MONTREAL - Montreal will experiment with a new type of intersection in a bid to reduce conflicts between cyclists and turning motorists.
Known as a “zone d’entrecroisment,” it will involve cyclist-only green boxes painted in the middle of a street, with cars on either side in turning lanes.
The city will set up one such intersection as a pilot project in July or August. It will be on southbound Square-Victoria St. at St. Jacques St. Currently, cyclists there ride next to the sidewalk and must contend with turning cars.
“It causes frustration for both motorists and cyclists,” said Serge Lefebvre, head of the city’s active-transportation department. Under the new set-up, both cyclists and motorists will be able “see one another and adjust their speed and proceed safely.”
It’s a first for Montreal, but such intersections are in use in Chicago, Portland, Ore., and in Europe cities, he said.
The city will evaluate how cyclists and motorists react to the changes before deciding whether to use the design on other Montreal streets.
The new intersection is part of a $10-million city effort announced this week to improve cycling infrastructure via 46 projects.
In 2012, the city will expand the bike-path network by 35 kilometres. The network currently stretches across 560 kilometres. The city now says it may not reach its goal of 800 kilometres by 2015.
Other projects include:
More “bike boxes” – painted areas at intersections that give cyclists precedence over cars. One was installed at Milton and University Sts. last year. At least two more will be added: Villeneuve and St. Urbain Sts.; and Laurier Ave and St. Laurent Blvd. Three others may also be installed.
Connecting the de Maisonneuve Blvd. bike path and the Jacques Cartier Bridge’s bike path. The de Maisonneuve path will be extended east from Berri St. to Alexandre de Sève St. Work will start late this year and is to be completed in 2013. The city had promised this stretch in 2011.
Installing a bike counter on Laurier Ave., near Laurier métro station. The counter will display the number of cyclists who have passed that day and over the course of the past year. Such counters are used in other cities to encourage cyclists to use paths.
In Ottawa, the city installed a bike counter on new paths it opened last year on Laurier Ave. W., with the data posted online. It’s unclear if Montreal’s count will be online.
View the updated Montreal bike-path map and share your city cycling wish list at montrealgazette.com/metnewsCheers ! HF&RV..................................................................................................................-Les