Sunday was Car-Free Vancouver Day – with street parties throughout the city celebrating all the progress this city is making. I missed most of the action, as we were on a hiking/camping trip in Golden Ears Provincial Park (pictures here), but want to acknowledge the progress Vancouver is making.
There have been huge improvements to cycling infrastructure. Following up on last falls Burrard Bridge bike lane, there is now a dedicated bike lane over the Dunsmuir Viaduct all the way through downtown (more details). I’ve been taking it every day, and it really makes my commute a lot faster and safer. And it seems to be gaining popularity with local cyclists – every day I have to share the lane with more and more cyclists. Of course there is the same tired arguments from some critics, but the results will speak for themselves.
The next steps for Vancouver will be another separated downtown bike lane, linking the Dunsmuir lane with the Burrard Bridge. And if the city can find away around the province’s mandatory helmet law, we might see Bixi bike sharing soon.
In other exciting car-free news, I’ve heard rumours that the city will try turning Granville Street into a pedestrian-only zone. After the success the street saw during the Olympics, I’m really happy city council is showing some leadership and reclaiming more public space from cars and returning it to pedestrians.
For a broader perspective on transportation issues, see Wired’s The Man Who Could Unsnarl Manhattan Traffic.