Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Bicycle Corral

By Will Allen

One of the most unique bicycle facilities observed on the trip was a bicycle corral located at the intersection of Rue Berri and Rue Cherrier.  What makes this facility so unique is creativity and ingenuity to provide safe movements of bicycles through a very non-conventional 4-approach intersection. 

The east intersection approach (Rue Cherrier) consists of two approach lanes and a two-way cycle track.  The cycle track does not continue straight through the intersection, but rather makes a left turn onto Rue Berri.  The southern intersection approach (Rue Berrier) consists of 5 indivudual lane groups:
  1. Rue Berri northbound
  2. Rue Berri southbound
  3. Rue Berri northbound frontage road fromRue Sherbrooke
  4. Rue Berri southbound frontage road to Rue Sherbrooke
  5. Rue Berri Cycle Track
Simply put, this intersection is complex even without the cycle track - not to mention a cycle track that turns left through the intersection. 

To provide safe bicycle passage through this intersection, a corral made of bollards has been constructed at the northwestern corner of the intersection.  This area serves as a waiting area for cyclists who have crossed one street and are waiting cross the second street once the traffic signal phase has changed.   The benefit of this waiting area is that cyclists do not need to make a left turn through opposing traffic-where judging acceptable gaps can be stressful and may lead to serious injury.

To further enhance the overall safety and operations of this intersection, special bicycle traffic signals were installed to provide safe crossing intervals.  Further discussion on these signals is found in subsequent posts.

Traffic Signals and Bicycle Coordination

by Nicole Serafin

One of the great things about Montreal is the harmony between pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists. Unlike Boston, each and every user of the road is not only aware of, but respects other users. This means that pedestrians wait to cross the road, while motorists yield to cyclists while turning, etc.

The traffic signal coordination is awesome! The signals are set up so that initially everyone gets a green through arrow. This allows cyclists to continue along the bike lane or cycle track, as well as pedestrians to start crossing the cross street prior to vehicles being able to make turns. After a few seconds, vehicles will then get a green ball, or other permission to turn.

Similar to a Leading Pedestrian Interval (LPI), by allowing cyclists and pedestrians to move into the intersection prior to turns being allowed, the number of conflicts is greatly reduced. The idea is that accidents that may be caused by a right hook, or left cross are reduced since the pedestrian or cyclist will be occupying the crosswalk well before a vehicle. Even if they are still occupying the space, their presence is very evident to drivers.

This configuration of signals differs from an LPI that we may be use to, because instead of holding traffic completely for a few seconds, through traffic that would not be in conflict with the pedestrians or cyclists is allowed to continue. This results in short cycle times, less delay, and results in better intersection operation. This coordination works well for all users, and is something I would like to see used more often in the United States.

Monday, May 3, 2010


By Jack Nguyen

BIXI is the greatest idea ever! When we first got there, we had to walk about an hour on St. Catherine Street just to explore the town. At night when everyone was not their self, I left to explore town and eat Burger King. I was really frustrated because Burger King was so far and took so long to walk there.

The next day, Will and his girlfriend showed us how to rent the BIXI Bikes. At first I thought these bikes were so ugly and the tires are worn and there were only three speeds which to me was too slow. I thought why would anyone want to ride theses? Then I rode one and was blown away. It was a bit hot out and riding in second and third gear was fast enough to cool me down. I loved it.

The BIXI Bike itself is simply designed with a basket like frame in front and wheel and chain guards. The Bike itself is a bit heavy, but it was not that hard to ride it. The pedals power the lights that flash in the front and rear which was really cool at night. In that way motorists could see the cyclists. The BIXI machine itself is highly impressive. It had solar panels to power itself. BIXI looks very "green" and self sustainable.

There were some cons to using BIXI:
  • There is only a thirty minute use every time you use it
  • BIXI bikes are pretty much the same. There is no variety in the design of the bike but the gears. Most of the bikes have three gears, but I somehow came across one with seven gears. That bike was very fast.
  • At night, the BIXI parking was either full or was empty. It proved hard to find parking when it was full. It was frustrating to find a bike when it was empty. 
  • It does not provide helmets for protection.
  • It does not give a map to show the common cycle tracks/bike routes.
  • It does not accept cash.

Overall, I still like BIXI. I would like BIXI to come to Boston since I do not like walking from Northeastern to downtown. That just takes too long. I would recommend BIXI to strategically place their parking spots near MBTA stations and price their bikes per ride less than a train ride instead.

Since using BIXI, Steve and I loved it. We used it to ride from a restaurant to go to a club. It was such good exercise while transporting ourselves to our destination. Whether it was from a hotel to a restaurant, or Wanda's, BIXI was there for us. I would like to propose a bike rental program between the schools on Huntington Ave to downtown Boston. BOSTON FOR BIXI!