The city’s first protected intersection for cyclists opened at Stone Road and Gordon Street on Monday morning, allowing cyclists a safer option when making a left turn at that intersection.
Stone Road and Gordon Street is one of the city’s busiest intersections, said Jennifer Juste, transportation coordinator for the city of Guelph.
“With the number of cyclists navigating this intersection, it made sense to give them a bit of added protection to feel safe and to ensure they are complying with the rules of the road — not biking on the sidewalk and using the crosswalk,” said Juste.
Cyclists approaching the intersection may still navigate through the intersection the same way as before, said Juste, or they can choose to use the protected intersection when making a left turn — which will save them from crossing almost three lanes of traffic to get into the left turning lane.
“This helps cyclists not having to change lanes in live traffic to make a left turn, and then wait in the middle of an intersection. It gives them the opportunity to go with the green light, wait on the corner and then take the next green light across and continue on their way,” said Juste. “Having to cross two and a half lanes or traffic to get to the left turn lane, that can be intimidating for a lot of cyclists.”
The protected intersection’s green cross ride is painted alongside the pedestrian crosswalk. It has a white arrow painted on it to show the cyclists’ path is intended as a one-way, maintaining a counter-clockwise direction in the intersection.
“The green cross ride is a designed for cyclists that allow them to stay on their bicycle without having to dismount and walk and it’s beside the crosswalk,” said Juste.
If a cyclist uses a crosswalk, they are supposed to dismount their bicycle.
The corner areas where turning cyclists can queue still need to be painted. Juste said the concrete in those areas needs to cure for up to a month before being painted.
For drivers, said Juste, there is really no change.
“There will be a new sign introduced asking drivers to yield when turning right — to watch for cyclists, because it is unique to have them coming from your blind spot,” said Juste.
She said there is a benefit to drivers because the cyclist path and pedestrian walkway are pushed back, so drivers have more time to stop if making a right turn and there is someone using those paths.
A similar protected intersection was rolled out this summer in neighbouring Waterloo, said Juste.
“The city of Ottawa has quite a few of them that they have introduced in the last year or two, as well.” She said.
Because construction work was already being done on the Gordon and Stone intersection, Juste said the cost was negligible.
“It was just paint work and a bit of additional concrete work, so it wasn’t a significant cost to do this,” said Juste.
The protected intersection is different than the green bike box used further north on Gordon Street at Waterloo Avenue.
The city chose not to do the green bike box design on Gordon and Stone because of how many lanes of traffic cyclists would still have to cross and how far that left turn path is.
A survey of cyclists conducted by the city after the Gordon and Waterloo green bike box rollout showed they liked the design, but still wanted additional protection.
“We felt this (protected intersection) design was more suitable for an intersection of this size,” said Juste.