City reports says bike lanes have resulted in a $2.4M impact to local merchants
I used to commute across the Burrard bridge every day. When the bike lane was installed as a “temporary trial”, I noticed traffic got worse and it took me longer to get to and from work.
Now the city has released reports on the Dunsmuir and Hornby separated bike lanes which proves what every regular commuter already knows: The bike lanes have indeed made traffic worse.
It’s time to scrap the separated bike lanes downtown.
The reports show that the Hornby and Dunsmuir bike lanes have hurt local businesses, potentially costing as much as $2 million according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. This impact could be have been mitigated if there had been meaningful consultation. But the bike lanes were installed in a rush. Funny how red tape seems to vanish when the project is at the top of council’s ideological agenda.
Travel times have increased, making it harder to get around downtown Vancouver. That’s because there are not fewer cars on Dunsmuir and Hornby, but rather, fewer lanes for them to drive in and more signals that disrupt traffic.
The reports try to brag about increases in cyclists using Dunsmuir and Hornby, but they are comparing numbers from January and March to June. It’s no surprise that more people choose to cycle in June when the weather is pleasant than in January or March when the Vancouver rains are at their worst.
But how many of these cyclists are really daily commuters who the bike lanes were supposed to attract? How many are recreational cyclists, tourists or couriers?
I have nothing against cycling for fun or to get to work, but I think that our city government should be trying to make it easier for the largest number of people to get in and out of downtown. For most people, cycling to work is simply not an option. The priority should be on fast-moving traffic and making daily life more convenient.
The only thing that Vision wants to drive downtown is their ideological agenda. I think I’ll stick to my car.
- Post by Kathryn Marshall. She is a writer and broadcast commentator on Canadian politics and current affairs. Kathryn has worked on political campaigns across the country at all levels of government. She is originally from London, Ontario and has also lived in Quebec, British Columbia and Alberta. Kathryn has a BA in Women’s Studies from the University of Western Ontario and is currently completing a Law degree at the University of Calgary. Before Law School she worked for the Fraser Institute, Canada`s largest think tank.You can follower her on Twitter @kvmarshall.
This column first appeared in 24 Hours Vancouver on Monday, July 25, 2011.