Access Gates Opening Pilot

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We're piloting an initiative to open select access gates on non-motorized multi-use pathways across the city.

The purpose of this pilot initiative is to:

  • Learn about the actual and perceived effectiveness and necessity of access gates at entrances to non-motorized multi-use pathways.
  • Explore ways to improve access, minimize barriers, and improve safety for all non-motorized trail users including active transportation users and persons with disabilities.
  • Work together with trail user groups and organizations, and neighbouring communities towards developing access control solutions that encourage intended trail uses while discouraging prohibited trail uses.

Background

Throughout 2021-2022, the City has heard increased concerns

We're piloting an initiative to open select access gates on non-motorized multi-use pathways across the city.

The purpose of this pilot initiative is to:

  • Learn about the actual and perceived effectiveness and necessity of access gates at entrances to non-motorized multi-use pathways.
  • Explore ways to improve access, minimize barriers, and improve safety for all non-motorized trail users including active transportation users and persons with disabilities.
  • Work together with trail user groups and organizations, and neighbouring communities towards developing access control solutions that encourage intended trail uses while discouraging prohibited trail uses.

Background

Throughout 2021-2022, the City has heard increased concerns from multi-use pathway users, trail user groups and organizations, and the broader community about the accessibility, effectiveness, necessity, and safety of access gates to non-motorized multi-use pathways. The concerns primarily centered on the following:

  • Accessibility
    • Concerns that access gates required trail users to traverse narrow, uneven, and rough, and sometimes snow-laden side trails around gates.
    • Concerns that side trails around access gates pose significant barriers and are difficult to navigate for persons with disabilities in all seasons
    • Concerns that side trails around access gates around side trails can be difficult for active transportation suers to navigate around, especially during winter months.
  • Effectiveness
    • Concerns that access gates posed more of a barrier to trail users than a benefit in discouraging motorized vehicle access.
    • Skepticism regarding perceived versus actual effectiveness of access gates in discouraging or preventing motorized vehicle access.
  • Necessity
    • Concerns whether the gates were truly necessary to discourage/prevent motorized vehicle access.
    • Skepticism regarding perceived versus actual necessity of access gates to discourage or prevent motorized vehicle access.
  • Safety
    • Concerns with safety associated with placement and design of access gates.

Emerging research on access control for active transportation suggests that access control (gates, bollards, etc.) should be used sparingly unless deemed absolutely necessary. The BC Active Transportation Design Guide states the following best practices in regards to access control:

Controlling Access Access control devices are often used at locations where multi-use facilities intersect roads. These devices restrict access by unauthorized motor vehicles while still accommodating periodic access (such as maintenance and emergency vehicles). They can also visually indicate to users of the multi-use facility the need to slow down as they approach intersections and road crossings. There are a number of physical features and treatments that can be used as access control devices.

Controlling access is a more significant consideration during the design of multi-use pathways and separated bicycle and pedestrian pathways. The nature of a shared space is to provide access for all modes and not restrict access. However, providing clear gateway features at the entrance to shared spaces is critical. For pathways, current best practice is to avoid the use of rigid bollards or maze gates at pathway points of entry unless there is a demonstrated history of motor vehicle encroachment, and/or a collision history. The use of rigid bollards or maze gates (offset gates) for controlling speed of pathway users is also not appropriate, as the slowing effect is achieved by creating a potential safety hazard to the pathway users. Bollards and other obstructions placed within the operating space of a bicycle facility have been shown to present a significant injury risk to bicycle users. Refer to Chapter G.5 for further details about access restrictions.

The Cyclists’ Injuries & the Cycling Environment (BICE) study conducted for the Cycling in Cities Program at the University of British Columbia found that 12% of all cycling injury collisions requiring emergency room treatment were a result of impacts with infrastructure such as bollards, street furniture, curbs, fences, speed bumps, or stairs. Maze gates can also impact snow clearing as it creates a barrier, which may lead to lower operational standards for people cycling.

BC Active Transportation Design Guide - Section E1

Due to public concerns and emerging research on best practices for access control, we are conducting a pilot to explore the accessibility, effectiveness, necessity, and safety considerations of select access gates across the City. Locations were chosen based on public complaints and areas with high non-motorized traffic volumes. The locations for the pilot are at the following access gates:

The proposed pilot initiative includes the following:

  • Opening of access gates
  • Enhanced signage
  • Communications and engagement
  • Data collection
  • Research and analysis
  • Development of recommendations

The access gates opening pilot is anticipated to improve transportation accessibility, connectivity, equity, mobility, safety, and sustainability by:

  • Reducing barriers for persons with disabilities
  • Improving safety for active transportation users
  • Minimizing barriers for active transportation users and promoting active transportation as a viable mode of transportation in the City

What we're asking now:

This phase of engagement focuses on sharing information about the access gates opening pilot initiative and receiving feedback from trail users and adjacent residents and communities.

How to get involved:

Here are a couple ways to get involved in the Access Gates Opening Pilot:

  • Keep posted to Updates.
  • Be our eyes and ears and help us know where illegal motorized vehicle access is occurring during the pilot. Use the Report a Motorized Vehicle tool to let us know where you notice illegal motorized vehicle access. This tool will be launched once the pilot is officially underway.
  • Use the Ask A Question tool to ask the Project Team a question about the project.

Our promise to you:

We realize that opening access gates to non-motorized trails in the City may be sensitive to adjacent residents and communities. We remain committed to learning and working with adjacent residents and communities on developing access control solutions that meet user and neighbourhood needs and encourage intended trail uses.

We will keep you informed, listen to and acknowledge your concerns and preferences, and provide feedback on how public input influenced the decision.

Questions and Answers

We are happy to answer any questions you may have about the Access Gates Opening Pilot initiative. 

Please send us a question and we will get back to you within 5 business days. If we think others may be interested in your question, we will post it here along with our response. Your email and personal information will remain private - only your question and username will be shared.

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Page last updated: 22 Mar 2023, 04:24 PM