Downtown Vancouver Bike Lanes

Downtown Vancouver Bike Lanes, originally uploaded by edkohler.

Vancouver has made a serious commitment to providing bike-friendly streets.
While Minneapolis has been spending some money on paint, Vancouver has
putting in physical barriers between cars and cyclists. Once in place, they
make the former driving lane a 2 way bike lane.

The barriers provide both perceived and true safety for cyclists. A family
could bike through the downtown of a major city without worrying about
whether a driver will ignore a white stripe on the pavement.

Additionally, Vancouver has added bike signals to the traffic signals that
appear to be designed to get cyclists through intersections before cars are
given the green light. This seems like a good way to prevent cyclists from
getting hit by turning drivers.

It all seems very civil. It seems logical to assume that more people would
be willing to commute to downtown Minneapolis, or use bikes to visit
downtown, if they felt comfortable on their bikes downtown.

Granted, Vancouver doesn’t have to biking superhighways that Minneapolis
has. But, they do seem to provide far superior on-street infrastructure for
the critical last half mile if commutes through the most congested parts of
their city.

7 thoughts on “Downtown Vancouver Bike Lanes”

  1. I have long thought that Minneapolis’ approach the bike lanes is honestly terrifying. Point in case goes to virtually all bike lanes which were painted last summer. The lane markings are gone! The snow/plowing/whatever else just up and scraped them right off the street. The most danger has come in Downtown on Hennepin, where no one has any idea where to drive w/o the markings and the Franklin Bridge, which is just scary without the clearly marked lanes.

    Granted, it would cost a lot more, and we have much more snow plowing issues which would be affected in a bad way by these physical barriers. I try to stick to the dedicated bike paths when commuting, even if it means going a few extra miles.

  2. Yeah those are awesome but I’d worry about them in the winter and how it would effect the plowing of the streets.

  3. I live in Vancouver and can tell you, these bike lanes are nothing but a political tool designed to PRODUCE traffic congestion. You understand… congestion = justification = more bikes = more congestion….and so on. Even the word ‘congestion’ is part of the sell. Yesterday, I spent a couple of hours at the north end of the Hornby street bike lane in Vancouver at lunch time and was hard pressed to see a single bike every 10 minutes. I truly am not exaggerating. Now granted, it was mid day and the traffic was also down ..but down doesnt mean DEAD.
    The key question, though, is this.. if really bike lanes WERE the answer to the future why does Copenhagen have to add on 180 percent of the sticker price of a car in road tax to make people bike? That’s right, a 15,000 dollar car becomes a 42,000 dollar vehicle BEFORE the interest on the loan to pay all the tax. When all is said and done 55 k isnto out of line for a Honda civic equivalent.

    But let’s not question ANYTHING regarding bikes as the answer to global disaster, let’s ask how much CO2 do we save by biking. Well, I would say none. None because the gasoline will not be sequestered, no, it will be sold to the highest bidder which is no doubt someone in the USA ( now the number 2 consumer of cars on the planet) or let’s say.. CHINA ( now the number one consumer of cars on the planet).
    So go ahead and copy our stupidity, and slow everything down.. buy yourself a feel good bike maybe 2 of them.. ( red for weekend, green for the weekdays! ) .. I guarantee you , there will be Chinese guy ditching his bike as soon as he can afford it and converting all the fuel you imagine you are saving into CO2.
    Net GHG savings = 0 or worse as his neighbour gets the ‘Stay ahead of the Chow’s syndrome.

    I truly am sorry to burst the bubble, but those millions of bike lane bucks could be put to much better use.

  4. @Craigs, I don’t live in Vancouver, but I’m there monthly.

    It seems pretty clear that the room between the buildings isn’t going to increase, so finding ways to get more people down those narrow paths makes sense. Also, due to the density of the city, there are a lot of people who live near where they work, shop, eat, etc. So near, in fact, that it’s probably faster (and certainly cheaper) to bike than drive in many cases once you take parking into consideration.

    It sounds like Copenhagen is asking drivers to pay something closer to the full cost of a car in the purchase price. Roads aren’t free to build or maintain, so having the people who need to most of them (and cause the most damage) to pay seems fairly rational.

    How do you think the bike lane millions could be put to better use? Millions don’t build many miles of road. Especially in downtown Vancouver.

  5. Ed.. I have heard this greenspeak before.
    Your first concern…getting more people down those narrow paths. Well if that really is your concern bikes surely are not the answer to THAT. We get roughly a bike every 30 minutes PEAK in HIGH SUMMER through separated bike lanes. The rest of the year it falls on the average to half that due to weather. The space now assigned to bikes is basically unutilized relative to when it was car driving space when it carried approximately 30 times the number of vehicles it does now. Basically it cost millions to screw up the traffic flow on purpose.

    You are imagining that the bulk of people working downtown actually live downtown. This is not so. The bulk of people working there are coming over bridges INTO the downtown either via car or public transit. It might be very nice for some bike people to have their bike freeways so they can avoid walking, taking transit or driving, but they are an egregious waste of money for no beneficial result. I mean it would be ‘nice’ for a few people who would use them if we had dedicated HORSE lanes too. But again, the benefit would not justify the cost. Bikes are NOT gonna save the planet and they are NOT going to fix traffic congestion. The simple fact is, they are a part of so called GREEN plan to increase congestion dramatically thereby making it annoying and difficult to use a vehicle. The problem is, the idea that we all walk or bike to work is flawed and most commutes are actually not to the downtown area.

    BIke lane millions could be put to use in a myriad of ways including maintaining homeless shelters, addiction treatment centres, food banks or maybe just maintaining schools. Budgets for all of these have been cut to allow the millions to be spent on bike lanes since the city charter does not allow a deficit budget. If you spend on bike lanes, you cut somewhere else and these are a list of better places to spend the 25 million budgeted over this and next year on bike infrastructure. It could also be spent reducing the massive operating deficit of the local public transit system. I mean, get that paid for and full of riders before creating a duplicate mode of travel would make more sense.

    If traffic ‘congestion’ is your concern, then spend it easing the tax burden on companies that embrace working from home for even a portion of the work week. At least that would work in the winter time too.

    No, the bike lanes are an ideological and political tool, whose main purpose is not transportation. Your statement about the Danes of Copenhagen merely being asked to pay the cost of roads that bikers do not use or degrade is kind of suspect. The road network provides benefits that flow to everyone, not just car drivers and rightly should be paid for by all. It brings people together to work, brings your food to the stores and to your table, clothing to your house, medical supplies to your drugstore and maybe even transports your bike halfway across the planet from China. It is payed for by us all and by drivers a bit more because it benefits us all and drivers maybe a bit more.
    But not THAT much more.

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