Tag Archives: bike lane

Opposition to Upgrading Vancouver’s Seawall

I appear to have kicked off an internet storm when I reposted Green Parks Board candidate Stuart Mackinnon’s reply to my question about bike paths in parks.
https://twitter.com/betterparks/status/529073112030380032

better_parks

It’s lead to 3 blog posts on Gordon Price’s blog and more than 175 comments.

At issue, the enhancement of the Seawall, Vancouver’s gem and my favourite running route. As much as I love the seawall, there are sections that could do with some improvements. For much of its length, the Seawall has separated pedestrian and cyclist paths that ensure everyone has enough space.
Running along the Seawall Coopers Park and the Seawall Sunflower Seawall Seawall

But it is inconsistent. In Jericho Park, the seawall is a gravel path. Through Kitsilano Beach, Hadden Park, and Charleson Park the seawall is frequently congested as pedestrians and cyclists share a narrow path.
Charleson Park Seawall Vanier Park Seawall Hadden Park Seawall Kits Seawall

I’d love to see it all upgraded to the same standard, but there is a vocal group opposing any change. They think any new pavement would destroy our parks.

It’s a bizarre view, but they’re welcome to it. However, it bothers me that politicians like Green Party candidate Stuart Mackinnon appears to agree with them. Only Vision and COPE parks board candidates answered the HUB survey asking if they would support separated bike lanes in parks. Mackinnon’s only response was to complain about the question on twitter.
https://twitter.com/betterparks/status/524630627778187264

I wish Stuart Mackinnon would realize there is more to being green than maintaining grass.

Cycling in Montreal

Biking is a Breeze
After spending 3 days cycling through Montreal, I have to admit they are years ahead of Vancouver.

Montreal BIXIFor only $15, I picked up a 3-day BIXI pass and used it to zoom around the city. I was impressed with how quickly the bikes turned over. Bikes were constantly being taken out and returned by users – a lot of them locals judging by how quickly they unlocked the bikes and pedalled away. The bikes are heavy and slow, but still way faster than walking and more interesting than taking the metro.

Montreal Separated Bike Lane Bike Lanes at Dusk
The separated bike lanes downtown are good (especially around the universities), but the real highlight was the network of separated lanes along commercial streets in the neighbourhoods around downtown, like the Plateau (think Commercial Drive in Vancouver).

There is also a good network of bike routes on quiet streets, salmon lanes against the traffic on 1-way streets, and trails along parks and train tracks. They even have cleaners ensuring the bike routes are free of glass and debris.
Bike Salmon Lane Route Vert Bike Trail Bike Lane Cleaner

Vancouver has some catching up to do.

My Cheeky Response to Every Bike Lane Rant I’ve Ever Read

Little rally against bike lanes in KitsI’m a motorist. I have a driver’s license and I occasionally drive a motor vehicle.

Obviously I have nothing against people driving cars in Vancouver. I fully support car roads. I’m just against cars using the roads that I want to ride my bike on. There’s a major arterial 5 blocks away. Why can’t cars stay on that street?

The few motorists I see using my local street are always breaking the law. They speed, they roll through stop signs, and they talk on their cellphone. Until they learn to follow the rules, we shouldn’t be building any more roads.

I’m worried that adding more cars to my local street will decrease the price of my million dollar home. Who will want to live here when the street is clogged with noisy, smelly vehicles? Worse, when traffic shifts from neighbouring streets to my street, it will probably increase the price of someone else’s million dollar home. It’s not fair.

City Council is putting in streets, roads, and alleys without proper consultation. I went to 5 meetings where I yelled at the traffic engineers. They obviously didn’t listen. The process is flawed, which is why I suggest we delay any action until we come up with a plan that is unanimously supported. If it takes forever, great. I lied when I said I supported roads for motorists anyway.

Photo by Brent Granby.

Improved Cambie Bridge Cycling Connections

CambieBridgeBikeImprovements
The engineers working at the City of Vancouver are awesome. Check out the proposed redesign for the north end of the Cambie Bridge. A two-way separated bike lane is planned to connect with the bike lanes on Beatty. Currently, the only connection for southbound cyclists is along the sidewalk. These improvements will make the route much safer for cyclists and pedestrians.

There’s also improvements planned for Richards Street and the Canada Line Bridge. The details are buried in this report to city council (PDF).

Mandating Helmet Debates

Biking the Blossoms
Get ready for the great helmet debate, round 243. If you’re just joining us, Momentum Magazine has the best article summarizing the reasons for and against helmet laws, and explaining why we’re still arguing about it.

Today, the NDP government in Manitoba announced that soon it will be illegal for anyone under 18 to ride a bike without a helmet. I couldn’t be more disappointed. I have nothing against helmets, I wear one every day, but mandating their use won’t make cycling safer, it will just discourage some people from cycling at all.

I learned to ride in the mean streets of Winnipeg and often biked around the city, including to my co-op job when I was 19 – from Meadows West to the Exchange District. For a large portion of that ride I used the sidewalks because there were no bike lanes and biking along Keewatin was (and likely still is) suicide. Most cyclists I know in the Peg (other than my hardcore Aunt) ride on the sidewalk sometimes. Everyone knows it’s a bad idea (including Ryan fu*king Gosling), but helmeted or not, Winnipeg lacks safe bike routes.

Only hours before the Manitoba government announced it’s new helmet law, a cyclist was killed biking to work in Winnipeg. No word if she was wearing a helmet, but it likely wouldn’t have mattered. She was hit by a car and pushed under a semi-trailer that crushed her without even noticing. The area where it happened is a bike lane deadzone. There is a bike route (the laziest form of bike infrastructure – a sharrows) for a few blocks on Higgins, but it disappears before it gets to Main (where she was hit). Bike routes in Winnipeg frequently just stop. There is not network or grid.

The lack of infrastructure is the biggest safety problem, not lack of helmet use. If the Manitoba government was serious about cyclist safety, it would help the City of Winnipeg fix the damn bike lanes. There’s only so much a styrofoam lid can do when you are hit by several tonnes of steel.

Here in Vancouver, we have a good grid of bike routes, separated lanes downtown, and cycling is relatively safe. There’s a push to get rid of the mandatory helmet law, or at least add exceptions to it, because it is making a public bike share system unworkable. It’s not going to be an easy change to make, and I’m pissed off that Manitoba is falling into the same trap.

Bike Score in Vancouver

The awesome guys at Walk Score have teamed up with researchers at UBC to introduce their newest mapping project – Bike Score.

Victoria, Vancouver and Montreal rate highest in bikeability for Canadian cities; while Minneapolis, Portland and San Francisco lead in the U.S.

Vancouver’s Bike Score is already pretty good, especially in downtown and in the nearby neighbourhoods. We have a much larger network of bike routes than most Canadian cities. Some of the gaps in the network will be plugged by the recently announced 2012 capital plan improvements, including 3 new bike lanes in south Vancouver.

Vancouver’s Separated Bike Lanes – September Update

Bike Lane in the Rain
A quick update on Vancouver’s separated bike lanes. Last month I wrote about how the lanes were “more popular than ever“, and the trend is continuing. The data for September 2011 is now available, and the bike lanes are still rocking.

Continue reading Vancouver’s Separated Bike Lanes – September Update