How can we make the intersection at Dundas and Sterling safer?

How can the intersection at Dundas and Sterling (and at Dundas and College for that matter) be made safer? People are thinking about this since Jenna Morrison was killed there recently. City staff have been to visit; The Urban Country and Mez have built a temporary "trash" bike lane and tested it with drivers; and Hamish Wilson has drawn his idea for improving the intersection:

Not so much driver/cyclist, nor the lack of sideguards, but how the City failed to do the intersection for cycling safety. This includes how the short bit of marked by centre line road at the intersection actually creates a pinch point at the rightwards curve, and this combines with normal practices of curve-cutting and then how trucks can kinda shift/occupy more space as they turn eg. signs that mark "Wide Right Turns" on some trucks.

I've put in to Councillor Layton and Bailao and some others this redesign idea for the intersection, ideally to be done this fall, with colour, and I didn't put in the concept of a marked sidewalk for the pedestrians, silly me. I believe there may be a motion arising for this Council meeting, but it won't necessarily be to add 12M of bike lane on the southbound lane, but focussing on sideguards is not the only prevention.

This is but one idea, anyone else with ideas of how to improve it? I've heard a rumour that the City may install a regular traffic light here. That would at least help with cyclists crossing but still leaves the issue of turning trucks. And once they figure this out then they can apply the same concept to all the other equally dangerous intersections throughout the city. The bigger question is why are we designing intersections to maximize motorized traffic flow rather than to preserve the lives of people?

Comments

How about one of these little islands to separate bikes and cars right at the corner?

http://g.co/maps/3vewj

I don't understand the reasoning behind that striped zone at the other corner. Why not allow traffic turning right onto Sterling to be closer to the curb and, as the diagram says, adjust the centre line?

Thanks for sharing Herb - I hope my hurried writings are comprehensible enough.

There's another quicker fix that could be installed on this suggested bike route - having the City install a larger convex mirror to assist any truck driver motorist to see clearly up alongside their vehicle at this irregular corner.

The City may not want to move at all, as this denotes a problem with how they'd designed it all for trucks/cars in the first place, and neglected to include bikes in their thinkin. But I sadly feel this tragedy could likely have been prevented for less than the price of the funeral including airfares, and now I think the City owes the shattered family millions, not that money can replace what Ms. Morison was.

There may be three motions up at this Council meeting though - a motion of condolence, some support for sideguards, and something that Ms. Bailao might be presenting, and let's hope that the scale of this tragedy is such we actually get the large majority of Council supporting bike things.

This intersection is shit, how on earth a major bike "artery" can empty into an intersection like that is beyond me.

Bollards are needed to keep turning trucks OUT and off of the curb/bikelane. Proper signalization to allow cyclists to safely get to dundas eastbound.

I just found yet another indicator of gross civic neglect and liability within the Bike Plan itself as I'm trying to cram up the Coroner's Review ahead of deadline on Wed. at midnight.

On p. 2-12, reporting on the 2000 City of Toronto Bicycle Collision Analysis the Bike Plan said:
"Consistent with many other collision studies, the Toronto study found that most bicycle collisions occur at intersections (including driveway and lane entrances), the majority involving various motor vehicle turning manoeuvres."

Gee, what just happened?

I think Sterling was suggested as a bike route ahead of the Rail Trail being built, but somehow we didn't manage to really examine things for safety, but maybe blame Case Ootes for some of that as he was wanting the staff to justify completely every aspect of bike lanes in the Ward 29 area.

If the railpath is ever extended south of Dundas, it will probably have to be routed east along Dundas to stay on the same side of the tracks, as another rail line joins it from the east around Shirley St, and it will be even more important for cyclists and pedestrians to be able to use the intersection safely. Something needs to be reconfigured.

The Railpath will have to continue along the rail corridor, probably with a bridge over that railway junction. Since Metrolinx is supposed to make it happen as part of Georgetown Dundas and Sterling will remain a busy access point, and the road design needs to be addressed because it's incredibly dangerous.

For cyclists travelling westbound on Dundas and entering the Railpath, there just isn't enough room in the narrow curb cut sidewalk meant for pedestrians (which is often blocked by a car on Sterling waiting to turn onto Dundas). And if it isn't blocked by the car, the cyclist may have to ride a centimetre in front of its bumper. Someone could die this way, too. The diagram seems to address this issue with the bike lane, setting back the stop line for motorists, and a clear demarcation of space for cyclists and pedestrians beyond that line. I agree that it should be painted a distinct colour like in other cities to increase visibility and highlight the importance of the lane for road safety.

Also, did anyone notice how dangerous the point where College meets Dundas seems to be for pedestrians? The roadway is this wide expanse at that point, and there is no pedestrian crossing painted across College where it meets Dundas for pedestrians walking along Dundas. In fact, there isn't even a curb cut in the sidewalk there. Pedestrians seem especially vulnerable for traffic turning from Dundas eastbound onto College without their crossing delineated as this requires some speed to do without an accident in anything but the lightest of traffic. The city should also address this issue of active transportation safety as it addresses nearby Sterling Road. Patterns of crude, auto-centric road design can leave both pedestrians and cyclists equally vulnerable.t

Also, here's a Google street view of College at Dundas, showing the dodgy pedestrian realm: http://maps.google.com/maps?q=dundas+and+college,+toronto&hl=en&ll=43.65...

Council meets today and tomorrow, perhaps Thursday. At the top of the meeting, after the Anthem, there are motions of condolence. The first on the list, ahead of the respected and now deceased Dr. Fraser Mustard, was Jenna Katherine Morrison.

There's another category of motions called Member's Motions, and MM14.16 is "Request to implement use of truck side guards and other safety measures to improve safety for cyclists" moved by deBaeremaeker, and seconded by Ms. Fletcher. It needs a 2/3 vote to keep it away from the PWIC, where bike-friendly motions usually die 4-2, with Cnclrs Layton and Perks often being the duo.

There was nothing in print about changes to the intersection, and I'm swallowed up with the looming deadline for the Coroner's Review to listen to the talking.

And to respond to some other commenters, yes, there's no sidewalk/ped crossings at either of the two intersections, and the curb cut doesn't exist at College/Dundas east side and this must be at odds with official policy right? I found an older pic of that corner as it has just been redone for some reason with new concrete, and the older version also didn't seem to have any curb cut implying no peds nor scooters.

And as for not stopping, on the way up College and to westbound Dundas, I too am guilty.

The rail line coming south between Sterling and St Helens joins up with the four lines already beside the present railpath around Lansdowne. It'd be one long bridge to connect to where there is an unofficial path along the tracks again: http://g.co/maps/x5xfd

Here are five suggestions to improve the Sterling & Dundas intersection.

The visual obstructions at the spot where the collision happened should be addressed. The trees could be pruned, and I think it's obvious that the large sign at the entrance/exit of the Rail Path is a significant visual obstruction that keeps drivers and cyclists from seeing each other at a critical point; move it somewhere else. But that still leaves: a street light pole, wooden utility pole, and rather tall grey utility box, all further obstructing the same sight line.

The speed of a truck traveling south on Sterling has no real limiting factors like: traffic volume, pedestrians, residential elements, etc.. Apart from the posted speed limit, I think a warning sign alerting drivers to the bike route would be simple and effective improvement, if there isn't one there already.

The Rail Path intersects with the lane in question at a point before the painted Stop Line. The transportation engineers should look into changing this configuration - it just isn't as safe as it could be. Judging by the accident photos, this looks to be the point of the collision.

I am sure that trucks make this turn without stopping, regardless, add a Traffic Light and consider restricting is as "No Right Turn on Red Light'.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, I think the geometry of the corner must be changed. These rounded curbs allow vehicles to corner without asserting a reasonable amount of care and attention. Expand the curb line to a 90 degree corner and dedicate that new space to cyclists & pedestrians on the path-sidewalk.

I think this intersection in its current state is a serious safety hazard.

Failing the physical separation in the first proposal, moving the bike lane out into the middle of the lane to prevent motorists from being able to turn right around bicyclists and prevent overtaking within 100' of the intersection seems the way to go.
This would preferably be done in conjunction with a provincial education program informing motorists bicyclists are entitled to the entire lane and it is no more appropriate to turn right around the left side of a bicyclist than it is to turn right around the left side of any other type of vehiclist. This campaign should go on to encourage bicyclists to take the lane especially at intersections to prevent unsafe overtaking and hooking maneuvers as seen in this tragedy.
The province shares responsibility in this matter with the woeful state of driver education and must be expected to play a role in preventing similar events in the future.

I don't know exactly how these votes went - maybe they'll be posted later - but two things are now approved that are relevant... the truck guard motion, with a lot of context and buttons...
http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2011.MM14.16
and Ms. Bailao's motion, here...
http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2011.MM14.22
I don't think these were unanimous, but that's fine, because the minority are showing more of their true colours - a rich brown....

But why does it take a motion of council to get moving on this seeking of remedies? When we have a fatality, why not spark an immediate review of the circumstances?

Maybe a review would involve somehow an admission that maybe maybe there was just a bit of civic negligence somehow eh? and we don't want to encourage that avalanche do we? So, no new knowledge, no awareness of hazard, no liability apart from normal roadkill roulette, which in some ways has changed, but in the west end, with the narrow streets/options, no it hasn't.

There may be a hint of Coroner interest - a full inquest would be delightful, including please how did the police arrive at the no charges? In order to get up to that point, surely the truck driver **passed ** Ms.Morrison, and odds are given the hill and exertion, Ms. Morrison did **not ** pass the truck, and the lack of apparent witnesses indicates that there wasn't other traffic around, and the tendency is to not really stop if that's the case....

Apparently ARC has retrieved the ghost bike.

Concerning the intersection, as I don't own a regular two-wheeler due to balance issues (trikes are becoming more popular I see, slowly, but surely), I can't hop the curb like any cyclist could easily without tipping over due to the third wheel. Now if they made the intersection much safer and like streetcars have, make a bike lane turning section on the road where motorists have to yield to cyclists turning onto college and the rail path. Not sure how this could be done, but they do have that on danforth when it makes it's way over the don-valley bridge before reaching the ramp to the DVP. Then it would help to avoid collisions and run-overs. I don't like using the sidewalk in order to get to lansdown and then have to make a cross at the pedestrian crossing south, then east (indirect left and right turns) with the risk of getting a ticket, any cyclist could agree, especially those who get nervious at intersections, busy ones at that.

Speaking of Shirley Ave, the way the rest of the roads go south along the track in almost 90 degree turns, makes for an idea of an official bike route going further down to merge at Brock as seen on google maps, but the one-way part would have to be eliminated, or a two-way allowance for cyclists going the "wrong way" to connect at brock, or to continue south north of the track until it meets Queen on Dufferin (railpath extension can follow that) and King at Dunro, where a left turn can be made and then, turning onto King to continue east. Sounds like a good plan.

I also have an issue with cab drivers, which have told me to get off the road, ride on the sidewalks instead (I don't have a problem with that actually, it's safer in the winter and to avoid potholed roads) and to stop slowing them down. Since when did they own the road? I even got cut off by one on bloor, who honked at me and then proceeded to yell "go fuck yourself roadhogger" when I hollared to get his attention in which I got glared at. I have also noticed they are in favor of parking in bike lanes far too often. I now carry two different whistiles with me to warn them off if honked at.

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