Tag Archives: traffic calming

Adanac Bikeway Improvements

Adanac Bikeway Improvements Snapshot
The City of Vancouver is looking to upgrade one of its busiest bike routes, Adanac/Union. Although the project hasn’t garnered the same media attention as the proposed greenway along Cornwall, this is a very exciting project for cyclists. I use the route everyday on my commute to work, and I think the changes will go a long way to making it safer.

According to the City’s numbers, the route is used for 4000 bike trips and 5000 car trips per day. The city is proposing a number of improvements to reduce traffic and physically separate bikes.

The biggest changes involve restricting car traffic along Union between Quebec and Main, creating separated bike lanes for large stretches, and improving bike signals at the traffic lights. My usual bike route takes me along Union between Quebec and Main, so I’m excited that cars will largely be removed from that stretch. West of Quebec, a two-way, separated bike lane will connect with the Carall Street Greenway. East of Main, parking will be used to shield bikes from traffic.

More information is available on the City’s website and there’s a quick survey you can fill out.

Getting more Asses on Bikes in Vancouver

Work Commute
I’ve been thinking a lot about cycling lately. Vancouver just hosted the world’s premier bike conference, Velo-City, so cycling issues have been dominating the news and my twitter feed.

On Thursday night I went to a talk by Mikael Colville-Andersen, the man behind the Copenhagenize blog. It was a fascinating look into what cities can do to bring cycling into the mainstream. Mikael’s goal is to make cycling as common as vacuuming – you don’t need special training to vacuum, there are no “avid vacuumists”, and you don’t go to Vacuum Equipment Co-op to buy special gear – it’s just something you do. In Copenhagen, people don’t self-identify as cyclists and only a small percentage of people who bike do so for financial or environmental reasons. Most people do it because it’s the most convenient way to get from A to B.

After listening to Mikael and reading the reports coming out of Velo-City 2012, I realized Vancouver has a long way to go before it achieves the cycling mode-share seen in Copenhagen (37% compared to 5% in Vancouver). Here’s my list of things that need to change before cycling goes mainstream.

  1. Introducing a public bike share system.
  2. Scrapping the mandatory helmet law.
  3. Building a connected grid of separated bike lanes.
  4. Calming automobile traffic.

Progress is being made on all these fronts, but it’s moving at a glacial pace. The bike share system has been announced, but delayed by a year while they figure out how to work helmets into the system. Opposition to helmet law is mounting, but politicians are reluctant to speak out against a law that still has popular support outside of cycling circles. Vision Vancouver took a lot of flack for the new separated bike lanes they built downtown, but they were rewarded with an increased majority on city council. Hopefully they take this as a sign to keep building new separated lanes.

As for traffic calming, Vancouver has been on a road diet for decades, and vehicle volumes have been steadily dropping over the past two decades – they’re now at the same levels they were in 1965. The next step is to reduce the speeds that cars move at. According to Colville-Andersen, Barcelona is adding 30 km/h zones across the city, and 80% of all streets will have lower speed limits by 2015. Why? Because fast cars kill. If you get hit by a car going 30 km/h you have a 95% chance of surviving, but at 50 km/h it’s 55% and at 65 km/h it’s only 15%.

Hopefully the City of Vancouver, Mayor Gregor Robertson, and Vision Vancouver respond to Velo-City 2012 Conference by increasing the pace of cycling improvements.