive Infrastructure in North America. Joel Kirk
Throughout North America virtually every demographic of the population is becoming more dependent on the private automobile for transit. As urban population density decreases and people move farther away from their jobs and services, dependence on the private automobile increases. Data from the last US census shows that 76% of Americans use private automobiles for travel to and from work (US Census Bureau, 2004). In Canada that number is much closer to 90% (The Daily, 2003).
This trend is also seen at post-secondary institutions throughout North America. In the majority of universities in North America many automobile related problems have arisen. Such problems as inadequate parking services, congestion, high road maintenance costs and air pollution are now common place not only in urban areas but also in university campuses (Balsas, 2003).
This problem has been addressed at many levels of administration; from the US federal government to post secondary institutions and private businesses. In recognition of the trend of increased automobile use the US department of transport conducted the
National Biking and Walking Study in 1994 to gauge national interest in active forms of transit. They recommended two goals to combat the automotive trend, firstly, that bicycle and pedestrian commuting should double and secondly, that injuries and fatalities resulting from ‘pro-green’ methods of commuting should be reduced by 10% (Harkey et al, 1998; Krizek and Rio, 2005).
To address this problem at the university level, both university administrators and city planners have tried encouraging other means of transport through ‘pro-green’ transport initiatives such as pedestrian and public transit programs and ‘anti-auto’ initiatives through automobile parking restrictions (Balsas, 2003). For post-secondary institutions the use of public transit has met with success. Still more can be done to improve transit throughout university campuses and nearby subdivisions for student commuters.
The second major issue facing commuter cycling is the lack of connective and supporting infrastructure. Unlike pedestrian infrastructure where a street without a sidewalk is the exception, a street without proper bicycleway infrastructure is the norm in almost all North American cities. Implementing bicycle transportation initiatives to combat the increased trend of automobile use is very difficult and unsafe without the necessary infrastructure. There is relatively little literature published on the lack of connectivity of bicycleways in North America. Krizek and Rio (2005) measured the discontinuity of bicycle lanes in the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota. The study identified 30 discontinuities of bicycle lanes within the city and measured cyclist’s opinions of the
discontinuities via a survey. This method was able to provide an outline of the connectivity and bicycle compatibility of Minneapolis, however, the scope of this literature review encompasses too many centres to apply the Krizek and Rio method. The second relevant study found was Harkey et al. (1998) who developed a method to measure the compatibility of specific roadways for bicycle transit. When approaching bicycle transit from the interconnectivity of entire cities the compatibility index is not large enough in scope to address the problem.
Since these problems are so universal throughout North America, they have applications in the City of Greater Sudbury. Greater Sudbury is still considered to be in its infancy in terms of non-motorized transportation however it does have a functional public transit system which services the greater city. Laurentian University, in Sudbury, has similar transportation issues to the rest of the city. Since Laurentian University and the City of Greater Sudbury are located in Northern Ontario they have a large proportion of private automobile users and thus a lot of the associated traffic problems. The concept of addressing these traffic issues through non-motorized forms of transit should be furthered studied to improve the overall transportation efficiency.
Fortunately the timing of this research could not be better. The City of Greater Sudbury is conducting a comprehensive review of its existing official plans. One of the background studies addresses transportation infrastructure in the City of Greater Sudbury. The city estimates that 5.7% of all trips in Greater Sudbury are by method of walking and only 0.04% is by bicycle. The city feels that this low number of cycling trips
is more the result of a lack of identified opportunities for cycling rather than disinterest. Therefore the city created the Bicycle Advisory Committee in 1993 to address the needs and opportunities for cycling in Greater Sudbury; recently the Bicycle Advisory Committee was renewed and renamed the Bicycle Advisory Panel. Both the Bicycle Advisory Panel and Rainbow Routes Trail Association are advising the City of Greater Sudbury on environmentally friendly and active forms of transportation (Earth Tech Canada Inc., 2005). The intent of this study is to present examples of interconnected bicycleways and effective infrastructure to assist in the development of opportunities for commuter cycling in the City of Greater Sudbury.
There are many different forms of non-motorized transportation; bicycle transportation was chosen as the focus for this study since it is the most efficient in terms of power input to forward velocity. The Bicycle User Group of Ottawa (2002) estimates that in terms of distance travelled compared to energy used cycling is 3 times as efficient as walking, 25 times as efficient as bus transit and 84 times as efficient as private automobile transit. Of all the forms of non-motorized transit, bicycle transit is the real prodigy, since it has great real world potential but is still in its infancy in North America. The bicycle production industry in the US was $5.5 billion or 18 million units in 2002 (Friel, 2005). That shows that in one year 18 million individuals invested in bicycles and that there is a subsequent demand for cycling related infrastructure and facilities. Obviously, the number of units sold is smaller in Canada but is still significant. Since
bicycles are wheeled vehicles they can more easily be integrated into the existing automobile transportation network. Bicycles also offer the ability to carry a small amount of cargo which is an essential characteristic of a transportation medium used by the general public and university students. These three characteristics clearly show that bicycles are an optimum method of non-motorized transportation to study.
To determine the required infrastructure necessary to have an efficient, safe and interconnected bicycleway network a review of several bicycle friendly urban centres was necessary. No one urban centre contains all the aspects or infrastructure favourable to commuter cycling. Since the results from this paper will be applied to a future case study of the City of Greater Sudbury it is important that the urban centres of study be the best examples of bicycleway networks possible while having some similar characteristics to the City of Greater Sudbury. The criteria for selection were: The presence of a post secondary institution, a similar population size to Greater Sudbury, a‘re-greening’ environmental movement, a location within Canada and an interconnected bicycleway network. The 3 centres selected had at least the majority of these characteristics present and it was felt by the author that the centres chosen best represented effective commuter cycling infrastructure in North America relative to Greater Sudbury.
In an effective bicycleway network there are many components. These components can be broken down into physical connective infrastructure, physical supportive infrastructure and educational infrastructure. The physical connective infrastructure equates to bicycleways which are broken down into bicycle routes, lanes
and paths (Bicycle Advisory Committee, 1997). Physical supporting infrastructure is divided into storage facilities, integrated commuter facilities, integrated transit, bicycle share programs and maintenance facilities. The second type of supporting infrastructure is educational which is divided into educational programs and bicycle user groups. To address the issue of the requirements for an interconnected bicycleway network this paper will focus on a literature review of the types of infrastructure available, examples of where that infrastructure is in use and a review of three cities with well developed bicycleway networks.
3. LITERATURE REVIEW
3.1 Physical Connective Infrastructure
A bicycleway is a bicycle focused transportation artery that functions within a network. A well developed bicycleway network should connect an entire urban area and provide access via bicycle. In a bicycleway network there are three types of connective infrastructure; bicycle lanes, routes and paths.
3.1.2 Bicycle Lanes
A bicycle lane is a separate lane for bicycles on a road. It is designed to function in conjunction with automotive infrastructure. The lane is physically delineated by a painted stripe, texturing or colouring or even a barrier. A bicycle lane is also identified by signs and painted markers (Bicycle Advisory Committee, 1997). The bicycle lane approach is the best option with moderate volume or multi lane roadways since the bicycle specific portion of the travelled surface is physically delineated.
3.1.3 Bicycle Routes
A bicycle route is any road so identified by bicycle route signs. All bicycle lanes are bicycle routes, however, only physically delineated routes are bicycle lanes. As mentioned above physically delineated routes or lanes are the best option for moderate volume roadways. Physically non-delineated routes function best for low traffic roads, often there is not any specific bicycleway infrastructure required other than proper signage (Bicycle Advisory Committee, 1997).
3.1.4 Bicycle Paths
A bicycle path is a separate facility from which all motorized traffic is excluded. Bicycle paths include bicycle only paths and multi-user paths. Bicycle paths can be located parallel to or separate from a roadway (Bicycle Advisory Committee, 1997).
Bicycle paths are the most expensive of the three options and to ensure they receive sufficient usage to justify cost they are often located in scenic areas to accommodate both recreational and commuter type users.
3.2 Review of Urban Centres with Interconnected Bicycleway Networks
3.2.1 The City of Davis
Davis, California is an excellent example of a well planned bicycle friendly community. It has a total population of 60,000 residents with nearly a quarter of them falling in the 20-24 age category (City of Davis, 2005). The local post-secondary institution is the Davis Campus of the University of California which comprises nearly one fourth of the geographic area of Davis (UCD, 2005). With the university focused atmosphere and the large proportion of university aged residents the city’s transportation policies reflect a more much active means of transit than average.
The Bicycle Friendly Community program is a grant program sponsored by the Bikes Belong Coalition, which represents the major bicycle producing companies. Davis is considered by the Bicycle Friendly Community program to be the “Bicycle Capital of the US”. It is estimated that between 20-25% of all commuter trips made in Davis are by bicycle (League of American Bicyclists, 2005). The City of Davis has been at the forefront of commuter cycling since the early 1960’s and has been developing a highly interconnected and supported bicycleway network since then (League of American
Bicyclists, 2005). The topography of Davis is flat agricultural land and provides many benefits for cycling which will be explored later. Davis is located roughly 10km west of Sacramento and 70km northeast of San Francisco (Google, 2005).
The City of Davis is the only centre of study which is truly interconnected by a bicycleway network with proper infrastructure. When one looks at the Davis Bike Map it is apparent that Davis is interconnected by adequate connective infrastructure. In many areas there are parallel and perpendicular bicycleways which create a multi-way redundancy or grid like network very similar in layout to an automotive roadway network. Another important aspect of Davis’ bicycleway network is that virtually all the major arteries, with the exception of some portions of Interstate 80 are equipped with physically delineated bicycle lanes. This aspect is very important for commuter cycling since most destination points are on or near major automotive arteries the fastest most efficient route to them is often via the arteries, usually accessible only by motorized vehicle. Cycling on major transportation arteries is highly dangerous without proper connective infrastructure. The other two centres studied tackled this problem by designating parallel lower volume roadways as bicycle routes; this is a good solution and is possible given Guelph and Hamilton’s grid like road network but it is less efficient for the commuter cyclist. The residents and administration in Davis feel that physically delineating bicycle lanes on major transportation arteries contributes significantly enough to commuter cycling that it is a viable option. Davis also has an extensive network of bicycle paths which interconnect with and complement the on road bicycleways creating
a truly interconnected bicycleway network. In Davis a bicycleway is not the exception it is the rule.
3.2.2 The City of Guelph, Ontario
The City of Guelph has a population size of 110,000 residents and is located in Southern Ontario. Since Guelph is located in a predominately agricultural area its topography is relatively flat. The City of Guelph is highly focused towards the environment and ensuring that it is an environmentally sustainable city. In terms of daily commuter transit 2.5% of residents ride their bicycle to work (City of Guelph, 2005).
The City of Guelph is in the process of developing a bicycleway network with a high degree of interconnectivity; although it is still in the early stages when compared with Davis. The City of Guelph is interconnected by bicycle routes and many of the bicycle routes are in the form of delineated bicycle lanes. The interconnectivity issue in Guelph is that the physically delineated bicycle lanes do not interconnect and often only exist on a portion of a given street. Therefore Guelph is interconnected by bicycle routes that are not physically delineated. Both automotive traffic volume on non delineated bicycle routes and bicycle lane discontinuity could pose a safety issue for commuter cyclists. There are multi use paths and bicycle paths in Guelph which assist with interconnectivity in certain locations. The bicycle paths are located in recreational or park areas and only interconnect on road bicycle routes adjacent to them. The City of Guelph has many of the aspects of an interconnected bicycleway network with proper connective
and supportive infrastructure but it is not fully developed yet. There are still ‘gap’ areas within Guelph, but in the context of Canadian cities Guelph is one of the best examples of proper bicycleway infrastructure and is becoming a good example of a well structured bicycleway network.
3.2.3 The City of Hamilton, Ontario
The City of Hamilton is at the forefront of cycling in Ontario and is moving in the direction of a safe and highly interconnected bicycleway network. The City of Hamilton has a population of 662,000 residents and is thus much larger than the other areas of study (Statistics Canada, 2005). There are two components which make Hamilton a good city for study. Firstly it has a developing bicycleway network and secondly it is a city which has changed its environmental policy to reflect a more environmentally friendly image. Similarly to Sudbury, Hamilton has historically been viewed has a heavy industry related city with the environment being a low priority. The reputation of the purely industrial city has certainly outlived its application.
One of the spin-offs of the greener Hamilton movement has been the development of a well connected bicycleway network and this has caused an exponential level of growth in the cycling movement (City of Hamilton, 2005). Hamilton has become a haven for commuter, recreational and competitive cycling in Ontario. In October of 2003 the City of Hamilton hosted the Road World Championships for cycling displaying that
Hamilton has truly become a world class bicycle city (Cycling News Magazine, 2003).
The topography of Hamilton is different from the other two centres of study. Like Guelph and Davis, Hamilton is located on generally flat topography with the exception of the Niagara Escarpment (City of Hamilton, 2005). This interesting geologic feature provides a more vertical aspect to the flatter topography surrounding it.
The bicycleway network in Hamilton is similar to that of Guelph in that it is interconnected but it is largely interconnected by bicycle routes with no connective infrastructure other than signage. There are bicycle lanes and paths in Hamilton but not to the same degree as Guelph or especially Davis. To combat the current lack of connective infrastructure the bicycle routes in Hamilton are differentiated between multi use paths, physically delineated bicycle lanes, high traffic non-delineated routes and low traffic non-delineated routes. This approach to educating cyclists on the potential dangers associated which each bicycle route should help to make Hamilton safer for cycling but to ensure safety the high traffic routes need to be physically delineated. Similar to Guelph the existing bicycle lanes in Hamilton are not continuous and only exist on a portion of roadway. Hamilton has made a good start in planning out its bicycleway network but it needs to develop the connective infrastructure in order to have a safe bicycleway network with a high degree of interconnectivity. In a Canadian context Guelph and Hamilton are two of the best examples of city wide bicycleway networks, however they are still
lacking in terms of connective infrastructure in comparison to Davis which is highly interconnected with proper infrastructure.
3.3 Physical Supportive Infrastructure
3.3.1 Storage Facilities
Storage facilities for bicycles exist in a variety of forms with common characteristics. A bicycle storage facility needs to provide a secure area where commuters can store their bicycles without risk of theft, damage or vandalism (Bicycle User Group Ottawa, 2002). Bicycle racks are the most common form of storage facility since they are relatively inexpensive and can be located in a variety of indoor or outdoor areas.
There are several different styles of bicycle racks. Those that support the weight of the bicycle on the fork or seat stays better support the bicycle and reduce the likelihood of damage compared to racks which support the bicycle by the front or rear rim. The rim racks often cause damage to the rim sometimes to the extent that the whole wheel will be rendered non-functional (Bicycle Advisory Committee, 1997). It is a great deterrent to any for any potential bicycle commuter to be forced to use supporting infrastructure that will result in damage to the bicycle.
Single bicycle racks are either stand alone or attached to parking meters and are therefore highly efficient for sidewalks in built up areas. The City of Toronto (2005) uses single bicycle racks throughout the city. To ensure that there is a sufficient number of bicycle racks to support the bicycleway infrastructure citizens can request bicycle racks be put in their neighbourhood or place of work via the City of Toronto’s website (2005).
Multiple bicycle racks are the type that is more commonly found at major destination points in lower density urban areas such as malls or universities. Given that there is enough space at the destination point multiple bicycle racks are the most efficient since more bicycles can stored in a small area than with single bicycle racks (Bicycle Advisory Committee, 1997).
Bicycle lockers are the other type of storage facility. They provide greater protection and security than bike racks since they are an enclosed tapered box which the bicycle fits inside. However, bicycle lockers more expensive and are not as efficient spatially as bicycle racks (Balsas, 2003).
3.3.2 Integrated Commuter Facilities
A commuter facility is a transit station where commuters switch from one means of transit to another. Integrated transit facilities for commuter cyclists, includes elements of supporting infrastructure namely change rooms and storage facilities. These commuter
facilities are generally located in busy urban areas in close proximity to the destinations of the commuters.
A well laid out integrated commuter facility has several important characteristics; it has to fulfil the needs of the broadest base of users possible. The vast majority of commuters will need change room facilities and commuters travelling over 10km or commuting in hot summer weather require shower facilities as well (City of Toronto, 2005). Since bicycle can not easily be taken into some destination points, such as offices, businesses or classrooms, storage facilities are another characteristic. These two requirements form the basis for an integrated commuter facility. These facilities can be relatively small and therefore it would be easy locate them in virtually any institution whether it is private or public.
In 2004 the City of Chicago opened a large integrated commuter facility complex. The facility is located on two floors of a downtown parking garage thus keeping with its storage facility function. It is over 16,000 square feet, and contains indoor parking for 300 bicycles. Showers, change rooms and lockers are available to bicycle commuters. Since it is a heated complex it can function all year instead of only 3 seasons. In addition to the required components of an integrated transit facility it also offers a café and maintenance shop. Both the café and repair shop are well thought out additions to the complex since they make it almost a destination unto itself and encourage cycling as a means of transportation. To enhance security the complex is monitored by an in house
police bicycle unit which also monitors the surrounding area (Public Building Commission of Chicago, 2004).
3.3.3 Proper Signage for Bicycleways
Correct signage is another important component of any user friendly bicycleway network. Signage is necessary for direction since many of the users may not be familiar with the bicycleway network or signs may be the only infrastructure delineating a bicycle route (Bicycle Advisory Committee, 1997). The need for signage is especially true for students who are often unfamiliar with the city and may depend on their bicycle for transit. Signage also makes other users of the road aware of bicycleways and helps the entire road network function more cohesively.
There are a great variety of signage models in use or under development in a number of cities. The signage used across a region should be similar in format and it needs to provide specific information about the bicycleway where it is located. A proper signage format should include (City of Toronto, 2005) (Rainbow Routes Association, 2004):
· · ·
An indication that the transportation artery in question is a bicycleway. The type of bicycleway that has been designated (Path/Lane/Route). The designated user groups for the transportation artery.
Bicycle path signage should include additional information such as (Rainbow Routes Association, 2004):
· · ·
Path length, difficulty, and surface type. Name and distance of road intersection points. A map of the path and surrounding location.
3.3.4 Integrated Transit Systems
An integrated transit system is comprised of a public transit system which functions with non-motorized transit initiatives such as commuter cycling. The goal of an integrated transit system is to service the needs of all types of users. The features of an integrated transit system include both elements of physical infrastructure and universal commuter friendly policies.
The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) is a good example since it has invested in bicycle storage facilities at many of its transit stations and during non-peak hours allows cyclists to bring their bicycles on the subway, rail trains, street cars and buses. Beginning in June, 2005, the TTC launched a one year Bike Racks on Buses initiative on seven of its routes to assist commuter cyclists using the integrated transit approach. The
Ontario Provincial GO transit service also allows cyclists to bring their bicycles aboard GO trains during non-peak hours (The City of Toronto, 2005).
3.3.5 Bicycle Share Programs
There are several bicycle share programs in Canada. The bicycle share bikes can be used from both a recreational or commuter standpoint. One example of this approach is the Yellow Bike program in Toronto. A year pass costs $25 and allows user access to a fleet of bright yellow bicycles, available at a number of hubs in downtown Toronto. These hubs are both public facilities and private businesses that support bicycle transit. The yellow bicycles can be picked up by any member and returned to any bicycle hub throughout downtown Toronto (City of Toronto, 2005). Similar programs exist in both Victoria and Banff (City of Victoria, 1995) (Winterborne Bicycles, 2005).
3.3.6 Bicycle Stores and Maintenance Facilities
For any city to have a strong bicycleway network it needs to have a network of repair, maintenance and retail facilities to support cyclist needs. Usually this type of supporting infrastructure is found in the form of small independent locally owned businesses. This type of business is a bonus for any community since they e locally owned they often contribute back to the community which supports them. Many of these bicycle stores offer repair clinics, sponsor community events and provide a professional service to the public.
The City of Davis has an integrated public and private approach to maintenance services. It is fully integrated and encompasses a variety of public services made available by the city, the university and cycling firms. A tool rental service is provided by several local shops as well as repair and maintenance classes. The university offers summer storage facilities for bicycles and helmet rentals (UCD, 2005).
3.4 Educational Supportive Infrastructure
3.4.1 Educational Programs
Educational programs are of great importance to a safe and efficient bicycleway network. There are several different types of educational programs with different focuses. The most crucial type educates cyclists, motorists and pedestrians on proper rules and etiquette on the road or trail. A good public education program outlines the different types of users, where each fits into the transportation spectrum, what the rules are that they are expected to follow and what other users expect of them. Proper communication, traffic regulations and safety equipment should be included in these educational programs. This type of safety focused educational program needs to be offered through the school system at all levels and in conjunction with motor vehicle licensing programs.
Each program should be specific to the city in which it is taught since different cities have vastly different compositions of a bicycleway network.
There are two major educational programs through the University of California, Davis (UCD). Transportation and Parking Services (TAPS) is a department of UCD which governs transit and parking on campus. TAPS provides a cycling traffic school for cyclists caught making transit violations on the university campus. By taking the TAPS course the fine for transit violations is reduced. The second educational program offered by UCD is called Bike Right which is a proactive public bicycle safety and injury prevention program (UCD, 2005).
Another type of educational program is one that is focused towards the mechanical nature of the bicycle and how to operate it efficiently as a cyclist. Many individuals who would be interested in commuter cycling for its health and environmental benefits are not comfortable with bicycles on an operational or mechanical level. By teaching individuals how to safely maintain and operate their bicycles, bicycle transit would be strongly encouraged.
One such program is the Guelph Youth Cycling Program sponsored by the City of Guelph and Winterborne Bicycles. This program provides underprivileged youths with the opportunity repair an older bicycle and keep it for their own use. This program teaches youths about the operation and mechanics of a bicycle and provides them with a
means of transportation and the opportunity to become involved in cycling which they otherwise would not have had (Winterborne Bicycles, 2005).
3.4.2 Bicycle User Groups
Bicycle User Groups are organizations that contribute positively to a city bicycling culture. A Bicycle User Group, or BUG, is group of a people in a workplace, a school, a community, or a neighbourhood, who come together to improve conditions for commuter cycling, or to enjoy cycling together. Each BUG grows out of its own environment and develops differently according to the needs of its users (City of Toronto, 2005).
Most Bicycle User Groups function strongly in the educational field and encourage non-cyclists or novice cyclists to become involved. The City of Toronto BUG (2005) has a program where experienced cyclists, called cycling ambassadors, will partner up with inexperienced cyclists and assist them in their ride to work. As well the Toronto BUG has developed a series of internet videos that are focused towards educating individuals on how to become commuter cyclists. Similar user groups exist in both Hamilton and Ottawa and support the bicycling culture in those areas (Bicycle User Group Ottawa, 2002; City of Hamilton, 2005).
As seen in the literature review section there are many forms of infrastructure both connective and supportive that are required components of a bicycleway network. No one urban centre contains all the aspects or components favourable to commuter cycling in Canada so it was important to study several centres. Two Canadian examples, Guelph and Hamilton, were studied as well as Davis, California which has a renowned bicycleway network. The study of the three centres focused on connective forms of infrastructure and the interconnectivity of the bicycleway network of each centre. Following the three bicycleway networks, supportive types of infrastructure were reviewed and examples of the various types of physical and educational infrastructure were given. Now that the types of infrastructure have been described and examples of bicycleways have been given the discussion will focus on the various aspects that challenge cities in creating safe and highly interconnected bicycleway networks based on what has already been examined.
All three of the centres studied in this paper were located on located on flat topography. This is beneficial for any cycle friendly community for two reasons. Firstly, the flat topography assists in the grid like structure of a city roadway network since there are not a greater number of geological obstructions to build around. The grid structure provides multi-route redundancy for the bicycleway networks meaning that there are many parallel routes that can be designated bicycleways. By this feature the cities of study have avoided locating portions of their bicycleway networks on major automotive arteries. Secondly flat terrain is preferred by many commuter cyclists since it can more efficiently traversed than mountainous topography.
Proper bicycle storage is a very important component of any bicycleway network and it requires more discussion than it could be given in the literature review section. The issues of storage facilities delve into the mechanics, design and metallurgy of bicycles. Bicycle rims are fashioned out of lighter and weaker aluminium alloys than frames or forks are. A bicycle rim is not strong enough or structured properly to support the bicycle weight in a direction perpendicular to the rim and the result from using the wheel type of storage rack is bent non-functional wheels (Bicycle Advisory Committee, 1997). Bicycle racks which support the weight of the bicycle by the frame or fork may still damage the bicycle, mainly in the areas of paint and possibly the structural integrity of the fork or frame depending on the materials used to construct the bicycle. Frame or fork supporting racks will cause much less damage than wheel supporting racks and the frame or fork style provide increased security because the frame, fork and wheels can be more easily locked to the rack (Bicycle Advisory Committee, 1997). Also bicycle racks provide no protection for the other components of a bicycle from the impact of a foreign object. The possibility exists that the drivetrain components of a bicycle could be rendered nonfunctional from a moderate impact, leaving the cyclist stranded. Many such impacts occur on a regular basis when cyclists are depositing or removing their bicycles from a crowded bicycle rack. Of the different types of storage facilities bicycle lockers are by far the best. They provide the utmost in security and protection in comparison to spatial footprint and cost. Given the option most cyclists would prefer to use bicycle lockers, since they provide added safety, security and cause no damage to the bicycle. Due to the
increased cost of bicycle lockers over bicycle racks most facilities that offer bicycle lockers charge a small fee for their use.
The lack of standardization for bicycle transit is a problem in North America. Educational programs, traffic regulations and physical infrastructure need to be standardized for bicycleway networks at the national level similar to the format for motor vehicles. Most development occurs at the municipal level and often municipalities develop different formats for dealing with bicycle transit. This municipal method also burdens municipalities with developing policies which in many cases have already been developed elsewhere. The standardization approach is much farther along in the US than in Canada where federal funds are provided to municipalities to develop bicycleway infrastructure and national cycling organizations provide consultation for municipalities. For some items such as bike racks for buses the US federal government with cover 95% of the cost (League of American Bicyclists, 2005). In Canada the full cost of development falls to the municipality which equates to a lack of infrastructure in Canadian cities.
In 1991 the US Congress opened the Highway Trust Fund to bicycle infrastructure needs (Friel, 2005). The US Department of Transport actively took a role in bicycle commuting with the 1994 National Biking and Walking Study (Harkey et al, 1998) (Krizek and Rio, 2005). The US highway bill was enhanced in 1998 providing more funds for bicycle infrastructure and for 2005 the US has set aside $4 billion to develop bicycle infrastructure and programs (Friel, 2005). The other national level
funding organization is the Bikes Belong Coalition which is a coalition of the large American bicycle manufacturers who donate monetary grants to communities who develop their bicycleway infrastructure in an effort to promote cycling across the US. This phenomenon is much farther behind in Canada. There are no national cycling organizations in Canada which provide grants to municipalities to encourage the development of bicycleway infrastructure. The largest commuter style organizations are at the provincial level; namely the Cycle Ontario Alliance (2005) which is focused towards interconnecting cities via trails and bicycle routes. Proportionally the scope that Canada funds all types of cycling is far behind the US and therefore the programs and infrastructure are equally far behind. For commuter cycling to develop in Canada, as it has in the United States, Canada needs to take some national level interest in the activity. That interest should be in the form of a standardized national commuter cycling organization and increased federal and provincial funding to municipalities for cycling infrastructure and educational programs.
One of the main obstacles facing commuter cyclists is the mentality of motorists. Many motorists feel that the road is for motorized vehicles and bicycles do not belong. It is understandable that motorists feel this way since cyclists are a rarity on many roads and motorists are uncertain of what the cyclist actions will be on the road. Many cyclists ride in a andom fashion for two reasons. Firstly the proper infrastructure usually does not exist and therefore the cyclist has to compensate for nonexistent or inadequate infrastructure by using the delineated motorized vehicle road surface. Secondly the vast majority of motorists and cyclists are not aware of what the rules of the road for cyclists
are. Many cyclists do not know how to signal, make steady consistent movements or even which portion of the road they should be riding on. Public education programs about cycling and driving need to be implemented for all users of the road. When each user group knows the other rules of road then confusion, poor communication, negative mentality and the likelihood of collisions will be greatly reduced.
In Canadian cities with bicycleway networks there is a trend of designating bicycle routes to interconnect cities without the proper connective infrastructure. Hamilton and Guelph both are interconnected with physically non delineated bicycle routes. Physically non-delineated bicycle routes are intended for low traffic roadways and in that capacity those routes function safely. The alarming trend is that due to the lack of connective infrastructure in Hamilton and Guelph these types of bicycle routes are being used on higher traffic roadways where they do not provide sufficient protection for cyclists. There are two reasons for this trend: Firstly physically non-delineated bicycle routes are inexpensive since no infrastructure is required other than proper signage. Secondly the road surface does not have to be expanded to include proper physically delineated bicycle routes or bicycle lanes. Granted a designated, physically non-delineated bicycle route does provide some safety to cyclists in that it legitimizes their right to use the roadway for cycling but it does not fully separate them from motorists and therefore does not provide an adequate measure safety in many cases.
To encourage people to become involved in active, environmentally friendly transportation and ensure their safety while participating in it proper infrastructure needs
to be constructed with interconnectivity in mind. The public education programs about cycling should not be limited to cyclists but should be available for all users of the road. Educating motorists, cyclists and pedestrians about the rules and regulations of the road will result in each group being aware and respectful of the others. The transportation network within cities will then function more safely and cohesively.
From an academic standpoint, developing a method to measure the degree of interconnectivity of a city bicycleway network would be a major asset to standardizing bicycle transit in North America. To develop such a method various aspects of a bicycleway network could be assigned numeric values. Variations in road surface quality, for example, could be assigned a graduated series of numeric values since it would help to estimate potential obtainable velocity on bicycleways. Variables such as potential sustainable velocity, predicted traffic volume, bicycleway maintenance, topography and the number of bicycleway intersections compared with the total length of the bicycleway network are all aspects which could be measured and assigned numeric values. Once the numeric values are determined for all the variables a ratio could be calculated displaying the degree of efficiency and interconnectivity of the entire bicycleway network. This method would be universal for all bicycleway networks. Therefore the calculated ratio of any given city bicycleway network could be readily compared to the ratio of any other city bicycleway network. Once bicycleway networks could be compared in a standardized manner the cities with safe, highly interconnected bicycleway networks would be identified for further study. From that point the common themes or aspects of the most efficient, highly interconnected bicycleway networks could be isolated and a
model of the components of those bicycleway networks could be created. The bicycleway network model could then be used as a template for urban centres to further develop their bicycleway networks in the most efficient and standardized manner.
Finally, this study points at a lack of literature in the field of bicycle transportation with respect to Northern Ontario. The Academic Search Premier and Scholar Portal Search databases were consulted for the recent past. All related journals in those databases were consulted for the period of 2001 to present and some as far back as 1993. Nothing was found that was relevant to cycling in the region of Northern Ontario.
The trend of automobile dependency in North America is still on the increase since individuals are living farther away from where they work or go to school than they once did. Individuals who at one time may have walked are now dependent on private automobiles. Automotive commuting is not the most environmentally sustainable or healthy method of transit available. Transit by bicycles has been shown to be much more efficient in terms of energy input converted to distance travelled and cycling strongly mitigates negative environmental effects such as air pollution incurred by automotive transit. To make cycling a safe and viable option for commuters a highly interconnected bicycleway network is a necessity. The focus of this paper was to explore the
components of a bicycleway network and provide real world examples of those components in North American cities.
The sequel to this paper is a focused case study of the City of Greater Sudbury in the area around Laurentian University. It was therefore important that the cities of study for this paper had certain characteristics in common with Greater Sudbury. The cities that best fit the selection criteria were Guelph, Hamilton and Davis. The interconnectivity and connective infrastructure of each city respective bicycleway network was studied in this paper. The various types of supportive infrastructure were described and examples in various cities were provided as well.
As demonstrated a safe and highly interconnected bicycleway network requires many components. It was found that Davis is an excellent example of a highly interconnected bicycleway network with proper connective infrastructure. It was also found that Guelph and Hamilton provided some good aspects of a bicycleway network, however, both centres were lacking in the areas of safety and connectivity. From this literature review five recommendations can be made to assist municipalities in the development of safe and highly interconnected bicycleway networks:
The standardization of traffic regulations for bicycles at the national level in a similar format to automotive traffic regulations.
The development of a national level commuter cycling organization which can provide consultation for the development of bicycleway networks and provide a standardized format for that development.
Increased funding from the federal and provincial governments needs to be provided to municipalities to construct adequate connective and supportive infrastructure for bicycleway networks. This infrastructure is needed to make commuter cycling safe in urban areas and sufficient funds are needed to construct it.
Prominent educational programs about traffic regulations for automobiles, bicycles and pedestrians need to be implemented to educate all user groups on proper behaviour and use of transportation infrastructure.
Educational programs about the correct maintenance and operation of bicycles will increase the public confidence in using bicycles means of commuting. This type of educational program should be sponsored by the municipality and provided through local bicycle firms.
In all North American cities there is room growth in commuter cycling. Some centres are more developed than others but all cities have the potential to become safe, efficient and highly interconnected places for bicycle transit given that they develop the proper infrastructure.
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