Last month, Walkable City author Jeff Speck posted a widely read piece in CityLab:
Why 12-Foot Traffic Lanes Are Disastrous for Safety and Must Be Replaced Now
… the single best thing we can do for the health, wealth, and integrity of this great nation is to forbid the construction, ever again, of any traffic lane wider than 10 feet.
Well, guess what?
Toronto to narrow traffic lanes in hopes of increasing safety
The city has just finished a new policy for lane widths, guidelines that will be rolled out gradually across Toronto.
It will mean that, over a period of years, the lanes on streets across the city will be redrawn. A city official said current widths can encourage drivers to go faster than necessary. The new lanes will generally range from 3 to 4.3 metres, (9 feet, 10 inches to 14 feet, 1.3 inches, depending on location. …
The change comes amid a drumbeat of concern about congestion, and after an election in which traffic problems were at the front of voters’ minds. Asked about possible outrage from drivers over a city policy designed to slow them down, Mr. Buckley said adjusting the timing of traffic signal schedules can mitigate the effects.
“Our goal here is to continue to try to maintain [traffic flow] at safe and context-sensitive speeds,” he said. “And in the downtown core, do you need to be going 50 [kilometres an hour]? Probably not. If we can keep people moving at 30 K or 40 K, smoothly, they’ll be ecstatic [about] that.” …
Factors that might prompt a divergence from the target include parking, cyclist or truck volumes and the character of the neighbourhood. The guidelines stress, though, that the target should be “pursued wherever feasible” and that going to the maximum or minimum allowable widths would require “strong and valid justification.”
Anyone know what the policy is in Vancouver?