Category Archives: Intersections

Roundabouts Are Great But They Are Not Traffic Circles

When it comes to intersection design, I’m a big fan of roundabouts. If you follow me on Twitter you’ve probably come across more than a few tweets touting the benefits of roundabouts. From time to time I do radio interviews which are supposedly going to be about the Oilers, and even then I manage to squeeze in some talk about roundabouts. For an intersection requiring more traffic control than a two-way stop a roundabout is my intersection design of choice. Continue reading

Introducing the Squircle

Image taken from An Application of Safe System Approach to Intersections in the Capital Region - Pilot Project. Phase 1: Progress Report.

Image taken from An Application of Safe System Approach to Intersections in the Capital Region – Pilot Project. Phase 1: Progress Report.

Ladies and gentlemen allow me to introduce you to the squircle (click on the image to the left to enlarge it). This is an intersection concept that I first came across a couple of years ago but had completely forgot about until seeing it at a presentation I attended on Wednesday. The idea is basically a combination of a signalized intersection and a roundabout. I think the name could use some work, but don’t worry, it’s not nearly as complicated as it looks. Continue reading

The Problem With Fixed Signal Timings

By Jacklee. (Own work.) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

On Saturday, my wife and I, along with a friend, headed for the Downtown Farmers Market, and since my wife is less than mobile right now, the result of foot surgery a couple of weeks ago, we opted to drive. Living just outside of what most consider to be downtown in Rossdale we usually prefer to walk but that just wasn’t an option on this day, not unless I wanted to carry Emily up the hill, and the be totally honest that didn’t much interest me. Because we happened to be driving and not walking as we normally would I noticed how little sense the traffic signals in and around downtown make on the weekend.

On the trip to the market and again on the way back we stopped at a red light at the intersection of 99 Street and 101A Avenue. Even if I ignore for a minute that 99 Street is ridiculously overbuilt in this area with two travel lanes for north and south bound traffic plus on-street parking in both directions I really can’t get my head around why the signals would be on a fixed timing pattern when there is next to no traffic on either street.¬†The purpose of a traffic signal is assign right-of-way to vehicles and pedestrians. When used properly they promote orderly traffic movement and to prevent excessive¬†delays. In this case though the signals are the only thing delaying traffic. And that’s a problem; one that, luckily, can be easily fixed.

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Ideas From Rush Hour Traffic: A Pedestrian Scramble

By Shadowlink1014 at en.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

I, like everyone I know, do not like being stuck in traffic. Not having to deal with rush hour is one of the things I like most about walking to work. If it’s sunny out my walk takes 20 minutes. If it’s snowing, still 20 minutes. And if two drivers get in an accident, still just 20 minutes. When my wife and I moved downtown the ability to walk was a factor in our decision, but it wasn’t something I expected to enjoy as much as I do. From time to time though I do have to drive during rush hour, and every time I really feel for all the people who do to it day in and day out.

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