What is WITH intersection design in Vancouver??
I'm a geologist, not an engineer. But I seem cursed with a disproportionate interest in how roads are built. My interest seems to be mostly about how to design intersections to make it more clear to all users how
things are meant to be done. I
have a major problem when it seems that poor design
actually *encouraging* certain users to take
advantage, or do foolish, selfish, dangerous things in
I moved to Vancouver from San Francisco about a year
ago. As such, I think I have a sort of fresh
perspective on some of these issues.
All of which brings me to my current pet peeve and a
question for you. Do any of you know anything about the
"pedestrian controlled intersection" policy or
program? I'm told this may be Province-wide. It makes
me crazy, as I feel in all but the lightest of traffic
volume situations, it actually *creates* a very
dangerous situation that I see on a daily basis.
The driver in a car who approaches one of these busy
intersections on the secondary (crossing) roadway has
no hope of salvation in the form of a green light in
their direction, and in the absence of an obliging
pedestrian, is left to "go for it" by agressively
dashing into what is effectively an uncontrolled
intersection. And then, when a pedestrian *has*
triggered the walk signal, local drivers fly through
that intersection (again from the secondary roadway)
as if they have a green light, completely ignoring the
fact that they are running a stop sign every time, and
without a clear view of the status of the red light
controlling the traffic on the primary roaday (after
all, the control lights are specifically blinded to
NOT be visible to this crossing traffic). All of which
adds up to a rediculously dangerous circumstance that
exists ALL OVER this city. Note that when the primary
road has the red light, pedestrians still have the
right of way to cross the secondary roadway, since
there is a stop sign there, and there is NO "do not
cross" control for the pedestrian. The entire
situation is, by design, unclear.
I feel strongly that Vancouver or BC, whichever it is,
needs to consider abandoning this pedestrian
controlled intersection policy. These intersections
need to be four-way controlled, with vehicle sensors
and pedestrian crossing buttons. Not the weird
half-way systems that are common here. What possible
advantage to these systems offer?
And don't *even* get me started on the flashing green
light issue. I personally was nearly killed by a
visiting colleage from Ontario who reasonably assumed
that meant "advance green" as it does in that
province. Here, it only means "this is a pedestrian
controlled intersection" and I have yet to figure out
what value that holds. That BY DESIGN inconsistency
criminal, in my opinion.
And what's with allowing left turns? In San Francisco,
basically all left turns are illegal unless there is a
dedicated turn lane, forcing drivers to plan ahead and
go around the block to the right to effect a left
turn. This would be trivial to implement (cost of
signage only) and would eliminate yet another HUGELY
dangerous and gongestion-causing situation; one in
which commonly 50% of the available travelling lanes
suddenly and randomly become un-available when someone
blocks the lane to turn left, and cars jump lanes and
effectively scatter in all directions agressively and
at high speeds to avoid getting trapped behind this
stopped vehicle. Am I the only one who thinks this
needs to change?
But, as a mere civilian, I find no ready ways to
enquire with the powers that be.
Hmmm... not sure which streets you are talking about, but when I commute to school, I take either Broadway or Granview (12th). left turns are not allowed at most major interestions during rush hour. There is traffic all day long, though, so if it works in San Fran, it would probably work here, too. Can't think of a situation where it wouldn't be an improvement, as long as it wasn't in effect at night.
Personally, I like the pedestrian-controlled intersections. It encourages ppl to go over to the next main cross street and use a light-controlled intersection to turn left. If all of those crossings has lights, traffic down the main arteries would be slowed down quite a bit, cuz there would be a lot of extra lights along the way. If there are lights, more people will try to use that intersection, which will cause more red lights.
Welcome to the Lower Mainland.
If you really want to see some smart traffic systems, visit England sometime.
Chances of significant improvements here seem slim at best.
I agree with all of that and have noticed the same things and a couple of other issues.
Originally Posted by stily1
But these systems where the ped decides when the light chances has advantages. They are much cheaper than your solution. Even adding a car sensor (which many intersections have) adds expense.
Other than that I don't see why there isn't a program to update them as time and money permits (when road work is being done in area for example).
The flashing green should be stopped tomorrow. Good idea in isolation bad idea in the real world. Purple traffic lights might be a good idea too but that doesn't mean they should be used.
I too am amazed that they allow so many left turns. I am also amazed when I see a motorcyclist sitting, stopped, in the fast lane with his left signal on. I guess they believe the other drivers are so good that all will be able to avoid hitting the little bike that they all claim they can't see. I hate being a sitting duck like that so would rather make 3 safe right turns than one very dangerous left turn.
I am also surprised that they do not have vehicle inspections here. They do for out of province vehicles but thats about it. Air Care is a bit of joke but if they tied it in with an inspection there would be an improvement in the air and safety of vehicles. Again this is an issue of cost. It would cost money to administer and the price of used cars would go way up.
Do people want to spend money on this?
I don't know. I'm not sure I do. Maybe the no left turns and getting rid of the flashing greens but upgrading all those intersections would be expensive. This isn't the States, we really are poorer.
welcome to the roads of vancouver, aren't the drivers great.
the points you bring up are valid but unnecessary. if icbc would do it's job with proper driver training and the police to actually do more about real traffic problems then we might be on to something.
the majority of accidents are in intersections. if the cops really want to make a dent in traffic problems they would set up shop at an intersection. every second driver does something wrong so there would be no limit to their revenue but i guess it's easier to just point a radar at you and simply write whatever number it displays rather than having to put together a case and show up in court for something like turning without a signal...
Good points about encouraging traffic to use those intersections that *are* four way controlled, and supposedly reducing the number of red lights on the main arteries. I would suggest, then, the next step would be to synchronize the red lights on the main arteries. That way the poor left-turner on the secondary road would at least have faith that eventually they will get a green light, but with synchronized lights the artery traffic flow would still be given preference (it's also a great way to enforce speed limits!) Still would beat the current situation where you're blindsided by some selfish fool making a dash for it.
And I still say, no left turns from the arteries, ever (night or not). Get people in the habit of going around the block. It works (don't buy a house within one block of a main artery, though!). I presume you want the left turn at night because you assume the traffic is lighter. Well, maybe, maybe not, and visibility is way worse. No lefts, I say!
I don't think education and enforcment are reasonable solutions at all. Talk about expensive! I think some basic idiotproofing in road design is the way to effect real change. Just my opinion, of course.
it's cheaper to teach them than to hospitalize them.
Originally Posted by stily1
At night, some of the streets can be almost empty, so it would just be annoying to have to circle when the street is right there I guess synchronized lights would take care of some of the added delay, but traffic volume is often often almost equal in both directions, so I can't see it being very efficient. Have you been almost hit? I've seen ppl do stupid stuff, but it's always turned into a horn incident, not an almost-squeeling-tires incident.
Pedestrian Controlled Intersections - Burnaby has count down timers at some of these intersections. They show the number of seconds remaining so that cross traffic has an idea if they can go or not. It's the best solution I've seen so far.
Vehicle inspections - used to have 'em. Not sure why it was discontinued, probably b/c it wasn't affective. I don't think it made much (any?) difference regarding traffic safety and Aircare keeps the real heaps off the road anyway.
Left Turns - They are spending a lot of money putting dedicated left turn lanes all over town. Traffic in Van. is no where near S.F., I can't imagine a full-time no lefts policy. I wouldn't mind longer hours for rush hour, say 6:30-9:30 and 3:00-6:00.
I might be dangerous!
Originally Posted by ReelExterminato
just pass a law that states that you cannot sit there impeding traffic waiting to turn left. If it's all clear, go for it. If not, three rights do make a left.
A lot of drivers around here are retarded and should have their license taken away.
You like popsicles?
Originally Posted by Manic
I also agree on the flashing green is confusing. Just about killed myself when I moved here from Calgary. Flashing green means left turn only in Calgary. Luckily the other driver must have seen out-of-province plates and slowed down in case I was dumb enough to turn
Also, drivers new to BC should read up on the traffic rules. Different countries, different rules. Whether a person is from the US or anywhere else.
Does it scare any of you to know that there are plenty of vehicles driven around town that have BC plates and yet the drivers don't speak any English and are only visiting from a foreign country. Well, actually, these drivers have a "summer homes" here and own these vehicles. They spend a few months driving here when they visit and then park these cars for the rest of the year. Problem is, they don't speak English nor they they know the rules of the road here. Heck they've never been tested to our standards here. They simply use the "International Driver's Licence" as a tourist. Scary eh?