Why does TransLink care about cycling?

Why does TransLink care about cycling?

Rider cycling in Richmond

When most people hear the word TransLink, they likely think about buses, SkyTrain, the Canada Line, or the SeaBus. 

Cycling is not the first thing that people associate with TransLink. But it might surprise many to learn that we are a major funder of cycling infrastructure across our region. 

In 2019 alone, TransLink invested $15 million to build new or improved cycle paths in Metro Vancouver. We have also been rapidly expanding our offering of bike parkades, making more space for bikes on SkyTrain, and updating policies to allow buses to transport e-bikes. 

Our goal is to make cycling safer and more convenient, while also building one of the most cycle-friendly transit networks in Canada. 

But why do we care about cycling? 

As Metro Vancouver’s transportation authority, our mission is to connect the region and enhance its livability by providing a sustainable transportation network. Cycling is a key part of that equation. 

Over the coming years, an increasing number of people and goods will need to travel on an increasingly congested transportation network. At the same time, our quality of life is threatened by the spectre of climate change. To combat these factors, we must use every tool in our toolbelt. 

Cycling offers an affordable and zero-emission transportation option for commuters. It is a cost-effective investment for our region that can help us tackle congestion by freeing up space on our crowded roadways. 

However, we also know that if we want to increase the number of cyclists in our region meaningfully, we need to make cycling safer and more convenient.  

That’s why TransLink has partnered with HUB Cycling to produce the first-ever State of Cycling report for Metro Vancouver. 

The report, which was released last week, assesses the number of bikeways in our region, the number of residents regularly cycling, and the safety of the cycling network across all of Metro Vancouver’s 23 communities. 

The report finds that although our region has come a long way in building more bikeways, more can be done to make the network more comfortable for people who cycle. For example, only 46 per cent of Metro Vancouver’s current bikeways are considered “comfortable” for most people, which leaves a lot of room for improvement. 

The good news is that we are moving in the right direction. Over the past 10 years, the length of bikeways in our region has nearly tripled from 1,700 kilometres to 4,600 kilometres. 

Today, 65 per cent of Metro Vancouver residents live within 400 metres of a bikeway that is considered comfortable for most people. In areas where bikeways have grown or improved, the number of cycling trips has gone up, while the number of collisions has gone down. 

TransLink and HUB Cycling understand that we can only improve on what we can measure. Our new report is an important milestone because it gives us a starting point and a benchmark upon which we can measure our progress. 

Check out the full report and its findings at bikehub.ca/research.