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
NOTE: An updated version of this analysis can be found on Spacing Vancouver.
The past few days I’ve had a tough time finding a spot to park my bike at work. The large bike corral at Dunsmuir and Seymour has been jam packed every morning by 9 am. This anecdotal evidence makes me think cycling is on the rise downtown, but it’s nice to see some hard numbers.
Last February, the City of Vancouver published statistics showing the number of cycling trips taken on the new downtown separated bike lanes. I had fun analyzing it, but was limited by the amount of data – there was only 11 months of numbers to crunch. Since then the City has diligently updated and published the stats every month, and now there is finally enough data to see year-over-year changes (at least on Dunsmuir). The results are interesting and encouraging.
Continue reading Vancouver’s Separated Bike Lanes – More Popular Than Ever
The t-shirt we’ve all been waiting for. Someone has finally created it.
Fairware will be selling organic t-shirts with “Bike Lanes Make Me Hornby” printed on the front at the Vision Vancouver Pub Night on October 20th @ The Charles. Full details here.
I’ve never been to a Vision Vancouver event, but I might show up just to get a t-shirt.
I used to have a lot of respect for Councillor Suzanne Anton. She is the lone representative of the once mighty NPA and she gets a lot of pressure from anti-environmentalists to oppose bike lanes. Until recently, she resisted those voices and supported cycling infrastructure (she is after all a dedicated cyclist).
In August, after the Dunsmuir vote, I sent Councillor Anton an email thanking her for supporting cycling and letting her know I’d vote for her in the next election. The beauty of Vancouver’s electoral system is I get 10 votes, and I like to mix it up. I received this response:
So thx for your support and yes I will continue to be a strong supporter of cycling.
On Tuesday night she voted in favour of the Hornby bike lane, ensuring the vote was unanimous. Everyone knew that the Hornby lane would be approved, but no one was sure if Councillor Anton would vote in favour. I was pleasantly surprised, and told a few people on Wednesday how important it was to vote for her in the next election because cycling shouldn’t be a partisan issue and stressed how important it is to have strong voices within the NPA who support cycling.
However, this morning she sent out a press release attempting to rescind her support for the project.
Personally, I feel betrayed and disappointed that she has bowed to pressure and rescinded her support from a project she likely agrees with. She has constantly refused to attack the bike lane, instead attacking “the process”. I’ve noticed a few other people recently say: “I support bike lanes in general, just not this bike lane because of the process”. I call bullshit. Who cares about the process? Honestly. There are only two reasons to oppose “the process”:
- you oppose the bike lane, because you don’t cycle and you’re worried it might make driving more inconvenient. Yet, you don’t want to be a curmudgeon or offend cyclists. So you pretend to support bike lanes “in general”. How very NIMBY.
- you secretly support the bike lane, but you’re trying to score cheap political points and appeal to people who oppose the bike lane. Classic political maneuver when you’re in opposition and the governing party does something you like. It is opposition for the sake of opposition, and it makes politicians look like cynical liars.
I think Councillor Anton falls into the 2nd group, and it saddens me. Let this be my official press release rescinding my support of her.
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).