space4cycling (3/6) traffic calming and routing measures

You can discuss this article below. What do you think? Give us your local example and what changes you’d like to see.

This story is part of our space4cycling series.

We prefer a strategic approach to city transport using community-wide measures like filtered permeability. This requires a city-wide holistic look to supersede the current ‘spot improvement’ process.

For this reason, we not only support temporary road closures to motorised traffic for festivals and community activities. We also support permanent closure of roads and access restrictions such as “local traffic only” because it gives space and ownership back to local people by improving and calming their public realm and space. By doing so we create liveable residential areas and thriving retail environments. The very least thing a good city can do is to create people-friendly street environments where people live.

We mentioned the benefits of gateway features and necking-down corners last week. These create clear entry zones sending a message to anyone passing that a transition takes place at this point. And breaking up long stretches of linear on-street car parking into smaller bays for three or four cars is also a good idea in shared (bike/car) streets (and in an inclusively designed city this should only be the case in residential streets). Sometimes traffic-calming measures may also feel counter-intuitive at first: under certain conditions removal of the road centre line and installation of advisory cycle lanes can help re-balance the road environment. Naturally, whenever traffic calming is used it should be designed in a bike-inclusive way. For example using sinusoidal shape for speed humps can make it more comfortable to cycle over them. Pinchpoints should by first default have a cycle bypass. Linear car parking can be removed and converted to cycling – this usually frees up sufficient space to create a dedicated cycleway in both directions. Streets can also be capped half way for motorised traffic – this closes down rat-runs. Or how about making a street one-way for motor traffic, and converting the gained space making to a cycle contra-flow. Converting a traffic lane to walking and cycling space is called ‘going on a road diet’ and we featured this approach in episode 1 of this 6 part series.

All these measure have one thing in common: by cutting back on car space, we are swinging the balance towards walking and cycling, and a better street environment. Creating a fairer balance and paving the way for a human-scale neighbourhood where you live.

Here is an example from Groningen, Newcastle’s twinned town, that describes the concept of zoning (go to 2:10):

Groningen: The World’s Cycling City from Streetfilms on Vimeo

And the people-friendly things Copenhagen has done successfully:

And David Hembrow makes clear the transformation Assen underwent, putting people first:

We also reported from these two cities. Bremen demonstrating the benefits of a complete cycling network; and Montreal showcasing little measures like necking-down a street entrance.

Bremen : Learning and teaching
Montreal : Montreal : North America’s best bicycling see photo 5