Transportation

Request for Studies on Mixed Transit, Roadway Design and Urban Livability

By Frank Borger
Published November 18, 2009

I'm currently a licensed Civil Technician (C. Tech) pursuing my Civil Technologist (CET) designation and the final requirement is that I complete a Technology Report (TR) 3,000 words in length. I've decided to make the subject of my report "A New Hammer: Utilizing Mixed Transit, Roadway Redesign and Altered Planning Practices to Increase Urban Livability", provided I can attain enough data and studies to do so.

Along with my own research, I'd appreciate any input from people on this board.

Aside from the obvious requirement of it being technical, the report needs to be investigative in nature; and in this case I'd like to limit it to the discussion and comparison of the methods used today and alternatives to it - providing empirical evidence and/or studies and data to support the claim that a change to more forward-thinking design practices is necessary for our city to become what it can and should be.

Once again, please post any data or links you think may be relevant in the comments. I'm also open to suggestions if there are better topics to use as subject material (or a change in title!). What I am not open to is changing the topic into something other than a civil/planning nature.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Frank Borger is an engineering technologist who lives in Stoney Creek. He moved to Hamilton when he was 18 and has lived in East Hamilton, the West Mountain and Downtown. He grew up in Beamsville.

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By race_to_the_bottom (anonymous) | Posted November 18, 2009 at 14:25:08

Excited to read this report! I guess you already know about "The Role of Transit in Creating Livable Metropolitan Communities" by National Academy Press, Transportation Research Board but just in case...

www4.nas.edu/trb/crp.nsf/All+Projects/TCRP+H-04D (out of print but free e-book)

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By race_to_the_bottom (anonymous) | Posted November 18, 2009 at 14:27:02

Oops wrong url, try this one...

gulliver.trb.org/publications/tcrp/tcrp_rpt_22-a.pdf

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By Vic (anonymous) | Posted November 18, 2009 at 14:39:52

Don't forget the Victoria Transport Institute, indispensible research on transit and quality of life:

vtpi.org

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted November 18, 2009 at 17:46:59

I hope this is the kind of thing you're looking for:

A Canadian Look at Obesity, Driving and Community Design by Dr. Lawrence (Larry) Frank, PhD of UBC's School of Community and Regional Planning.

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By Barney Google (anonymous) | Posted November 19, 2009 at 15:46:18

I can't point you to any specific studies, but I believe some must exist that have examined the benefits and drawbacks to limited road access to residential neighbourhoods. Over the past half century urban neighbourhoods such as the Buchanan Park area south of Mohawk College in Hamilton, have been built with curving crescents and cul de sacs and only three or four access points from urban arteries, all limiting automotive traffic through residential communities. Additional pedestrian access has been provided through parks and with walkways between houses, etc.

Yet many older neighbourhoods still provide automotive shortcuts to clogged arteries as a result of their old, grid designs. Toronto has tried to slow traffic off arteries and commercial routes with one-way access and speed bumps, but I've often wondered why many grid streets can't simply be closed to direct artery access, leaving walkways open for pedestrians, bikes, scooters, roller blades, etc. Some crecents and cul de sacs could also be created by blocking steets inside such neighbourhoods. In some cases road ends could be redeveloped as commercial or residential building lots, while others might become parkettes, both enhancing urban density and liveability while quieting local traffic. The benefits of such changes might be measured against studies of existing but newer communities.

Not sure this is what you're after, however. Appeals to me though.

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By frank (registered) | Posted November 20, 2009 at 11:04:08

Barney, that would be something that I could include. I actually think those speed bumps work well. I missed the new one they put on Lake Ave as I was driving down it at night and going over at 40 almost send me flying. If they're built right, they definitely limit traffic movements. I hate those surveys up on the mountain that are designed that way.

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By frank (registered) | Posted November 20, 2009 at 11:33:53

That link should be very helpful, thanks Race_to_the_bottom

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By Barney Google (anonymous) | Posted November 20, 2009 at 11:34:18

Frank, you're supposed to hate those round-about residential roads. It's a design that's meant to serve the area residents and reduce outside through traffic. Similarly, if you like speed bumps it suggests they don't work.

That's my take anyway.

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By frank (registered) | Posted November 23, 2009 at 11:22:33

Lake Ave is a prime example. It's a secondary roadway that gets used as a bypass for Centennial. Now that traffic is lighter on Centennial there's less traffic on Lake Ave. It's a 40 kph speed limit between Barton and Delawana but never really approaches that speed because it's a 2 lane thoroughfare that's straight as an arrow. If that road had traffic bumpouts, pedestrian crosswalks and the city could build a parking area/picnic area in the park there that'd be perfect. Slower, lighter traffic with access - liveable.

Its simple to modify access without making roadways that look like onion skin, curving in weird ways and joining up at odd locations. I lived in a survey like that. It's insane to get out of it.

I also don't think that limiting access is a way to get around poor planning in the first place. If said roadways were built to promote on street parking, access for pedestrians, and slowed down with the use of speed humps (not bumps) they would be far more effective neighbourhoods.

Access is only one variable... If one limits access and still plans like an idiot, you still get idiocy...just idiocy that less people see.

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