Urban Detail (vii) unusual cycling infrastructure

This is one of a series of short stories on interesting bits of  design noticed elsewhere.

Below is a picture of a road given a drastic traffic calming. Instead of being two directions of car traffic, this paved surface was converted to two unidirectional cycle lanes. The leftover space in the middle is for car traffic. And yes, cars have to pull onto the bike lane to pass each other, but they soon resume their centre-of-the-road path of travel. This is fairly similar to the treatment on Somerset Street East near the Adawe passerelle.

(note that someone with a perambulator chose to walk the wrong direction on the cycle lane, forcing the cyclists in the picture to swing wide around them. But all traffic is slow, everyone shares the road nicely …).

Here is another example, with continuous paint surface on the road. Paint like this works if it is not instantly erasable, as ours is, and of course there were no snow plows to scrape it off:

Here’s a bit of road along the Canal du Nord in Belgium where that sharing is made explicit:

While horses aren’t mentioned in the pictograms, they have expressed themselves on the path anyway!

Intercity cycling in parts of Europe is well developed. However, it is not all pastoral no-traffic roads like this:

There were lots of make-do segments too:

And many stonedust pathways:


I have extreme reservations as to the merit of these “garbage nets” along roads, for either motorists or cyclists, as it seems it would be easy to “miss” the net. However, I didn’t see any garbage under the contraption.




7 thoughts on “Urban Detail (vii) unusual cycling infrastructure

  1. Richard: I saw multiple nets. Not one had garbage in it. I wondered if it was because garbage collection was so good … or they were unused.

    Note that Ottawa pathways (eg, Trillium pathway) have NO garbage containers of any type because the city claims it cannot run a garbage truck along the pathways (and, aside, that it’s a jurisdictional issue of who pays) but why not put garbage cans where the paths cross roads eg at Gladstone, Beech, and Carling??

    1. Eric, last winter (2017/8) the city advised the Centrepointe Community Association that it was removing a garbage receptacle in Centrepointe Park because it was always full. My question regarding where city staff thought the garbage that would otherwise be placed in that garbage receptacle would go went unanswered.

      1. Ron: the city puts receptacles in parks and other spaces for garbage created at that site. If householders misuse the public waste can to put their household garbage in (in stead of waiting for curbside day) then they remove the can because it is always full of household garbage.

        In many US cities I see notices on public cans that they must not be used for household waste, with threat of huge fines. I think this is partly because that town may have a pay-tag-per-bag or U-drive-to-the-dump policy.

        1. Eric, your explanation is consistent with my understanding. Having said that, in addition to the possible addition of household garbage (it would be at least a 100 metre walk from the nearest residence) the garbage receptacle was also “receiving” paper coffee cups, plastic bottles and no doubt dog droppings, which would have been deposited by park users. Suffice it to say that those items were eventually picked up by the community association in the spring “clean the park” event (i.e. by someone other than city staff).

  2. DC doesn’t have nearly the trail network you do in Ottawa. Mostly the trails don’t have trash cans. Even at similar junction locations to the ones you mention. But DC is very dirty as a city anyway. I pick up tons of recyclables when I walk and many when I ride–I will almost always stop if there is a glass bottle in the gutter, for obvious reasons, and I will pick up broken glass as well. … I haven’t seen a garbage net contraption ever, outside of your photo.

Thank you for reading. So what do you think?