Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Bicycle Commute Challenge Day 15 - Biking in a New City, Be a Tourist, Learn about Transportation: Montreal

I am in Montreal and I have been taken by this City. It's a great cycling City, clearly earning the title of Best Cycling City in North America. The recent ranking by doesn't do this City justice, putting Montreal just two points ahead of Portland.

There are several elements that make Montreal superior to Portland. The first is 2-way cycletracks. They have a comprehensive system that is very comfortable to ride on. The only criticism I can offer is that they are a little narrow and don't offer sufficient width to ride side by side with a companion like you can in the best cycling cities.

There was also some seasonal lanes that were signed to operate from April 1 to November 15th. These were areas that seemed to be where they were trading off parking closer to homes for the bike lanes, which makes for a reasonable compromise if it is below freezing temperatures and it's the only way to get community support.

The treatments at intersections were very diverse and they have been at it a lot longer than I have. The use of sharrows was prolific in intersections, they must have a healthy striping budget for keeping these maintained. They use some bike signals, but they rely a lot on simple green indications, at the opposite direction on the cycletrack (on a one way street).

They have done a fantastic job with construction rerouting and I had a chance to see that on several occassions because there is a lot of changes happening in the City. There's a lot of work near the University.
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Andrew Ooms said...

Many of Madison's bike lanes, including a major Vancouver/Williams-like couplet on the isthmus become de facto seasonal lanes for the same reason. Parking needs in the densest part of the city preclude snow parking restrictions. They clear what they can, but inevitably the parking lane shifts into the bike lane as the snow builds up next to the curb.

Anonymous said...

Good to hear that some cities do a "fantastic job of construction rerouting". Unfortunately, at least for bikes, Portland's defacto approach is simply to prohibit bikes from using bike boulevard ("neighborhood greenways") whenever there's construction work. I was on SE Taylor several months ago, riding to work. As I approached 12th, to head through the Central Eastside, a PGE truck pulled up in the block between 11th and 12th, blocked the street, and the crew quickly laid out "road closed" signs. No indication of any detour. Cyclists using the street were left to their own imagination as to how to continue. Most chose to use the south sidewalk.

You'd never see PGE pull across SE 12th, and prefunctorialy close the street, leaving drivers to figure out where to go. It's an arterial, after all. But with Bike Boulevards, certainly a bike arterial, no such consideration is given.

It's not just PGE. Road paving crews a couple of years ago on Clinton would close a block at a time, with no indication other than perhaps a sign that essentially said "go somewhere else". Now with up coming work on Clinton again, their brochures (posted along the street) seem pointedly to avoid mentioning if they'll close the street to bikes, and if there will be detours marked or even described.