Pedestrian power has yet to exert itself at Vancouver City Hall

Post by Daniel Fontaine in

87 comments

crosswalk
When will pedestrians truly become a top priority at Vancouver City Hall?

It’s only May and six pedestrians have already died on Vancouver streets.

It’s become so commonplace these types of deaths rarely make the evening news anymore. Yet, for the families of these victims, these tragedies will last a lifetime.

Pedestrians are officially the City of Vancouver’s top transportation priority. However, you’d never know that if you regularly monitor city hall debates. You’re likely to encounter more talk about backyard chickens, separated bike lanes and symbolic vegetable gardens than how to make local streets safer for those on foot.

Vancouver claims it wants to become the greenest city in the world by 2020, yet Mayor Gregor Robertson only pays lip service to the most environmentally-friendly form of transport of all – walking. That’s because spending millions on a short strip of bike lanes triggers way more media attention than building a few lighted crosswalks.

It wasn’t until recently council asked staff to write a report regarding what else can be done to protect pedestrians. The report will likely be released just prior to the upcoming civic election to make it appear as though the mayor isn’t solely fixated on two-wheeled forms of transport.

So why so much focus on cycling and so little on pedestrians? Maybe it’s because a powerful cycling lobby has dominated so much of the debate over the last decade. The stark reality is Vancouver’s cycling lobbyists are tenacious, well-organized and often financed by your tax dollars to boot.

If you don’t believe pedestrians are taking a backseat to cyclists, just look at how shabbily they were treated when Vision Vancouver built a “temporary” bike lane on Burrard Bridge. Pedestrians were no longer permitted access to some sidewalks and are now being forced to cross a number of very hazardous streets.

Where are the pedestrian-oriented lobbyists asking council for safer sidewalks? Why does Vancouver City Hall have a food policy committee, but not a pedestrian advisory committee? Surely reducing the number of deaths on our streets is as important as growing fresh tomatoes.

If Vancouver wants to consider itself as a truly progressive city, it should follow the lead of other jurisdictions like Portland, Ore, and formalize the input they receive from pedestrians. Perhaps then we’ll finally begin to reduce the number of lives lost for doing nothing more than crossing a street.

- Post by Daniel. You can also read Fontaine's civic affairs column in 24 Hours Vancouver every Thursday.

87 Comments

"Studies don’t give all the answers, but they make one thing clear: pedestrian deaths don’t happen randomly. In Europe, Spain is the most deadly country, nearing Vancouver rates with 1.5 deaths per 100,000, attributable in part to the lack of crosswalks and penalties for drivers. The Netherlands is the safest, at .46 deaths per 100,000. In New York City, half of all deaths involving motor vehicles are pedestrians, compared to a 12-percent share nationally. And while crashes and deaths are declining everywhere, pedestrians who do get involved in a crash are more likely now than in previous years to die."

http://www.vanmag.com/News_and_Features/Deadly_Roads?page=0%2C1

The problem isn't cyclists, bike lanes, or even cycling mayors. It's motorists' driving habits. And yet it doesn't even get a mention in this politically-motivated critique of the current council?

Why don't you interview Gerry McGuire and ask him how many people he's killed in his career as a professional driver? I'll bet the answer is none. Why is that? Adequate training and a healthy respect for the responsibility he assumes when he gets behind the wheel? Probably.

Let's repeat that for the back of the class: "Pedestrian deaths don't happen randomly."

Twice a week I stand at the corner of Cambie and Broadway on my way to and from an appointment. Invariably a motorist turns right through one end of a crosswalk, despite at least a dozen pedestrians waiting for the light and a little walking man sign spelling out who has right of way, and often as not they're talking on a handheld phone. There's your problem Daniel, not a couple of kilometres of bike lanes. Why are you afraid to speak to the truth?

"The problem ... ismotorists' driving habits." I agree that a lot of this is a smoke screen, and trying to blame cycling or investments in cycling infrastructure for pedestrian's deaths is reprehensible. But I don't think we can boil this down to habits and attitudes. There are infrastructure investments, zoning changes and cultural investments that we could make that would make Vancouver a more walkin friendly city. And I think the comment on Burrard is fair. The bike lanes are a serious inconvenience for pedestrians and this problem should be addressed. We should either take another lane away from cars, give it to bikes and free up the east sidewalk, have a two-way lane on the west side, or have narrower lanes on each side. It would be nice to have an actual discussion of this rather than dumb partisan mud slinging.

There are times when a subject seems so clear until you start to take it apart. I grant you that it is all important that drivers be aware of the pedestrian, cyclist and other vehicles.
Now comes the part that seems to be the sticking point. It has been my experience that not only drivers ignore the rules but so do pedestrians and cyclists (the Mayor for one). How many times do you see pedestrians walk against red lights, jay walk, use their phones while in crosswalks, and on and on. Safety is not just the responsibility of the driver, but of us all As a former Coroner I have had the sad duty to investigate some of these incidents. I think it safe to say that at the end of the day it is everyones duty to obey the rules of the road. We do not need more laws, we need enforcement of the ones that exist as they apply to everyone.

@Steven

Infrastructure investments can only impact the locations where they are instituted. Put a cop on random corners throughout the city, move them around so there's no way of knowing where you can get away with breaking the law, and institute zero tolerance for all traffic violations, for motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians and you can effect a culture change that's cheaper and immediate. All it takes is for word to get out that running a red, or jaywalking, or cycling on the sidewalk has the real potential for monetary consequences and everyone will start to treat our existing laws and built facilities as relevant. Then we can start to tackle the bigger picture of road design modification. As we can see by the current situation, where hundreds of thousands of people safely travel in the region every day, when safety rules are observed, there's negligible risk.

So my little father who is 75, got pulled over on his way back fro the golf course last night and ticketed for having tinted windows on the car - that he just bought a few months back.
A Kia Sonata.

The police officer told him, ICBC is cracking down on tinted windows as they can't see who is talking on cell phones.

My dad doesn't even own a cell phone.

The ticket cost - $109.00

I can't even remember the last time or of ever even my dad has had a ticket.

This is a ticket I will help him fight. If ICBC wants to crack down on tinted windows, and these are not heavily tinted windows, they are factory, then take the fight to the car manufacturers.

@Drew

You'll see by my comment that follows yours that I agree (almost) completely. With power comes responsibility, and a couple hundred horses under the hood is a lot of power.

Aw shucks Chris, thanks. Lmao, too. Flattery will get you everywhere. Could be just dumb luck, but I guess you've got to be good to be lucky, and lucky to be good. The hierarchy suggested in this post has the same problem all hierarchies have-they invariably collapse under their own weight. No mode use should have priority over another. That's what leads to conflicts. They all have their contribution to make in a vibrant, free-flowing city. Are we not ALL pedestrians (are not the Sharks going down in four games)? As a pedestrian, I feel if a car hits me, or nearly does so, then I've miscalculated or misjudged. Most of the people killed this year were elderly, out in the dark. One was texting while crossing Renfrew St. Another was a ninety-year old man out in the dark in Killarney. Who was supposed to be taking care of him? Pedestrian education is the only way to prevent accidents like these. And better elder care. Another was the seventeen year old run over by a truck at Hastings and Nanaimo. He had his earphones on, might have been running for a bus-inattention on the pedestrian's part again? Are we going to spend yet more millions on infrastructure to try to prevent what may well be unpreventable? Anyway, here's what I told Council could be done right now to make pedestrians safer. Unfortunately, I suspect the study initialized that day will be used as an excuse to further expensively balkanize our streets to the detriment of all mode users.

http://cityofvan-as1.insinc.com/ibc/mp/md/open/c/317/1201/201011180900wv150en,005

@ D. Snider

Sorry, I called you Drew by mistake, was thinking of the transit spokesperson.

cheers,

CK

"The problem isn't cyclists, bike lanes, or even cycling mayors. It's motorists' driving habits. And yet it doesn't even get a mention in this politically-motivated critique of the current council?"

I read the article to say that pedestrian safety is lagging behind that of cycling due in part to the cycling lobby/absence of a pedestrian lobby. Part of the solution could be driver (or pedestrian) education but that's the point - there aren't any solutions being bandied about. In the absence of a pedestrian lobby, I do think it behooves council to make sure they champion pedestrian safety and not be so obviously cycling only focused.

Overzealous enforcement-what a drag. Fight it, at the least you'll get a reduction. If the cop doesn't show up, which is quite common, you walk. Write letters/emails to the Minister of Transportation, too. It seems like they're listening now.

I agree that pedestrians need to be more watchful when crossing roadways, as I do see many texting while walking or walking/running against lights. Especially when it comes to catching a bus, it is almost like it is the last bus ever running.

And, I see drivers at stops and marked crosswalks look one way to gage oncoming traffic and not check the other direction regardless of right of way.

And well, we know my beef with cyclists, riding on sidewalks, jumping curbs, cutting in front of walkers.

Equal law enforcment all the way around.

Off topic but of interest;

Carr considering running for Mayor http://ow.ly/4Z0AL

@Daniel

I expect a full retraction and correction of this article. You full well know that the cycling community was really pushing hard for a two-lane reallocation on Burrard Bridge that would have enabled both cyclists and pedestrians to have separated safe paths on the east and west sides of the bridge.

It was your ex boss Sam Sullivan who chose to make this a political issue cancelling the trial that the Vision and COPE councillors had supported. Anton was the deciding vote that killed the trial. This huge mistake not only delayed the badly needed safety improvements for people who cycling and walk on the Bridge, it cost taxpayers an extra $2 million in design costs for sidewalk widening that turned out to be totally unaffordable.

So, now that you finally seem to be really concerned about pedestrian safety, I certainly hope you will support a reallocation of a lane of traffic on the east side of the bridge so cyclists and pedestrians both can have safe passage on that side of the bridge. And please encourage your pal Klassen to support this as well. It would be great for the NPA to finally show some courage and leadership in pedestrian safety rather than always bowing to the auto lobby.

Finally, too bad you weren't concerned about when you were Sam's head advisory when you could have helped make some changes but better late than never. However, lets see some policies that will actually make a difference. You and the rest of the NPA need to take some tough political stands that likely will piss of some drivers.

@ Richard
Removing another lane from Burrard would only back up vehicle traffic even further. If our goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emission, that would seem to be counterproductive, no? I'm beginning to think that the Burrad Bridge and approaches really need to be replaced with infrastructure than can properly serve all the stakeholders, instead of trying to contort the old girl into something she wasn't designed to do.

Just heard a disturbing interview on CBC radio that went something like "we heard the sirens and saw the lights but thought they were far enough away that we could cross in time" a police car was chasing another car and one of the pedestrians that decided to cross in front of them was killed.

@Bob
Building a new bridge would require a lot of concrete and steel, both which contribute greatly to GHG emissions. More more and more people are choosing hybrids which do not produce more GHG emissions when idling or going slow. As well, reducing vehicle speeds on the long uphill sections would actually reduce GHG emissions as traffic is often travelling well over the speed at which cars are most efficient.

Constructing a new bridge and approaches would also cause traffic delays.

Traffic in Vancouver is actually decreasing and there is plenty of space on Granville Bridge. There is little reason to spend hundreds of millions on a new bridge.

I'll throw one solution out. Limit motor vehicle speeds to 30km/h everywhere in the city where there are pedestrians around. Research has proven that pedestrian fatalities dramatically increase when motor vehicle speeds are over 30km/h. The cycling community has actually been pushing the provincial government to allow municipalities to set blanket speed limits below the current 50km/h which would improve the safety of both pedestrians and cyclists.

Getting photo radar back would help with this. Unfortunately, the auto lobby had photo radar killed so drivers could break the law without getting caught. I expect several pedestrians (and drivers and cyclists) have died as a result. Another option would be raised crosswalks at intersections where motor vehicle speed is a problem.

So, Daniel, again, it would be great if you and the NPA had the courage to take on the auto lobby and help make this happen.

4 councils ago, the city spent close to $50K on a sidewalk task force comprised of the bicycle coalition, health care professionals, disabled representatives, business, and engineering staff with the express purpose of improving the pedestrian realm. The group met for a year and created a comprehensive list of objectives that are still relevant today. The report went to council and never saw the light of day. In fact, current engineering staff did not even know about it until I told them.

You know how many miles of street still do not have a sidewalk on one side of the block or the other? You know how many blocks cannot be used by a wheel chair because there is no curb cut? You know how many people hurt themselves from tripping on heaving sidewalks from tree roots because there is no money to fix them?

We always want to focus on big ticket items like bridges where all the money gets thrown in to 1 hole so we can all wave the project around like a trophy.

A better way to prove we are a pedestrian city is to fix the damn sidewalks!

That is great information Julia. Do you know if the report is available anywhere?

I believe there may be an option to put cycling lanes beneath the bridge, has anyone heard of this? That would also allow for a dedicated bus lane over the bridge, which might speed up transit to downtown.

Hey, here's a novel idea... why not have the POLICE actually start enforcing traffic laws?

For example, we see every other car turning right onto Hornby from Helmcken doing so on a red light despite signage indicating this is not permitted. This goes on day after day after day and never a cop in sight.

There'll be a very bad accident there one day. Just a matter of time.

Julia,

In my neighbourhood I have seen crews adding curb let downs and fixing sidewalks all over the place. Right outside my house there are new let downs and new/better sidewalk connections. Yes, there are a lot of areas for improvement, but it takes time, and it is happening.

"Removing another lane from Burrard would only back up vehicle traffic even further."

Traffic into downtown isn't backed up now and reallocating a northbound lane is unlikely to create congestion based upon the evidence that's available to one and all, simply by watching the bridge.

http://www.gvrd.com/traffic_cams/burrard_street_bridge_traffic_cams.html

"I believe there may be an option to put cycling lanes beneath the bridge, has anyone heard of this?"

A recipe for muggings and assaults where no one can see or render assistance.

Yeah I'm watching... a cyclist on the sidewalk at the corner of Pacific and Burrard. La plus ca change...

http://vancouver.ca/engsvcs/streets/roadwork/cameraimages/BurrardPacificWest.jpg

Boohoo, of course it is happening. Vicariously many of the report recommendations were adopted by staff (such as curb cut design) simply because it was a no-brainer. City staff actually are good people with aspirations of making Vancouver a great city.

My point... report was done - nothing new to add... just fund it and do it.

I am truly not picking a fight with this one (please) but take a look at the city's sidewalk repair budget, or capital budget for new sidewalk construction and compare it to monies spent on a trial bike lane that serves one small area of the city. Face it, pedestrians and sidewalks are not sexy and do not get the attention they deserve.

I don't understand this weird need to point out how cyclists keep breaking the rules. So what? So does everyone else. I would bet my life that every single person who has gotten behind the wheel of car, rode a bike or walked down the sidewalk has broken a law. What's with this fascination about cyclists?

If safety is the primary concern (if not, what is?) then why wouldn't we focus on enforcement/education of driving laws seeing as they are by far the most dangerous when breaking the law? (That is not to say cyclists/peds don't need education/enforcement)

Julia,

Great--I'm simply pointing out they are fixing the sidewalks. Maybe not at a pace we would all like, but it's happening. I would suggest taking a fraction (a tiny one!) of the money being spent on highway development and allocating that to new sidewalks. I know, different jurisdictions yadda yadda. Just a nice thought. Moving people rather than cars.

I don't see a cyclist on the sidewalk in that screen grab Miguel.

Looking at the KatKam that monitors the middle of the bridge however, I do see traffic volumes that could be managed with a single lane in either direction.

Interesting how we are ALL pedestrians at some point in our day but that does not seem to factor into the discussion nor does it serve as an equalizer.

Those of us who choose to drive cars for WHATEVER reason we do, don't usually make a big statement about it like we are somehow superior beings because of our mode of transportation.

However, individually or collectively, those who choose a bicycle as their primary means to get themselves around have time and time again positioned themselves in discussions such as these that they have the moral high ground on all things sustainable, livable and everyone else is inferior for not coming over to their way of thinking.

Somehow, that seems really wrong and hence you get the push back. Perhaps back off the absolutes just a little and forget the sniping remarks and we can have a civilized conversation.

If we truly believe Vancouver deserves to be a livable city, it needs to be so for all - not just a few.

@ Richard
Agree on the 30kmh limit. All statistics show that the pedestrians most likely to be killed by motor vehicles are young and old with those in the middle being at less risk. The reason why tends to be poorer judgement and longer times to cross roads. Now if we spend time and money promoting road safety and or improving sidewalks, there is little effect on these two groups. If we wish to improve pedestrian safety we need to reduce the likelihood of vehicles slamming into pedestrians at speeds of 50kmh or higher which is when deaths are more likely to occur. So we can build barriers to stop pedestrians from getting onto roads and lots of pedestrian bridges or underpasses (expensive and only partial solution and a really ugly city design it's essentially freeways everywhere), or we can stop the young and the elderly from going outside or only being allowed out while constantly chaperoned (do we really want this) or we just live with pedestrian deaths and blame them on cyclepaths being built (oh that's what we are doing now) or we limit speeds through urban areas to speeds which are less likely to kill, which has been shown to work and makes for a much nicer city.

@Richard, yes good point about decreasing emissions at idle due to hybrids etc. I guess what I was thinking is that all the "megaprojects" seemed to be of the automotive or transit variety, rather than cyclist or pedestrian. Which is odd, when you consider that all BC's premiers (from left & right) have been from the City of Vancouver for two decades. Rather than incremental "fixes" why not some sweeping ideas? For example, I never understood why the city converted Homer from one-way to two-way, under the guise that it was better for residents? Better for residents with cars maybe. Why not leave it one way, take one lane for bikes and add a connecting bridge across False Creek for cyclists?

Richard
I think you should perhaps retract your statement yesterday about motorized wheelchairs being allowed on bike lanes or roadways...

It appears Mayor Gregor feels differently... if he is serious about cracking down on infringements it would be an incredible burden for people with disabilities to try and pay fines for incorrect information given out in Gregorland...

Interview today from our Mayor...

"Well that is a concern. Obviously our enforcement officers will keep an eye on that because it's for human-powered transportation."

WOW,so people are too stupid to cross the street?Maybe they should have listened to their mother and look both ways.But not to worry the government will save us,now its going to be very expensive so screw the cost and buy the cat another canary.And be sure not to take any responsibility for yourself find someone else to blame,I know lets blame cars If you want to save lives up the price of a J walking ticket to $250 and enforce it.

some sidewalk trivia for you

-The city currently has 2,406km of sidewalks worth a billion dollars. That works out to about $415,000 a km to replace/construct. Fortunately, when there is new development, sidewalk construction is part of the development feeds.

- currently 20% of the city does not have sidewalks on both sides of the street. My guestimate puts that at $200 million to complete our sidewalk system.

- The current capital plan (2009-2011) has $11 million designated for sidewalk construction. My math tells me that at that rate it will take 60 years to finish Vancouver's sidewalk system.

-The capital plan has $4 million over 3 years for curb cuts. 1 corner is $5,000. That means they can do 266 corners a year or 66 intersections city wide.

-Sidewalk maintenance- $2.2 million for the entire city.


Is the pedestrian a priority in this city? You tell me!

Max

Interesting that the police would mention cell phones, several years ago tinted windows were being banned for another reason... gang cover..

There were many gang members with heavily tinted windows to avoid police and rival gang members..funny how the story changes especially since the car manufacture tints the windows...

The city should buy some rope and all the peds could hang on in single file just like when the daycare takes the kids to the park,very safe and cute as hell.

"However, individually or collectively, those who choose a bicycle as their primary means to get themselves around have time and time again positioned themselves in discussions such as these that they have the moral high ground on all things sustainable, livable and everyone else is inferior for not coming over to their way of thinking"

I feel you're projecting a perspective that fits a narrative you're comfortable with Julia. In fact, this is the second time this week you've articulated this opinion, but so far, I'm not seeing any examples provided. How would it change your viewpoint if you abandoned this assumption? What would happen if you saw cyclists not as people who are judging you, but as individuals making personal choices that are well-suited to their personal circumstances?

I would suggest to you that people on bikes are your neighbors, your co-workers, maybe even your relatives, and they might have enough on their plate that worrying about your place in the universe is a task for which they have little interest. Stating cycling is a healthy, fun, eco-friendly way to travel isn't a judgement about your choice to drive, walk, or take the bus. It's just an observation.

To be blunt, and I apologize in advance if you take offence...

It's not about you. Speaking for myself, I don't care how you get around if you're doing it in a safe manner. I do care that people have a full range of transportation choices and some measure of safety regardless of which choice they make.

gman

That was mean... but funny!!! Had a visual there... LMAO

"time and time again positioned themselves in discussions such as these that they have the moral high ground on all things sustainable, livable and everyone else is inferior for not coming over to their way of thinking."

I disagree. This is a personal feeling from those that choose not to/can't cycle. I'm not sure where this inferiority complex comes from--it'd be interesting to dive into that.

It's factual that cycling is more sustainable than driving, but it certainly doesn't give cyclists some moral authority--and I think, on the whole, they don't feel that way. But, I'm not a regular cyclist so...

Regarding what kind of transportation can use separated bike lanes.

http://issuu.com/canwestcommunitypublishing/docs/coufri20101029

Go to page 10. Mike Howell's column '12th and Cambie' There's currently no rules in place regarding who can and can't use bike lanes according to the VPD, from mobility scooters to skateboards to bicycles. They are working on rules for same.

Regarding scooters. There are electric scooters with tiny pedals, electric bicycles with motors that only work while pedaling, and gas powered scooters. The rule of thumb at this point appears to be if it needs a license plate it's not allowed in a separated bike lane. The issue is also far from settled even in Europe, where there's plenty of debate right now between various lobby groups regarding the use of electric-powered vehicles on cycle tracks and other active transportation facilities.

Thanks Chris,
what is confusing to me is that police have removed me from the road and I was told that mobility scooters or electric wheelchairs are considered pedestrian rules... I really wish someone would clarify the situation...

@gman
When you are old and infirm and unable to drive - do you wish to be trapped in your home, or do you want to be able to walk about in your neighborhood to see friends or go shopping etc.. If you have young children, do you wish to be forced to transport them everywhere in your car because you do not trust them to always make good judgement when crossing roads? Do you want to live in a city where it's actually safe for younger children to walk or cycle to and from school and for the elderly to walk to see friends? Or, do you want to be able to drive your car fast, where you want when you want - and if so, what happens when you can no longer do this?

Thanks Julia. Should be shared widely. Are there other reports out there people know of that should be more widely read?

I wonder how many of those of you who feel that watching the Burrard St. bridge during non-peak traffic is indicative of use, would feel the same way if I turned on a camera on the bike lanes in the middle of the day and showed they were empty? Should we then tear out the bike lanes because they OBVIOUSLY aren't being used. Not very scientific.

The Burrard St. bridge regularly gets backed up in both the morning and afternoon commutes. I challenge the "camera watchers" to sit on the camera during peak hours and claim otherwise.

"A recipe for muggings and assaults where no one can see or render assistance."

Doesn't the new Canada line bridge to Richmond have a very popular "below bridge" cycle path? I don't remember hearing about any muggings or assaults since it opened.

John,for your information I live downtown and I walk everywhere.And yes I am older,but the tone of your reply speaks volumes.You assume because I drive also in my oh so evil auto that I do it FAST,after all I have a car so I must be an evil person,how will I ever make it up to poor mother earth?Or maybe your just walking to fast and need big sister to help you.If you dont hold your kids hand when you cross the street thats on you,if your dumb enough to step in front of a 4000lb.car you lose and thats evolution.

"Should we then tear out the bike lanes because they OBVIOUSLY aren't being used. Not very scientific."

No one is suggesting tearing out the car lanes on the bridge. False analogy. The reason there's back-ups is because cars are an inefficient use of space in many cases, esp, when a bunch of individuals all want to go the same place at the same time. If everybody walked around wearing a big cardboard box for an overcoat there would be congestion at every escalator and stairway in the city. That's a better analogy.

The question is whether or not to build for peak capacity and future demand. That seems to be the preferred approach for automobile lanes, why wouldn't we do the same for bike lanes and sidewalks and transit systems?

The Canada Line Bridge pedestrian/cycling bridge can be seen by passengers on the train. I think that's a significant deterrent, and I expect it's also less travelled at night. Additionally, if someone was uncomfortable riding it at night, they could catch the train to cross over. Given that the #22 is the only bus on the Burrard Bridge and it's night time service is less frequent than the train, I think the two aren't comparable.

Finally, who wants to be the person betting it will be all good when it's their well-being or that of a loved one that's at risk?

Richard:

With regard to Burrard Street Bridge:

City crews were doing work on the bridge which blocked the north bound inside lane. Traffic approaching the bridge from all directions was backed up longer than you could see.

Traveling north down Burrard, the line was past the set of lights at Burrard and 4th and at Cornwall, it was backed to Vine.

Taking that lane out pemanantly would be a huge mistake.

gman it's not evolution, it's just poor judgement. But that is my point. Why should we put all the onus on the pedestrian to stay safe, when sadly not all pedestrians are always able to be safe. Why instead don't we minimize their risk by reducing vehicle speeds in urban areas. Glad to hear you walk everywhere please stay safe.
And no, I don't think you or cars are evil. I just think we allow cars to go too fast in urban environments.

"if your dumb enough to step in front of a 4000lb.car you lose and thats evolution."

Pedestrians have the right to expect others to drive in a responsible and safe manner. A minority of drivers make it dangerous for everyone else. The penalties for dangerous driving are woefully inadequate and enforcement is insufficient. These are all reasons why evolution has nothing to do with it. In fact, the science shows that children don't have great skills at judging distance and speed, and of course, if you are a vision-impaired person you must rely upon audible crosswalk signals and a hope that drivers understand their obligation to stay out of the crosswalk except to travel through it when they are legally entitled to do so.

Then there's the drivers who swerve around cars waiting for pedestrians at crosswalks and run over people who are already crossing.

In short, it's edgy and cool to make pronouncements about Darwinian karma, but the real world presents a more complex set of problems.

"Finally, who wants to be the person betting it will be all good when it's their well-being or that of a loved one that's at risk?"

Chris, I think that many of your concerns could easily be addressed with good lighting, high visibility from different angles, and cameras (like the ones currently on the burrard bridge!)

Night time activity is always going to be more dangerous, whether you're riding the skytrain, jogging, or biking, and one has to be aware of their surroundings..but there are lots of things that can be done to mitigate the dangers.

Jason,I agree and if you go to burrard bridge wiki page it says that the bridge was designed for a lite rail bridge under it.That would be great but now it appears now cyclist are afraid of the dark.... sheesh

gman;

That would mean Vision repairing the bridge to begin with.

There are still very attractive nets catching the falling debris - long with signs along a very well travel local and tourist pathway (Kits Beach, thru Vanier Park and to Granville Island) that state 'watch for falling rocks'

It has been 2 plus years now.

The money had been set aside for the repairs and I wonder if it is still set aside or has it been spent elsewhere.

Why is it taking so long? The longer the wait, the greater the repairs and the bigger the cost - to taxpayers.

"'Finally, who wants to be the person betting it will be all good when it's their well-being or that of a loved one that's at risk'"

Chris now lets apply your statement to something everyone will remember...I know Max will remember this...

Some time ago I said that years ago parents started DRIVING their children to school because they were afraid, children were being abducted and molested by strangers, while walking to school....you accused me of fear mongering...

So when it is my children it's OK to put them in danger, but when it's you or your loved one....

Chris... that makes you a hypocrite!!!

Or at the very least, a very self centered individual...

Well folks it looks like were doomed,we have devolved to the point that we cant cross the street without the cities guiding hand.Im going out right now and im gonna run with scissors before pointy things are banned.

Jason:

The risk of someone being robbed or assaulted in a dark place invisible to the passing public is just a tad higher than that for children being abducted by a stranger on their way to school. And by a tad higher, I mean even more likely than the chance you'll reply to one of my comments with a half-baked come-back. Yes, that much more likely. Hard to believe, but there you go.

Here's a handy map of assaults, robberies, etc, complete with time of incident data to help you understand this rather obvious point. I'd point out the abduction attempts, but there aren't any.

http://www.spotcrime.com/bc/vancouver

Max they probably spent it on planters on hornby.

Chris

it is obvious you aren't reading these posts very well you are responding to Jason....

but it was GEORGE who called you on you crap!! Not Jason...

lets admit it Chris you just want your way,you don't want to go under the bridge.... you expect the entire bridge.. and when others present an option that doesn't fit your agenda you get nasty....

Jason:

Sorry dude, my snarky comment should have been directed to George. My bad. I didn't catch my error before posting and I apologize for that.

To your point, video cameras record crimes, proximity to other people reduces the risk of a crime ever occurring.

George:

My points stand, despite my over-eager jab at Jason. You can feel free to claim bullying if you like. I'm past the point of caring.

cheers,
CK

gman
You seem to conveniently forget that cities guiding hand actually built all the infrastructure that currently exists for moving cars around in. It didn't just evolve. Cities allowed us to drive. Active decisions by cities are what got us where we are now and active decisions will either keep the status quo, improve things or make things worse. I'm not really sure what you are advocating. I'm advocating imposing a 30kmh speed limit in urban areas, care to state what you would like beyond the ability to run around with a pointy thing?

as are we ...

and that is why you are past the point of caring...

because we/I always catch you on your crap.... that always frustrates a bully ... funny you brought up the bully word... did I hit a nerve?

I didn't say anything about bullies..

"lets admit it Chris you just want your way,you don't want to go under the bridge.... you expect the entire bridge.. and when others present an option that doesn't fit your agenda you get nasty...."

I wouldn't have an issue with that type of arrangement George. I can ride fast enough and I ain't pretty enough to worry much about a sexual assault. My concern would be for female cyclists for the most part.

I'm not too concerned about waiting at a bus stop by myself, but prefer to escort my female friends and wait with them until the bus arrives when they have to catch transit late at night. I try to base my actions on smart choices based in real world likelihoods, not boogeymen.

"did I hit a nerve?"

Nope. Just used to your schtick George.

"because we/I always catch you on your crap"


Right. equating the real risk of late night assault with the highly unlikely incidence of daylight abduction is what's crap my friend.

"I wouldn't have an issue with that type of arrangement George. I can ride fast enough and I ain't pretty enough to worry much about a sexual assault. My concern would be for female cyclists for the most part."

Right Chris you can take the moral high ground.... protect the women... but when we want to protect kids...please... We can see through you too.. ;-)

John,nice to see your logic is on par with your sense of humor.First thing I would do is ignore your 30k suggestion as that only creates congestion and angers people even more causing road rage and we all know how deadly that can be.2nd I wouldnt try to create a problem where none exists.But dont worry the world will end tomorrow anyway havnt you heard.

"Right Chris you can take the moral high ground.... protect the women... but when we want to protect kids...please... We can see through you too"

George:

You appear to be saying you'd sacrifice a woman's safety to reduce travel time by a minute or two, and to justify it you're using the safety of children in a completely unrelated and unlikely scenario. Surely I'm misreading that too? I hope so. The alternative is odious to contemplate.

Number one cause of death for children is the motor vehicle George. Food for thought if you truly care about children.

George I think CK wears blue lycra and a flowing red cape,suddenly I feel sooooo safe and warm.

gman
Yes, I have heard the world will end tomorrow, and hold that to be as factually correct as your statement that 30kmh speed limits will only create congestion and anger people even more causing road rage. If there is no problem that needs fixing then do you think that the number of pedestrian deaths is acceptable?
I do agree with you that road rage causes problems, however cars hitting people at 50kmh causes more.

Chris.... good try ;-)

Chris, I would ignore people like gman. He has nothing intelligent to say and is just baiting you.

Seriously, when I hear a commotion like that I look for the nearest lamp post to hide behind. I kind of like my life.

"Sorry dude, my snarky comment should have been directed to George. My bad. I didn't catch my error before posting and I apologize for that."

Chris, I've said enough snarky things to you that it's probably somewhat deserved...no harm done. ;)

I do get the Vancouver crime maps emailed to me each week. I'm one of those people, however, that feels that crime is far overstated by the media and that we're constantly living in "fear" for little or no reason.

While I agree that the Canada Line bridge would be somewhat different, I'd still be interested in crime statistics, as I think it would be a somewhat fair representation of what a cyclist could expect...and it's technically in a potentially more "dangerous" and "less connected" area given it's length and where it starts.

Nice link. It's on my desktop now!

You sure seem to make rude comments.
It always astonishes me when I read them.

As for there being no statistics for 'abduction attempts'.

Maybe it's because they are not publicized?

"If everybody walked around wearing a big cardboard box for an overcoat there would be congestion at every escalator and stairway in the city." Not to worry, the new protest structure bylaw won't let that happen.

"George I think CK wears blue lycra and a flowing red cape,suddenly I feel sooooo safe and warm."

Actually I'm on the record as more of a Batman guy.

http://thetyee.ca/ArtsAndCulture/2010/12/27/SustainableSuperHeroes/

Chris its nice to see someone has a sense of humor

"Limit motor vehicle speeds to 30km/h everywhere in the city where there are pedestrians around. Research has proven that pedestrian fatalities dramatically increase when motor vehicle speeds are over 30km/h." The effective speed limit downtown is 30km/h or less anyway, with congestion and traffic signals. A shared space design a la Monderman would increase safety, reduce carbon emissions by reducing congestion and we could all quit p*****g on each other! :-)

Oh and Chris if they did build it and you want to use it at night give me a call and I will come down and run in front of your bike with a lantern LOL.OK OK I will stop,dont want to get Froth frothing.

Actually, a 30km/h speed limit would not create congestion, it would actually lower congestion. Motor vehicles can follow safely closer at 30km/h which means the traffic requires less road space and thus reduces congestion. Yellow lights could be make shorter as well because cars need less distance to stop.

It would also reduce collisions and thus decrease the long delays and congestion due to these collisions. With all the traffic signals in the city, it would not increase travel times much at all. It would discourage people from just racing to the next stop light.

Anyway, 30km/h speed limits would prevent a lot of pedestrian deaths in the city.

Regarding road rage. If congestion makes people mad, they have anger management issues and should not be allowed to drive until they have these issues addressed as they endanger everyone else on the road including other drivers, pedestrians and cyclists. They also give the majority of drivers who are responsible a bad name.

One thing nobody has mentioned is that due to Vancouver's coming of age in the streetcar era, we don't have very walkable neighbourhoods. Instead we have long, long commercial strips like West Broadway, Fourth, Main, Dunbar etc that are long and linear instead of compact and square. The pattern predates mass car ownership.

In fact there are very few pockets of Metro Vancouver that have whole neighbourhoods that are compact and walkable outside of downtown. Off the top of my head, I'd say Ladner and Steveston...any others?

Bob, you are right. Most of our commercial areas are 1 street that followed the street car track. Pedestrian experts keep saying 3 blocks walking radius is most people's tolerance and from my observations, that premise is accurate.

You are also right about Steveston and Ladner. I live in Lander and I adore our funky little 3 block by 3 block downtown. No car necessary. My favourite place is the yellow hardware store that reminds me of a hardware store in the 60's that has absolutely everything and the only way to find something is to ask the owner... who happens to be right there! In the summer months the Farmer's Market sets up and you are in community heaven. (I should probably shut up so it stays that way)

Once you get out on to Ladner Trunk those strip malls may have great services but you are instantly looking for a parking spot. Same is true in Tsawwassen.

This conversation reminds me... around the same time as I was working on the Sidewalk Task Force, I made a trip to a conference in Boston devoted to downtown revitalization. At that time I was acutely sensitive about wheelchair access. Again, goat trails become roads, and cobblestone sidewalks are 2 feet wide in the old parts of town and a someone with vision or mobility issues is pretty much hooped. As a small test, I walked the downtown trying to buy milk, toilet paper and a light bulb. I never found the lightbulb.

Every city has its limitations that come with changing modes of transportation. In my year with the task force, I got to understand that each interest group has to come to the table prepared to compromise on their version of a perfect solution so that a GOOD solution can be found for all.

For the most part, I think Vancouver does pretty well. What we need to realize is it is never going to be perfect - for anybody.

Interesting challenge to the City Daniel, and good to read these comments.

all, If you've got an opinion about how to improve your commute - whether it be about walking, driving, cycling or bus - I invite you to join apps.facebook.com/VanTransportFuture

The City of Vancouver has partnered with the University of British Columbia to hold this innovative Facebook conversation about Vancouver's transportation future. Check it out!

Also, there's a number of ways to be heard by the city this spring on transportation issues. See a href="http://talkvancouver.com/transportation">talkvancouver.com/transportation

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