It is official, Hornby is getting a separated bike lane! Construction is set to begin immediately and be finished in 2 1/2 months. It is the best Christmas present I could have wished for – a completed downtown cycling network with separated lanes.
I’m really proud of city council for standing up to the fear-mongering of Laura Jones (of the CFIB, formerly of the Fraser Institute), who claims businesses along Hornby are set to lose 23% of their sales when the Hornby lane goes in (source) – a great made-up statistic. We’ll have to see if business actually suffers, but given the experience of businesses on Dunsmuir I highly doubt it. Hornby is not a strip-mall. It’s a busy street in downtown Vancouver. I’m not sure how any business on that street can reasonably expect to have cheap, abundant parking close by. Nor should they need it. The area is well served by transit and 100,000 people live within walking distance.
There were several passionate speeches to council, both for and against the bike lane, but the one that seems to stand out is remarks made by Gordon Price. He talked about how many of Vancouver’s most cherished, quality-of-live features were controversial when added – deciding not to build a freeway into downtown, traffic calming, and even the paved seawall. You can watch his full comment by loading http://www4.insinc.com/ibc/mp/md/play/c/317/1199/201010051910wv150en,003.asx into Windows Media Player and jumping to 2:33:50. I’ve heard from a few people, it was his speech that convinced opposition councillor Susan Anton to vote for it, which meant city council unanimously approved the bike lane construction.
Update: I was disappointed to learn this morning that Councillor Anton has decided to rescind her vote in support of the bike lane. My opinion of that decision is here.
Note: The title for this post was stolen from CBC’s Bill Richardson (source).