Tag Archives: separated bike lane

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).

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

Separated Bike Lanes in Ottawa

Vancouver isn’t the only city building separated bike lanes in its downtown core. Ottawa has a new bike lane down Laurier Avenue.

The bike lane itself isn’t that notable. It looks just like the ones on Dunsmuir and Hornby here in Vancouver. The only reason it caught my attention is because the City of Ottawa has wired up its bike counters to automatically upload data once a day and display it on a website now and a physical display on the bike path soon.

Compared to the stats for Vancouver’s bike lanes, Ottawa’s Laurier bike lane is similar to the lane on Hornby, but Hornby sees about 15% more cyclists on weekdays and 30% more volume on weekends. The Vancouver stats aren’t out yet for September, but I doubt we’ll see the large increase in cycling that Ottawa saw. The Laurier Lane ends near the University of Ottawa, and classes started on September 5. Many cities see peak cycling volumes in early September, but not Vancouver – likely because we don’t have a big downtown university campus.

Vancouver’s Separated Bike Lanes – More Popular Than Ever

Dunsmuir Bike Corral
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

Dunsmuir Bike Lane – By The Numbers

A few days ago the City of Vancouver posted the daily statistics for the Dunsmuir and Hornby separated bike lanes (available here). I am the self-appointed data nerd at work, and thought it would be fun to apply some of the same techniques we use to analyze building energy to bike trips.

The first thing I did was go through the data to see if I could determine the driving factors of bike lane usage. The data file contains data from several sensors (located up and down Hornby and Dunsmuir) but I focused on the Dunsmuir viaduct because it had the most data (11 months worth). With only 11 months of data, you can’t do any year-over-year comparisons, but you can start to notice trends.

The first obvious pattern is there is a clear difference between weekday and weekend usage, with volumes nearly doubling Monday-Friday. This makes sense, since the bike lanes provide access to the downtown.

There is also a noticeable seasonal difference in the data, with summer traffic (peaking at 2099 trips per day) doubling the December high of 1025. The driver of this is, as you might guess, weather related. Once I added in weather data from Environment Canada, you can see a strong correlation between average temperature and bike trips.

The next biggest driver of bike trips is the addition of the separated bike lane on Dunsmuir. On March 3 a bike lane was added to the Dunsmuir Viaduct. On June 15, the separated bike lane extending from the viaduct to Hornby was completed, replacing a painted bike lane. It really shifted up usage of the Dunsmuir Viaduct, adding about 500 extra trips per day in the 2nd half of June.

You can build a pretty good linear model that would predict bike lane usage based on the day of the week and the temperature. The outliers you’ll notice are holidays (which have very low usage), fireworks (which were the highest used days) and days with > 3 mm of rain (marked with R) or snow (marked with S). I was surprised that holiday volumes are lower then weekend volumes. Rain and snow are obvious deterrents to cycling, but extreme cold apparently isn’t. On days where the temperature dropped below freezing, but were dry, cycling volumes were on par with days averaging +5 C.

The last question to ask is “is bike usage increasing”? There was a definite jump after the Dunsmuir separated lane bike lane was completed on June 15. Looking at data since then, you need to isolate out weather to make a fair comparison. If you look at months with similar average temperatures (July/August and December/January) there is small, but noticeable growth in cycling volumes. However, it is tough to say if it is a trend or not. Another year of data would really help. After July 2011, we’ll be able to compare the data to July 2010 and do a year-over-year comparison where the infrastructure isn’t changing. That is when we’ll be able to spot growth.

Thanks to the City of Vancouver for providing this data and the separated bike lanes. It is really interesting to see the growth of commuter cyclists in Vancouver.

Update: Hirtopolis addresses the issue of data fudging and anomalous readings in the city’s data.

Bike to Work Week at Pulse Energy

Biker Breakfast Bait

While most of the country is preparing for snow, Vancouver is celebrating the rainy season with Bike to Work Week, which started on Monday. As the self-appointed captain of the Bike to Work Week team at Pulse Energy, I’m trying to ensure we defend our title for most commutes that we won in the summer. My job is made easy by the group of dedicated cyclists who work at Pulse and the improved cycling infrastructure, which is key to getting new cyclists to bike downtown – luckily our office is located along on the Dunsmuir separated bike lane.

On Monday, I offered breakfast for anyone who cycled in or who promised to bike in at least one day this week. I baked up some apple strudel, spinach and feta pie, and gluten-free pumpkin muffins. Considering that every morsel was eaten, we should have no problem getting lots of bums on bike seats this week. So far, the results look good – we’re close to the top in 2 categories.

How Councillor Suzanne Anton Lost My Vote

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”:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.