The city’s first transit islands are open to bus passengers along King Street, and London city officials are helping to bridge the “transition period” in which people adapt to using them.
The transit islands, paired with a protected bike lane that isn’t open to cyclists just yet, are part of a new design on the busy downtown one-way that aims to meet the needs of cyclists, transit users and drivers alike.
“It’s really about trying to balance the roadway and the width that we have available for all the different users,” said Garfield Dales, the city’s manager of transportation, planning and design.
“We’re trying to communicate to everyone that’s using the facility the appropriate way to obey the signage.”
There are a pair of islands between Ridout and Talbot streets, a pair between Talbot and Clarence streets, a single transit island stop between Clarence and Wellington streets followed by a layover island and a single transit island on King Street east of Wellington Street.
“Determine which bus stop you need to be at because there are specific routes going to different islands,” said Alex Miller, a transit planning technician with the London Transit Commission.
Between Ridout and Talbot streets, Transit Island 1 (the most westerly location) will be served by routes 2, 11, 20 and 102. Transit Island 2, closest to Talbot Street, will be served by routes 5, 9, 12 and 19.
Between Talbot and Clarence, Transit Island 1 (the most westerly location) will be served by routes 2, 7, 9 and 20. Transit Island 2, closest to Clarence Street, will be served by routes 3, 5, 12, 13, 19 and 102.
All routes will stop at the King and Clarence stop, while the King and Wellington stop is an integrated transit stop.
“When crossing to access that island, make sure you make eye contact with oncoming cyclists to ensure you can safely cross,” advised Miller.
Ben Cowie, a cycling advocate and owner of the London Bicycle Cafe, is pleased with the new infrastructure, saying that it has “simplified user experience” for the street.
“It’s really obvious where everyone is supposed to be and makes it easier and safer for everyone to use,” Cowie said.
The city hopes to have the bike lane officially open for cyclists in the next few weeks, with one of the outstanding finishing touches being to apply green pavement markings.
“Everyone is eager to see it (open), as are we,” said Dales.