A vision for King Street in Uptown Waterloo

In order to demonstrate how separated bicycle lanes could work on King Street between Erb and Central Street, I have made a model of King and Erb, one of two major intersections in the study area.  The other is King and Bridgeport, which is nearly identical but rotated 180 degrees.


Key features of the design:


As the northbound bicycle lane approaches the intersection, it moves closer to the roadway to improve visibility of cyclists, and no objects are placed on the buffer between the bike lane and car lane.  At the intersection, the bike lane curves away from the street in order for to make a better angle of conflict between right-turning cars and cyclists.  If the bicycle lane continued straight, cyclists would be approaching right-turning cars in their blind spots.

These measures are not taken for the southbound lane since Erb is one-way eastbound so there are no turns across the bike lane during a green light for King.

The bike lane is also paved in red asphalt to make it more obvious to drivers and pedestrians.  The bicycle crossing is shown with “Elephant’s feet”, a series of squares marking the path of bicycles through the intersection.

Driver’s view northbound:

Driver’s view southbound:

Bicycle lane width:

The bicycle lane has a width of 2.0 metres, which is the absolute minimum width to allow a faster cyclist to overtake a slower one within the lane.  The exception is behind the bus stop, where it narrows to 1.5 metres in order fit in the bus platform.  Cyclists would have to wait to overtake until after the bus stop.

Buffer width:
Where the bike lane is adjacent to parking, the bicycle lane buffer is 0.8m which is just enough to completely protect cyclists from opening car doors. 

Bus stops:
The bicycle lane passes behind bus stops to completely separate buses from bicycles.  Cyclists can pass the bus stop even when buses are loading passengers, thanks to the island platform. In order to maintain visibility for cyclists approaching the intersection, bus stops need to be on the far side of intersections where turns are permitted across the bicycle path.  The southbound stop has a wide enough lane that cars can pass stopped buses, but the northbound stop does not.


What do you think of this vision of King Street?

PS. Feel free to use the images in this post for any purpose, with or without accreditation.

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4 Responses to A vision for King Street in Uptown Waterloo

  1. Given that the uptown segregated bike lanes are happening, how can we ensure that those at the city/contractor/designer see these designs. I think the King St. lanes will differ quite a bit sadly, but one thing that they should strive to achieve is having the path go behind bus stops. I’m not sure who to suggest this too at this point however.


    • reaperexpressblogs says:

      The preliminary designs do include bicycle paths going behind bus stops. In fact, the designs are so similar to mine that I suspect that they did look at these images. I expect that there will be at least one more public consultation because they are just starting the detailed the design now and there are still many decisions to be made.


  2. Robert says:

    Not good enough. 2 metres is rather narrow, and 1.5 metres is very narrow and if you do not use splay curbs, I say it would be a dangerous thing to do. Splay curbs should be used anyway though. I see enough space to have a dedicated right turn lane and a mixed left/thru lane on the approach from bottom to top on figure 2. A cycle track should be used on Erb, as of course cycling needs be allowed on all city streets in a safe and easy manner. It is not using separate signal stages either which i see is a problem. A bicycle left turn box is not a very safe solution to allow turns. I would pave the parking lane in grey bricks and add a concrete gutter between the two, and ensure that good gutters that do not intrude upon the cycle track at all or at least the grates are perpendicular to the cyclists direction. The parking lane being paved like that is to optically narrow the road and make it very clear which area is used for what purpose. That bus stop is rather boring. How about an electronic display of the next bus arrival times, some bike parking at the bus stop (not the ring and posts, how about a more secure Sheffield design or a grate type rack? A raised curb, up to about 30 cm above the asphalt with a tactile edge for the blind and with less vision which cannot be corrected with glasses, Making sure that everything contrasts well, perhaps even paving the area where bike parking is and where the bicycles, all 180 cm long of them, would actually be if they were parked, in a different colour of bricks, so that you can see better in the dark and if you have vision impairments. I am worried about the rest of King Street. What happens to the rest of it? I know a streetcar runs down part of its length, and I want to see how you plan to deal with that.


    • reaperexpressblogs says:

      2 metres is indeed narrow, as are the dimensions of the roadway and sidewalk. However, this compares favourably to the current plan, which as 1.8m cycle tracks and extra-wide traffic lanes. That is pushing the limit of what is physically useable for overtaking, and it is worthy of discussion.

      This design was in response to the actual road reconstruction project on King Street. It does not include any changes on Erb because that’s outside the scope of the project.

      The bus shelter merely exists to illustrate that it is a bus stop – it’s the default shelter from Sketchup. The paving materials shown not prescriptive either. I considered illustrating splay curbs but decided against it because of how much effort it would have taken.

      The segment of King Street where the LRT operates in the median is already fully designed and well under construction, and it doesn’t include any kind of cycling facility. But that’s not as bad as it sounds because south of Erb Street the main cycling corridor is Caroline Street. The more pertinent question is how to get people from the King Street cycle tracks to the Caroline Street cycle track (2-way on west side).


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