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 Broadway. The bike lane added - about 26 lanes of traffic for me to cross - Pacific north (5 lanes if you count the bike lane), then Burrard (6 lanes), then Pacific South (4 lanes including the off ramp to the bridge), Cornwall ave off ramp (2 lanes), Cornwall itself (4 lanes) and Burrard again (6 lanes). Of course there is no well funded pedestrian lobby group so when the media and Councillor Anton pointed out the 26 extra lane crossings they were ignored.
And this brings me to Critical Mess - I would LOVE to see a similar action by pedestrians using exactly the same tactics to force those dopes to OBEY the rules of the road.
I am with you Phil -- this city has turned me into an anti cyclist.

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

Were we? I'm seeing mostly a buffet of thinly-veiled threats of vigilantism, wild exaggerations about the number of cyclists on sidewalks and level of traffic congestion in the city, and misplaced criticisms of the 'cycling lobby' concerning the Burrard Bridge, with personal attacks circulating the room on dessert carts.

Anybody looking for intelligent conversation in this thread is going home hungry.

@Omoishiroi

I agree that the city needs to provide a better solution for peds on the east sidewalk of Burrard Bridge. Hopefully City Caucus, Anton and the NPA will come out and call for the reallocation of a lane of traffic on the east side of the bridge so it does not become a political issue. This would have been the solution if Sam had not made a political issue of it two elections ago.

BTW, if you are going from Howe and Pacific to Fir and Broadway, wouldn't it be a lot quicker to use the Granville Bridge even if peds were allowed to use the east sidewalk on Burrard.

Sorry guys but 1+1 is not equal to 3. AKA this is a post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy.

I am presuming Critical Mass is not considered vigilantism, nor is kicking doors of cars that might be in your way, or spitting at people that question your primal right to ride anywhere you want.

The self-righteous ranting of the bicycle lobby is nauseating.

Give me a break Julia. Where do you see me suggesting any of those activities are acceptable? You on the other hand are on the record here as condoning citizens taking the law into their own hands and quite possibly seriously injuring cyclists. The rush to judgement and double standard is quite something to witness.

Given that my now dead father had been knocked to the ground by endless bits of street obstruction and frightened by bicycle riders that rode on sidewalks with no consideration of who was around them... yup, the thought of an umbrella in a bicycle wheel seems appropriate. Especially when he was an avid bicycle racer in his day.

Would you like to say the same about my 92 year old 5 foot nothing Mom that swears at people that insist on blocking the sidewalk to the point where she has to step off the curb with her shopping cart to get around them almost getting hit by a car?

Civility goes 2 ways - not just 1.

You protest waaay too much.

Is that taking the law into her own hands too?

Eye for an eye is a good philosophy eh julia?

Julia:

My beef isn't with your father or your mother. It's with your comments supporting vigilantism and actions that could conceivably permanently injure or kill someone. Not only does it put the lie to your call for civility, it makes it quite clear why cyclists find separated lanes desirable. If you take that attitude with you when you get behind the wheel....

"Especially when he was an avid bicycle racer in his day."

My Dad is a retired auto mechanic. By your logic this would give me the right to vandalize cars when I feel threatened by them correct?

let's stick to the topic- pedestrian safety.

Get over it. You know what she meant. You can't let anything go ever can you? You fixate on the one argument that you think you can win and run with it.

On-topic, cars kill pedestrians, not bikes.

yes, bikes can injure or kill pedestrians when they are driven by irresponsible riders.

In the last year I have nearly been run down 3 times by cyclists riding on the sidewalks. One even yelled at me to get out of her way as she came speeding down the hill. On the sidewalk!

It is quite unbelievable how narcissistic you are.

It's not always about YOU and it is not always about bikes, so please... get over yourself.

Julia:

I provided 4 concrete steps to address pedestrian safety at the start of this thread and the only mention I made about cycling was to correct the author's mistake regarding the relative eco-friendliness of cycling and walking.

If you really want to talk about pedestrians' safety, then the absolute first topic of conversation is driver behaviour, not cyclists, or sidewalk construction, or stores that have signage on the sidewalk. Unfortunately, despite my having made that point at the start of the thread, the opportunity to pile-on the bike hate was too good to resist for you and a number of other posters. As someone who spend more time as a pedestrian and transit user than I do cycling, I'd appreciate it if we actually did stay on topic.

thanks,
CK

Chris Keam is obviously a fixated bike rider.
I have never had a car.
Don't drive,take the bus,walk and ride my bike.
Pedestrian safety these days is about all the morons who think it is okay to ride bikes on the sidewalk, cross busy intersections across the lights.
Red light ! Who cares. I'm in charge.
I had a bike rider almost mow me down on the sidewalk (4th Avenue), when I heard him coming up behind me I dodged and almost knocked down an old man on the other side of the sidewalk.
You want everybody to ride bikes.
TEACH THEM THE RULES.

chris (one of many),

You state pedestrian safety is all about cyclists on sidewalks. Are you willfully being ignorant? Or is it just easy to say that to support your baseless argument?

I don't get this vile revulsion at all things cyclists, especially when it comes to pedestrian safety-- where automobile traffic puts pedestrians at risk WAY more than cyclists. It's bizarre.

Holy doodle, Julia. This is a thread - obstensibly about pedestrian safety - where the author theorizes the construction of cycling lanes has taken away resources from pedestrian infrastructure.

So yes, cycling is part of this discussion. Whether it's central to this issue or not is another question, but it was introduced by Daniel Fountaine, whose raison d'etre is to drag down his political enemies...no matter who gets caught in the crossfire...whether that's cyclists, or the YMCA and their community garden proposal or what have you...

This discussion would be much more interesting if actual statistics where introduced. But, of course, mud is harder to throw when people are looking at facts and figures.

@spartikass (sic) I guess you don't know how to spell my last name...not enough time to research I guess. If you have a few minutes, you may want to check out our about page for more details.

As to your reference regarding a lack of statistics in my post, I suggest you read it again. You may think that the over 30 people who die every year on Vancouver streets are insignificant, but I don't. They are not only a statistic, they are also real people with real families who have been impacted by their loss.

I don't know what additional statistics you need me to cite besides the fact that over two dozen pedestrians are dying every year on Vancouver's streets. If that isn't enough a statistic for you, then I suggest you find another blog to keep you busy.

Clearly you have a political agenda that you need to support, but on this issue, I expected a bit more from you.

What a hard hitting piece of journalism from the Province newspaper on pedestrian safety. Sounds more like a vision vancouver news release.

http://www.theprovince.com/Vancouver+council+focus+pedestrian+safety/3832647/story.html

since when does the person have to die before an injury is considered significant. Do you have any idea how many people get hurt on city sidewalks every day? LOTS.

I spent over a year on a sidewalk task force that has been collecting dust somewhere at the hall. Not important to this administration, the last administration or the one before that. The bicycle groups were at the same table. The recommendations in that report were from all sectors of the community. Someone might like to go and find it.

Look at the city budget, look at how much money is NOT being spent on sidewalk construction and maintenance. We should be ashamed. The ability to walk safely from your home to work, or from the bus stop or from you bike and car to your shopping destination should be a basic right of every citizen that lives here. Old people, young people, people with disabilities, people pushing strollers or wheelchairs - all should be able to navigate our sidewalks safely. I fail to see why this must be a political issue.

I also fail to see the value in debating who or what wins the prize for being most dangerous. A broken hip for a 92 year old senior hurts the same regardless of how it happened. A broken elbow or sprained angle hurts the same whether it was a bad interaction with a tree root, a bicycle or a distracted driver.

All this article said was that pedestrians are getting the short end of the stick - I happen to agree.

All the rest of this pontificating is white noise.

Since we are talking facts, let's look at a few:

Daniel claims pedestrian safety was a top priority for the previous council, yet he's doesn't specifically reference any examples of programs or projects. No worries. I did a quick search to see what I could find. Unfortunately, a COPE press release decrying the 2006 disbanding of the city's pedestrian safety committee under an NPA mayor showed up as a top result, but no actual instances of pedestrian safety projects. Oops. Awkward.

Everyone agrees cyclists and sidewalks don't mix. In fact, as we know with the Burrard Bridge, narrow sidewalks that don't meet national standards for shared pathways are dangerous and leave the city open to expensive lawsuits. Yet it was the previous council that put the kibosh on a lane reallocation trial, exposing pedestrians, cyclists, and the Vancouver taxpayer to the potential for serious physical and financial harm.

The current NPA website does mention pedestrian safety. Apparently, the current council's greenest city action plan is the starting point for the programs it will undertake. Fortunately, there is a NPA connection here. Former councillor Gordon Price is/was a member of the team that came up with the recommendations. Price's comments on the current council's efforts regarding green transportation are safe to say, congratulatory by and large.

All the pedestrian deaths in Vancouver over the past few years involved motor vehicles. Every. Single. One. There is no mention of driver culpability, or suggestions regarding appropriate action in this regard in the opinion piece that spawned this thread.

ICBC's pedestrian safety efforts, such as their ads asking people to slow down and exercise caution, concentrate almost exclusively on driver behaviour.

The current council is the one looking at lower speed limits, finally, even though it has been researched and recommended as a way of improving pedestrian safety for over ten years.

In short, after looking at the facts, this council's record on pedestrian safety stacks up at least as favourably as the previous administration, and is arguably, superior.

You may think that the over 30 people who die every year on Vancouver streets are insignificant

Really? I think it's insignificant, do I? I seem to forget where I said that. Perhaps you could show me?

I don't know what additional statistics you need me to cite

I can think of quite a few that might be useful for someone actually interested in improving pedestrian safety.

Such as...how did they die.

Where did they die.

What time of day did they die.

And so on.

These statistics exist.

I misspelled your name. It was not intentional.

@Julia

I suggest actually looking at the city budget to see how much is being spent on sidewalks.

For starters: http://www.buildingcanada-chantierscanada.gc.ca/media/news-nouvelles/2009/20091222vancouver-eng.html

Sidewalk replacement – Pedestrian collector routes - $5 million
Disability Access to streets & sidewalks: Curb ramps - $2 million
Stanley Park Seawall / Brockton Point Light House Rehabilitation - $4 million
English Bay Seawall Improvements: English Bay to Sunset Beach - $3 million

Also note that much if not all of the money being spent on cycling projects also benefits pedestrians including:
- Bicycle/Pedestrian signals
- Traffic calming
- 30km/h speed limits
- Bike lanes traffic calm streets and thus improve the safety of pedestrians as well.
- Greenways specifically the North Arm Greenway is being planned for both cyclists and pedestrians

Note that sidewalks between Smithe and Georgia are being rebuilt as part of the Hornby Bike Lane.

Also note that additional funding for cycling projects approved by this council came from the street budget and did not decrease the amount allocated for sidewalks and as mentioned above, increased pedestrian safety as well. In fact, this council leveraged stimulus funding to increase the funding for sidewalks over what the previous council approved. Note that the City Caucus guys were insiders on the previous administration and as such, if they were really concerned about pedestrians, could have encouraged the previous mayor to allocate more funding for pedestrians.

I would certainly support more being spent on improving sidewalks and pedestrian safety but to claim nothing is being done is just not accurate.

It should be noted that Richard is an insider the the current Vision administration. He didn't disclose that to your readers. He's a big cycling lobbyist who almost lives at city hall most weeks. Staff here jokingly call him the 11th councillor.

ooh raymond what intrigue!

Do you dispute his facts? Or the fact that he said them?

Do we really need to clarify that automobiles are a greater threat to pedestrian safety than bicycles? Does this really require debate? Come on people, take off the anti-cycling hat for just a moment and insert logic here...

@ boohoo:

No offense, but I've been hit twice by cyclists riding on the sidewalk and to-date, zero times by a car. (Thankfully) The second incident left a large bruise from my elbow to wrist. The guy did not stop or even blink and eye for that matter. Now, I am an able bodied person, but this could have been a very bad situation for an elderly person or young child.

It is not a hatred towards cyclists, but, the cycling lobbyists consistantly use the arguement that car drivers are worse than cyclists in order to push their agenda for separted bike lanes and in the name of safety.

On the other hand, pedestrians seem to think some cyclists are just as much of a danger to their safety as car drivers.

Max,

Bad luck I suppose for you, but are you honestly trying to tell me you think cyclists are a greater threat to pedestrian safety than cars?

Boohoo:

Just like some drivers, there are cyclists that don't believe the rules apply to them.

It is 50/50 split.

As for it being bad luck for me - no, just irresponsibility shown by those two cyclists. It is illegal to ride on the sidewalk. I was where I should be - they weren't. No excuse.


"It is not a hatred towards cyclists, but, the cycling lobbyists consistantly use the arguement that car drivers are worse than cyclists in order to push their agenda for separted bike lanes and in the name of safety. "

That's not true. Most cycling groups recognize that the majority of drivers use due care and attention. It's a minority that make the roads dangerous. Because the consequences of bad driving are so monumental for cyclists and pedestrians, safer, separate where necessary, facilities make sense. Unsurprisingly, no one thinks major streets downtown without sidewalks would be a good idea. If the rationales being offered in this thread were applied universally, we wouldn't build sidewalks because some people jaywalk, and we'd remove traffic signals because some people run red lights.

What's going on here is that City Caucus appears to be using misplaced anti-cycling sentiments for political ends. It stinks and only highlights the opportunism and irresponsibility of this poorly-researched and clearly biased op-ed piece.

Max,

You name a form of transportation and I'll show you people who don't think the rules apply to them...so what?

You aren't answering the question though--if pedestrian safety is your concern, are you honestly telling me you think cyclists are a greater danger than cars?

You name a form of transportation and I'll show you people who don't think the rules apply to them...so what?

*****************

Then why are we having this discussion. If you are advocating that rule breakers are the norm, then why should we be spending time and money on supposed saftey if it is nothing more than an exercise.

Let's just chcuk any rules surrounding civility out the window and embrace a free for all system.

Everyone takes their chances, equally.

"If you are advocating that rule breakers are the norm,"

That's clearly not what boohoo was implying or advocating. Why not just answer the question and explain how cracking down on cycling on sidewalks will impact the two dozen annual pedestrian fatalities that the author of the original opinion piece maintains is the central issue under discussion?

Richard, lets put your numbers in context - $5 million for maintenance. That is $2,121 per km of sidewalk across the city. Ask the head of streets administration if that is remotely enough money.

Every intersection in the city has 4 corners with at least 4 locations for a curb cut. Commercial areas have 8 locations. Assuming each curb cut cost $1,000 that means approx. 150 intersections a year are being converted. At that rate it will be 2050 before Vancouver is a walkable/rollable city.

For comparatives... the Hornby and Dunsmuir bike lane was the same as the entire budget for Vancouver sidewalk maintenance. You've earned your lobby money!

Remember, there are still streets in Vancouver with no sidewalk at all.

The 2 park routes are for cyclists as well as pedestrians and are 1 shot projects so I do not consider them as part of the ongoing maintenance of our city sidewalks.

Chris:

I find it somewhat hypocritical when ANY group is so quick to point the finger at others and outlining their faults without pointing that same finger at their own group and acknowleding problems within.

Any time discussions come up about safety, the cycling lobbyists jump to 'motor vehicle drivers are bad argument' without taking any responsibility for their own group breaking the laws that they are obliged to follow.

So you either advocated that all follow the rules or none.

You can't have your cake and eat it to.

Max:

You continue to dodge the question put to you, and ascribe actions to others that you can't back up with anything other than broad generalizations.

Again, by your argument, no driver should criticize a cyclist because, nor should pedestrians voice concerns, because they haven't put their own house completely in order.

Are you interested in discussing solutions for pedestrian safety or not?

As someone whose main form of transportation is on foot, yes Chris, I am interested in pedestrian saftey.

So with that a suggestion:

How about as an editorial for your blog or one of the cycling magazines you work with, you visit the concerns of 'pedestrians' and the number of cyclsits continuing to ride on the sidewalk, jumping curbs, blocking crosswalk entry/exit points, cutting in front of people in crosswalks, etc.

Addressing those issues are just as important as addressing issues with motor vehicle drivers-both put pedestrians at risk to injury.

Like I said, change starts at 'home'.


@Julia

All my advocacy work is voluntary. In spite of what the factually challenged City Caucus a few months ago said posting said, which they sort of corrected after the fact, I am not paid for advocacy work.

The city has under invested in cycling for the last several decades which has led to a huge deficit of quality cycling facilities and thus, only a few brave people cycle. It is necessary to make larger investments now to compensate for this lack of investment so all the people of Vancouver, including families with children can chose to cycle if they wish. Still, we have a long ways to go. Currently, only one of 14 east west streets in downtown has a bike lane on it and there is no eastbound lane west of Burrard. Once Hornby is opened, still only one north south street down has a separated bike lane.

The bottom line the cycling network is still way behind that of other forms of transportation in the city.

The city is also spending $6 million for a left turn bay on Knight Street because some drivers refused to obey the rules and injured and killed themselves and other drivers. That is also more than the sidewalk maintenance budget. How about complaining about that instead of always being anti-cycling.

"Addressing those issues are just as important as addressing issues with motor vehicle drivers-both put pedestrians at risk to injury."

Two dozen pedestrians killed by cars every year. None by cyclists. Clearly one is more important than the other.

"How about as an editorial for your blog or one of the cycling magazines you work with, you visit the concerns of 'pedestrians' and the number of cyclsits continuing to ride on the sidewalk, jumping curbs, blocking crosswalk entry/exit points, cutting in front of people in crosswalks, etc."


Excerpt from my blog entry concerning pedestrian safety on the Burrard St. Bridge:

"Safety, safety, safety. That was the mantra invoked again and again. But, it’s clear the two-lane re-allocation was the safest plan. Pedestrians first. That’s the city’s official position. Yet, walkers are now to be banned from one side of the bridge. Anyone wishing to walk from the southeast side of False Creek to the northeast side on the Burrard Bridge will now have to cross more than twenty lanes of road to make the trip. Currently, they needn’t ever set foot on asphalt. If this is how we improve walking in the city I hope we never find the money or will to really improve cycling infrastructure! Last time I checked adding time and distance to a journey is a good thing for hang glider pilots, but not the usual method of making self-propelled transportation more attractive."

http://www.chriskeam.com/2009/05/one-lane-lament.html

Full text of my message sent on June 25, 2010 to the two most active cycling list-serves in Metro Vancouver:

"The roadwork at the 10th Ave Bikeway just east of Clark Drive means cyclists either have to dismount and walk on the sidewalk for one block, or detour a half block south to go east/west through the alley for a block. Riding on the sidewalk and refusing to give way to those of us walking on the sidewalk with small children is stupid, dangerous, and just reinforces the notion that cyclists are unwilling to behave in a respectful fashion to other road (or in this case, sidewalk) users.

I'm really pissed off that this situation simply reinforces the impression that there is apparently no thought by our community for how our actions will be viewed by others and very little willingness to extend a little common courtesy to pedestrians, esp when at a time of day when kids and parents are walking their kids to the elementary school and daycare facility situated at this intersection.

Since the flag people assigned to the job aren't doing anything about it, it's up to individuals to make a choice to either do the sensible thing, or ride roughshod over not only the rules of the road, but also the optics of civility. What's your choice going to be?"

Now show me yours Max. ;-)

cheers,
CK

Two dozen pedestrians killed by cars every year. None by cyclists. Clearly one is more important than the other.

***************

As you opened the door: of the 8 accidents that happened on the Burrard Bridge prior to the bike lane being introduced, 5 of those were bicycle/pedestrian collisions.

I would venture that there are incidents that go unreported. Did I contct the police when I got hit - no. Did I get injured, yes.

Roughly 3 months ago I ws heading home from work crossing the marked intersection at Burrard and Smithe. On the opposite side of the street (west side) this little lady was coming across with her push walker and a small bag of groceries from the IGA. I would guess she was mid-late 70's. The cars stopped while people crossed. A cyclist came barreling through the light missed me by about a foot and made the little lady stop dead in her tracks. I saw the look in her face.

This is problem Chris. Maybe unreported, but it exists.

So when asked: I view cyclists and cars equally when it comes to pedestrian safety issues. I also fault pedestrians as too many have become lazy or entitled when it comes to their own road safety and not obeying the basic rules.

Work needs to be done on all fronts.

"Work needs to be done on all fronts."


Your roof is leaking. Your tap is dripping. You gonna buy shingles or a washer?

what helps the MOST people for the LEAST amount of money per user - sidewalk construction and upgrades.

I have sent Mike some photos, I hope he posts them for me. Our sidewalk conditions in many parts of the city are totally unacceptable but face it, sidewalks aren't a sexy topic.

BTW, someone should ask the city legal department how many complaints they get about trip hazards. High profile crashes are just the tip of the iceberg. People dying is the worst case outcome - let's look at the injuries where there is nobody around but the sidewalk and the user.

Chris:

So the suggestion is made that level of pedestrian safety education is needed right across the board, targeting car drivers, pedestrians and cyclists, and that is your response?

Wow.

And then you wonder why the us vs them menatlity comes into play.

@Julia

We are one of the richest cities in one of the richest countries in the world. Surely we can afford to fix sidewalks AND build great bike facilities. Other cities are. We can too.

Now, with the next capital plan discussions to start soon, is an ideal time to push the city to allocate more money for sidewalks and cycling facilities. That is what I will be doing. I encourage you to do the same.

Regarding sidewalks that need repairing, I encourage you to contact staff and council regarding them. There is money to do this. In my neighbourhood, last year they were grinding down cracks and bumps as well as replacing sections of sidewalks and added curb cuts. I expect they will continue to do this next year.

Max,

My point was simply that rule breakers can be found anywhere.

But you continue to evade answering my question, I can only assume because you know the answer doesn't support your statement. So be it.

@Chris and Mike

To clarify, the Province reported today that in the City of Vancouver 5 pedestrians have been killed this year so far.
http://www.theprovince.com/news/vancouver/Vancouver+council+pinpoint+pedestrian+crash+spots/3832647/story.html

With the darkest and rainiest time of the year ahead of us, unfortunately that could likely increase before the end of the year. The 30 is for all of Metro Vancouver from last year I believe.

Regardless, any deaths and serious injuries are not acceptable and we all should push politicians of all stripes to ensure none dies on the streets of Vancouver.

Max:

Here's what you said:

"So when asked: I view cyclists and cars equally when it comes to pedestrian safety issues."

That's a ludicrous approach that thankfully no one with any real clout or power is adopting.

You apparently think a bruise you received on your arm is as compelling as the loss of a life. Frankly, its offensive and very disrespectful to all those people that have lost a loved one due to a vehicle/pedestrian collision.

Not only did I provide you with examples of the ways in which I personally have added my voice to those calling for improvements on all fronts upon your request, you refuse to address the sensible questions put to you regarding your views. You have been extended more courtesy than your comments deserve and now you presume to misrepresent my comments yet again. We are done here.

Chris:

You asked my opinion and I gave it. You don't like it and that is not my problem.

If you think I stand alone in the thought that pedestrians are put at risk to saftey issues when cyclists ride on sidewalks, you are mistaken.

Get over the dramatics. Spin my statement anyway you want - it still does not change my stance.

Two things about me Chris:

1) I don't bully easy

2) I'm equally as charming in person.:)

"of the 8 accidents that happened on the Burrard Bridge prior to the bike lane being introduced, 5 of those were bicycle/pedestrian collisions." This is an important point. Thanks Max.

"Chris Keam is obviously a fixated bike rider.
I have never had a car.
Don't drive,take the bus,walk and ride my bike.
Pedestrian safety these days is about all the morons who think it is okay to ride bikes on the sidewalk, cross busy intersections across the lights.
Red light ! Who cares. I'm in charge.
I had a bike rider almost mow me down on the sidewalk (4th Avenue), when I heard him coming up behind me I dodged and almost knocked down an old man on the other side of the sidewalk.
You want everybody to ride bikes.
TEACH THEM THE RULES.
chris (one of many) | November 15, 2010 6:39 PM | Reply"

Thank you Chris! This is worth repeating.

Max,

No one has said cyclists on sidewalks is a good thing or that it's not dangerous. No one is arguing for that.

What we're saying, is your apparent assertation that cyclists are as dangerous to pedestrians as cars is remarkable in it's absolute break from reality and factual information presented.

@miguel

While it is dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians to share a sidewalk whether or not cyclists are allowed to ride on the sidewalk, even this City Caucus post makes it clear that your statement: "Pedestrian safety these days is about all the morons who think it is okay to ride bikes on the sidewalk, cross busy intersections across the lights." is obviously not true. It is actually around 99% all about dangerous and careless driving.

As City Caucus mentions, 30 pedestrians are killed per year by motor vehicles in the region. NONE are killed by cyclists. So, if you want to actually prevent people from dying, you would be wise to focus on preventing the dangerous and careless driving that is killing people.

Note that initially City Caucus opposed the Burrard Bridge trial which actually separated cyclists and pedestrians making the bridge much safer for pedestrians and cyclists. In New York City, separated bike lanes have reduced sidewalk riding by 85% and I expect the results are similar here. So, all the effort being put into separated bike lanes goes a long ways to addressing your valid concerns about people riding on sidewalks.

Oh and by the way, a significant portion of the funding that the VACC gets goes to teaching cyclists the rules of the road and how to cycle responsibly. I suggest you encourage the government to provide more funding so more people on bikes, foot and in their cars can be taught the rules of the road.

You folks do realize that Keam is on here 'professionally', right? It's not as if he is constantly defending, plugging, making excuses or exaggerating the merits of cycling because he's just devoted?

The reason he doesn't go away or let an argument drop is because every response to him is money in his pocket.

He is the definition of a 'conversation miner'.

Cycling coalition gets $300,000/year (the real travesty) in taxpayer funding. A portion of that money goes to people like Keam to sit on this site and hack at anything to do with bikes.

It's time to starve the beast. Cut him off Mike. Or at least make him close each post with a disclosure that he was paid to make the comment by the cycling coalition.

Boohoo:

'What we're saying, is your apparent assertation that cyclists are as dangerous to pedestrians as cars is remarkable in it's absolute break from reality and factual information presented.'

**************

You nor any of your supporters seem to have any statistical information on bike/pedestrian collisions.

So to state that my opion of cyclists being of an equal threat to pedestrian safety is far from 'a break in reality'.

Seems that I read Robertson ran a red light while commuting on his bike. He not only put himself at risk, but those on the bus that had to hit the brakes to miss hitting him and who knows who was in the crosswalk at that time.

RF:

I am not paid by anyone to make my comments. Your statement is completely inaccurate.

thanks,

CK

"You folks do realize that Keam is on here 'professionally', right? It's not as if he is constantly defending, plugging, making excuses or exaggerating the merits of cycling because he's just devoted?"

Actually the only reason I'm on here is because I'm 'devoted'. Why else would I expose myself to unfair and incorrect characterizations.

"The reason he doesn't go away or let an argument drop is because every response to him is money in his pocket."

More like the other way around. It costs me money in the long run.

"He is the definition of a 'conversation miner'."

Absolutely untrue and that's why you can't offer up any proof.

Cycling coalition gets $300,000/year (the real travesty) in taxpayer funding. A portion of that money goes to people like Keam to sit on this site and hack at anything to do with bikes."

Another lie and it would probably be fodder for legal action if RF had the stones to put his name to this accusation.

"It's time to starve the beast. Cut him off Mike. Or at least make him close each post with a disclosure that he was paid to make the comment by the cycling coalition."

Another lie and an impassioned cry for full disclosure from an anonymous source. Too funny.

Max, the mayor has nothing to do with this conversation...? Not sure what you're getting at.

You have yet to answer my question. Statistics have been supplied in this thread. Here are some more:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2714512/

Again, are you arguing that cyclists are as dangerous to pedestrians as cars?


Off topic but of interest;

Why did they leave?
VANCOUVER/CKNW(AM980)
Doug Herbert | Email news tips to doug.herbert@corusent.com
11/17/2010


With many Vancouver senior staff leaving their jobs with the City over the last few years Councillor Suzanne Anton is calling for exit interviews to be conducted.

Anton says there are many reasons they may be leaving, she just wants to know why, "But there's also the rumour mill that chugs away and says there are other reasons that people are leaving. Now, I have no idea if the rumour mill has any merit or not, sometimes it does in life and sometimes it doesn't."

Councillor Kerry Jang took Anton to task saying that she shouldn't believe rumours circulating on the Internet.

City Manager Penny Ballem says the City already does exit interviews, "They're not something that should be coming up to Council unless we, as a senior management team, identify a theme that is important and that Council needs to help us address through policy changes."

Ballem noted that many of those leaving are retiring, a similar trend in other cities.

Council voted to forward Antons motion to staff.


Max,

I don't get it. Anton calls for exit interviews to be conducted. Ballem says they're already doing it.

....?

Chris, am I mistaken?

I seem to recall you being quite open about receiving certain re-numeration from the cycling coalition?

If I am mistaken, I retract my comments.

Do us the honor of disclosing how you are compensated by the cycling coalition.

Yes, RF you are mistaken. Apology accepted. Now let's close the barn door and go chase the cows. Do us the favour of outlining all your affiliations and sources of income and I will be happy to do the same.

Obviously you wouldn't expect others to do anything that you wouldn't right?


Just to be clear, in case my previous comment is misinterpreted... I do not receive a single penny from any organization for the time I spend commenting on City Raucous or any website. Any comments I make in relation to events or programs where I am being paid or have an affiliation, I have been clear and forthright about those connections and have made sure that it was public knowledge.

"I have done work for the VACC as a communications coordinator. "
-Chris Keam, August 13th
http://www.citycaucus.com/2010/08/cycling-lobbyists-handguide-provides-insight-into-bikelanes-debate#comments

But you did also confirm you are not paid by the hour to conversation mine, so I retract that. I think it's splitting hairs though. You raise your profile for future contracts work by putting yourself out there in this forum.

All sources of income comes via one employer. occupation: professional money manager.

That's all. I'm not ashamed to stay anonymous. I don't think I could comment how i really feel without fear of unknown repercussions professionally.


Political affiliation: None at this time. I did sign up as an NPA member to vote for Christy Clark in '05. I was also a federal young liberal delegate in the mid nineties but I never attended anything. Call it misguided youth.
Your standard Social liberal and Fiscal conservative (The definition of "Homeless" in this provinces' political landscape)

My mother was a volunteer for Gordon Campbell back in the 80's.

I could throw my name out there but it's not going to prove any affiliations other than my attachment to my own money. I honestly believe I represent a sector of our society that is being taken for granted. I pay around $85,000/year in taxes. I get very little in return. Yet unions, addicts, government employees, special interest social pet projects seem to be telling me that it's not enough and they want more from people like me. The $85,000 is more than 35% of what I make already. And that doesn't include sales taxes.

"I think it's splitting hairs though."

Of course you do. You were busted repeating unfounded allegations and spreading outright untruths that have already been negated. I'd be looking for wiggle room too if I engaged it that kind of nonsense.

"You raise your profile for future contracts work by putting yourself out there in this forum."

Unlikely. Probably the opposite. Who wants to hire somebody that gets their reputation smeared by anonymous acolytes of Joe McCarthy on a regular basis? Thanks for nothing.

"I don't think I could comment how i really feel without fear of unknown repercussions professionally."

But you are comfortable with potentially impacting my income and attacking me personally and professionally because I disagree with you? The double standard is beyond belief.

Except that McCarthy was right... lol

Very recently a pedestrian died crossing the road near the PNE. Radio reports suggested that he was innatentive to the danger he was in due to cell-phone use (perhaps texting). I'll be honest here and admit that I did the same thing recently, fortunately with no collision. Text walking can be just as dangerous as text driving and needs to be discouraged just as actively.

"All this article said was that pedestrians are getting the short end of the stick - I happen to agree.
All the rest of this pontificating is white noise."
You wouldn't think that would be so controversial, yet close to 120 comments have been generated, a large percentage of them being parry and thrust with cycle lobbyists. Go figure...

PS To paraphrase a local marketing campaign, we are ALL pedestrians.

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