Pedestrians are an afterthought for Vancouver politicos

Post by Daniel Fontaine in

117 comments

pedestrian accident.JPG
Over 30 pedestrians have died each year on Vancouver's streets

It's a little known fact, but pedestrians are actually the official number one priority (check out the page's embedded image) for the City of Vancouver. Some days it hard to see that reality given council's penchant for listening to and acting upon almost all of the policy recommendations they get from the powerful cyclist lobby. When you consider Vision is not well known for listening to nor consulting with the public, it says a lot that the cyclist lobby have had almost all of their requests acted upon by this government.

Although my family does own a car we balance our transportation choices between driving, public transit and occasionally bike commuting. I walk about 45 minutes per day to and from my transit stations, and I also take the Skytrain and rapid bus line along the Broadway corridor at least 4 days a week (often more if I use it to attend meetings). As for my wife, she shares the car two days per week and either walks or cycles to work and other appointments.

Walking and transit are just as important to our household as well-maintained roads.

I firmly believe that Mayor Robertson has missed a big opportunity by ignoring the needs of pedestrians and transit riders in his quest to build high-profile and costly separated bike lanes. He's focused on them to the point that most refer to him now as the "chickens, gardens and bike lanes" mayor. In terms of Robertson's real accomplishments in office, the nickname is actually quite appropriate.

Robertson's focus on cyclists is perhaps the motivation behind what seems like a half-hearted motion being introduced at Vancouver council this week. Vision is trying belatedly to appeal to pedestrians by letting them know they just don't care about cyclists, but they like foot power as well.

For many people Robertson's motion, which was placed at the bottom of Tuesday's council agenda, is too little too late. However, even when it does pass, it will not change the fact that pedestrians have unofficially moved down the list of transportation priorities. Pedestrians in Vancouver now sit a distant fourth behind cyclists, electric cars, trains to Seattle and only marginally ahead of transit users.

While this council regularly pulls out the safety card to justify spending millions of tax dollars on so-called separated bike lane "trials," the number of pedestrian fatalities continues to climb in Vancouver. Tragically there are over 30 pedestrian fatalities in Vancouver annually. This is the reason previous councils made pedestrian safety a priority.

Fellow blogger and civic affairs journalist France Bula summed it up nicely in her Vancouver Magazine article from earlier this year:

Vancouver likes to think it has an almost European culture of walkability. But more pedestrians die here each year than in any other place in Canada. In Montreal, after 27 pedestrians died in 2006, police launched an offensive to bring down the fatality rate, extending crossing times at major intersections, putting on a massive public-education campaign, and hiring an additional 200 traffic-enforcement officers. They also wrote a lot more tickets. As a result, pedestrian deaths have fallen to 18 each year for each of the last two years. Toronto went through a convulsion of blame after 10 pedestrians were killed in nine consecutive days in January across the region. This after making pedestrian safety a top priority and producing a 100-page report two years ago on new measures that would help achieve that.

She goes on to state:

The statistics here are little-known and often obscured (because of the region’s separate police forces), but in 2008, 34 pedestrians were killed. Two years before that, 38 people died. Vancouver’s rate works out to 1.7 people killed for every 100,000 in population—more than double Calgary’s

As you can see, the situation for Vancouver pedestrians is rather grim and it should have remained council's top priority over the last two years. Unfortunately, it took Mayor Gregor 24 months to draft his back-of-napkin motion asking for yet another lengthy study. Haven't we studied the issue of pedestrian safety to death?

Pedestrian safety, my colleague Mike Klassen wrote in 24 Hours, will be the subject of Walk 21, a conference being hosted in Vancouver next fall. Is it possible that Robertson is waking up on the subject of walking so not to be embarrassed at next year's conference?

As we previously wrote about, there are a lot of interesting pedestrian-friendly ideas from other cities that Vancouver could pilot right now. What's holding Vision back? Why wait for months for yet another report? Is there nothing this council could do right now to improve pedestrian safety before this long, dark and dreary winter is over? Seems odd doesn't it. Vision is rushing in a separated bike lane in time for the winter rain...but are asking for a report on pedestrian safety to come out in the spring.

It's pretty clear to me that this motion has been cynically designed to help cover Robertson's political backside heading into the civic election next year. The last thing he wants is a few pedestrian deaths during the campaign then have his political opponents slam him for having ignored this issue for three years. Robertson's motion states:

THAT City staff, in conjunction with the Vancouver Police Department and Vancouver School Board, identify locations and priority measures for improving pedestrian safety and accessibility in Vancouver.

THAT staff be directed to report back in the spring of 2011, and that as part of the report, staff include recommendations on how to better improve pedestrian input into the City’s Transportation Plan.

Does the Mayor think that ICBC, the police department or school board don't already have stats on pedestrian accidents? Wouldn't the City's engineering department already have a long list of sidewalk bulges and pedestrian improvements already planned and ready to work on? Why develop a study that would take months when you probably already have all that data ready to present?

What will be most interesting to see is whether immediately after the report is passed next spring, city crews are out building new pedestrian friendly infrastructure throughout Vancouver. If you recall, only hours after they passed the Hornby separated bike lane trial report, crews were out in earnest pouring concrete.

I somehow think the upcoming pedestrian infrastructure report may not get quite they same attention nor garner the same interest from this cycle-obsessed council as the bike lanes received. Keep in mind, getting from Point A to B as a pedestrian is the most eco-friendly form of transportation – by a country mile.

In other words, it's the best way to help Vancouver become the greenest city in the world.

As a regular transit user in Vancouver, I can only hope that since Robertson has mused about electric vehicles, separated bike lanes and now pedestrians, he might want to put mass transit and Skytrain riders on his list of priorities next.

What do you think? Has this council been putting too much attention on two-wheeled transport at the expense of public transit and pedestrian improvements? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

- post by Daniel

UPDATE: CTV news has now reported on the Mayor's pedestrian motion. A few skeptics out there are asking why he's asking for more studies and more delays. Check out the video report by clicking here.

117 Comments

I don't see it being either/or.

You can improve cycling and pedestrian safely.

That said, I do think pedestrians are kind of treated pretty badly.

My biggest pet peeve is how easily and for how long they'll allow side walks to be shut down.

It seems like you just need to ask and they'll okay it for how ever long you want. A side walk has been shut for 4 months near my place for house construction and they haven't done any work on the house in a month.

If they treated shutting a side walk, nearly to how they treat shutting a road, just that would go a long way to improving walking in the city.

did you know there are still 412km of sidewalks to be installed in Vancouver?

"The City has installed approximately 2,357 km of permanent sidewalks which represents about 82% of the possible sidewalk network in the City. Approximately 91% of the City’s streets have a permanent sidewalk on at least one side of the street, and 73% of the streets have permanent sidewalks on both sides of the street."

http://vancouver.ca/ctyclerk/cclerk/20100720/documents/p2.pdf

Do you know how many blocks of sidewalk cannot be navigated by a wheel chair, stroller, or scooter because there are no curb cuts. Then, go look at what the city capital budget is for sidewalk installation and upgrades.

There is $1.8 million in funding set aside for new sidewalk construction for the entire city.

Can't seem to find the budget figure for repairs, upgrades and replacement of existing sidewalks.

"Keep in mind, getting from Point A to B as a pedestrian is the most eco-friendly form of transportation – by a country mile."

Not true. In fact, a glaring error.

Cycling allows an individual to travel further on fewer calories. Couple that fact with the reality that food transportation is a big part of our collective GHG emissions, and cycling is clearly (and generally accepted as) the most energy-efficient means of travel.

"Is there nothing this council could do right now to improve pedestrian safety before this long, dark and dreary winter is over?"

The province is largely responsible for the real reasons why pedestrians get killed in Metro Vancouver:

- insufficient driver education regarding a driver's responsibility to yield to pedestrians at intersections.
- failure to utilize red light cameras to cut down on red-light running.
- failure to prohibit the right turn on red which makes the walk sign an invitation to disaster for many pedestrians.
- most importantly, (and one where Vancouver COULD have an impact) failure to prosecute the huge number of drivers who routinely exceed posted speed limits.

The fatality rate for pedestrians ramps up quickly with vehicle speed. Many times pedestrians are run over and killed by a speeding driver when a similar incident with a car travelling the speed limit would probably have 'only' resulted in serious injury if the driver had been observing the speed limit.

Sorry Daniel, but if a person accepted the 'facts' presented in this opinion piece as being true, they would actually be stupider for having read it.

@chris. Not only are you drinking the Koolaid, you're now manufacturing it. Do you really want us to believe that cycling is more carbon neutral than cycling?

What is the carbon footprint to create a metal bicycle compared to a pair of shoes?

Have you been up the BC interior to see what it takes to mine out all those metals and ship them to your cycling manufacture? Have you even been to an open pit mine in your life?

How about the carbon footprint to manufacture the bicycle's plastic handles?

Have you been to Alberta's oil patch to see where your bicycle lubricants comes from? Oh yeah, and your cycling outfit is normally also made of oil based products as well. And on, and on, and on it goes.

Time to stop being so childish and just admit that pedestrians should be the top priority in the city. They don't produce any carbon emissions and the last time I checked, they also don't slam into you at 40KM per hour at an intersection not wearing their helmet. Secondly, people riding mass transit have a much bigger net impact on the environmentment than latte sipping cyclists.

You cylcing lobbyists are truly turning everyone off to cycling. You really are. Even moderates who used to support the bike lanes are pissed with you guys now. Check out the latest polling numbers which bear this out. It's your kind of ignorant statements that the mayor will have to wear going into the next election.

Not only is walking environmentally friendly, it is also something that can be done regardless of age (compared to cycling/driving) or economic status. Walking is free, it does not require special equipment or training.

Regardless of whether we ride, walk or drive somewhere... we all use a sidewalk at some point in our trip. 100% of Vancouver residents use sidewalks. If that is not sufficient reason to put it at the top of the priority list, I don't know what is.

The cycling lobby (VACC) receives over $300,000 in taxpayer funds every year to promote their advocacy. There's a lot of things a lobbyist group can accomplish with that kind of taxpayer funding.

Being a pedestrian in downtown Vancouver is incredibly trying these days. Construction often blocks off basic walking routes to work and businesses. The Hornby construction has been incredibly destructive for pedestrians, and now intersections are even more dangerous with cyclists coming from both directions down the same lane.

Why nobody at the City of Vancouver thought of building some Pedestrian Lanes? Since all the cyclists in Vancouver are using most of the sidewalks it seems only right.

Here's one easy idea. Why doesn't council encourage more merchants to install awnings in areas with high pedestrian traffic. This would help to encourage even more walking. At least it would for me.

Great write up today. I cannot agree more and to add fuel to the fire look at the new Hornby bike lanes. Have you seen them? Ya those lanes that put us pedestrians safety at risk. I am talking about the way that the city built them to pretty much be a giant extension to the sidewalk and not to mention eyesore. all this does is reinforce for cyclists that it is okay to ride on the sidewalk too. I mean why else would they purposely install an extra foot of asphalt to be at the same level as the sidewalk. As a pedestrian I don't want a cyclist to suddenly be able to ride from the bike lane onto the sidewalk and subsequently into me. Oh ya and safety was totally not put into consideration when designing these!

Okay enough of my rant! Great article.

Pedestrians need to fight to "Take Back the Sidewalks" from the moronic cyclists who BELIEVE they can do whatever the hell they want, especially ride their bikes on our sidewalks.

Just start whacking the cyclists . . . an umbrella through the spokes and they go flying . . .

Fred, LOL, your idea brings back a fond memory of my father who lost 95% of his eyesight in his late 70's. It would drive him nuts that shop owners would spill out into the street with no awareness of what it might be like for a blind person to navigate between produce stalls, parked bicycles and protruding tree roots.

He had just enough vision to notice when he was about to run into something. With a glimmer of delight, his solution was to kick the item and send it flying, or make a big ruckus with his cane. God help a car that did not want to wait for him at a cross walk... his white cane would make a really nice little dent in a fender.

If he were still alive, he would really like the umbrella idea.

Hi Phil:

You shouldn't read my comments as any kind of suggestion that cycling should be prioritized above walking in the city's hierarchy of travel modes.
My point is that Daniel's assertion that walking is the most eco-friendly way to get around may sound sensible, but further study of the question offers up plenty of reasons why it is not necessarily the most efficient or 'green' method of transportation. This has nothing to do with cycling advocacy or my personal beliefs. You can take a look at this New York Times article and some of the links it provides for some background on why I took issue with Daniel's statement.

http://tierneylab.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/02/25/how-virtuous-is-ed-begley-jr/?hp

Again, my comments have nothing whatsoever to do with suggesting cycling should supersede walking, but merely to point out that saying cycling is less environmentally-friendly than walking doesn't stand up to further inquiry, even when factoring in the environmental costs to manufacture a bike. If you have some references to disprove this contention, then it would be great for all of us to see that data.

cheers,

CK

Agreed, the city does need to do more to improve pedestrian safety. As the cause of all pedestrian fatalities are motor vehicle collisions, measures that limit speed of motor vehicles to 30km/h are badly needed to improve pedestrian safety. Research has shown that fatality rates dramatically increase at speeds over 30km/h. Banning right turns on red would also help as would removing on-street parking near intersections as this improves visibility. I'm glad to know that City Caucus will be supporting such badly needed measures.

Cycling on sidewalks can be dangerous for both pedestrians and cyclists. The separated bike lanes that this article is complaining about, are a good way to get cyclists off the sidewalks.

Note that for crass political reasons City Caucus was initial opposed to the Burrard Bridge Trial which removed cyclists from the west sidewalks dramatically increasing the safety of both cyclists and pedestrians. The cycling community has consistently and vocally supported a reallocation of a lane of traffic on the east side of the bridge to allow pedestrians can be allowed back on the east sidewalk. I am glad to know that City Caucus, given its new-found concern for pedestrians, will hopefully support this and not try to oppose such bold measures for political purposes at the expense of people's safety.

Most if not all cycling projects directly or indirectly benefit walking as well:
- Traffic calming on bike routes also makes roads safer for pedestrians. See below.
- Traffic signals at major roads are also used by pedestrians
- The Dunsmuir separated lane has slowed traffic and increased the separation between pedestrians and traffic making Dunsmuir safer and more pleasant to walk along. See below.

Bike Lanes Make Streets Safer for Pedestrians
From page 23 in:
http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/downloads/pdf/nyc_ped_safety_study_action_plan.pdf
pedestrian KSI crashes on streets with bike lanes were ~40% less deadly as crashes on other streets. The installation of bike lanes usually involves a narrowing of the motor vehicle portion of the roadway and indicates to drivers that they need to watch for other road users. These changes have a traffic calming effect, lowering speeds and increasing driver attention.

Separated bikeways mean better air quality for walkers and bikers
http://bikeportland.org/2010/10/28/study-cycle-tracks-mean-better-air-quality-for-bikers-walkers-41754

The cycling lobby is cranking it up again! Here we go with the Richard and Chris show. Boooooooring!!!! You guys are a broken record. No wonder support for the Hornby bike lane is plummeting with you two at the helm.

As an aside to the revised priorities:
any train to Seattle should terminate around a re-developed Scott Road station in Surrey, not Vancouver. It takes far too long to travel over the bridge, around New West and down the cut: Skytrain/park-and-ride is more than sufficient in Surrey to service the region.

My experience is that the Vision mayor and council have done more to get input from people than any previous group. The Sullivan government certainly made no effort that I ever noticed to reach out to me. That said, I agree, we need to do a lot more for walkers in Vancouver. Separate cycling lanes are a good start of course, and the more of these the better off walkers will be. But we also need to widen and smooth sidewalks, give pedestrians more and better signals, and step up mass transit as walking and mass transit go well together. We do need to get rid of wide multi-lane roads that are so hard for pedestrians to cross, and to ask car owners to pay the full cost of their habit.

It already is at the top of the priority list-officially. Unfortunately this City Council has ignored official City policy in favour of their pet cycling projects.

Dear Richard,
Imagine you are an older or elderly person living to the east of the Burrard Street Bridge at either the north or south end. Now imagine you like to walk to either the downtown area or Granville Island respectively. You now have to walk almost an extra half kilometer to negotiate two very difficult, dangerous intersections to get where you're going. One of the most perturbing things I've witnessed throughout the year I've been following this debate closely is cyclists trying to put words in other negatively impacted stakeholders mouths. Let them speak for themselves, please. Thank you.
Yours Truly,
Gerry McGuire

"My experience is that the Vision mayor and council have done more to get input from people than any previous group. The Sullivan government certainly made no effort that I ever noticed to reach out to me."

Cue David Spade: "And you are...?"

Steven, too bad you're still feeling badly that Sullivan didn't call you over for a hug. Your credibility is about to go through the ringer if you hold the position that Vision are seeking "more input than any previous group". That's a completely unsupportable statement.

I am not sure what Mr. Sullivan and his mayor did to consult people while in power. I know that I was not consulted in anyway. Who was consulted and how? I no particular interest in hugs.

Gerry McGuire "They have certainly solicited input, all of which has been studiously ignored if it doesn't paralell their predetermined agenda." Any evidence for this statement?

And on automobiles, no doubt a complex issue, one well beyond the scope of comments on this blog. I do not see that extensive use of automobiles increases human freedom and I certainly don't feel I have compromised my own freedom by dratically reducing my use of cars and cycling or walking pretty much everywhere I go. The opposite in fact. And I suspect that the net fully loaded economic benefits of the autombile have reached a point of diminishing returns. No one has done a full analysis of this that I have seen (and yes, I study this and understand the maths).

Why are so many people being killed or injured on the streets of Vancouver? Perhaps we have too many cars.

With corrections...
Steven, this council has certainly solicited input, all of which has been studiously ignored if it doesn't paralell their predetermined agenda.
As for the "real" cost of automobiles, they also have very real, substantial benefits to the individual and society. That's why, up to this point in history, they've been so successful. The extent to which people are willing to sacrifice personal freedom and convenience is directly correlated to the degree that they recognize the crisis we are in and their acceptance of responsibility for it. This region has experienced the pleasing effect of reduced auto use while the population has increased. The likely reason is the concurrent increased availability of transit along with (continually) rising costs to operate automobiles. The net effect of walking and cycling in this equation is likely near zero.
Which brings us back to the point of this article. Why are so many pedestrians dying on this region's streets, and what can be done about it RIGHT NOW!!!

Hmm, I have participated in online surveys, online communities and have had several personal interactions with City Hall with the Vision government. With Mr. Sullivan, somehow I missed all of this and my calls to City Hall were not answered. I found Mr. Campbell a bit of an absentee mayor (though I very much like the man) and Mr. Owen totally unresponsive.

Not sure what "Cue David Spade: "And you are...?" means, but if it is a question about me, try Google, I am easy to find and use my own name. I am not a member of Vision or any other political organization. I think 'interested citizen' captures it.

You have any evidence for this? I am cyclist in Vancouver and do not use the sidewalks. And as a frequent walker and a person who enjoys life on the sidewalks I would be glad to see a lot more space dedicated to sidewalks and less to cars.

"Any evidence for this statement?" Are you f'ing kidding me? Start with the STIR debate of July 8,2010. If the mic's hadn't been open that night, they would be digging holes on that disputed site right now.

http://www.citycaucus.com/2010/07/vision-vancouver-arrogance-exposed-in-off-guard-moment

I could also write my own book about it, but it's time to go to work.
Just go through this blogs archives, if you really want to know.
Bike lanes, HEAT shelters, etc etc etc. Read.

@Gerry

As per my previous post, I support reallocating a lane of traffic on the east side of the bridge for bikes so pedestrians can use the east sidewalk again so they don't have to walk way out of their way. I hope you support this as well and would encourage Vision, COPE and the NPA to take this bold move.

I'm sure you agree that forcing around 10,000 pedestrians and cyclists to "share" the narrow sidewalks on Burrard Bridge was dangerous for both pedestrians and cyclists and that having separated bike and pedestrian paths is a very good idea.

I'm quite certain that at this point bold=politically disastrous, so it's not likely to happen in the near future. Meanwhile pedestrians are inconvenienced and endangered. Time limits analysis and response to the latter question. ttys

Reallocating another lane on Burrard to ccylists etc. so that walkers can use both sides of the bridge makes sense to me. Certainly worth study.

I have been going through this blog's archive. Pretty disappointing. I was hoping for intelligent discussion of urban issues across Canada. What I get is the complaints of people who lost the election. Sorry, we live in a democracy. My own experience of the Vision government is that it consults more and listens more than the Sullivan government and that its policies are better grounded in reality. To reference this blog as any sort of legitimate source of information on Vancouver or other urban issues is sad.

Some pretty empty criticisms, Steven. Do you make a habit of dumping on those you disagree with?

I'm sure you've got a ton of examples on how "Sullivan's government" didn't listen to your ideas, so feel free to share them. Be sure not to disappoint us with your examples of how much Vision has been listening to you, and how grounded in reality they are by comparison to everyone else.

As for democracy, we're big fans of it. And we look forward to how it sorts out the current mess the City's in 12 months from now.

Didn't Einstein say the definition of insanity was repeating the same thing over and over and hoping for a different result? I have to wonder why Steven Forth would return again and again to read CityCaucus and complain about the content? I would assume nobody is forcing him to read it?

This is topic creep but if you're going to leave this door WIDE open...

"What I get is the complaints of people who lost the election. Sorry, we live in a democracy. My own experience of the Vision government is that it consults more and listens more than the Sullivan government and that its policies are better grounded in reality."

and

"Any evidence for this statement?"

Your snarkiness aside, let's try and unravel some of this fallacious oversight.

1. STIR, development industry crafted incentive subsidy, no one from the public consulted.

It is especially clowny that Gregor broke ground on the first STIR project in the city at 1142 Granville for supposedly much needed market rental housing supply when considering the $900 - $1000/month rent for this apartment building of 320 sq. foot shoe-box studios, will be some of the highest rents for the smallest "living" accommodations, that is, assuming 320 sq. feet can be considered livable.

And yet Gregor would have you believe the developer is getting incentives to build this because it's a "public benefit". Let us know when you get to enjoy your "public benefit" out of 1142 Granville.

2. 1215 Bidwell rezoning for Millennium to build a luxury condo/token-rental tower in the West End. Vast majority at public hearing opposed. Rezoning passed.

3. In the council meeting on Sept. 23 Vision Clr Reimer went out of her way to make the point that it's her belief from the public polls (ironically) and the budget process last year, that Vancouver residents didn't rate "public consultation" as important.

I will however concede that in city meetings over two days at the Empire Landmark hotel along with resident online polling, the city took official note that the community indicated there should not be any further site specific rezonings until a comprehensive community plan is developed & the public should be more involved in the planning process, along with other priorities.

However, the public didn't have a chance to evaluate the 200 page report indicating the above, since Penny Ballem released it the VERY HOUR that Council was deliberating Gregor's motion to create the Mayor's West End Advisory Committee to address such concerns.

And should 1401 Comox proceed to public hearing, you can also add this to the list indicating that Gerry McGuire is very correct.

"Hmm, I have participated in online surveys, online communities and have had several personal interactions with City Hall with the Vision government."

Assuming that online surveys and anecdotal meetings are more than just naive perceptions of what actually constitutes "consultation", now it's your turn to provide evidence; please elaborate on what you hand been consulted on and how. A 10 to 50 minute phone call on your land line from Stratcom does not count.

Hi Richard,
(As promised). With the "permanentization" of the Burrard lanes presumably will come narrower separators. As Gregor noted (I believe it was the July 8, 2010 meeting) this could allow for more space for bikes which could open up the east sidewalk for pedestrians. If I remember correctly, he was suggesting using the space bonus to create another bike lane on the east side of the bridge. I'm thinking a more efficient way to use it might be to make the west bike lane into a two-way, again freeing up the east walk for foot traffic.
G.Mc.

Having moved to Vancouver earlier this year from Ontario, I have noticed a substantial difference in the driving habits. I am cycling, walking and taking public transit 95% of the time since moving here, and I notice motorist attention (particularly at intersections) is quite poor. Motorists will zoom into a red light situation, ready to make a right turn, and be shocked to see a pedestrian. I have almost been hit a number of times. I find motorists here are always ready to fly through a turn at an intersection, and rarely check to see if someone is walking across before having to slam on the brakes when they see me. We already have sidewalks and excellent seaside paths etc for pedestrians in Vancouver. I think what we need is better enforcement of traffic laws by the police.

"Some pretty empty criticisms, Steven. Do you make a habit of dumping on those you disagree with?"

Mike, aside from the fact that such an approach is S.O.P. for most posters on CityCaucus and rates nary a mention, since they toe the party line, shouldn't your more immediate concern be the individuals counselling vigilantism and violence in this thread?

Gerry:

What can we do right now? Start by observing the rule of the road which clearly states pedestrians have priority at intersections, marked and unmarked. I watched a Mom and two kids almost get run over in a marked intersection by the Mt Pleasant library yesterday because drivers simply refuse to obey the law. And what Richard said... slow down. The more drivers that do that, the more likely it is that others will start to follow suit.

cheers,

CK

Unfortunately, this is not likely physically possible. There is not enough space to create safe bike lanes and have anything but really narrow sidewalks. As the whole point is about improving safety, the approach you are suggesting won't likely work. The only realistic option is reallocating another lane of traffic.

"I think 'interested citizen' captures it."

Interested in himself:http://hattoriforth.typepad.com/how_i_learn/

Nothing's worse
than
blank
verse.

Although I agree that drivers need to pay better attention while driving, I also believe that pedestrians need to pay the same.

How many times do you see pedestrians walk into a marked crosswalk when the light is flashing yellow or even red.

Or run across streets and through traffic.

All the blame can't be placed on drivers as there are a lot of walkers that don't pay attention to the basics.

People are going to make mistakes whether they are walking or driving cars. This is why it is so important to limit speeds to 30km/h when cars are near pedestrians, which in Vancouver, is practically everywhere. Fatalities rise dramatically as speeds rise above 30km/h.

"I think what we need is better enforcement of traffic laws by the police."

I agree, but this is unlikely ever to happen.

The de facto speed limit in Vancouver is pretty close to 30km/h in most places due to congestion ...

I feel the same way ... although there are many terrible drivers in Vancouver, some portion of responsibility lies with pedestrians. Especially those who wear black in dark rainy winters and don't look before stepping into traffic, let alone the DES types who stagger into the street while intoxicated.

The next time a cyclist tries to run me over on a sidewalk he's going to find out my thoughts on this issue. That's all I have to say.

I hate to wade into ANOTHER bike vs car vs peds debate here but Steve P...why don't you come walk my dog near my house and see how long you think traffic only flows at 30kph. At this point, I'd be happy if traffic slowed to 30kph while turning right at the stop sign outside my house....

Are you serious Steven? Are you just playing the devil's advocate now or what? One only needs to have eyeballs to see that the cycling on the sidewalks has become an EPIDEMIC in Vancouver in the last 5 years or so. Everyone I know has at least one near-miss experience weekly.

The DTES has a disproportionate number of pedestrians that are hit as compared to the balance of the city largely due to the addicted having poor judgement and walking or darting into traffic.

At one point one of the advocate groups wanted the city to provide crossing guards in the area to make sure people wouldn't get hit.

Nice one, trying to tie pedestrian safety issues to the bike lanes. Vancouver's little Tea Party chapter chalks up another one for shouting over evidence and trying to cast cyclists as terrorists. You paranoid right-wingers are always good for a laugh.

Well, we were have a somewhat intelligent and well rounded coversation about walking in the city until you entered the room......

Not quite sure what you are referring to.

I have to agree with you Phil T. As a former resident of False Creek North I can tell you the Burrard bike lane ruined my walk from Howe and Pacific to Fir and Broadw