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Translink Buzzer Blog

City of Vancouver info session on Hornby separated bike lane, Wed Aug 11

A map of the proposed Hornby bike route in downtown Vancouver. Map courtesy of the City of Vancouver.

The City of Vancouver is currently thinking about putting a separated bike lane on Hornby Street downtown, and they will be holding an info session about the project next Wednesday August 11.

From 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., drop by the Pacific Centre Rotunda, located on the corner of Howe and Georgia streets, to learn more about the project and offer your feedback.

If you can’t make it, you can also check out the City of Vancouver’s website for more about the Hornby bike lane project. There you can fill in an online survey, or talk about the project in their discussion forums.

Thus far, the City has already opened separated bike lanes on the Burrard Bridge and Dunsmuir St. And after one year of service, the Burrard Bridge lane has seen one million cyclists!


73 Comments

  • By Cliff, August 4, 2010 @ 10:36 am

    What is TransLink doing to promote cycling safety?

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, August 4, 2010 @ 10:41 am

    Cliff: Hmmm… that’s a very broad question. Are there any specifics that you’re looking for answers on? Eg. infrastructure work or broader policy, or items about bike lockers, bike security, helmets, etc? Just want to clarify before I pass this on to someone in planning.

  • By Cliff, August 4, 2010 @ 11:16 am

    I’m talking in terms of encouraging helmet use, hand signals, and being aware of other road users.

    No government agency has really taken the lead in safety when it comes to cycling. ICBC has bits about cycling in their driving manual, but nothing that really teaches people how to be safe while they’re out and about on their bikes. Looking at the cycling page on TransLink’s page I see nothing on safety of any sort while cycling either.

    Does Transit Police actively enforce the MVA relating to bicycles? I know they can, but DO they?

  • By Cliff, August 4, 2010 @ 11:18 am

    I point you to this:

    “This is the spot for all the info you need to make your next bike trip a smooth one.”

    I would expect “all the info” to include information on cycling safely.

  • By ???, August 4, 2010 @ 12:06 pm

    Brighouse station is a disaster. Bike Racks are located NOT next to the bike lanes, but across a sidewalk. This encourages cyclists to use pedestrians as pylons as they wait for buses. Occasionally there are crashes.

    I gladly welcome some ticketing or enforcement around this station.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, August 4, 2010 @ 1:54 pm

    OK, I’m going to pass this thread on to planning and see if there are further answers for you.

    In the meantime, I should mention that a lot of our cycling work is done in conjunction with municipalities and other groups, so we do support safety initiatives that come out through those channels. For example, the VACC runs cycling safety courses that we support: http://www.vacc.bc.ca/cycling/cycling.php?pageID=5

  • By Gary, August 4, 2010 @ 2:00 pm

    Jennifer, I’m really disappointed that you are pushing the bike lane cause in your blog. And to think, I used to be a fan. Some of us live on Hornby and will be adversely affected. But then again, that’s one of the problems with TransLink…trying to be all things to all people. TransLink (and this blog) should stick to one thing and one thing only…that is issues in regards to moving people on an urban transportation system.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, August 4, 2010 @ 2:08 pm

    Gary: Well, as far as the intentions of this post, it was intended to draw awareness to the info session happening around the Hornby bike lane so people would be able to offer their feedback. It’s certainly not intended to advocate one way or the other — feedback against the project would certainly part of the discussion that the City is looking to collect.

    But this blog has always discussed transportation in Metro Vancouver — so it’s certainly apropos to include discussions around cycling and the way Metro Vancouver cities are responding to the challenge of providing transportation choice.

  • By mezzanine, August 4, 2010 @ 6:15 pm

    @ Gary, if you do frequent TL’s webpage, you will see that TL is responsible for establishing cycling routes in the region.

    You may live on Hornby and may be adversely affected. You may also like it a lot if you do cycle a lot and limit car use. You can say the same thing if you live on cambie for C-line construction or live along the B’way corridor.

    And TL being all things to all people? If you commute anywhere in the region, by bus, car or bike, Translink quite rightly oversees this. and you can’t argue that if less people drive, it will make your commute by bus or car better.

    Keep up the good work jhenifer! BTW, I hope that you can make notes to Jarett’s SFU talk today! :-)

    ———————–

    “TransLink’s long-term transportation strategy, Transport 2040, sets goals for the kind of transportation future we want – a system that’s safe, fosters economic growth and lowers GHG emissions. Within the next 30 years, one of the goals is that most trips in Metro Vancouver will be made by transit, walking and cycling.

    Cycling for Everyone – A Regional Cycling Strategy for Metro Vancouver 2010-2040, will provide guidance on how cycling can contribute to realizing the goals of Transport 2040. This Regional Cycling Strategy will lay out TransLink’s policy direction for cycling, and is intended to provide a common framework for action by TransLink, municipalities and other partners.”

    http://www.translink.ca/en/Cycling/Regional-Cycling-Strategy.aspx

  • By Cliff, August 4, 2010 @ 8:06 pm

    Those VACC courses are exactly what I’m talking about. Those ought to be advertised on the cycling page.

    In Edmonton, police there ticketed drivers for obeying the law by handing out $50 cheques. I think it would be fantastic to set up a similar initiative at trouble spots for cyclists. Heck, in some locations, it’s so bad, I don’t think the police would ever pay out!

    When it comes to the Hornby bicycle lanes, I have to say I really don’t think they’re a good idea. Any plan that removes vehicle lanes in the city of Vancouver is not a good idea in general because our transportation system is choked well enough as it is. We’re blessed to have the most dense core of any city in North America (Even more than New York!). I don’t see why a lot of these lanes are being pushed through when one can quite simply walk after arriving in the core.

  • By mezzanine, August 5, 2010 @ 12:02 am

    @Cliff, I cannot find any news on google about the Edmonton police and $50 reward cheques. If there is any news or a public service announcement that you can link to, I would appreciate it.

    And: “I don’t see why a lot of these lanes are being pushed through when one can quite simply walk after arriving in the core.”

    To paraphrase Jarrett Walker, the speed of your trip is dependent on the distance you want to travel, and the downtown can be quite big if you want to restict yourself on foot. if you are at roundhouse community centre, you will likely walk to emery barnes park instead of bussing or biking it. But roundhouse to St Paul’s? Bayshore to the aquatic centre? those are long walks, but easy rides.

  • By Cliff, August 5, 2010 @ 4:44 am

    I searched and searched and could find nothing. I’ll contact EPS directly and try to hunt down some information. I seem to remember a radio blurb about them being handed out on Groat Road, but this was several years ago. I’ll let you know what they say.

    I don’t find the distance from Pacific to Thurlow along Davie to be excessively long on foot. Of course that’s all depending on who’s walking it. Regardless, there is frequent transit from all along that route.

    The point I’m trying to make is that cars, trains, and buses all make up the vital transportation keystones of our region. Cycling is very good on a local level, but bringing in these lanes negatively impacts the entire region for a very small minority of those who cycle. I’m even willing to put forth the argument that such lanes are counter productive leading to more time spent in cars idling. It seems to be very “feel good” in that those who cycle feel that they are doing everyone a favour when in fact the majority of people were negatively affected to have them be able to enjoy cycling.

    I’m not entirely against cycling. I readily support my tax dollars being used to build a cycling/pedestrian only bridge across False Creek. I heartily support new bicycle routes created off busy arterials that give bicyclists right of ways without them having to stop so that they won’t have to make a decision between safety or speed.

    But to place cycling in direct competition against motor vehicles is a recipe for disaster. We have poor capacity on our existing infrastructure as it is.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, August 5, 2010 @ 9:55 am

    Cliff: OK, here’s the response to your cycling safety question from our planning staff. (There is a little more info coming yet, but this has the bulk of the info you have asked for.)

    TransLink’s cycling safety initiatives are usually implemented through a contractor (usually a non-profit like BEST or the VACC) or through sponsorship of similar non-profits’ initiatives (Bike to Work Week). An example of this type of initiative is TransLink funding of the VACC’s Streetwise Cycling Skills Course (http://www.vacc.bc.ca/cycling/cycling.php?pageID=41). I think that they also do some education in secondary schools.

    Strictly speaking road safety is the mandate of ICBC, but TransLink does still provide financial support to agencies that provide educational programs focused on safe cycling in accordance with the motor vehicle act. TransLink has limited resources to dedicate to this, and so through consultation with ICBC, schools, and other stakeholders encourages information and education about cycling skills.

    TransLink also has been playing a strategic role in developing and coordinating cycling education and marketing through the Regional Cycling Strategy. The Strategy has been facilitating a conversation with local governments and other stakeholders about what types of marketing and education will be most effective and how their implementation should be divided up and coordinated across the region.

    Finally, TransLink has a role to play in the design of safe cycling facilities. For example, through the review process related to TransLink cost-sharing programs, TransLink’s engineers review municipalities’ designs to ensure that they meet guidelines for safety and comfort.

    Also, I don’t know how theoretical you want to get but there is a lot of research suggesting that bicycle accident rates are strongly related to the proportion of trips made by bike in a city. Because drivers (like all people) often see what they expect to see, cyclists are often invisible and therefore vulnerable in small numbers. As a result, building facilities that encourage more people to cycle can be seen to be an important safety measure. TransLink has a role in this through projects such as the Central Valley Greenway and cost sharing programs for cycling infrastructure.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, August 5, 2010 @ 10:12 am

    Cliff: one follow up, it turns out we do have the VACC classes listed on our cycling page under Community Cycling Resources. The title of the section may be a bit vague though. Suggestions welcome for improvement, as always!

  • By Alexwarrior, August 5, 2010 @ 10:38 am

    Just thought I’d point out that the Hornby St separated bike lane that they show on the Vancouver website doesn’t propose removing any car lanes, but a parking lane.

  • By Brandon, August 5, 2010 @ 11:23 am

    Phase II (Hornby St) was chosen because it was an easier route with far less conflicts than Burrard (which many cyclists would prefer to use).

    @Cliff New York, a city many times our size is actually pushing ahead with taking away streets from cars and putting people and people-powered vehicles in charge.

    Truth is that people will adapt to the new structure of our streets. They did it for Burrard bridge and for Dunsmuir. The whole city adapted for the Olympics which shows how resiliant we are.

  • By Brandon (CMBC), August 5, 2010 @ 1:33 pm

    I think that these dedicated bike lanes are a great idea. If a lane on Hornby means getting many bikes off Burrard, this will help greatly during rush hour. However, I think before more of this goes on, there should be something in place like Cliff was talking about as in having police ticketing offenders on their bikes. I had almost hit a cycalist yesterday because they decided to run a red light, he was seconds away from going under my bus if I had not noticed him when I did. He was not even looking left to right before entering the intersection. I feel that if you want to ride your bike on the road, you must abide by the laws just like every other motorist.

  • By Jim, August 5, 2010 @ 4:48 pm

    I thought I would point out that Hornby does not have buses on it and this is one of the reasons why it was also chosen for the route as it would mean minimal disruption to the existing transit network.

  • By ???, August 5, 2010 @ 5:22 pm

    Being transit free, it also means vehicles and trucks are more efficient on Dunsmuir and Hornby to get to their destinations. Now it’s a huge mess with a lane reductions. Having fuel increases means goods and services will be more expensive than ever. Cyclists can keep their Pender and Burrard lanes.

  • By Cliff, August 5, 2010 @ 7:03 pm

    People will adapt? At what cost? Taking away a parking lane is arguably slightly better than taking away a lane of traffic. But businesses still suffer. And I don’t think any conceivable increase in cyclists along Hornby will make up for the business lost with the removal of parking. Even if they do, I’m even willing to put forth the argument that cyclists don’t spend as much money as vehicle users.

    Everywhere, and especially in the downtown core vehicles are in direct competition for road space and I just don’t see how the positives outweigh the negatives for transferring this much coveted roadspace to bicycles.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I don’t think cycling is a bad idea, but the recent decisions taken by city hall are the wrong way to go about it.

    As far as the law is concerned, instead of increased enforcement taking up valuable resources, why not have bicycles registered? How many cyclists would knowingly obey the law as they do now if they could be easily identified as with vehicle drivers?

    And recently, Vancouver’s mayor was nearly run over by a bus on Dunsmuir after he attempted to run a red. Vancouver’s own mayor. There is a serious impasse when it comes to cycling safety in this region and with various governmental agencies passing the buck, cyclists feel invincible. It’s no secret that Vancouver police shies away from enforcement of the MVA when it involves cyclists.

    I was pulled over by Transit Police riding my motorcycle in Willingdon’s HOV lanes because I didn’t have enough passengers. There is no shortage of signs indicating that this is allowed. While pulled over (and in front of a bus stop full of snickering students) three cyclists rode by all without helmets. Not a single attempt was made to have them stop. And while I was let go without a ticket, (after pointing out the sign located right above the officer’s head) the whole thing left a very sour taste in my mouth.

    There needs to be a lot of work done before cycling is taken seriously. Ensuring that cyclists ride safely, predictably, and within the law is paramount to getting greater acceptance for cycling initiatives in this city.

  • By David, August 6, 2010 @ 3:12 am

    Traffic in the downtown core is bad enough as it is. The bike lane on the Burrard Bridge is a joke because for most people, cycling is not practical. It only makes the congestion worse, meaning more cars idling and more pollution. Don’t forget Vancouver rains 5 months a year.
    The bike lane on Dunsmiur is also joke as it basically disrupt traffic patterns. Now you have “red light” Robertson running red lights and almost getting killed. If you want bike lanes, then cyclist should have to buy insurance, just like the rest of the drivers, because right now they contribute nothing.

    The 25million should be spent on improving public transit, NOT some bike lanes that few people use 6 months a year.

  • By Cliff, August 6, 2010 @ 5:54 am

    That’s exactly right. Money allocated for these types of projects would have a far greater impact if it were used on public transit as opposed to cycling lanes.

    I absolutely believe that bicycles should be licenced and the money collected should be put right back into cycling specific causes. Even bicycling lanes in other parts of the city.

  • By Brandon, August 6, 2010 @ 10:51 am

    @ David: auto insurance doesn’t pay for infrastructre, property taxes do. Cyclists pay property taxes just like motorists. It is all in our best interests to encourage bicycle usage. I’m not anti-car. People will need to use cars for the foresable future. Instead of coming down hard on cyclists for saftey, we should be encourage TOTAL and COMPLETE road safety by motorists, cyclists and pedestrians. I think that cyclists act the way they do because they aren’t treated as serious road users. They get harrassed by people technically weilding a lethal weapon (the car) every day. This is not en excuse for poor road etiquette or saftey. Just imagine being up against a car and ask yourselves if separated bike lanes are worth it. Under the Motor Vehicle Act, they are entitled to the same amount of space on the road as a car should they consider it neccessary. Do you really want to be following a bike going 15km/hour for your entire commute?

    Also, cyclists don’t pay insurance because typically they don’t cause any harm compared to a one tonne vehicle going at 50km/hour.

  • By Gary, August 6, 2010 @ 11:43 am

    I’m so glad that others see the light. TransLink has very limited resources right now. More people would benefit by redirecting $$$ used for the cycling program to operating and capital budgets for our maxed out transit system.

    Fortunately, we live in a democracy and if enough people are unhappy about the bike lanes, the make of up of the city council will change after the next civic election.

    That being said, there is little that we can do to influence how TransLink uses our hard earned tax dollars. Sigh…if only the comptroller general had more power to change TransLink’s irresponsible spending.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, August 6, 2010 @ 11:56 am

    Gary: To be clear, the City of Vancouver project is not a TransLink-funded initiative.

  • By Gary, August 6, 2010 @ 1:23 pm

    Hi Jennifer, Yes I’m aware of that. However, TransLink does spend a lot of money on cycling programs when that money can be used to fund operating and capital expenditures for the transit system. The transit system has several hundred thousand riders per day. How many people are actually cycling? All I’m saying is that it’s time for TransLink to prioritize spending so that we get our best bang for the buck.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, August 6, 2010 @ 1:27 pm

    Gary: While cycling numbers may be low now, encouraging more people to cycle is an important part of the region’s transportation strategy. It’s another alternative mode to driving a car, and it’s relatively cheap to implement and encourage strong cycling strategies. One of our public consultation exercises demonstrated the relative expense last year: participants only need 2 budget points to do the maximum investment in regional cycling, while transit services needed 85 points, rapid transit needed 69, and roads and bridges needed 40.

  • By Jim, August 6, 2010 @ 3:54 pm

    I think people forget that translink is involved in and invest in all modes of transport from roads, bikes, and transit. Translink is responsible for balancing this and making the proper investments in those modes. The separated bike lanes are being constructed by the city but can and will benefit many different people. A good example might be that if more people that drive cars take bikes and the people that really do have to drive those people will be able to get to there destination faster. In the case of a bus rider more people on bikes means less packed buses, less traffic so these buses can be more efficient and arrive and depart stops on time there for riders can be confident that there bus will be there when they expect it to be. Bikes are great they don’t pollute and they don’t emit loud noises and take up less space overall. Jhenifer keep up the good work as always! Thought I would put my two cents!

  • By David, August 6, 2010 @ 4:47 pm

    For me, there are two forms on cycling, one for recreation and one for daily commute. I have no problems with recreational cycling. It’s fun and cycling along the sea wall in stanley park is great. The other kind I have major beef with as it is only practical if you live close to work, or if you don’t have kids. It is wrong of city hall to promote the idea of cycling as a major form of daily commute. There are many people who work in downtown but live out in the suburbs. Would they take their bike to work? Bike lanes should not come at the expense of road lanes, especially those of major arteries. This will only increase congestion and pollution from more idling cars, disrupt traffic flow, slow down delivery of goods, and hurt local businesses. The only way to move people out of their cars is by making public transit CONVENIENT, not by forcing bike lanes down our throats. Look at other major cities like New York, London, Tokyo or Hong Kong, where taking public transit is more affordable and convenient than driving. Now look at Metro Vancouver, where public transportation is only convenient if you live in Vancouver or close to Skytrain.

  • By Brandon, August 6, 2010 @ 6:07 pm

    @ David: Again, New York is pushing cycling very hard as an alternative mode of transport. Giant Chinese cities wished that people STILL biked instead of buying cars.

    I hate comparing cycling cities but you should see how families get around in the Netherlands and in Copenhagen. Yes, they have cars. Parents prefer to take their kids on their bikes. However, Copenhagen and Amsterdam didn’t get where they are without doing what Vancouver is doing now. Building separated bike lines now is a major step in making our city better. 1000 new cyclists is a 1000 cars out of YOUR way. Portland just got ride of 8 parling spots to put in bike racks. Space that hosted only 8 cars (majority of them with only ONE person in them) now is space for 74 bikes – 74 people. Burrard had it’s 1-millionth cyclist last month. Would you prefer that they all drove instead?

    The City and Translink aren’t suggesting that EVERYONE bike. That’s impossible. What they are trying to do is give people more choices. YOU benefit from this.

  • By Alexwarrior, August 6, 2010 @ 6:47 pm

    I don’t think the funding of cycling lanes vs rapid transit has any mutual exclusion; the price differences are several orders of magnitude. Spending money on building some high quality pedestrian and bike infrastructure isn’t going to make or break the billion+ dollars required for a UBC SkyTrain or Evergreen line.

  • By Cliff, August 6, 2010 @ 7:56 pm

    The city of Vancouver has already cannibalized a lane of traffic on the Burrard Street Bridge for a bicycle lane.

    They’ve turned Dunsmuir Street into a parking lot with their cycling lanes.

    Cambie Street as a bicycle route? Really? What were they smoking with this one? Cambie should have been three lanes in each direction all the way onto the Cambie Street bridge. Heather and Ontario streets are all nearby and have better grades for cycling too if memory serves me correctly.

    They’re planning on removing parking along Hornby for bicycle lanes.

    These actions all adversely affect business. They slow down vehicle traffic leading to increased emissions. Regardless of whether these are cheap or not, they hurt us in ways that isn’t being made clear. The city of Vancouver isn’t thinking straight and it’s affecting us all.

    If the city of Vancouver wants to improve the situation in downtown Vancouver, they’d fund some park and rides in the suburbs and encourage transit use to downtown.

    We need to stop this pie in the sky thinking. Cars, buses, and rail all move people around the city. I’ll take a bicycle if I’m going a couple miles, but that’s it.

  • By Brandon, August 6, 2010 @ 8:12 pm

    @Cliff: That’s the idea. The city wants to turn all short trips that people normally use a car for, into bike trips. It isn’t asking you to commute from Langley to Vancouver.

    Dunsmuir a parking lot? No hyperbole, please.

    Also, to clarify: easing up on the accelerator can improve your fuel economy and reduce your emissions.

    Read More http://www.wired.com/autopia/2010/06/50-mph-speed-limit-curb-emissions/#ixzz0vt02okTe

  • By Brandon, August 6, 2010 @ 8:14 pm

    Though, to be fair, that wired article is talking highway speeds.

  • By David, August 6, 2010 @ 8:54 pm

    @Brandon: I think you are missing the point here. The problem with the Dusmuir and Burrard bridge bike lanes is that these streets are major roads for getting in and out of the downtown core. These roads are conjested enough as they are. Taking away lanes for a couple of bike lanes will only create more congestions, which means more cars idling. Idling cars creates more emissions and you are basically doing 0 mpg. The worse the traffic gets, the more angry drivers get, and the less likely they will agree on the bike lanes.

    http://vancouver.ca/ctyclerk/cclerk/20090217/documents/tt1.pdf
    Only 3.7 percent of people in Vancouver bike to work! Of course, the majority that do live in or close to the downtown core. These bike lanes should not come at the expense of other people who live in the suburbs. How would you feel if you live in the suburbs, work in downtown, and have to deal with increased commute time because of these bike lanes???

  • By Brandon, August 6, 2010 @ 9:04 pm

    @David: I do live in the suburbs and work downtown.

    I know this is a lot of back and forth but what the hay – I know I’m not going to convince you of anything. Consider some of the following: If more road space solved congestion, LA would not have any congestion. Traffic is like a gas, it will fill up every space available (triple convergence theory).

    If you are serious about congestion, then Vancouver should enact congestion pricing like London has done. If you want to use the roads downtown, you pay for it. It has been successful in London and it also is a way we can fun Transit. Everyone wins right? Oh, by what about businesses? London seems to be doing alright…they’re also introducing bike lines now…and just started a bike share program (the bikes are made in Canada so more jobs for us!).

  • By Cyclists suck, August 6, 2010 @ 10:16 pm

    I wish there was a referendum on the situation.

    Choosing main vehicular arterials (Dunsmuir (I’m really upset not being able to turn right on Seymour), Hornby, and Burrard bridge) for bike routes has seriously affected commerce in the West End. Bike routes should be on off arterial roads, not key vehicle and truck routes. I didn’t like Pender losing a lane and I hate giving up Dunsmuir more.

    The Visions/COPE platform has got to go.

  • By Cliff, August 6, 2010 @ 11:21 pm

    I don’t agree that cyclists “suck” as your username says. I want to make it clear that cycling is a fun little activity to undertake from time to time.

    It is not how cities should be focusing their transportation planning. This is the point I’m trying to drive home. This is all being done wrong. Dunsmuir was the wrong choice, Burrard was the wrong choice and now Hornby is the wrong choice.

    We have so little as far as roadspace in downtown as it is. Taking it away isn’t do anyone any favours.

    And enforcement should definately play a major role in any cycling initiatives being lauded about. If there is a cycling lane on or adjacent to a street, then if you’re riding on a bicycle, you are OBLIGATED to use it. This among many more infractions I see.

    The transit cop unsuccessfully attempting to write me a ticket could have picked up three tickets for cycling without a helmet in the time it took me to explain that my presence in the HOV lane with my motorcycle was entirely legal.

    Get our officers to stop shying away from enforcement of the rules as they apply to bicycles and the hate for cyclists will go down as cyclists realize the rules of the road apply to them too and they begin to shape up.

    It’s so bad that on the rare occasion I see a cyclist actually stop at a stop sign, I want to get out and shake his hand. It shouldn’t be this way.

  • By Brandon, August 6, 2010 @ 11:49 pm

    Transportation planning is not car planning – all modes of transport have to be taken into consideration.

    The bike is a perfectly acceptable mode of transport for both commuting and recreation.

    You have to ask yourself: What is it you’re trying to see happen? Is it more road safety? Less congestion? Leaving roads the way they are isn’t going to attain those objectives. As I mentioned before, widening roads or creating new highways isn’t going to do that either.

    Cities that have successfully mixed bicycles and cars and transit are generally safe more productive cities. This is because cars are used to cyclists and vice-versa. Also, it requires that cars move at a slower pace which increases safety.

    Is it about money? $6 billion+ for the gateway project and Translink probably spends hundreds of millions on roads. Skytrain costs $225 million a kilometer to build. The city allocates $25 million for bikes and everyone is up in arms.

    Today I was almost hit by a car because the driver thought that I was occupying too much of the lane. Cyclists are allowed to take up the whole lane if need be. Then, the car went through a stop sign without stopping. It does no good to yell and scream and point fingers – we can both agree that everyone needs to work on their road safety.

    Anyways. I see nothing to really contribute from what I’ve already said. We can agree to disagree.

  • By Cliff, August 7, 2010 @ 1:53 am

    In B.C. cycles are not permitted to take up the entire lane. They have to stay as far right as they can.

    183 (2)(c)A person operating a cycle must, subject to paragraph (a), ride as near as practicable to the right side of the highway,

    Cities that have embraced a bike culture also have proper highway systems. The slower pace only applies to local surface streets and rightfully so.

    So what if Los Angeles screwed up with their freeway system? Why are they the poster child we’re trying to avoid? Why don’t we look at cities like Paris. They’re doing it right. They’ve got cars and bicycles. Co-existing. They also have proper freeway systems.

    Why does our road infrastructure have to suffer to appease a very small minority of the population?

  • By Cliff, August 7, 2010 @ 2:00 am

    Creating new highways WILL make the system safer. Neighbourhoods are reclaimed, vehicles spend less time getting to their destinations. Vehicles that spend less time driving around have less of a chance of getting into an accident.

    The viaducts would have been the end of a freeway with 70mph limits had it been built in the 60s. Surface streets would have been more conductive to bicycles and very little competition would have taken place.

    The viaduct is MORE dangerous now. Vehicles in the second left turn lane turning onto the viaduct off Main have to merge in as soon as the left turn is completed. People in the inner left lane are ill-prepared for this and traffic can quite often back up into the intersection. Disastrous. All because the Dunsmuir viaduct, an urban freeway, was cannibalized for use by cyclists. Lanes are narrow as hell now. I’d say it gives the Pattullo a run for its money.

    Again, appeasing a small minority of the population for setbacks in emission, safety, and businesses.

  • By Alexwarrior, August 7, 2010 @ 8:57 am

    The key word in MVA 183 is “practicable”, which in many cases, such as narrow lanes, or where there are parked cars, as far to the right as practicable is the middle of the lane. There is case law to support this, including a recent case in the BC court of appeals where a cyclist was found partially at fault for failing to ride in the middle of the lane while passing through an intersection.

  • By mezzanine, August 7, 2010 @ 9:42 am

    ^Interesting point, Alex….

    “While Mr. MacLaren did the right thing by moving out of the curb lane, he should have moved in behind the vehicles travelling toward the “through” lane, not beside them. By cycling between lanes Mr. MacLaren did not show sufficient care for his own person to avoid a finding of contributory negligence. Taking a lane was the only way, in my view, that a bicyclist could have satisfied the mandate of s. 183(2)(c) to safely travel as near as practicable to the right of the highway…”

    http://bc-injury-law.com/blog/bc-court-appeal-finds-cyclists-50-fault-cycling-lanes

  • By Brandon, August 7, 2010 @ 12:14 pm

    Cliff, is new highway space made places safer, the US would be the safest place on earth.

  • By Brandon, August 7, 2010 @ 12:15 pm

    if*

  • By Cliff, August 7, 2010 @ 7:23 pm

    Again, I urge you to look at European cities. They did not place vehicles in competition with the bicycle and have large and developed freeways with a cycling culture to boot.

    Why must we be focused on not being like the USA as opposed to being more like Europe?

    To avoid a right hook situation, a cyclist should get behind a car (thereby taking the lane) if they’re not in a bicycle lane. Why? It is also illegal to pass on the right and they could be found at fault for attempting to pass a vehicle turning right from the right lane.

  • By Brandon, August 8, 2010 @ 1:24 am

    If we’re talking about Europe then we agree…we should take away car lanes to provide bicycle lanes…there are NO right turns allowed in Amsterdam.

  • By Brandon, August 8, 2010 @ 10:07 am

    Actually, I’ll get back to you on that one.

  • By Michael, August 8, 2010 @ 9:29 pm

    Cliff,

    you want to take Europe as an Example? Fine. I grew up in Germany in a city roughly the size of Metro Vancouver / Vancouver.

    Here is what the city did, in a much more hilly environment than Vancouver is:

    – Build standard gauge streetcars on seperate right of way.
    – Install Bus lanes with special traffic lights for the buses to advance through intersections faster.
    – Any non “thoroughfare” road was given a speed limit of 30kph
    – Bicycle lanes were installed
    – A Rail System (S-Bahn) was installed running underground through the city connecting the city core to the airport and the outlying area.

    Public transit is handled by something similar to Translink called VVS, you can find more info on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verkehrs-_und_Tarifverbund_Stuttgart

    Here’s the thing. The whining of people car drivers here I find laughable. There are wider roads and more space here than the city I grew up in. In 30 years (yes, those projects take time) they have managed to build and install a functioning public transit system and de-emphasize cars. Because of a European directive they also shut down most car traffic when fine particular matter reaches a certain threshold, at that point no more driving into the city.

    Metro Vancouver could do all this too, but that would require the political will to:

    – Install Buslanes
    – Abandon the failed Skytrain technology, the system is not a public transit system, it’s a people mover.
    – Build street cars along major corridors (e.g. Broadway) and give it a separate right of way.

    Yes Cliff, that would mean to take on street parking and car lanes away, are you willing to yield to public transit? Or will you tell us how this will just increase congestion?

  • By Cliff, August 8, 2010 @ 11:15 pm

    Yes, and all that would be an acceptable trade off for some actual freeways.

    Vancouver has been talking for a while about 40km/h limits on roads without lane markings. Essentially all side streets. I don’t know what’s become of it.

    This is what I’ve been saying: Stop placing cyclists in competition with vehicles. They serve two different purposes and it only serves to poison the water further. Do you think motorists like trudging through traffic only to find that the problem gets amplified when they hit the downtown core because multiple lanes were removed for bicycles? Bicycles that remain a very very tiny minority of all road users.

    If people had a faster, uncongested way downtown people might actually view it as a local area upon their arrival and give it the respect it deserves.

    No right turns on red? The problem could be fixed if cyclists simply obeyed the law and stopped passing on the right.

    Cyclists have a big problem with obeying the rules. When you point fingers they throw up their hands and go “me? no no no, it’s all cagers, they’re the ones breaking all the rules!” It’s this mentality that everything isn’t their fault that drives people insane. They should take some responsibility for their actions.

    That’s why I think a licencing system for bicycles is a fantastic idea. I don’t see how it’s anything but fair. You want to be seen on the road and treated with respect? Licence plates are just the thing. And as I pointed before, money from bicycle registration and licencing could be funneled directly into cycling initiatives. I don’t see how anyone can think this was a bad idea!

    Here’s an idea. If you cycle, for the next few days, trying signalling all your lane changes and turns. Try stopping at red lights and waiting for the light to change. Don’t want to wait in gridlock? Walk your bicycle on the sidewalk.

    You’ll be amazed at the respect given to you by simply obeying the rules. And all those “cagers” that consistently cause all those accidents? Well, with your actions being predictable now, those “cagers” will be much less likely to hit you and they’ll give you the space you require. Try it.

  • By Michael, August 8, 2010 @ 11:38 pm

    Vancouver has been talking for a while about 40km/h limits on roads without lane markings. Essentially all side streets. I don’t know what’s become of it.

    Probably the same that has happend to the proposed noise legislation for cars and motorcycles: Nothing. Because the car faction will see it as an assault on their right to drive.

    This is what I’ve been saying: Stop placing cyclists in competition with vehicles. They serve two different purposes and it only serves to poison the water further. Do you think motorists like trudging through traffic only to find that the problem gets amplified when they hit the downtown core because multiple lanes were removed for bicycles? Bicycles that remain a very very tiny minority of all road users.

    Here’s the thing: If people don’t feel safe, they won’t cycle. In order for them to feel safe they need their own dedicated lanes. It’s a Catch-22.

    The solution IS more dedicated bike lanes and Park & Ride for the people in the Burbs. It’s a disgrace that Translink does not seem to have planned for P&R lots along the Skytrain.

    If people had a faster, uncongested way downtown people might actually view it as a local area upon their arrival and give it the respect it deserves.

    Sorry, but that’s not how that works. You cannot barrel into someones neighbourhood and then expect that they bend over to your will. I live downtown. I would prefer it much more having less cars, more bikes and more pedestrians (and public transit) than having traffic signals that are favouring cars way too often and ignore the needs of pedestrians and cyclists alike.

    No right turns on red? The problem could be fixed if cyclists simply obeyed the law and stopped passing on the right.

    Oh please. I walk a lot downtown. I regularly have to dodge cars that make right hand turns on right without coming to a complete stop first. I have to dodge cars that decide that stop signs aren’t for them if there is a pedestrian light that’s green etc.

    Stop trying to justify your anti cycling stance by blaming cyclists.If we would listen to your argument and would apply it to cars we’d rip up all the roads tomorrow and you would have to walk from the outskirts of the city because clearly, a large amount of drivers in the lower mainland don’t have the foggiest. Difference is: If they plow through a stop sign and hit someone the odds of them being hurt is pretty slim, whoever or whatever they hit will most likely not be that lucky.

    Cyclists have a big problem with obeying the rules. When you point fingers they throw up their hands and go “me? no no no, it’s all cagers, they’re the ones breaking all the rules!” It’s this mentality that everything isn’t their fault that drives people insane. They should take some responsibility for their actions.

    As I said above, grab yourself by your own nose. Nobody on the roads here seems to think THEY are the ones who are the problem. So let’s just throw the finger pointing out of the window and look at how traffic works in this city and then make it safe for everybody involved. SAFE is the keyword here, not convenience.

    That’s why I think a licencing system for bicycles is a fantastic idea. I don’t see how it’s anything but fair. You want to be seen on the road and treated with respect? Licence plates are just the thing. And as I pointed before, money from bicycle registration and licencing could be funneled directly into cycling initiatives. I don’t see how anyone can think this was a bad idea!

    And how much would you like to charge per bike per year? How many officer would the city hire (or the Province) to enforce the licensing requirement? The idea is outright stupid by the sheer number of bikes out there and a lack of enforcement ability. This would be a money losing proposition.

    You want to improve road behaviour? Change the way drivers ed is done here in the Province, additionally introduce bicycle saftey courses into schools, starting with elementary school.

    When I was in fourth grade we went through a “drivers ed” on bicycles, learning how to turn etc. Then we were given a “drivers license” that was back in the early 80s, they are still doing it. The solution is EDUCATION not some ridiculous licensing idea. The only country I am aware of that has a bike licensing system is Switzerland, the rest of Europe (and the world) seems to somehow have managed to have cars and bikes on the road without it. That should tell you something about that idea of yours.

    Here’s an idea. If you cycle, for the next few days, trying signalling all your lane changes and turns. Try stopping at red lights and waiting for the light to change. Don’t want to wait in gridlock? Walk your bicycle on the sidewalk.

    Ah, and now we’re at the crux. You hate the fact that someone on two wheels who “doesn’t pay his way” zips past by you while you are stuck behind some other guy in a car. How UNFAIR how dare these cyclists to flaunt their superiority of transport into your face.

    Here’s an idea for you: For the next few days, get out of your car. Walk around or take the bus. See how much more relaxed you will be.

    You’ll be amazed at the respect given to you by simply obeying the rules. And all those “cagers” that consistently cause all those accidents? Well, with your actions being predictable now, those “cagers” will be much less likely to hit you and they’ll give you the space you require. Try it.

    Hahaha. Funny one. After the Burrard Bridge blowup of some car drivers who seem to see unlawful behaviour in every cyclists while car drivers are pure and God ordained I decided to try and see how well car drivers really are. So I quickly skimmed over the MVA again, then got in my car and drove it to the letter of the law. Stopping at stop signs (first at the stop line, then slowly moving into the intersection), coming to a complete stop at a red light before making a left turn. Not exceeding the speed limit etc.

    My experience? I got got honked at, got the finger, the evil eye and was dangerously overtaken on more than one occasion. And that was while *I* was in a cage.

    So, sunny, stop that grand standing about how superior car drivers are to cyclists when it comes to obeying the traffic rules. Reality is hardly anybody follows the rules, they all make them up as they go along and the cops don’t care. They are too busy in June to hand out $35 tickets to cyclists without helmets while cars blow through the stop sign right next to it. And yes, I have seen this, I even asked the cop why he wasn’t ticketing the car driver. The answer? “I am trying to improve cycling safety, that’s what we’re here for, not wearing a helmet is dangerous.”

    Right, I am sure the Styrofoam cup will do me good when a few thousand pounds of vehicle come barreling through a stop sign trying to make a “pedestrian green”.

  • By Cliff, August 9, 2010 @ 2:13 am

    “Probably the same that has happend to the proposed noise legislation for cars and motorcycles: Nothing. Because the car faction will see it as an assault on their right to drive.”

    Noise legislation does exist and is on the books. It was enforced as recently as May by RCMP in North Vancouver with a clinic setup with an amnesty inviting motorcycle riders and other road users to have their vehicle noise tested.

    Here’s the thing: If people don’t feel safe, they won’t cycle. In order for them to feel safe they need their own dedicated lanes. It’s a Catch-22.

    “The solution IS more dedicated bike lanes and Park & Ride for the people in the Burbs. It’s a disgrace that Translink does not seem to have planned for P&R lots along the Skytrain.”

    Putting bicycle lanes on the same level as park and ride lots is ridiculous. You are not going to move from Coquitlam or Langley from their vehicles onto transit. I have no argument that cycle lanes are good at the local level, but comparing them to park and rides is simply wrong. On the subject of building more park and rides, I absolutely agree that this should be a priority. Proper park and ride lots with entrances and exits leading onto freeways with incentives for carpooling should definitely be pushed for. I think it’s an absolute travesty that the large lot at Braid Station isn’t being used for this while Lougheed Station attempts to use the gravel lot next to the bus loop as some modicum of a park and ride. Disgraceful.

    “Sorry, but that’s not how that works. You cannot barrel into someones neighbourhood and then expect that they bend over to your will. I live downtown. I would prefer it much more having less cars, more bikes and more pedestrians (and public transit) than having traffic signals that are favouring cars way too often and ignore the needs of pedestrians and cyclists alike.”

    This is downtown we’re talking about. Simply trying to ignore the fact that vehicles exist by catering to pedestrians and cyclists isn’t going to work. Vehicles are going to be in downtown no matter how many lanes you remove or how unattractive you make it. The speed limit should be lowered in Downtown and enforced. Use of the green wave helps enforce speed limits without having to use police wag their fingers.

    “Difference is: If they plow through a stop sign and hit someone the odds of them being hurt is pretty slim, whoever or whatever they hit will most likely not be that lucky.”

    This justifies cyclists running stop signs? Another show of the “It’s not us, it’s them” mentality.

    “Ah, and now we’re at the crux. You hate the fact that someone on two wheels who “doesn’t pay his way” zips past by you while you are stuck behind some other guy in a car. How UNFAIR how dare these cyclists to flaunt their superiority of transport into your face.”

    Nope, I hate the fact that what that person is going is insane and is going to get himself or others hurt or cause an accident. Cyclists almost never carry liability insurance, who’s out money if their unlawful and unpredictable movements cause an accident? Check out bulletproofcyclist’s YouTube channel. You can’t possibly endorse his actions!

    “Here’s an idea for you: For the next few days, get out of your car. Walk around or take the bus. See how much more relaxed you will be.”

    I do. I’ve used public transit ever since I was born. Marine Drive Station is my favourite station because of the abundance of parking. I don’t like driving my car. Too expensive. I use my motorcycle, which is arguably better than using my car. I’m allowed to use the HOV lanes and even some bus lanes where signage exists so I hope it fits in with the idea of sustaining a greener region.

    “Hahaha. Funny one. After the Burrard Bridge blowup of some car drivers who seem to see unlawful behaviour in every cyclists while car drivers are pure and God ordained I decided to try and see how well car drivers really are. So I quickly skimmed over the MVA again, then got in my car and drove it to the letter of the law. Stopping at stop signs (first at the stop line, then slowly moving into the intersection), coming to a complete stop at a red light before making a left turn. Not exceeding the speed limit etc.

    My experience? I got got honked at, got the finger, the evil eye and was dangerously overtaken on more than one occasion. And that was while *I* was in a cage.”

    You did the right thing. I think it’s unfortunate that other road users treated you like this. Enforcement is the key here. People and police ahve become complacent here when it comes to road safety. The problem with Burrard Street is engineering. Burrard Street has become a clusterfark. Bottlenecks, turning prohibitions and just overall bad intersection design. The whole area needs to be redesigned and cyclists and pedestrians should be moved to another bridge roughly parallel to Burrard. And a sign at Hornby informing motorists that left on the red is allowed would help too.

    “So, sunny, stop that grand standing about how superior car drivers are to cyclists when it comes to obeying the traffic rules. Reality is hardly anybody follows the rules, they all make them up as they go along and the cops don’t care. They are too busy in June to hand out $35 tickets to cyclists without helmets while cars blow through the stop sign right next to it. And yes, I have seen this, I even asked the cop why he wasn’t ticketing the car driver. The answer? “I am trying to improve cycling safety, that’s what we’re here for, not wearing a helmet is dangerous.” ”

    As I earlier related. I was pulled over in Willingdon’s HOV lane while on my motorcycle for obeying a posted sign while three cyclists rode by without helmets. This is roughly analogous to the situation you have just described. Police should be enforcing all rules as they relate to all users of the road. There should be no favouritism.

    “Right, I am sure the Styrofoam cup will do me good when a few thousand pounds of vehicle come barreling through a stop sign trying to make a “pedestrian green”.”

    And that is certainly a problem that SHOULD be addressed. I see it happen here and it’s an absolute disgrace. Tickets absolutely should be handed out for this. On that same note, I’ve nearly been run down by a cyclist doing the same thing. I’m sure you would advocate the same treatment for cyclists who do the same thing, no?

    Why is it so hard to see that what I’m advocating for is some sane city planning and equal treatment of cyclists and motorists alike?

  • By Cliff, August 9, 2010 @ 2:17 am

    Small correction:

    “Putting bicycle lanes on the same level as park and ride lots is ridiculous. You are not going to move from Coquitlam or Langley from their vehicles onto BICYCLES”

  • By Michael, August 9, 2010 @ 10:13 am

    Noise legislation does exist and is on the books. It was enforced as recently as May by RCMP in North Vancouver with a clinic setup with an amnesty inviting motorcycle riders and other road users to have their vehicle noise tested.

    Well it would be nice if they would start enforcing it. It’s not very much fun to not be able to talk in your own place because a gang of wannabe Easy Riders decides to gun it up and down Beach Ave in order to show off or the guy who just NEEDS to rip it up Davie at 2am in the morning announcing to the world what a giant a$$hole he is

    Putting bicycle lanes on the same level as park and ride lots is ridiculous. You are not going to move from Coquitlam or Langley from their vehicles onto transit.

    You don’t get it, do you? This isn’t about “one silver bullet” it is about a combination of things that together will create a better way to get around the lower mainland, including bicycles, public transit and cars.

    The problem in BC is that too much money has been allocated to the individual car which has lead to gridlock and a variety of other nasties and yet the car faction is not willing to give one mm in order to make the place more livable.

    I have no argument that cycle lanes are good at the local level, but comparing them to park and rides is simply wrong. On the subject of building more park and rides, I absolutely agree that this should be a priority. Proper park and ride lots with entrances and exits leading onto freeways with incentives for carpooling should definitely be pushed for. I think it’s an absolute travesty that the large lot at Braid Station isn’t being used for this while Lougheed Station attempts to use the gravel lot next to the bus loop as some modicum of a park and ride. Disgraceful.

    Funny that you somewhat get it and yet then fail. If you put P&R lots near Skytrain then you have less cars going into the city which will make it easier for bike lanes to be installed. In an ideal world the transportation distribution would go something like this:

    Short distance (2 – 5km)
    Cyclists / bus
    Medium distance 2 (>5 – 10km)
    Bus / Streetcar
    Long distance (>10km – 60km)
    Lightrail / car
    Ultra Long distance (>60km)
    Train / car / plane etc.

    Currently there is no such “layer” here. There are bits and pieces but they aren’t really working all that well together. We have short distance for pedestrians and the rest we have more or less handed over to the car with some token attempts at public transit.

    This is downtown we’re talking about. Simply trying to ignore the fact that vehicles exist by catering to pedestrians and cyclists isn’t going to work. Vehicles are going to be in downtown no matter how many lanes you remove or how unattractive you make it. The speed limit should be lowered in Downtown and enforced. Use of the green wave helps enforce speed limits without having to use police wag their fingers.

    I am not about banning cars, they are (still) a necessity. But I am also not interested in encouraging driving in the city. Again, a catch-22. If you build alternatives first then people start whining for the waste of money for something nobody uses. When you make it unpleasant to drive first the drivers feel they are being singled out and targeted. The reality is you cannot win this on an argument level. You just have to do it and then have people adapt to the change. In this case a dictatorship really DOES work better than a democracy.

    This justifies cyclists running stop signs? Another show of the “It’s not us, it’s them” mentality.

    No, that explains why I don’t think mandatory registration will have an effect. Can you point me to an article in the last three months of a pedestrian being struck by a cyclist and having to be taken to the hospital? How many can you find where a car takes out a pedestrian? It’s a matter of risk. And cars increase the risk of injury to people around them much more than a bicycle ever could.

    Nope, I hate the fact that what that person is going is insane and is going to get himself or others hurt or cause an accident. Cyclists almost never carry liability insurance, who’s out money if their unlawful and unpredictable movements cause an accident? Check out bulletproofcyclist’s YouTube channel. You can’t possibly endorse his actions!

    So? There are idiots everywhere. I can go on youtube and find idiots in their car racing each other on public streets. What’s your point again? That there are idiots out there all the time? Or that we should punish everybody who also drivers / rides a bicycle because there are some idiots out there?

    As I said, if you argue like that then we should tear out all the public roads tomorrow and nobody gets to drive a car ever again. Somehow I have the feeling though that your next argument is that the majority of car drivers are responsible adults that NEED their car to make a living or some such.

    I do. I’ve used public transit ever since I was born. Marine Drive Station is my favourite station because of the abundance of parking. I don’t like driving my car. Too expensive. I use my motorcycle, which is arguably better than using my car. I’m allowed to use the HOV lanes and even some bus lanes where signage exists so I hope it fits in with the idea of sustaining a greener region.

    So why so zealous over the few bike lanes in the city core?

    You did the right thing. I think it’s unfortunate that other road users treated you like this. Enforcement is the key here. People and police ahve become complacent here when it comes to road safety. The problem with Burrard Street is engineering. Burrard Street has become a clusterfark. Bottlenecks, turning prohibitions and just overall bad intersection design. The whole area needs to be redesigned and cyclists and pedestrians should be moved to another bridge roughly parallel to Burrard. And a sign at Hornby informing motorists that left on the red is allowed would help too.

    The problem is that unless you plan on levelling buildings on either side of the bridge you will not remove the bottle neck.

    You want to do this without levelling building you have very few choices, essentially all you could do is remove the traffic lights on both ends, which means no more turning onto the bridge from Pacific, no more coming out of Kits onto the bridge. I can see THAt going over well.

    The problem on Burrard is not the bike lane, in fact I wish they would hand over the sidewalk again to the pedestrians and take away another lane. The traffic lights are the real problem, not the amount of lanes. Just take a look at Lionsgate to see how much traffic can move over a bridge on just three lanes.

    As I earlier related. I was pulled over in Willingdon’s HOV lane while on my motorcycle for obeying a posted sign while three cyclists rode by without helmets. This is roughly analogous to the situation you have just described. Police should be enforcing all rules as they relate to all users of the road. There should be no favouritism.

    Let me put this simple: Bike helmets are useless and the law should be struck from the books quickly. And no, I did not pull that out of some body opening, I have been wearing a bike helmet for a long time until I started researching what these things are supposed to do (that was after I held my motorcycle helmet and bike helmet in my hand at the same time). Since then I am no longer bothering wearing it. Yeah, got pulled over by cops, made it clear they can write me tickets until their fingers bleed they won’t see me putting a piece of Styrofoam on my head.

    Think I am nuts? Read this: http://www.cyclehelmets.org/papers/c2023.pdf

    And that is certainly a problem that SHOULD be addressed. I see it happen here and it’s an absolute disgrace. Tickets absolutely should be handed out for this. On that same note, I’ve nearly been run down by a cyclist doing the same thing. I’m sure you would advocate the same treatment for cyclists who do the same thing, no?

    Sure, but let’s start with the ones that have the greater damage potential.

    Why is it so hard to see that what I’m advocating for is some sane city planning and equal treatment of cyclists and motorists alike?

    Because so far cyclists have gotten very little love from city planners here. Now that they are starting to address issues and improve cycling you (and many others) come off as sulking kids who smell a “war on the car” in this town.

  • By Michael, August 9, 2010 @ 10:14 am

    Sorry, messed up the tags there…. Hope it’s still readable.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, August 9, 2010 @ 10:23 am

    Pals: This is a really strong discussion, but just a reminder to keep it civil. You’re doing a great job of presenting arguments—but please make sure you don’t veer into personal attacks!

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, August 9, 2010 @ 10:24 am

    Michael: I fixed your tags btw.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, August 9, 2010 @ 3:34 pm

    Everyone: OK, I just wanted to interject here and offer some impartial facts and research that I know of to help illuminate some parts of the bike debate.

    Now please don’t take ANY of these facts as TransLink being for or against having a bike lane in downtown Vancouver — they are just facts, and you are free to make decisions using these facts in whichever way you want. You’ve just all raised some points that our staff has research/knowledge on, so I felt it would be remiss if I didn’t ask around and provide this information to you.

    Info on travel patterns in downtown Vancouver

    – First: TransLink doesn’t tell municipalities how to allocate their road space, so it’s not up to us how municipalities choose to use their roads.

    – There is some data that provides context for the City of Vancouver’s decision to pursue bike lanes, including:

    —–Private vehicle trips to Downtown Vancouver have been falling both in absolute terms and in comparison to other modes. Between 1992 and 2004, total trips to the Central Business District increased by 22% while private vehicle trips decreased by 7%. Since the road space downtown is serving fewer vehicle trips, it may be reasonable to reallocate some space to other roads. (This data comes from the City of Vancouver’s Downtown Vancouver Transportation Plan, 2006 Progress Update.)

    —–Downtown Vancouver is an extremely busy area with a high concentration of destinations. While transit is an important mode for getting into downtown, it is difficult to maintain fast, reliable bus service in a place that is crowded with cars, other buses and pedestrians (if you’ve ever taken the 5 Robson you will be aware of this). Because of this, many people prefer to make trips within the downtown core by walking and/or cycling. The Downtown peninsula is a cluster of residential neighbourhoods as well as a key employment centre, so there are lots of trips being made within Downtown itself in addition to trips coming to Downtown. These trips also need to be served. Also, because buses and SkyTrain are often full near Downtown, cycling and walking are important for taking pressure off the transit system.

    —–Research from Portland estimates that around 60% of the population is interested in cycling but is deterred by fear of traffic. TransLink has seen confirmation of this in its own market research which has found that traffic is one of the main deterrents to cycling. Separated routes, such as the Burrard Bridge, Dunsmuir, Carrall Street and urban sections of the Central Valley Greenway are designed to address this discomfort by separating cyclists from traffic.

    Info on park and rides

    Here’s some information on park-and-rides, which are NOT intended to argue for or against park and rides, only to outline some of the tradeoffs. Since every situation can’t be addressed, the examples here are for the SkyTrain which carries high ridership to Downtown. The situation for West Coast Express or the future Evergreen Line may be different.

    – The importance of park and ride lots differs for different services and depends on land use near the stations and feeder bus service. For example, a larger percentage of West Coast Express ridership accesses the station by park and ride. However, for SkyTrain the story is very different. For the Expo Line carries about 140,000 passengers per day and has about 1,700 park and ride spots. Assuming that most park and ride spots are occupied by a single vehicle for most of the day and that capacity utilization is 100%, that means about 1.5% of passengers are accessing the line by park and ride. So right now the Expo Line carries very high volumes of passengers and feeder bus and pedestrian access, rather than park and ride, are the backbone of system access.

    – Transit is now serving a lot more trip patterns than suburbs to downtown. While Downtown is still an important destination, a lot of trips are subregional. In some cases, logical locations for park and ride are also logical locations for regional destinations (for example, in the Surrey/Delta/Langley region 79% of all trips originating in that region also terminate there – Source: South of Fraser Area Transit Plan). In response to this type of trend, Surrey is now envisioning the area around SkyTrain stations as a second Downtown for the region. In cases like these, bringing important regional and subregional uses close to good transit access may benefit more residents than using this space for park and rides that facilitate trips to Downtown and other central areas.

    – While park and ride can allow passengers to access stations, there are tradeoffs. These include:

    —–Land in Metro Vancouver is very valuable and parking is a low-value use. If you have a park and ride beside a station it means that you can’t have anything else there. Imagine there is an empty lot beside a station where you could either build housing or a park and ride. In a space where you could fit 300 apartments could fit around 700 parking spots. If the apartments rented or sold for the equivalent of $900/month, the parking spaces would cost $4,500/year or $12.50/day to generate the same revenue. That isn’t to suggest that park and ride spaces have to be rented at cost but it’s a thought experiment that gives an idea of the opportunity cost of the parking spaces. So if people are willing to pay $12.50 a day to park at the park and ride then they value the parking spots as much as someone would value an apartment. And if people wish to have those park and ride spaces more than living space, this can certainly happen. Also, similar to the park and ride, the apartments would generate ridership for the station (transit ridership for people living near SkyTrain stations is much higher than the surrounding areas). So areas around SkyTrain stations are valuable areas and parking is going to compete with other potential uses.

    —–Park and rides make it difficult to create a safe and welcoming environment for passengers. While transit police and station attendants can improve safety they are not a substitute for the natural surveillance that come from having active uses around the station. They also cannot create a pleasant walking environment and the convenience of amenities (ex. grocery stores) for passengers walking to access the station. Park-and-ride design can mitigate these issues but a park and ride will never feel or function the same way as an actual neighbourhood.

    Who spends more: walkers, cyclists, public transit riders, drivers?

    With regard to which type of traveller spends more at businesses, we only know of a few research studies done on this. Have a look at the data from one study done on Bloor Street, a central area in Toronto. The summary states, “Most visitors to the Bloor Annex are walkers. They also spend the most money there per month. The next highest number of visitors are cyclists. They spend the second most amount of money. Public transit riders are the third highest number of visitors and the third highest spenders per month. Drivers are the lowest number of visitors and spend about the same amount as public transit riders.”

    And that’s all I have on that… again, this is not to argue for or against any side in this debate, but to provide you with some useful research and facts.

  • By Michael, August 9, 2010 @ 5:24 pm

    – The importance of park and ride lots differs for different services and depends on land use near the stations and feeder bus service. For example, a larger percentage of West Coast Express ridership accesses the station by park and ride. However, for SkyTrain the story is very different. For the Expo Line carries about 140,000 passengers per day and has about 1,700 park and ride spots. Assuming that most park and ride spots are occupied by a single vehicle for most of the day and that capacity utilization is 100%, that means about 1.5% of passengers are accessing the line by park and ride. So right now the Expo Line carries very high volumes of passengers and feeder bus and pedestrian access, rather than park and ride, are the backbone of system access.

    Are only 1.5% using P&R because there is only so little parking or is it because only so few want to make the switch from car to skytrain? Without this information the numbers are pretty useless, no?

    From the experience in Europe it seems P&R follow the “build it and they will come” mantra, of course the question is if Skytrain would have the capacity to add more riders in the first place.

  • By Brandon, August 9, 2010 @ 9:09 pm

    Hi Jhenifer thanks for the great post. Do you mind if I reproduce it on my blog?

    http://mastersplanning.blogspot.com/

    Thanks!

    Also, if anyone cares: I’m waiting for ICBC to weigh on the ‘insurance/licensing’ debate. So far they’ve said:

    “CBC’s mandate is to provide a universal compulsory system of basic automobile insurance to all vehicles that are registered and licensed in BC. The word “vehicle” is defined in the Motor Vehicle Act, and does not include bicycles. As a result, bicycles are not required to be licensed and insured for use on highways in BC.

    Although cyclists are not required by law to carry third-party liability insurance, it is prudent for people to have this insurance, and many homeowner or personal lines policies offer this coverage to owners of bicycles.”

    It really wasn’t the answer to my question but I’m following up.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, August 10, 2010 @ 9:32 am

    Michael: I passed your comment along to planning and here’s the response.

    Are only 1.5% using P&R because there is only so little parking or is it because only so few want to make the switch from car to skytrain? Without this information the numbers are pretty useless, no?

    From the experience in Europe it seems P&R follow the “build it and they will come” mantra, of course the question is if Skytrain would have the capacity to add more riders in the first place.

    This is certainly one question that matters. Park and ride utilization is currently close to capacity for the Expo Line so that’s something to consider. Other questions include:

    1. What would be the demand for park and ride at different price points? Parking at the Expo Line when the utilization survey was done was $1/day. It is now $2/day. So what would be the demand for parking at a rate of $5/day or at the opportunity cost of $12/day? Demand can run very high for things that have no price. For example, what would be the demand for chocolate bars that cost $0?

    2. What is the municipality’s willingness to accommodate parking? Residents probably wouldn’t object to one parking stall but covering their entire city in SkyTrain parking is probably not acceptable either. The answer is probably somewhere in the middle so it’s a question that also needs to be asked.

    3. What would be the ridership and revenue impacts of increasing or decreasing parking spaces? What is the likely use for the land if it wasn’t parking? Because those parking spaces could also be used to house people or businesses that would generate transit demand, using the land for parking may or may not generate more SkyTrain riders than would a park and ride. For example, if the likely use was a comic book store, a park and ride would likely generate more riders. However, if the alternative use was a highrise tower with a grocery store on the ground floor, that might generate more transit ridership than a park and ride.

    There’s no simple answer to these questions – it would require analysis of a particular station context and the answer might change over time as the real estate market and travel patterns change. Although staff resources are constrained right now, this might be a future direction for planning work at TransLink.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, August 10, 2010 @ 9:34 am

    Brandon: sure, feel free to repost this information on your blog. Although please just make sure it’s clear that these are just facts and research we know of, not TransLink advocating for any particular position on park and rides or bike lanes :)

  • By Brandon, August 10, 2010 @ 9:45 am

    Totally! Thanks.

  • By Brandon, August 10, 2010 @ 10:02 am

    Thanks Jhenifer, I will make sure I ensure the information’s context.

  • By Cliff, August 11, 2010 @ 4:42 am

    When it comes to park and rides, incentives need to be offered and it needs to be convenient.

    I’ve always thought it would be a fantastic idea for those who have non-commercial car insurance that permits their vehicle to be driven to/from work or school everyday to be given a free non-transferable transit pass.

    Park and rides are still thought of parking lots in suburbia. Like the endless parking lots around mini-malls that cover much of Richmond or Surrey’s downtowns. This doesn’t have to be the case. Mixed use has always been an option.

    A creative idea I had for Braid Station was to have on and offramps to and from highway 1 dedicated to serving the upper floors of a park and ride on the corner of Braid and Brunette. If you combine the fact that this parking would be free and those who pay for insurance to get to work would have a free transit pass, the number of people who would use the SkyTrain from Braid would be obscene. So much so that capacity would be a huge issue.

    Vehicle use needs to be targeted directly, and not by making the vehicle out to be the enemy. You want these people to get out of their cars, so why make it hard for them to use transit and then penalize their vehicle usage. That hardly seems fair.

    When vehicle usage downtown is reduced through these kinds of initiatives, only then should cycle lanes downtown be considered. Less parking will be required and as a result there will be more space for cyclists.

  • By Michael, August 11, 2010 @ 10:40 am

    1. What would be the demand for park and ride at different price points? Parking at the Expo Line when the utilization survey was done was $1/day. It is now $2/day. So what would be the demand for parking at a rate of $5/day or at the opportunity cost of $12/day? Demand can run very high for things that have no price. For example, what would be the demand for chocolate bars that cost $0?

    Why not create a “combined price”? Parking lots on the periphery of the line would give free parking with monthly tickets for example. The ones closer to the core would have progressively increased rates.

    2. What is the municipality’s willingness to accommodate parking? Residents probably wouldn’t object to one parking stall but covering their entire city in SkyTrain parking is probably not acceptable either. The answer is probably somewhere in the middle so it’s a question that also needs to be asked.

    I think the solution in general is more to get more public transit going. Skytrain is “long distance”, you don’t necessarily have to have parking lots right at every skytrain station (though as you build a station, why not also build undground lots?). Instead parking lots could be set up along high frequency busroutes that connect to Skytrain and thus spreading out the load. Otherwise all you achieve is a traffic jam when people try to get to the train which would make living downtown nicer, but would choke the outlying areas.

    3. What would be the ridership and revenue impacts of increasing or decreasing parking spaces? What is the likely use for the land if it wasn’t parking? Because those parking spaces could also be used to house people or businesses that would generate transit demand, using the land for parking may or may not generate more SkyTrain riders than would a park and ride. For example, if the likely use was a comic book store, a park and ride would likely generate more riders. However, if the alternative use was a highrise tower with a grocery store on the ground floor, that might generate more transit ridership than a park and ride.

    Why not do both? You could build the stores on top and put parking underground. If you do it in successive waves (as far as parking costs go) this may be beneficial to all involved. The magentic stripe on the tickets I wager could already act in that manner, and once the contactless payment system is in place it should even be easier for people to pay for parking and riding both at the same time.

    There’s no simple answer to these questions – it would require analysis of a particular station context and the answer might change over time as the real estate market and travel patterns change. Although staff resources are constrained right now, this might be a future direction for planning work at TransLink.

    I think we’re back at the crux with Translink: What is the mandate? If the goal is to get more people out of the car and into the public transit system then P&R is pretty much a nobrainer and it should have been part of the planning from the get go.

    The problem is, once again, that things in general seem to be seen as isolated solutions, instead of seeing an overall masterplan.

    IS there a one line statement on what Translinks plans are? Something along the lines of: “By 2020 60% of the trips in the Translink serviced area will be done without a car.”?

  • By Michael, August 11, 2010 @ 10:45 am

    When vehicle usage downtown is reduced through these kinds of initiatives, only then should cycle lanes downtown be considered. Less parking will be required and as a result there will be more space for cyclists.

    We’re back at Catch-22. You will not convince people to do P&R or switch to public transit that is not as convenient as car driving as long as you accommodate cars every step of the way to “make it easier”.

    The problem also is that Translink really is only part of the problem, the cities decide where and how they want to allocate space on the road.

    My biggest disappointment so far with City Hall in Vancouver is that the idea of Bus lanes does not seem to have come up, I think the cycling lanes are good first start, but we need to prioritize buses as well, the first step would be to take onstreet parking away from Burrard and put two bus lanes down instead.

    Likewise, I think a shared bike / bus lane across Burrard (in both directions) would be more than beneficial to speed up transit.

    And while I am on that, why are they not running articulated busses on the 22 during rushhour? It seems everytime I see it passing by they are loaded to the brim.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, August 11, 2010 @ 2:17 pm

    Michael: Here’s a response from our planning department to your comments.

    TransLink’s current long range plan (the closest thing to a master plan that we have) is Transport 2040. Here are the plan’s main goals which basically represent a vision for transportation in the region by 2040. (They can be found at the main Transport 2040 page as well.)

    Goal 1
    Greenhouse gas emissions from transportation are aggressively reduced, in support of federal, provincial and regional targets.

    Goal 2
    Most trips are by transit, walking and cycling.

    Goal 3
    The majority of jobs and housing in the region are located along the Frequent Transit Network (frequent, reliable services on designated corridors throughout the day, every day).

    Goal 4
    Travelling in the region is safe, secure, and accessible for everyone.

    Goal 5
    Economic growth and efficient goods movement are facilitated through effective management of the transportation network.

    Goal 6
    Funding for TransLink is stable, sufficient, appropriate and influences transportation choices.

    Again, more details are here:
    http://www.translink.ca/en/Plans-and-Projects/Transport-2040.aspx

    Also, thanks for the suggestions for park and ride policies. We’re not actively working on a park and ride strategy right now but these are the kind of options that a park and ride strategy could explore. Because there’s no work being done at the moment, we’re not undertaking public consultation but suggestions for the future are always welcome.

  • By Cliff, August 11, 2010 @ 3:39 pm

    Having the lanes be HOV 3+ would be far better than simple bus lanes, I think. I gave it some thought already.

    Only a very tiny fragment of car trips have three or more people in them, so the cost to encourage carpooling is not much as opposed to restricting it to buses.

    Heck, make all of Hemlock HOV 2+ all the way over the Granville bridge and onto Seymour.

    And speaking on those goals, the only way Goal 4 is going to be achieved is with FTN and rapid transit out to Langley. (Which isn’t impossible in the long term)

  • By Bob, August 11, 2010 @ 5:09 pm

    So Jennifer, are you happy now that you’ve unleashed this debate in your previously neutral blog? Stick to transit matters please. I’m sure your employer would be happier. As it stands, your original post makes it sound as though TransLink is taking sides in this debate.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, August 11, 2010 @ 5:14 pm

    Bob: You’re free to interpret as you wish. However, as I’ve said above, this blog has always discussed transportation in Metro Vancouver — so it’s certainly apropos to include discussions around cycling, and the way Metro Vancouver cities are responding to the challenge of providing transportation choice.

  • By Cliff, August 11, 2010 @ 6:02 pm

    While I don’t feel the blog does a good job of representing transportation needs when it comes to the motor vehicle, that’s to be somewhat expected considering it’s a blog based on a periodical distributed on public transit.

    That being said, I knew what I was getting into when I wanted to debate bicycles, and I’m certainly not taking it personally. After all, if I don’t stick up for my car around here, who will?

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