December 6, 2015

5-Year Cycling Network Additions and Upgrades

The City of Vancouver’s Council Standing Committee On Planning, Transportation and Environment will hear this report at the 0930 Thursday Dec 10 meeting:  Active Transport Update
I count 12 new bike routes and 17 upgrades to existing.
Local media coverage HERE and HERE.

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  1. Thank goodness. So much gnashing of teeth over what’s amounted to a third rate cycle track system over the last few years. Let’s have something worthwhile for the grumps to be grumpy about.

  2. Pretty sad they are not planning anything for powell between clark and mcgill. What are you supposed to do there, going east on powell, when you get to clark? Right now everyone just rides on the narrow north sidewalk, between mcgill and clark. Not really the best situation. I ride on the street, but there isn’t really any shoulder and the cars go pretty fast. No convenient side streets either.

      1. A big gap remains on Powell west of Wall Street. I agree with Gulley, based on the number of people using this route it is very important. There is no viable alternative to Powell for people heading from Second Narrows to Gastown/north end of downtown.

      2. The thinking may be to link the Powell Overpass to Franklin via McLean, and use Franklin to travel further east to Lakewood.
        HUB Cycling (Vancouver committee) has the Powell section through to Wall or Lakewood on a priority list for improvement. Powell is scheduled for major street work, and improvements will likely be tied to that construction schedule. It is good to see the improvements to the west along Water and Alexander, but I agree with Antje that it needs to be connected through further east, due to the number of people using this route.

        1. Trying to force people cycling on the Portside to use Franklin is a bad idea and will not work. Crossing busy Powell twice adds risk and time. It is also not obvious. The vast majority will continue to use Powell or just not bother cycling.

          1. Lakewood to Franklin to McLean back to Powell is not only a detour distance-wise but also up the hill and down again. I can’t see many people riding regularly using such a cumbersome route, while it takes only a few minutes on Powell.

  3. This is amazing!! All of them seem very sensible and look like they’re routes that people currently have been using.
    One more thing about it is suggesting they allow skateboarding in protected bike lanes. I wasn’t aware that it wasn’t allowed. I see it happen often and it has never been a problem. There’s an entire generation out there where it’s a big part of their transportation mix.

  4. Great to see, happy that Blanca is included in the upgrades. But looking at this map as well as others like the recently updated TransLink bike map I can’t help but wonder how these maps are made. Some of the ‘bike routes’ on these maps are clearly everything but. Chancellor is an unlit 4-lane divided highway through the Pacific Spirt park with an official speed limit of 60, with actual speeds much higher. Wesbrook Mall north of Agronomy is a little better, but by no means a ‘bike route’. These are not part of CoV, but why would CoV label them as ‘bike routes’?
    And then there are all the other things, from missing paint along “bike lanes” to barriers blocking child trailers along bike routes. Thinking it might be time for a crowed-sourced bike route map…

    1. Technically there is a paved path on the south side of Chancellor between Tasmania and Acadia. It’s shared with pedestrians and parts of it are more than 30 years old so the surface leaves a lot to be desired, but it’s separate from the 4-lane highway. On the west end there are painted bike lanes on Chancellor all the way to campus. On the east end the road is a broad boulevard virtually devoid of traffic until you reach Blanca and the bike route along West 8th Avenue.
      Blanca is an unusual Vancouver street because it’s very wide, yet sees relatively little traffic. It offers conditions that should make it very safe (excellent visibility, lots of room to go around slower moving vehicles), but the sheer width and lack of cross traffic means that average speeds are high. I estimate typical through traffic speed as 65km/h with some as high as 90km/h. I’m very interested in seeing the proposal.

      1. The path along Chancellor and the part of Chancellor through little Australia are ok. The road is a problem though, and the map also has the road linkup to 4th as part of the bike options, and that part is terrifying. TransLink lists the whole road as “recommended by cyclists”.
        About the pathway, I am quite curious to get an authorative answer to its designation. My understanding is that the parks part of it is designated as a “cycle path” on parks maps, so walking is technically illegal on there. The UEL part (the 100m closest to Acadia) is a UEL sidewalk, so cycling is illegal on that part. Not that technical designations really matter up there — until an accident happens and lawyers get involved. Just part of the cycling/walking mess around UBC.
        West of there Chancellor (technically) does not have bike lanes, only shoulder lanes, with the usual implications on legal width and maintenance. Although it’s not like the official bike lanes up there get maintained anyway.
        What makes Blanca unusual is that only half of it is CoV, the other half belongs to UEL. Except for the south most part, and that’s probably the reason only that part will become a “new bike route” and the rest will get “upgraded”. Curious this will get untangled.

  5. Very happy to see the Granville Bridge, Nelson and Smythe, the Cambie Bridge, Cambie St, Gore, Hudson, Commercial Drive, and Kent on the list for new infrastructure. All of these have been previously identified as opportunities that will make a difference to mode share numbers. The upgrades listed make sense as well. It is refreshing that some of these investments are outside of the downtown business district, providing safe routes for people near UBC, in south Vancouver, and in East Van. #ungapthemap

  6. Now, as to what is missing.
    Already mentioned above, connecting the Powell St overpass further east to Lakewood or Wall. Kingsway, which is a useful connector due to its alignment. The Robson corridor, connecting Hornby to Denman. The Pender corridor, connecting the Dunsmuir separated lane at Hornby through to Stanley Park. And there are lots of spot improvement opportunities, which to be fair, the City list doesn’t itemize.

    1. Awesome list of planned projects!
      Also missing:
      – 1’st Ave between Cypress and Seaside path
      – Pine Street between 1’st and Matthews (Cypress Route)
      – 14th Ave between Prince Edward and Blanca
      – Main Street
      – Completion of Seaside Path adjacent to or in Haddon and Kits Beach Parks
      – Completion of Prince Edward bike route

  7. Overall this looks great. However. I feel that planning is not considering people who need to go diagonal through Vancouver.
    1) If Kingsway were to have protected bike lanes that would help a lot.
    2) Victoria street should also have a protected bike lane as that route is very good for avoiding a hill if you need to go diagonal through Vancouver especially between Adanac and 10th Avenue.
    3) Ash street should be a protected bike lane rather than heather between 10th and the Cambie as it is closer to the bridge.

    1. A bike path on Kingsway would be amazing. I live in fear of opening doors every time I ride on that street. But it is hard to pass up, so much faster than any other route, especially northbound. All other routes involve many more hills.

  8. Good time to reflect on what is underway, either in construction or design/consultation.
    The Stanley Park Causeway, thanks to the provincial ministry (MoTI). Improved connections to this will be the responsibility of the Park Board, and were identified in the Stanley Park cycling plan which they adopted. It has been slow progress on this front.
    10th Ave bike route. Looking forward to seeing the design proposals after the public consultations were held.
    Burrard and Pacific intersection. There was a 30% increase in bike traffic after the south end of the bridge was completed. This is a big one. Great to see the sidewalk being returned to pedestrians.
    South West Marine Drive, Granville to Camosun. Improvements proposed, but not planned to be all ages and ability. Fixing the intersection at 49th and SWM will really help.
    South False Creek Seawall. Construction is underway from the village through to the Cambie Bridge. Design work is underway for the section from the Cambie Bridge through to the Burrard Bridge.
    16th and Ontario. Intersection improvements proposed, open house held.
    Multiple spot improvements, such as the north side of the False Creek Seawall; Adanac bike route; 7th Ave bike route.
    The new Active Bridge as part of the viaduct replacement. Improvements to Quebec, Pacific Blvd, and Expo Blvd. All proceeding with design work following the recent decision from Council.
    I am sure there are more. There is good progress, it is nice to see.

    1. Unfortunately some of the existing and proposed bikeways are doomed to be plagued with traffic. 10th is the only access street for the VGH complex of medical centres and other buildings in the area. Putting a bike route across the entrance to one of the busiest emergency departments in western Canada just doesn’t seem logical.

      1. The report mentions All Ages and Ability (AAA) for the entire length of the 10th Ave bike route, with physical separation where vehicle traffic is high such as the hospital precinct. If there is an emergency entrance on one side of the street, put the protected bike lane on the other side. That would be a benefit for ambulance traffic over the current shared lane situation.

      2. There are ways to improve the situation for both bikes and ambulances. Parking will be sacrificed but that is ok. You just do not allow cars to drive east west through the small intersections, such as Laurel, ash and heather. Then the ambulances just drive further on Broadway or 12th and turn up to 10th at the last possible intersection rather than going straight through 10th from either Oak or Cambie street.

  9. If having a lane on Smithe means turn restrictions then we will see the increased vehicle idling and attendant increase in emissions that we saw on Dunsmuir. But then, it’s not about reducing vehicle emissions is it, it’s all about political optics.

      1. To bike safely and conveniently. It is not bikes that slow down traffic but other cars. More people biking means less people driving. Ergo less motor vehicle congestion, less emissions less noise and pollution, improved health, improved mobility. Everybody wins!

        1. In general I’ve found more people biking means less people choosing transit. The error in the city’s planning is that the increase in vehicle traffic is not from within Vancouver but rather people from outside the city. There will always be a small group who will do intercity-cycling to work, but it is unlikely to ever be more than single digits. It’s great that Burrard Bridge is being well used, but there’s a huge leisure component in that, its not taking commuters out of cars.

          1. Even so, if there is more room on transit, then that means less people driving. About 15% of trips to work by people living in the Commercial Drive area are made by bike. Imagine the load this takes off our roads and off of our transit system. Everyone wins if more people are encouraged to cycle.

          2. Yes, there are many people from outside Vancouver commuting by car into the city. Many come from the North Shore. It is amazing how much less traffic downtown has on mornings when an incident closes the causeway or Lions Gate Bridge.
            It is very feasible to commute by bike (or bike + bus or Seabus) from the North Shore to Vancouver and thousands of people do it (my estimate, but the province has bike counters on both bridges). The proposed bike route improvements will promote cycling by both Vancouver residents and commuters into the city especially from the nearby North Shore.

    1. I fail to see how turn restrictions on Dunsmuir would cause cars to idle more. What I notice is that at when people do try to turn illegally, they back up traffic while waiting for ped/cycle cross traffic to clear.

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