Listen, and I will tell you of one of the secret joys of working with City officials on neighborhood plans, especially transportation plans.
I love hearing the city side telling us “we’d love to do that, but unfortunately, the [insert name of document/policy here] prevents us”. Of course, the same city promptly turns around and does just what you asked, but somewhere else. Community activists learn to like sharing, since our best ideas (eg Bronson road diet) get implemented somewhere else (hello, Scott Street road diet).
Here’s an interesting example. Somerset is being reconstructed to two travel lanes, with two protected parking bays (ie, available 24/7, 52 weeks a year). At the start of each protected parking zone, we want a bulb out. This shortens the crossing distance for pedestrians, and ensures we get to keep the hard fought-for on-street parking.
Except, at some intersections the planners say we cannot have a bulb out, because the if there is a right turn lane before the intersection, that has a bus stop in it * , it is illegal for the bus to merge into traffic whilst it traverses the intersection. Instead there has to be a receiving lane or merge lane at the far side of the intersection. **
Here’s an example from Somerset Street. The No 2 bus, east bound, has a stop in the turn lane for traffic turning south onto Bayswater Avenue. As it leaves the stop, it enters the receiving lane on the far side of the intersection. Said receiving lane is wider than a parking lane, is rather short, and is divided from the main traffic lane by a solid white line [which in my naivety thought meant one shouldn’t cross it].
Now, cross the street, and look at the No 2 bus westbound. It too has a stop in the right turn lane for traffic turning north onto Bayswater/Bayview. From that stop, the bus has to merge into traffic using the … hey, wait a minute, there’s no receiving lane on the far side of the intersection ! There’s a bulb out instead.
What am I missing that these two circumstances are so different that different sets of traffic engineering rules apply to each side of the street?
If I get an answer, I’ll post it here.
*bus stops are located in turn lanes so as to minimize the amount of curb side space taken up by traffic movements and to maximize the available parking space. In both pic above you can see the effect of a travel lane width compared to a parking lane width to the east of the intersection.
**I don’t think much of the receiving lane rule. I don’t see why merging in an intersection is a problem for buses although we might not want to make a habit of it for motorists, who shouldn’t have been merging anyway since they were in a right turn lane. Indeed, the receiving lane facilitates cars queued up at the intersection behind a left turning car, utilizing the right turn lane as a sort of passing on the right lane. And there are alternatives: for this intersection we suggested an advanced green for buses, like the City has at Richmond/Golden. Alas, I don’t recall that we ever got an answer. Here’s a pic of the Richmond/Golden intersection: