Recall that as the Carling Avenue buses go eastbound from Booth up the hill towards Bronson, the centre busway portion in the median becomes a lane for a brief period near Bell Street.
The gap in the east-bound median bus lane across from Bell Street is there to let the # 6 bus exit the bus-only lane and move over one lane. It needs to do this, according to the plan, to go straight through the intersection at Bronson to Glebe Avenue. (although there is no apparent reason to stop marking the median lane as a bus lane. Otherwise, general traffic may move into the lane only to be forced out a hundred feet further.)
From what I (Richard Eade) heard at the Open House, the main ‘pinch point’ for the buses on Carling is east-bound at the Bronson intersection. Having the # 6 bus run in mixed traffic –often queued up for the left turn movement at Bronson — up to the intersection seems to reduce the benefit of a segregated bus lane. Even more so when we realize that the current two left turn lanes at Bronson are reduced to one, PLUS any vehicles going straight across Bronson are remaining in that doubly crowded left-turn lane.
I doubt that OC Transpo will allow the buses to turn left at the same time that general traffic turns left from Carling onto north-bound Bronson. Or from Carling onto Preston, for that matter, but I will demonstrate with the Carling/Bronson intersection.
Yes, it would be physically possible for both streams to turn concurrently, as shown by the red (buses) and black arrows in the diagram, but the buses will start their turn about five metres away from the cars and, from the car driver’s point of view, the bus will be ‘squeezing’ the car into the curb – especially if the bus turns the least bit wide. I didn’t see in the plan whether the Jersey Barrier was to remain along Bronson here.
Then there is the need for the bus to rapidly change to the curb lane before the bus stop shown at the top right the picture. Maybe it will be allowed, but I just don’t see that happening. I think that the bus lane will get a signal of its own. That will give the bus clear passage to move to the right after turning. This adds an extra signal phase, however, to the already over-busy intersection:
This phase would allow the left-turning buses a clear run into the curb lane of Bronson. I have also shown right turns from and to Bronson that do not conflict with the bus movement. The blue arrow shows that pedestrians could cross Glebe during this phase.
Once the buses have finished turning left, then left-turning cars and those vehicles crossing Bronson (including the # 6 bus) can proceed.
During this phase, pedestrians and cyclists could cross the south cross walk and cross ride with right-turning cars yielding to the pedestrians/cyclists. Note that there is a bi-directional bike track on the east side of Bronson going along Glebe Avenue.
After that, the vehicles traveling along Bronson could be given the next phase.
Again, right-turning vehicles would yield to pedestrians as they crossed Carling.
The final phase would allow vehicles traveling north on Bronson to continue north or turn onto Carling.
You will notice, however, that in all four phases there are vehicles traveling north on Bronson; thus there is no signal phase that would allow pedestrians ‘protected’ use the north cross walk. Currently, the vehicles turning left from Carling are required to yield to pedestrians in the north cross walk. (Is there any wonder that this intersection is failing?)
With the current two turn lanes, after the pedestrians are clear, two lanes can still move a good number of cars. The plan has only a single lane for EB > NB turning so many fewer cars will be able to make it through in the now longer signal cycle. This will result in long queues of cars down the hill; likely across the bus exit from the median lane.
It might be necessary to forbid pedestrians crossing Bronson immediately north of Carling. Or implement yet another signal phase for a pedestrian-only ‘Scramble’ and don’t worry about moving non-bus vehicles through the intersection during peak periods.
Vehicles turning left from Bronson onto west-bound Carling have a ‘protected’ turn signal and are not asked to yield to pedestrians; who are not permitted to cross Carling during that signal phase.
Something you might have noticed in Figure 7, the bus-only phase, is that buses could actually proceed straight across Bronson to Glebe in that phase. This might be a better option than to move the # 6 out into mixed traffic. Instead, it could stay in the median bus lane and cross Bronson from there.
Something else that the City might consider is to split the pedestrian cross walk signals at the median bus stop so that each half (north, across the west-bound lane and south, across the east-bound lanes) could be controlled individually. This could maximize the number of signal phases that pedestrians could use to get to one of the road sides. For example, pedestrians could be allowed to go north from the median during the phases represented in Figures 8 and 9; and south in Figures 7, 9, and 10. Other wise, only the phase shown in Figure 9 allows for a complete crossing of Carling.