March 27, 2016

Putting Puzzle Pieces Together #ArbutusCorridor #bikeshare @SouthGranville

1) Bikeshare system area

On February 24th, the City of Vancouver announced the Summer 2016 launch of our first bikesharing program.
They explained that the initial geographical area where bikeshare bikes can be picked up/dropped off would roughly be Arbutus to Main Street and 16th Ave north to, and including, the downtown peninsula. I thought this was odd. Why Arbutus? It’s not bike friendly. Why didn’t they start at Cypress? Improvements on Cypress Street should be completed before May. It would be much safer to ride along.

2) Arbutus Corridor announcement

On March 7th the City announced a major deal to purchase the CP railway along the Arbutus Corridor and, once the old tracks are ripped out, it will become a stellar active transportation corridor of green space.
A-ha! Oh-ho! Arbutus as a western boundary within the new bikeshare system area makes more sense now. It felt like some puzzle pieces in my head were coming together. Hadn’t a City Councillor recently talked about trail connectivity?

3) What does the map say?

The City plans to upgrade active transportation on all 3 False Creek bridges within the next 5 years, G-d willing. Remember that rendering of 2-way walking paths and 2-way bicycle lanes down the centre of the bridge? Some of us want that type of improvement sooner rather than later, of course. Ask anyone who wants to walk or ride a bike to work downtown and lives in Fairview or Shaughnessy.
I always urge pedestrians and bicyclists to avoid Granville Bridge entirely for now as it’s very unsafe and unpleasant to use. There’s a narrow space for the 2 modes to share that to get to it, in some parts you have to cross traffic going quickly around a curve. Worse, I understand 2 people in wheelchairs cannot easily pass each other in that narrow space. They have to maneuver to get around each other over the deafening traffic going 80kph. I’m embarrassed by that.
One person who shall remain nameless whispered, “follow the train tracks”.
I opened, which took me to, and followed the faint train tracks along Arbutus north from 16th, doo doo doo, to 6th Ave where I had seen bunnies many times, doo doo doo, I hadn’t really thought about where the train goes after that, doot da da doo, east to Fir Street. I froze. Ooo. Fir & 6th. That’s very close to the Granville Street Bridge!
I visualized the possibilities. My first thought: Lord’s. Oh Lord, that place has beautiful shoes! Imagine taking a stroll or riding bikes on the middle of the Granville Street Bridge surrounded by trees and gentle people to check out the store’s fascinators, stop for a nosh somewhere, smell the flowers at GIF, and get some more nail & cuticle butter at Rocky Mountain Soap Company.
Going to South Granville by booking a car, taking a bus, or riding over Burrard Street (and then what?) just doesn’t seem appealing. But the Arbutus Corridor land purchase is looking more appealing every day.


My orange dotted line went a little too far north but you get the picture.


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  1. Burrard and Granville are very high bridges. Is it not time to use lower bridge decks for pedestrians and bikes ? These bridges were designed with tall sailboats and commercial vessels in mind when they were built, 75+ years ago. Even Cambie bridge is quite high.
    Why not construct pedestrian & bike friendly lower bridge decks accessible from seashore walkways with the odd opening hours for the odd sail boat ?

    1. For getting to and from downtown, Granville Bridge is ideal since the approaches are quite high already. Burrard is not bad since the north end is quite high up as well. Would be nice to have a lower bridge as well to connect seawall across False Creek.There used to be a rail bridge for the InterUrban which went across False Creek near the Burrard Bridge. It would be great to have something there again.

      1. Would also be nice to access the existing bridge decks closer to existing waterfront trail, via stairs/ramps/etc. Granville island to Granville bridge is especially bad…a staircase would make GI much easier to access on foot by tourists & residents coming from downtown

      2. When I lived in Kits, I used the Granville Bridge to cycle into downtown. I used the Hemlock on-ramp to avoid crossing any ramps and took the Seymour exit. What I liked about it was that I kept my elevation without any steep grades. Although noisy, the bridge was quite safe as the lanes are relatively wide, although the curb lane should be wider as there is room to narrow the other lanes.
        As for southbound, I used the Howe on-ramp and the only issue was the pinch point where it curves to join the main bridge deck. As there is a bit of a downhill approaching the 4th Avenue exit, I found that exit easy to cross over and took Fir to Broadway.
        I know many people hate cycling on the bridge, but for the most part it worked great.

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