ACTBiPed Meeting Report for May 3, 2017

Sorry this one’s a little late, everybody! The May 3 ACTBiPed meeting had a bunch of interesting items, including reports from staff about new 30 km/h zones, a new bike lane for the Brunette Fraser Regional Greenway, and the first steps on the Connaught Heights Traffic Calming Plan. Let’s go!

We first talked about a recommendation from ACTBiPed that city staff report on the possibility of moving to a 30 km/h speed limit on New Westminster’s streets. Staff came back with a report that raised a number of interesting points:

  1. The Motor Vehicle Act forbids municipalities from enacting a blanket speed limit for all streets within their boundaries. Every residential street must have a speed limit of 50 km/h unless directed otherwise.
  2. “Directed otherwise” means that if you’re going to impose a speed limit other than 50 km/h, every chunk of street between intersections needs to have a sign stating what the changed speed limit is. This is for enforcement reasons — if you enter a street with a 30 km/h limit but do not pass a sign stating that, the police have no grounds to give you a speeding ticket as you weren’t “directed otherwise”, you were going the 50 km/h limit the MVA says applies.
  3. Signs cost about $150 to purchase and install.
  4. Pedestrians have a 90% chance of survival in a pedestrian/vehicle collision when the vehicle is travelling at 30 km/h. They have a 15% chance of survival if the vehicle is travelling at 50 km/h.

The city is going to start a pilot project along the upgraded Rotary Crosstown Greenway, and then design the 6th Street “Great Street” such that the engineering design lends itself to a 30 km/h limit, and then also continue the project into 2018 along all greenways, bikeways, and streets where it’s illegal to cycle on the sidewalk, approximately 15km of streets.

A rough order of magnitude calculation puts the cost of installing all of these signs to be about $22,500 (about 150 signs at about $150 each).

This project is just a pilot project, and can be made permanent with Council’s support. If you want a 30 km/h limit on New Westminster’s streets, write to Council!

The city will soon be enacting a Downtown Strategic Transportation Plan, including such hot topics as traffic calming, bicycle networks (including the Agnes Street Greenway!) and dealing with all of the new developments in progress and in the plans. Look for more information on this in fall 2017.

We received an update on the Connaught Heights Traffic Calming Plan. Not much to report here other than some “quick wins”: new sidewalks along 21st Street between 7th and 9th Avenues and along 8th Avenue between 22nd Street and a bus stop mid-block, and traffic circles at the intersections of 21st Avenue and Edinburgh Street and 21st Avenue and London Street. Don’t worry, Connaught Heights residents, more is coming! There’s a workshop coming up on June 15th at the Connaught Heights Elementary gym at 6pm. Go check it out!

The item that most interested me, even though I’m not a cyclist, is the design of the Braid Street section of the Brunette Fraser Regional Greenway between Brunette Avenue and Canfor Avenue. Here are a couple of pictures of the design (click through for larger versions):

West end of the Braid Street section of the Brunette Fraser Regional Greenway

East end of the Braid Street section of the Brunette Fraser Regional Greenway

I think it looks pretty cool! The little dipsy-doo at the Bailey Bridge end is because of some utility poles that the path obviously can’t go through. ACTBiPed members recommended some treatment along the path to remind cyclists to watch out for large trucks turning into their path, and this is what staff thought up:

Watch for construction to start later this year and for it to be substantially complete before year-end.

Andrew Feltham (an ACTBiPed member) gave a presentation on transit priorities, with a bit of a focus on Queensborough. Transit priorities are things like bus lanes or bus-only traffic signals, like the one at the south end of 20th Street to get onto the Queensborough Bridge. If you can think of any areas that could benefit from transit priorities, shoot me a comment below!

There’s a new draft bike route map out too. We had some comments about it (like why in the world would staff remove Columbia & McBride from the “Caution! Extra Care Needed” category?!?) and they’ll be revising the map accordingly.

Next ACTBiPed meeting is scheduled for June 7 at 6:30pm at New Westminster City Hall. As always, it’s open to the public.

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