Agenda Index City of Vancouver


Date: November 19, 1997

Dept. File No. 4252-2


CC File No. 5554

TO:Vancouver City Council

FROM:General Manager of Engineering Services

SUBJECT:Bus Bulges on 10th Ave at Sasamat


A.That bus bulges be installed on 10th Avenue at Sasamat at an estimated cost of $48,000, with funding provided from Streets Basic Capital Unappropriated Account No. 12/31/9833/999 - Bus Bulges.

B.That the General Manager of Engineering Services be instructed to proceed with the installation of further bus bulges at locations to be selected with funding provided from Streets Basic Capital Unappropriated Account No. 12/31/9833/999 - Bus Bulges.


The Transportation Plan calls for Transit Priority measures, including bus bulges, as a way to speed up buses.


To obtain Council approval for the funding of bus bulges on 10th Avenue at Sasamat Street (and the concurrent stopping of the #99 B-line service at this location) and subsequent locations as yet to be determined.


The Transportation Plan recognizes that transit priority measures are needed to speed up buses. Bus bulges are identified as a potential transit priority measure. However, neither the City or BC Transit have experience with bus bulges to know how effective they are.

A bus bulge is shown in Figure 1. A bus bulge allows buses to stop in the moving lane of traffic. The priority provided by the bulge is the time the bus saves by not having to wait to pull back into the traffic stream. This time savings can vary and is a function of the volume of traffic using the street and whether there is a signal at the intersection.

A bus bulge can also provide extra sidewalk space. This extra space can be used for waiting transit passengers and for improved pedestrian amenities (a bus shelter, transit information, extra seating, community information, litter containers, telephones, etc), or for landscaping. A bulge can also reduce the walking distance across a street.

The #99 B-line service is a limited stop, express bus route which began operation between Lougheed Mall and UBC in September 1996. This new service has proven very popular. The first stop off-campus within the City is at Alma Street. A stop does not exist within the upper 10th Ave business district. BC Transit has agreed to provide a stop in this area if a transit priority measure can be implemented so that travel times are not overly impacted.


It is proposed to install bus bulges at the two bus stops on 10th Ave at Sasamat Street. At the same time, BC Transit will begin stopping the #99 B-line service at these stops.

The design of the bulges is shown in Figure 2. Tenth Avenue is quite narrow in this area, only 52 feet wide, but is able to accommodate two substandard moving lanes and one parking lane in each direction. As a result, the actual bulge is only 6½ feet wide and so the extra sidewalk space and hence opportunities for improved pedestrian amenities is limited. The bulge can’t be any wider or a stopped bus would begin to encroach into the second moving lane. This would result in a higher than acceptable potential for other vehicles hitting bus side-view mirrors, sideswiping or rear ending stopped buses, or encroaching into on-coming traffic. Nevertheless, the bulges will still function as transit priority measures by virtue of stopped buses occupying the moving lane and not having to wait to pull into the moving traffic stream.

There will be a net loss of about 1½ parking spaces and two small street trees as a result of the construction of the bus bulges. Council is asked to approve funds available in an existing street capital account set aside for construction of bus bulges.

Staff will be monitoring the effectiveness of these bulges and will report to Council on any concerns that may arise.


Council approved funding of $650,000 for installation of bus bulges as part of the 1997 Streets Basic Capital Budget. This report recommends approval of $48,000 for installation of bulges on 10th Ave at Sasamat. A further $12,000 (approx.) will be spent from an existing account to replace a bus shelter. This report also recommends the General Manager of Engineering Services be allowed to proceed with further bus bulge installations without the need to report to Council on specific locations.

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