October 6, 2021

Pricetags is glad he lived long enough to see this


Excerpts from an unsigned editorial from the Globe and Mail 

Bike lanes, in Vancouver and across Canada, have grown from political flashpoints – and ideological signifiers – to standard-issue civic infrastructure. They’re being built everywhere.

…the latest projects are being built free of the controversies of yesteryear. It is the opposite of the late 2000s, when the city opened its first protected bike lane on the Burrard Bridge into downtown. ‘Chaos’ feared, blared one headline. “Doomed to failure,” opined a columnist. All that proved incorrect: The Burrard Bridge bike lane, billed as the busiest in North America, saw 1.4 million rides in 2020, 40 per cent more than its first full year a decade earlier. …

It’s no surprise. A protected bike lane is obviously safer than a faded line painted on the street. What’s fascinating is the findings from research in 2019 that concluded such bike infrastructure can make a city’s streets safer for all users – drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.

The goal of protected bike lanes isn’t to get every single person on a bike, or for cars to be forever abandoned. Bike lanes are neither a disaster nor a saviour. They’re about options.  …

Vancouver recognizes this. The city’s goal is to have 12 per cent of all trips – walking, car and transit included – be made by bike by 2040. The most recent figure was 8 per cent – double the rate in 2013. …

The shift in direction is decisive. The arguments over bike lanes are settled. They’re becoming what they should have long been: an ordinary way of getting around our cities.

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  1. Well, I hope it’s over. It was never really about bike lanes and was always about keeping motor vehicle privilege. We saw that last night in Council. After causing the world to burn they then don’t want to spend 12 cents per day to store private property on public land. They buy bigger and bigger cars and trucks every year, taking up more space than before and complain that they can’t find a free parking spot. Meanwhile others have no access to mobility at all.

    Maybe there needs to be a declaration that people do not have a right to use public space for private storage. Some people believe that the pittance they pay in gas tax or registration pays for that and they need to be corrected.

    Back to the topic, it’s nice to see the response to more recent bike lane installations be so positive. Richards and Smithe Streets are going in without anyone receiving death threats. That’s progress I suppose. These were planned a few years ago though. I worry that there’s nothing in the pipe for the future.

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