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Description

If a specific facility for cycling is required (see the hierarchy of provision and guidance on the types of facilities in Cycle route components between intersections) these often need to be accommodated within available space along a route. A number of techniques can be used to obtain space within existing road corridors (see Bicycle Victoria, 1996; National Transport Authority, 2011; Austroads, 2014; ViaStrada, 2015; Koorey and Lieswyn, 2016). Note that on busy traffic routes, facilities suitable to an interested but concerned target audience generally require more space than those targeted at enthused and confident cyclists, due to the degree of separation from motor traffic the former group requires.

  • Rearranging roadway space
    Adjust general traffic lane positions or widths

    When suitable facilities for cycling are provided, traffic lanes can be narrowed, whilst respecting minimum lane width specifications. Narrower lanes can have traffic calming benefits.

    Upgrade service roads for cyclist use

    This gives cyclists extra network permeability compared with general traffic. The interactions of cyclists and heavy vehicles using the service roads must be carefully considered.

    Reduce the width of the median (solid or flush) to widen the carriageway

    Consider why the median was installed in the first place. If the objective was to achieve narrower traffic lanes this will be achieved through allocating space to facilities for cycling. 

    If the objective was to increase the separation between traffic in opposing directions and reduce the risk of head-on crashes, it must be considered how this risk compares to the safety advantages of installing facilities for cycling. The speed calming effects of narrower lanes may also help reduce the risk of head-on crashes.

    If the objective was to provide space for right turning vehicles, it may be necessary to retain the flush median. However, in combination with an adjacent cycle lane, a narrow flush median may provide sufficient space for other traffic to get around turning vehicles. It may also be possible to install a narrow solid median, with local widening at selected locations providing opportunities for U-turn facilities (possibly by removing parking here).

    Remove a traffic lane

    If there is excess road capacity it may be possible to consolidate the number of traffic lanes provided; this may be done in conjunction with other measures aimed at reducing volumes (and providing for motor vehicle demand on alternative routes). Bear in mind too that the aim of many cycling projects is to shift modal demand from motor vehicles to cycling anyway.

    ‘Road diet’

    Burden and Lagerway (1999) present the concept of  ‘Road diet’, where the number and/or width of general traffic lanes can be reduced and the road space gained reallocated to other uses, for example cycle infrastructure.  Rosales (2006) presents detailed guidance on how to implement road diets in different contexts.

    A road diet commonly involves the conversion of a four-lane road to two general traffic lanes with a flush median (to accommodate turning vehicles and occasional pedestrian refuge islands) and facilities for cycling (including the possibility of bus lanes).

    Prioritise certain users in specific lanes

    Existing general traffic lanes could be converted to transit or bus lanes to prioritise vehicles with high occupancy. By default, cycling is also allowed within these lane types. 

    Tidal-direction traffic lanes

    Direction can be allocated temporally to traffic lanes to accommodate tidal flow. This may require lane-use signs,  lights and/or movable barriers. Thus fewer total traffic lanes are required and space can be used for cycle facilities.

    Close the road to specific or all motor vehicle movements

    Providing for fewer movements will simplify the requirements on road space.  This is especially relevant at intersections and side roads, which have flow on effects to the type of provision between intersections.  Fundamental questions to ask are:

    • ‘Do we really need to provide for all current movements?’ and
    • ‘Can some movements be provided for elsewhere on the network?’ 

    Answers to these questions may change over time; when establishing new cycle routes (as a response to elevating the status of cycling along a particular corridor) it may be appropriate to diminish the level of provision to other modes. 

    For example, making a street one-way only for motor traffic can allow continuing access to adjacent land uses, whilst discouraging its use as a general thoroughfare.

    Closing the road to specific movements may be appropriate where they have low importance in the hierarchy (as it is not crucial for all movements to be accommodated), or high importance (as maintaining all movements would lead to capacity restraints). Network operating plans play an important role in these considerations as these identify the hierarchy of different modes on a particular route.

    In some cases, it may be possible to implement a temporal restriction on certain movements, for example not allowing motor vehicles during peak periods.

    Enable cyclists to share road space with motor vehicles

    At low speeds (ie 30 km/h or less) it is more feasible for cyclists to share the same road space as motor vehicles and thus there is no need for dedicated space for cycling.  Speed reductions can be achieved through traffic calming treatments and reinforced by lowering the legal speed limit. 

    Sharrow markings can be used to guide people cycling into the appropriate positon on the carriageway and inform motorists to expect people on bikes in this position.

    In higher speed locations at pinch points, eg narrow bridges on rural roads, dynamic cyclist warning signs may be employed to alert motorists to the fact that they may encounter a person cycling up ahead.

     

    Allow contraflow cycling

    Introducing a contraflow cycle facility on a one-way street may be an alternative to installing a facility on an adjacent road.

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  • Trading corridor space
    Seal road shoulders

    Rural road cyclists appreciate the additional space from sealed shoulders, provided the surface is not too rough and is kept free of debris. Interested but concerned cyclists will prefer a higher degree of separation from motor traffic, especially on roads with high speeds and/or high volumes.

    Indent car parking

    A wide berm beside the road can be reduced to accommodate intended car parking spaces in place of providing parking on the carriageway. It will enable the provision of painted cycle lanes, but not separated cycleways, as vehicles must cross the cycle facility to access the parking spaces. Indented spaces, with some build outs containing trees or street furniture can also be more conducive to an attractive urban design approach.  

    Relocate the kerb to reduce the berm and/or footpath width and widen the carriageway

    Take care to ensure that this does not compromise provision to pedestrians and that the wider carriageway width does not result in higher traffic speeds; the general traffic lanes need not be widened (in fact, it may be possible to narrow them in conjunction with widening the overall carriageway)  and the cycle facility should be clearly defined.

    Convert berms to separated cycleways

    These may be either at footpath level or mid-height ‘Danish’ cycle paths (see Separated cycleways in Cycle route components between intersections)

    Convert footpaths to shared paths

    Remember that, according to the hierarchy of provision, shared paths are to be considered last of the six measures (see Provision requirements in Cycle route components between intersections). This must only be considered if the available width is sufficient for the required user volumes and safe designs can be achieved at driveways (see Driveways in Cycle route intersection and crossing treatments). 

    Remove car parking

    Parking can be removed from:

    • from one side of a road:
      • the side of the road on which parking is provided can be alternated along the road; it is most efficient to locate the point of alternation across side roads
      • this results in an asymmetric road layout, and makes it easier to accommodate parking in critical locations, e.g. outside dairies
    • from both sides of the road:
      • this must be considered in the context of the surrounding area as parking demand ought to be accommodated elsewhere
      • it may be possible to construct occasional indented parking bays at key locations (e.g. near shops) to help alleviate the parking loss.

    See the general discussion on parking management below.

     

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  • Finding space elsewhere

    If a desired facility cannot be accommodated on the road, an off-road route may be a viable alternative if it:

    • does not increase travel distance or travel time by more than 10%, and
    • has a high standard of geometric design, construction and maintenance.

    In some cases, off-road routes may be more desirable than on-road routes, especially where they provide more direct and/or attractive alternatives to cyclists and give them network permeability advantages over motorists, for example routes through parks.  Note that the alternative off-road route may not necessarily offer a complete substitute for the on-road route option, it may be necessary to provide both, but as user volumes will be distributed over two routes, the on-road facility may not need to be as wide as if it were the only option.

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  • Parking management techniques

    Road corridors cater for a number of different users and functions, and compromise is generally required between some of these. The ability to provide for cycling along a specific route often necessitates a compromise to be made in terms of parking provision. Parking management is a key element of general transport planning and should be considered at a high level, rather than in reaction to the needs of specific transport projects. 

    Sometimes parking will be required. The ONRC accessibility category highlights that the provision of parking is sometimes desirable depending on the function of the corridor and the adjacent land use. However, sometimes parking provision is the lowest priority when compared to the other road functions. Council policies should be aligned to reflect this, as the ability to manage parking depends on having a useful strategy in place.

    When parking for motor vehicles is reduced to make room for cycling infrastructure, this can be a highly controversial issue and the resulting political opposition may severely endanger the viability of the project. Strategies to manage parking demand or improve stakeholder awareness about the actual (not the perceived) situation can help mitigate this problem and thus achieve the desired provision for cycling.

    Powell et al (2015) undertook research for the Transport Agency regarding the costs and benefits of inner-city parking. They concluded that those in the transport and planning sector widely recognise numerous benefits of reallocating corridor space from kerbside parking to other modes, but that misconceptions held by the public and the media are the greatest barrier to the change necessary in pursuing these benefits. A conceptual framework for evaluating the costs and benefits related to kerbside parking reallocation in the New Zealand context has been proposed by the researchers. Further research will be needed to develop best practice guidelines for road controlling authorities to refer to when considering parking in both a safety and efficiency context. 

    Provision, restriction and cost

    In managing parking, the number of spaces provided, the types of vehicles allowed to park in specific spaces, the time restrictions on these spaces, the occupancy, and the cost of parking should be considered, and field data collected where necessary. Applying time restrictions to parking spaces may benefit shoppers and visitors by excluding commuters, but will also run the risk of disadvantaging residents.  

    To alleviate some concern about parking loss from cycle schemes, it may be sensible to install additional bike parking. This could be on-street; one car parking space can typically hold 10–12 bicycles.

    Assessments should extend beyond just the corridor of interest, for example by considering a buffer area around the corridor where a cycle route is to be implemented. There may be similarly convenient car parking available on adjacent side streets or in under-utilised off-road lots. 

    Modifying the current parking provision or charges on a particular corridor will create flow-on effects to the surrounding streets. An approach of just removing parking on cycle routes may harm the image of cycling in the public eye, whereas an area-wide treatment could achieve a more efficient and equitable treatment of parking and illustrate that it is an issue that extends well beyond just that of accommodating cycling facilities.

    Many people like to have on-street parking available near to their houses or businesses on the off-chance that their visitors or customers will need it. In reality however, the actual average utilisation of these spaces may be very low. For potentially contentious projects it is important to undertake comprehensive parking occupancy surveys to gauge the true levels of parking use, and thus the reasonable amount of parking actually needed in most cases.

    In New Zealand, users generally pay for parking in the central city but it is free elsewhere, even though demand often outweighs supply in some locations. Where this is the case, it is suggested to introduce measures to achieve equilibrium. Methods of charging for parking could distinguish between residents and commuters. There is little experience in New Zealand on this, but it should be engaged in as a high-level issue (ie not related to one particular transport project). Once a process has been agreed on, the implementation of transport projects that require road space reallocation could become a lot simpler.

    Supporting research

    It is important to communicate to stakeholders the realities of the situation with respect to parking, as many people have incorrect perceptions on this issue. Quoting some of the following research may be of use.

    Fleming et al (2013) researched the retail spending of different transport users in relation to road space allocation. They found that sustainable transport users contribute a higher economic spend proportional to mode use than other road users. 

    Beetham (2014) explored the extent to which road space reallocation from on-street parking to an arterial cycleway may be warranted on Tory Street, a key street in central Wellington. The study found that the contribution of those who use on-street parking to adjacent retail vitality on Tory Street is minor (7%), compared to the contribution of those who do not require parking and those who use off-street parking.

    Internationally, parking management strategies that reflect the real value of the road space used for parking have been shown to improve the economic efficiency of road space allocation. One such application is the ‘SF park pilot programme’ implemented by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (2014). This implemented the use of demand-responsive pricing to meet parking occupancy targets.  It was found that this system reduced the amount of time people spend searching for a parking space and thus reduced congestion and circulation, improved traffic flow, speed and reliability and improved safety for all road users.  Incidents of illegal parking, the number of parking tickets issued and the average hourly rate people pay for parking were all reduced. Importantly, when such a tool has been implemented, it will be easier to reallocate some road space; when parking demand gets displaced from a main road to a side street, the pricing mechanisms will ensure that target parking occupancy rates will still be met, and everybody’s parking demand will continue to be accommodated. Hence, the credibility of the main reason for not approving parking removal could potentially be reduced. 

    Shoup (1997) studied the effects of a Californian law change in 1992 that required employers to offer staff the option to choose a pay increase in lieu of a car park. It was found that the number of people who drove to work as the sole vehicle occupant decreased significantly, whereas those who commuted by carpool, public transport, walking or cycling increased. Thus the price and availability of car parks has a direct correlation with cycling mode share and by influencing a reduction in the demand for parking (through cost increase) an added benefit of increasing cyclist volumes can also be achieved.

    Conversely, Litman et al (2003) presents walking and cycling improvements as a possible parking management strategy, as improving the quality of walking and cycling:

    • expands the range of parking facilities that serve a destination
    • increases the rate of ‘park once’ trips (rather than trip-chaining several trips)
    • encourages mode shift from driving to walking and cycling
    • encourages public transport use. 

    Thus, whilst parking management is a necessary precursor to providing for cycling, good provision for walking and cycling can increase the effectiveness of parking management initiatives.

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