"It's time to scrap the separated bike lanes" says Marshall

Post by Kathryn Marshall in

110 comments

bikelanevancouver.jpg
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.

110 Comments

Hear Hear Kathryn! A total bungled project from the outset. This is what happens when you let politics try to drive issues in the city. Every last engineer in the city quietly said this won't work, but it's "councils directive" that they do it.

Hornby could have been made safer for cyclists simply by putting the bike lane on the other side of the parked cars. It's a cheap effective fix and we could have focused on finally working on the Helmcken greenway (which has been in the works now for well over a decade).

I personally can't wait to see these eye-sores get dug up and replaced with common-sense solutions. Not stupid, politically driven, expensive, wastes of money.

I cannot understand why you repost this woman's drivel. It's repeatedly the most mind-numbing observations and really a disservice to citycaucus.

"The priority should be on fast-moving traffic and making daily life more convenient."

This sentence makes me cringe.

The comment makes you cringe eh?

So I take it you're not in favour of making daily life more convenient then?

For who Paul? For those fortunate/rich enough to own a car? For those who choose to drive downtown and want to do it as fast as possible? (Yes, I know there are those that have to drive for work or whatever, this is not and has not been about them)

At the expense of who? More convinient in the hear and now? Or should we be thinking about 10-20 years from now?

Like I said--it makes me cringe.

Please, people, read the reports for yourself. I’m afraid Kathryn has been reading this through her Fraser-Institute-Business-Peril-Enhancement glasses again.

There is one report that uses actual data on the ground to evaluate the traffic impacts fo the bike lanes:
http://vancouver.ca/ctyclerk/cclerk/20110728/documents/penv2-downtownSeparatedBikeLanesStatusReportSummer2011.pdf

There is another that outlines the business impacts, based on anecdotal evidence:
http://vancouver.ca/ctyclerk/cclerk/20110728/documents/penv3-BusinessImpactStudyReportDowntownSeparatedBicycleLanes.pdf

Note especially that traffic volume on Hornby has not changed, and travel times have not increased (except on a small area of Hornby near Pender). In fact, travel times have marginally decreased for cars along most of the route (see Munstel report). So there is no extra traffic backup, in spite of the perceived commuter chaos caused by the bike lanes (see the Stantec report).

Also, note that business vacancies along Hornby have gone down, from 12% to 2%. I can think about a lot of parts of our fine city that would love to see business more than 80% of their vacant businesses fill up within a year during an economic downturn. I guess these businesses’ increased sales are not counted towards the $2.4 million in “losses”.

Oh, and that $2.4 Million? Based on random complaints from a few businesses, all of whom were unwilling (or unable?) to provide documentation to back up their claims. In the post-Olympic hangover time, during the introduction of the HST and tougher drinking driving laws, food service companies are reporting (but not providing proof of) a 15% loss in sales, then boldly claim it is caused by the bike lanes, and bike lanes alone? If the situation is so dire, how come 70% of the businesses surveyed were not ready to complain about it when surveyed?
Something smells like kimchi around here…

Pat and her comments is a perfect illustration of why businesses did not bother answering the impact questions. what's the point - it would not matter what they said, there would have been some sort of 'explanation' or dismissive come back.

When a 5% drop in business means the owner does not get a paycheque, the amount is more significant than people think.

Drop in vacancy rates - there is a sucker born every day.

I seem to recall Jim Green being a shoe-in to be elected back in 2005.

Sam Sullivan seemed like a pretty underwhelming candidate.

Don't count out what may be quickly becoming the silent majority.

The eco/green/bike crowd may be loud, but if you think that older Vancouverites (who vote in droves), could give a rats behind about bike lanes, you are quite mistaken.

T-3 months.

Common City Caucus...
You call this journalism?
Read other people's columns and comments for the past two weeks, cherry pick 4-500 words and then... send it to 24Hours (another beaut) and City Caucus. heard you are in pickle so I hope you are not paying for this crap, or you've been had...Daniel.

Another poorly researched article. What a pity if this the direction in which NPA is heading. Truly sad. I would never vote for a party that presents the public with such sensational and inaccurate analysis of a decision.

I'm all in favour of encouraging more sustainable methods of transportation, but these should be researched before they are implemented. Perhaps adding an extension to the bridge under or alongside it to encourage cycling. I'm not sure if that would have been feasible, but certainly we should be trying to find ways to encourage sustainable living that causes less or no impact on the environment without hurting local business.

Ms Marshall, I see that you have gone and researched unreliable sources. You've clearly put in the bad and left out the good.

The report shows that travel times are largely unaffected, and the amount of bikers on hornby are more than the same period last year! Have you even seen the "suicide" bike lane on burrard? The fact burrard is even called a "bike lane" takes some of the poison from the dart.

When will your car centered minds actually come to the fact that your roads are largely funded by income taxes, and that cyclists are subsidizing drivers by paying taxes on multi billion dollar highways? When was that last time that we have heard any right wing newspapers publish stories on scraping Highway 1 or 405 because it causes congestion and a 3.3 billion $$$ loss? http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/story/2009/11/10/oecd-traffic.html

People, we are in the 21 century. Lets use 21 century ideas and solutions, and the car is not one of them. Wake up, and take in the reality.

Julia, let me get that straight. A minority of businesses are complaining that their business is negatively affected by infrastructure works. When asked how much, a few of them provide random numbers, but then refuse to back that up with any evidence. The rest provide no answers at all. So based on their unsupported anecdotal complaints, Upon this, the City is supposed to base policy?

No, wait. Far from not listening to the complainants, the City engaged in two studies, and invited the business associations to take part in their design and implementation. The studies look into the alleged impacts, and does actual measurements of things like traffic flows, parking availability, and pedestrian access. Lo and behold, they find the numbers do not support the complainant’s claims. Further, instead of shops closing their doors, more are opening up.

Still, credit where credit is due. These were tough reports to spin as negative as Kathryn did; her Fraser Institute and Calgary School training have done her well. She started with a conclusion (the bike lanes are the worst thing for the City since crack cocaine) and created a fantasy narrative to connect those reports to that conclusion. Bravo.

Oh, look at the photograph at the top of the page! I can see 2 cyclists, and a large piece of steel transporting something 1/15 its size (a person).

Car centered right wingers, you and your roads takes up about 25-33% or more of the space downtown. That means that >1/4 of the space downtown is there so that you can move your large piece of steel.
How about cyclists? Pedestrians? about 2% of the land.

Please, look outside your window, and see the size of the car, and the size of the thing in the car. Do wee really need such a large thing to carry such a small thing?

Seems I've read this comment from you before Kahlo.

Pat:

A loss of $2.4 million over a period of 1 year is FAR from small. Especially if those businesses effected are small coffee or sandwich shops, small retails shops were your profit margine is low to begin with. Lease spce in that area would not be cheap.

Now add that $2.4 million loss onto the loss of revenue from parking metres - which was another $2 million or so - which will also be annual and that number loss is larger.

The simple fact that many of the businesses did not particpate in the study is of great interest in itself.

Perhpas they feel like why bother. These lanes were put in without proper consultation, they City didnt give a damn, so why would they consider any different from the City now? giving them anyinformation.

With the increase in lease space, I'd like to know what type of businesses came on board. Straight offices are going the be effected less than retail store fronts.

And I do love this as well, it shows that the Hornby lane has managed to move 80% off of the sidewalk. Are you freaking kidding me??? This number should be 100%. Start ticketing those that 'can't yet figure it out'.

Oh look, Jacob, I can see a selfish idiot on a bike blowing through an occupied pedestrian crossing.

Also visible is a lump of concrete, glass and steel which contains people much smaller than itself. Why can't they make do with tents?

Pat, you have obviously never run a business or tried to determine ROI for things that are intangible.

How can the study say the impact is moderate or none at all - how does business compare to other areas - no mention of that. The economy has been picking up, Retail sales are up. How much missed opportunity was there?

And if there were losses - how much would the city consider enough to close the bike lanes?

thought so.

Thank-you for that helpful link. According to that report, the average number of vehicles per day on Hornby street is 14,000. That same report says that the average commute on Hornby is delayed by 30 seconds due to the separated bike lanes.( see page 4) That equates to 420,000 seconds per day or 7,000 hours of lost productive time. According to stats Canada, the average hourly rate in BC is $21.40 per hour (April 2011). That means the cost of lost productive time, on a daily basis for taxpayers is $149,000 or on an annual basis, $54.7 million. So, no cost to the city budget but a huge cost on city taxpayers in terms of lost time in productive time to subsidize one bike lane for one year.

Long Live "Copy and Paste", correspondence courses and Twitter professional development credits!
Vision has got one , now NPA has got one!
Did anyone actually read that article from Kurt Heinrich?
"I was pleasantly surprised to be invited me to a rally for a non-partisan group called the coalition to Build a Better BC."
KH
How did this Bozo get that job...there is no question in my mind...Geez.

Then there comes Kathryn Marshall, a scholar and a future Lawyer... a writer (LOL)!
Did anyone actually read... her article in 24 Hours(in print as well) before printing it?
"This impact could be have been mitigated if there had been meaningful consultation."
KM
We have two for two. People that declares themselves, 'writers' and 'professional storytellers'...Geez.
It's a total disgrace.
AS for KM message, same ol' same ol'. I've seen better.
Daniel are you listening?

@ skippy
The 14000 cars a day is for the area smithe to robson on hornby street, but the 30 second delay applies to the pender section. I believe a larger delay is experienced for the right turn onto georgia especially during rush hours, but it can be fixed by extending the right turn signal.

@ David,
When a bicyclist wants to turn left, one way-the box turn- http://commuteorlando.com/wordpress/2009/08/22/smart-moves-left-turns-on-big-roads/ is to legaly cross the pedestrian walkway and onto the bike box, where they turn around. So, that bicyclist is actually legally turning (if he is turning at all-he might just be correcting his balance to avoid the flower pots).

I wonder how many shop owners are tied to a lease they dont want to break,but will head for the hills as soon as it runs out.I also wonder how these lanes have affected property values on hornby?If you listen to Bill Good in the morning its really funny,Bill runs to the window every 5 min.and comes back to report "no bikes on hornby"lol

Why should Gregor and his crew care about any of the businesses in downtown Vancouver?

Businesses don't have a vote.

Agree. The 30 second delay is for a one block section only so my estimate clearly underestimates the actual impact on lost productive time for Vancouver taxpayers. The suggestion that the changes in the timing of the lights will resolve any delay is at best speculative and the report includes no definitive conclusions or a priori theory to suggest this solution will work. The report suggests further delays in access and egress for customers of underground parking facilities but again does not quantify this delay. This report, when properly and thoroughly interpreted is very damning one, note one bike lane.

You are right, but they should have.

@skippy

It is not the bike lane that causes further delays in access and egress for customers of underground parking facilities, it is actually bicycles using the bike lanes. So to state that this does cause drivers significant delays, you pretty much have to admit there is a significant number of people cycling in the lanes.

Drivers exiting the underground parking facilities are delayed by motor vehicles driving on Hornby. I see this pretty much every time on Hornby. Some exiting a garage has to patently wait for all the cars to pass by.

So if you are saying the bike lane is bad due to these delays, you pretty much have to agree that motor vehicles on Hornby are not a good idea either.

Check out the projections on page 11 as to how many cyclists they expect per hour in one lane. Hilarious stuff.
Too bad we paid for this nonsense.

http://www.translink.ca/%7E/media/documents/cycling/regional_cycling_strategy/cycling%20for%20everyone.ashx

@Richard

The cities own report cites this delay and does not atribute it to the amount of bike traffic but rather the simple necessity to cross the bike lane itself. Even in the absence of the separated lane bike traffic on Hornby would have caused delay in the same way you suggest other vehicular traffice does both then and now. The question is what is the incremental impact of the bike lanes. The answer is delay. Your flippant answer is neither logical nor supported by the study

I don't think Pat said that $2.4 Million was small, I think she said the number is anecdotal and unsupported by any evidence or analysis. You are attcking a strawman.

Jacob, you are messing with the cherry picking that is required to make their case. Please don't force them to cherry pick again!

Well, Jacob, if you're saying he's doing a safe, considerate and legal manoeuvre I'll take your word for it!

It's interesting that with photographs we can often see what conforms to our preconceptions. You see a right wing road hog, I see a rude, probably self righteous twit!

Who knows who's right or wrong?

@ JZee

The numbers translink gives is not wrong. 1500 for 1 metre of bike lane. THe Hornby street lane is 1.5 m wide. so that means that 2250 cyclists use the lane/ hour, or 37.5 cyclists per minute.

I can vision 20 cyclists per minute rush hours on the lane in the next 5-6 years.

The Thought of The Night

"Dare a Catarina quel che è di Catarina, dare a Dio quel che è di Dio."

I know what I said before but this time, I have to give credit where credit is due. (basically the English translation of the above TofD - sorry but in Italian always sounds better, at least to me! :-) )

So, our Catarina,which in a very, very, very... funny way, no pun intended Kathryn, shares the same first name and... both initials with the more famous heroine Katherina Minola of Shakespeare notoriety, and in a similar, gutsy way, she tackled a sensitive issue with a Beatles attitude.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Ts2U1mkfz4

Too bad she didn't think of adding this link to her ed.piece, for all the Vision comrades to enjoy.

For more fun and unrestricted play time on bike lanes and Vision shenanigans go here:
http://twitter.com/#!/glissandoremmy

We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

@Skippy

Use some common sense. You are really grasping at straws now. If there was no bikes in the lane, why would vehicles be slowed down.

If just empty space was there, it should be an advantage for vehicles entering traffic as they have room to manoeuvre and better visibility.

"So if you are saying the bike lane is bad due to these delays, you pretty much have to agree that motor vehicles on Hornby are not a good idea either."

You say tuh-matt-oh, I say tuh-mate-oh. Either way you cut it, these things are distracting, complex, confusing, space-balkanizing, conflict-engendering mistakes.

'"The priority should be on fast-moving traffic and making daily life more convenient."

This sentence makes me cringe.'

How's this one grab you?

"The City of Vancouver intends to offer $42 million in land and capital grants to developers as part of a 10-year plan to end homelessness and create 38,000 new affordable homes across the city."

http://www.vancouversun.com/news/City+wants+create+housing+units/5153586/story.html#ixzz1TCHRa1oG

Thank-you for that helpful link. According to that report, the average number of vehicles per day on Hornby street is 14,000. That same report says that the average commute on Hornby is delayed by 30 seconds due to the separated bike lanes.( see page 4) That equates to 420,000 seconds per day or 7,000 hours of lost productive time. According to stats Canada, the average hourly rate in BC is $21.40 per hour (April 2011). That means the cost of lost productive time, on a daily basis for taxpayers is $149,000 or on an annual basis, $54.7 million.

This is either some of the funniest parody this side of Stephen Colbert, or ready for Fraser Institute publishing. Suggested headline (either way): "City Stoplights and crosswalks cost driving entrepeneur class billions annually" - perhaps follow up with a suggested "run the dirty hippies down" campaign and throw a tax cut in there (just to keep it real).

The City numbers way overstate the actual cyclists on the Burrard Bridge so it is doubtful they are accurate for the Hornby and Dunsmuir Bike Lanes.

107,000 cyclists on the Burrard Bridge in Sept 2010 - a peak month, for instance, would mean 3566 cyclists per day in one month alone. If one takes peak hours - 7AM to 9AM and 4PM - 7PM that would be a veritable crowd on the Burrard Bridge.

How about fixing the bridge before it falls down? There is a huge amount of exposed rebar visible. Is this from disintegration or is it from a City effort to expose it and neglect to deal with it after several months?

Do I smell a plot here? Let the Burrard Bridge disintegrate so the public can be spun that it suffers irreparable damage? "Oh we need a new bridge...one with Bike Lanes built into it!"

Lets get rid of separated bike lanes and return to lanes that can be removed when necessary - like cold windy snowy days when there is no one in them.

Did you know the Bike Lanes have their own snow plows? (Of course, no one from the 'burbs can reach them when it snows.) . Ever wonder how most people get downtown after a storm? Walking over the bridge sidewalks of course! Yet Granville Bridge sidewalks go unsalted and unplowed after snow storms. Where has commonsense gone in our city?

Please stop this waste of taxpayers money being spent on separated bike lanes that have their own exclusive snow plows taking priority over pedestrians and vehicles.

"Trial", my foot! More like another Vision boondoggle.

skippy,

You say the 30 second delay equals 54 million annually (Assuming your fuzzy math is true). How about you add up the delays caused my traffic crashes due to inattentive/poor drivers, give that a value and see what it is?

Gerry,

That is quite a random tangent.

@Richard,

Your quarrel on that point is with the city not with me. The comment regarding the delay for “parkade” customers is a direct quote from city report. Read it yourself. Go figure. Assume I agree with you that this point in the city report is incorrect, that was not included in my extrapolation of their numbers so the cost in lost productive time remains at $54 million for one bike lane

"How about you add up the delays caused (b)y traffic crashes due to inattentive/poor drivers, give that a value and see what it is?"

And be ready to type in a lot of zeros and commas.

Todd Litman at the VTPI has already done most of the heaving lifting on this issue.

http://www.vtpi.org/ecodev.pdf

"Did you know the Bike Lanes have their own snow plows?"

False.


"Wightman said the city has purchased two new all-purpose snow removal machines that will be used to clear downtown bike lanes, the Stanley Park seawall and other challenging routes."

http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/westcoastnews/story.html?id=a815f35a-c7ee-4a66-859c-54ece7168e71

Re: Bridge Repair

I agree the bridge is a mess and it is sad as it is a piece of art within itself. The worn away concreate, exposed rebar, the paint they use to try to 'pretty' up the decay.

Aside from the obrvious wear along the side rails, they still have the gosh ugly netting up along the under carriage along with signs saying 'Watch for falling debris'.

Nice. The pathway that runs directly underneath is littered with tourists during the summer months, wlking from Kits Beach, Vanier Park to Granville Island, and this is what they get to see.

I could have sworn, Vision said the bridge repairs would be done after the 'bike trial'. So what is the hold up? I am pretty sure, I had read that the NPA set aside $32M or something like that for repairs back in 2008. Where did that money go?

I went to the report and had a look at the data it contains. I find it interesting that the report seems to take pains to point out all the increases in ridership and other benefits that come from the separated bike lane but ignores other less flattering facts. I looked at the ridership over Burrard Street bridge for the periods January to June 2010 and 2011 and interestingly total ridership went down from 482,000 in 2010 to 438,000 in 2011, a reduction of 44,000 or 9%. Similarly, look at the August to December period in 2009 and 2010. In this case ridership did rise by 16,000 riders or 4%. Hardly a massive endorsement in either case yet the tone of the report suggests otherwise.

But at what cost? The average trip time for a vehicle on Hornby only (not Burrard as those statistics aren't published if they are available) has increased by 30 seconds, and there are 14,000 vehicles a day that travel that route that means 7,000 minutes or 116.6 hours of additional time that a car is "on", most likely idling or going very slow. At 2.8 kilos of CO2 emission per hour idling that is 326 kilos of additional CO2 per day or 81,620 kilos per year (based on 250 work days only). This is not "costed".

"The average trip time for a vehicle on Hornby only (not Burrard as those statistics aren't published if they are available) has increased by 30 seconds, and there are 14,000 vehicles a day that travel that route that means 7,000 minutes or 116.6 hours of additional time that a car is "on", most likely idling or going very slow."

Every additional cyclist that chooses a fifteen minute commute by bike instead of a car, due to infrastructure improvements, negates the additional idle time of 30 other automobile users. Overall, this means less than five hundred cyclists choosing to ride downtown for work can balance out the additional emissions of the 14,000 cars.

Some numbers you danced around but tactically left out: June-to-June ridership is up 50% on Dunsmuir, and travel times on Hornby are only up 30 seconds, despite carrying the same number of cars.

"The priority should be on fast-moving traffic" - and you'll be taking your share in your neighbourhood?

"Easier for the largest number of people to get in and out of downtown." - drivers are only at 45% (add 12% for car passengers if you want), and there's no way to grow that even if you want it to.

"Overall, this means less than five hundred cyclists choosing to ride downtown for work can balance out the additional emissions of the 14,000 cars."

A correct assumption of what would have to happen to negate the impact on GHG, but still an assumption. Interestingly, the data indicates that this is not being achieved - car trips along Hornby have remained essentially unchanged. So if there is an increase in bicycle trips where did those riders come from? We need to analyze and manage by facts here. As much as I liked a Field of Dreams, when it's someone else's cornfield we need to be careful.

"Interestingly, the data indicates that this is not being achieved - car trips along Hornby have remained essentially unchanged. So if there is an increase in bicycle trips where did those riders come from? "

Not sure of the exact numbers, but one would also have to include growth in the region. How many more cars could reasonably be expected to be traveling downtown due to addt'l people moving to Vancouver and environs? How many of the cyclists have moved from buses or are young people who aren't buying cars even when they have the resources to do so? A very complex issue to be sure.

The biggest problem with the bike lane debate is expecting instant results from cycling infastructure, when the same criteria isn't required of additional roads or transit. Critics don't factor in the reality that motor vehicles took decades to become the dominant transportation form in cities, and it may well take some years to reverse the trend, although the cost-effectiveness and benefits of cycling seem to gather converts pretty quickly if the experiences both here and in other cities are any indication.

@David

You are assuming that the pedestrians in the picture are not jay walking. Maybe the cyclist is taking evasive action.

Funny how a picture can be read may ways...

glissy,
that was a beaut man, but seriously, read that again! Katy Perry here shall be grateful though.
And BTW how come I didn't see your post until know? And I was here reading comments a couple of times...strange.

Allan

Well, there are five people crossing both ways but, yes, you could be right. Now I'm going to speculate on the sound track, which, based on personal experience, is something like;

Cyclist - OUT MY F*CKING WAY!

Pedestrian - F*cking Idiot!

Cyclist - F*CK YOU, F*CKING C*NT!

Not exactly Taming of the Shrew, maybe Two Gentlemen of Vancouver. A comedy of manners wherein two rival brotherhoods, one led by Duke Roberto and his courtiers, do daily battle on the streets and blogs of our fair city.

I too found Glissando Remmy's post inspiring David! Still nice, 'Two Gents from Vancouver' and I might add...Much Ado About Separated bike lanes :0)

Chris, you, Richard and others seem to dismiss the number of workers coming into Vancouver from outside the immediate area.

Just as Meggs is dismissing the number in favor of handing the viaducts over to land devleopers (VV's #2 donators) and of course, the union peeps that will benefit from the work.

As for those working, living in the city, we are screwed.

Funny, as someone living four blocks off the lanes and using them everytime I leave home on my bike (to get to just about anywhere in the city in comfort), I don't feel very screwed.

Or perhaps you're the one being dismissive of the number of car-free households we have in this city that love these projects - and let's be honest, it's just a handful of changes to shift things just a little from all motors, all the time.

"Chris, you, Richard and others seem to dismiss the number of workers coming into Vancouver from outside the immediate area."

My personal opinion is that if the large numbers of people who could bike to work did soon on occasion, it would free up road space during rush hour for those who cannot, and those who need a vehicle to do business, such as tradespeople.

The people who are dismissing their needs of suburban commuters are the city dwellers who make a choice to drive when they could just as easily take transit or pedal a few kms.

"did soon on occasion"

should be "did so"

"Gerry,
That is quite a random tangent."
It might seem so. Sorry, I didn't mean to stretch your analytical abilities to the snapping point. The connection is that this council is breaking the bank with expensive unproductive projects. Bike lanes, GCAP's, land giveaways. Who's benefitting? Follow the money, honey.

"When will your car centered minds actually come to the fact that your roads are largely funded by income taxes, and that cyclists are subsidizing drivers by paying taxes on multi billion dollar highways?"
I wonder what cyclists incomes would look like if there were no cars, trucks, buses, motor vehicles-only bicycles? We live in the 21st century, not the 19th...

A false conclusion used to distract from the real issues Gerry. Who is suggesting the wholesale elimination of all road-based transport? Exactly nobody. The reality is that a a steady move away from automobile dependence and a rationalization of our transport system through more options for individuals would put money back in the pockets of consumers and improve profits for those who rely on roads to make a living.

Strawman, slippery slope, appeal to novelty. Try again.

Cars are useful, but damaging in large quantities within urban areas. Trucks are fine, when appropriately sized to their load and surroundings. Buses work great when they're not stuck in (car) traffic. All three are best when they move slow and carefully not to kill indiscriminately, don't need to be parked anywhere where land is useful, and don't pollute (at least to their immediate surroundings).

That's just the direction high-standard-of-living northern Europe has and is going, not the path back to the Stone Age.

Gerry, I have no time for you if you're just going to insult me. Grow up.

Chris:

Not all people are capable of biking to work.

Others, just don't want to regardless of how hard you and the bike advocates try push them.

Max:

Whatever Gerry has must be catching. Absolutism-itis perhaps. Where has anyone suggested everybody must use a bicycle? Exactly Nowhere. Your arguments are so weak they could use some exercise. Maybe a nice walk?

Max,

This has never been about getting all people cycling. Or getting all cars off the road. Stop with those ridiculous all or nothing points.

If half the people that CHOOSE to drive by themselves cycled, there would be more room on the road for those that HAVE to for work or whatever. It's a win win for everyone. More room for those that need to drive, more people being active, less pollution, etc etc etc.

I have no idea why you're so opposed to it. You and others aren't opposed to the actual idea of more cycling and infrastructure-- you're just so caught up in the political bs you can't even see straight. Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face.

'The people who are dismissing their needs of suburban commuters are the city dwellers who make a choice to drive when they could just as easily take transit or pedal a few kms.'
...Chris Keam


My statements don't contradict each other Max. Stop wasting the time of the other readers of this blog by forcing them to wade through your ill-thought out attempts to score points on the Internet rather than providing workable solutions for a complex problem.

@ Chris – to be fair, every time this issue comes up it deteriorates into an “us” versus “them” argument which creates the absolute nature of the conversations. You are either an evil car driver or an eco-friendly city loving bike rider. There doesn’t seem to be an in-between. Once we can get past that, there might be some constructive discussion.

My take on the cause of this divide - the way the bike lanes were introduced. It is eerily similar in the way the HST was introduced – it had a back handed feeling. The result, people who may have voted for the tax on the merit are saying no because of how it was introduced; an almost knee jerk reaction. I think the same applies here – the City didn’t really have or want meaningful dialog on the bike lanes – they wanted to build them as they felt their point would be proven by an increase in ridership. Like the Liberals on the tax, I think City Hall needs to mend fences and gain some creditability in order for there to be a meaningful dialog on cycling/transportation infrastructure.

Paul:

There is a great deal of truth to your comments but...

The Burrard Bridge lane was well debated by all sides and yet there was an outcry.

The Dunsmuir lane reallocated a piece of pavement that hadn't been available to drivers for quite a while due to construction, and there was prophesies of doom.

The Hornby lane outcomes have been neither as good or bad as the most extreme predictions, yet opponents still claim the worst and perpetuate the false belief that businesses haven't had an opportunity to contribute to the discussion.

Sadly, many critics preface every comment with "I'm not against cycling" and then get a free pass on suggesting regressive and unsafe practices that have great appeal to the uninformed. When faced with the innumerable facts and figures that would make an objective observer see the value of promoting transportation alternatives beyond the automobile, they come up with junk like "the 19th c" and "Not everybody can cycle" completely mis-representing both the reality and the intent of these changes to the road system. A productive dialogue cannot hinge on falsehoods and ignorance.

I appreciate your p.o.v. and thank you for the reasoned response.

CK

I do love when you revert to insults Chris.

Charming, very charming.

I'm not insulting you Max. I'm calling you out on your lack of respect for your audience. The cardinal sin of writing. You should thank me for my honesty.

"Sadly, many critics preface every comment with "I'm not against cycling" and then get a free pass on suggesting regressive and unsafe practices that have great appeal to the uninformed."

CK, on the same token, many pro-segratationists preface their comments "I'm not anti-car, but this is a public safety issue" and then get a free pass on suggesting proven failed 'progressive' and unsafe practices.

So the bar moves both ways. It's not fair to suggest that just because someone doesn't like THESE bike lanes, that they won't like any other bike lanes.

I'm mostly upset with how they were brought in and the cost of a "trial" project. When you "try" something out, logic demands you start with the least disruptive option and add to it when things work.

I still don't see why we couldn't have tried moving the painted bike lane between the parked cars and the sidewalk. Give that a trial for a year. It's the cheaper solution and has been proven to work very well. And if it didn't work, then move up to the next level. And so on.

The advance right turn lights are confusing to most drivers, confused drivers are dangerous drivers.
The right turn prohibitions and lack of parking are damaging to business.
Cyclists are still getting smacked in intersections.

The concrete and planters are clearly a failure. Abandon them and bring back some common sense.

Paul:

No doubt there is room for improvement. With over a hundred years of experience in designing roads, we have yet to eliminate car accidents. I'm not so sure we can categorize separated lanes as inherently more dangerous however. I only know of one study that makes that conclusion, albeit, rife with qualifications. The author of that study makes this observation:

"The likelihood an individual bicyclist will experience an accident goes down as the number of bicycle riders go up. So, if an increase in bicycle ridership leads to a lower likelihood that a particular individual will have an accident, how do we increase bicycle ridership? According to Soren’s study, the way to do this is to construct more cycle tracks and cycle lanes. Conclusion: construct more cycle lanes and tracks."

I've taken that quote from this web page, which has a good overview of the pros and cons.

http://www.ibiketo.ca/blog/theyre-likely-safer-and-much-more-comfortable-research-behind-separated-bike-lanes

cheers,

CK

See and that's exactly my point CK... People take a finding like build more cycle tracks and cycle lanes and they see that only tracks will work.

Why not try taking Hornby and Dunsmuir and making them into parked car separated painted lanes. If it works here like it has worked in other districts, then we now have a road map on how to cheaply and efficiently roll out HUNDREDS of new and improved safe bike lanes.

Bike tracks are far too expensive. The cycling activists want safety over all, but all they`ve got is 2 marginally safer routes. And it came at a huge political toll. For the same cost we could have been ready to roll out more safe routes all over the city.

And as you`re quick to point out, the biggest way to make cyclists safer is to increase their numbers. If you blow all your money to improve numbers by 5 or 10 percent on 2 routes, you won`t get as many riders as if you spent your money wisely on 100 routes and increased ridership on each route by even 2 or 3%.

This is what happens when ideology replaces common sense. I`ve always called the concrete and planters just a political sign. Well, I`m sorry, political posturing does not make people safer.

"People take a finding like build more cycle tracks and cycle lanes and they see that only tracks will work."

People? Let's not generalize. Some people may feel that way. It's not my opinion. Different approaches are being rolled out all over Vancouver, from sharrows to separated lanes, to traffic calmed streets. Our eggs aren't in one basket. The stats on the current lanes are, overall, pretty good. The idea that there is an option for downtown that won't get push back from some circles has yet to be demonstrated, and parked cars as a buffer also has drawbacks, such as what happens when there aren't any parked cars to protect cyclists. Let's face it, go with that solution and the first thing somebody will suggest is making it a no-parking lane during rush hour to accommodate drivers, and we are right back where we started with zero barriers between cars and bikes. That's my supposition anyway.

Wow, you're jumping from one extreme to the other.

I live on Hornby, there are almost ALWAYS cars parked there. Perhaps you'll find a gap of one or two (at most) empty meters.

As for the jump from moving the parking lane to making it a rush hour lane, come on Chris. The location of Hornby and the route it runs makes it impossible for that lane to be a rush hour no parking. The east-west connectors don't have the ability to handle anymore volume from Hornby.

We have cycle tracks in the city aside from Hornby and Dunsmuir and even Burrard Bridge. They work in the area they are. When you've got to make a route safer in an area where cycle tracks are a HUGE imposition to the local landscape you have to get innovative.

Instead Vision decided to go ahead secretly with their plans to destroy Hornby and Dunsmuir businesses. Not once did they ask for opinions before it was too late. NOT ONCE.

I even called the city 6 months prior to the bungled announcement of Hornby to ask what the front running option was (Thurlow, Burrard or Hornby) and how I could get involved in the decision making process. I got no response. No one knew what was happening. Nadda, zip, zero, zilch.

"Instead Vision decided to go ahead secretly with their plans to destroy Hornby and Dunsmuir businesses."

It hasn't been a very good plan, if that was the goal.

Chris,

In your opinion, with the infrastructure of the cycling lanes in place on Dunsmuir and Hornby St.

Would this area not be considered a great area for Green Businesses to locate.

If the current businesses are forced to move out due to loss of business...it would present an opportunity wouldn't it.

Just a thought..what are your thoughts on this?

"When you've got to make a route safer in an area where cycle tracks are a HUGE imposition to the local landscape...."

The data doesn't support that assumption.

"As for the jump from moving the parking lane to making it a rush hour lane, come on Chris. The location of Hornby and the route it runs makes it impossible for that lane to be a rush hour no parking"

The idea of retractable bollards and off-hour removal of the bike lane has already been floated by the DVBIA.

"I’m interested in what others think about hydraulic bollards being used along Hornby Street to replace the concrete dividers. The bollards would be up when peak cycling activity takes place (am and pm rush hours) and would be down during other times so that the curb lane could be used for loading and on-street parking. "

http://www.francesbula.com/uncategorized/bike-lanes-here-to-stay-with-tweaks-to-reduce-business-losses/#comments

Comment #2.

No reasons to eliminate the possibility that someone would float the reverse idea in the name of traffic flow.

George:

Nice try. :-)

I imagine Hornby St can support all kinds of businesses. All kinds of people use that street and it's close by a huge number of employers. Not sure why 'green' businesses would find either Hornby or Dunsmuir particularly advantageous, or why they would do better there than anywhere else.

Since we're blue-skying however, if I had a 'green' business that required access to eco-conscious consumers I would probably look for something close to an MEC or Whole Foods. Those kind of anchor tenants can create a shopping district that works for similar retailers, as evidenced by the many cycling and outdoor stories on Broadway between Cambie and Main.

stores

not stories

Chris,
I wasn't trying, I was very serious.

Good point about the anchor stores.

I wonder what would fit in this area..or who already has an eye on it?

What data? Look at Hornby pre segregation, look at it after. That's a massive change in how the street looks and operates. I have no clue what data you would be referring to.

"The idea of retractable bollards and off-hour removal of the bike lane has already been floated by the DVBIA."

Apples and Oranges CK. That's an idea to remove the bike lanes in off peak hours (and overnight) when very few people use them. I never mentioned removing a bike lane, in fact my point is precisely against such an idea. Hydraulic bollards cost $$$, the idea here is to get maximum bang for the buck. Use those funds to promote cycling, or increase enforcement to keep cyclists safe.

"I have no clue what data you would be referring to."

The report commissioned by the City to examine the impact of the lanes. Short version - more cyclists, fewer accidents, minimal traffic delays, business concerns addressed or being addressed. It has been a hot topic in the local media for about a week.

http://vancouver.ca/ctyclerk/cclerk/20110728/documents/penv3-BusinessImpactStudyReportDowntownSeparatedBicycleLanes.pdf

Ah, perhaps you're reading into my comment too far. I said "local landscape" and that's exactly what I meant. The bike lane more than doubled in size and land use. On a street that had a very limited amount of space to begin with, that's a big change in "local landscape".

Paul T:

I just don't get it. Your solution is no different from the current approach in terms of changes to the 'local landscape'. You'd be turning over a lane of pavement to bikes, just as the current separated lane does. What your solution also does however, is effectively hide cyclists from drivers by putting them behind parked cars. So, it is unlikely to make cycling any safer in the key conflict area of intersections. Far better for cyclists to be visible well ahead of any intersection so drivers can act accordingly. In addition, a line of parked cars between cyclists and traffic would make it nearly impossible for a cyclist to be able to look back and see if there were vehicles to watch out for when approaching an intersection. The challenges and solutions are complex. Address one issue and you can create another.

But, most cities that are taking cycling infrastructure seriously are putting in separated lanes in at least some parts of the city, and those that have them, are expanding them. Why is that? The default rationale for our lanes, that it's the fault of our council, can't be applied to the dozens of cities embarking on similar projects. There's a disconnect there that needs to be addressed.

It would work though if the cars were no longer there, and the entire area was green environmentally friendly businesses..

A mecca in the middle of the City..yoga studios, naturally organic, Happy Planet juice bars, bike shops, artists hubs, micro beer shops, free public entertainment, like a little Cortez Island in the middle of the City... clever...

Nirvana..

Is it just me or does anyone else notice the segregation that is beginning to appear in this City...

rich-poor
enviro fascists-dinosaurs
young-old
social housing-renters area's

even schools are headed back to that concept, slowly, I've noticed...

anyone else see it happening?

George:

I think creating a destination shopping area for green products wouldn't be much more than a tourist attraction. Most people prefer to shop near to where they live for the day to day products that make up much of the green-living choices people can make , esp. if they are trying to cleave to a 'treading lightly' on the planet approach. To use my own neighbourhood as an example, there must be at least 4 or 5 yoga studios within a 20 minute walk of my house, certainly no lack of organic/local groceries. Why would I go downtown for that?

It's big ticket items and niche markets that seem to create districts specific to a product or lifestyle. And hammocks.

http://youtu.be/XrHyT78FpAE

Oh absolutely,I agree Chris

and oddly you aren't too far off on the Hammock idea.. it would be a tourist thing, and I was just using those kinds of shops just for an example...for lack of any good green ideas..

But given that City Council is working so closely with Unions especially the tourist industry..

What better photo op for a Green Mayor..with the tourist angle in mind..

you bring up an interesting point..

George:

When people say Teamsters, eco-warrior isn't the first thing that springs to my mind. But then again, I live a few blocks from their HQ and judging by the trucks they drive, I'm pretty sure they aren't too worried about Peak Oil. Of course, I also live a few blocks from the old Lululemon head office, and one could level the same charge at them, based on the SUV to parking space ratio that I've observed.

This is about political agenda, not cars...but the dislike of cars in this agenda does factor into it.

Just as Vision had no right bringing union issues to City Hall as they have done with the Rocky Mountaineer and Peter Armstrong...

"Who is suggesting the wholesale elimination of all road-based transport?"
The point is that the claim that cyclists subsidize motorists is a shibboleth that ignores the interactivity and interconnectedness of human physical and economic activity.

" Gerry, I have no time for you if you're just going to insult me."
Ah, boo, you're so sensitive, but hey, your priorities are yours to set. I just thought the idea of giving away $42 million of the cities assets would make you cringe too. In that sense it's not tangential at all. It's squarely in the "cringe" category.

Just in case my question for Mr. Oberfeld doesn't see the light of day at his site:

From his story:
“But unlike other cities, where bicycling is a highly successful alternative, Vision couldn’t be satisfied with painted bike lanes on roadways; ”

My response:
Which cities are you referring to Mr. Oberfeld? Specifics would make for a stronger case. What percentage of trips by bike do you deem ‘highly successful’?

Chris Keam... as you see I've posted Harvey O's link before your comment was posted...so your snark was unnecessary..we are more enlightened than you give us credit for.

As for your opinion about Harv needing to have a little weight added to his position...

IMO when you have the exemplary resume that Harvey O has...you need to do nothing to add to any argument... your trusted opinion is enough...

when you Chris, can boast his credentials... then maybe your opinions would prove as valuable...

I haven't bothered reading your reply to him...his opinion is really the one that matters to most...

"IMO when you have the exemplary resume that Harvey O has...you need to do nothing to add to any argument... your trusted opinion is enough... "

Failure to substantiate a bold declaration, regardless of the writer's pedigree, makes those claims suspect. Opinion isn't fact until it's backed up with some proof.

he has nothing to prove... you read it or you don't..

Chris, please don't try to argue facts and numbers, they are not on your side. 2.4 million dollars in lost revenue for businesses is not "moderate". When some businesses see a 30% loss, that's NOT moderate.

Another number -- 4-million. The cost to build these travesties. Imagine the number of wheat fields we could start growing with that kind of money.

And one more number -- 24%, the number of cycle trips LOST on the Dunsmuir viaduct in the same two week period from June 2010 to June 2011.

Your 5 minutes are up, step aside and let the adults fix the problems you and your cycle-crazy council have caused. We'll make it safer, we'll make it used more and we'll do it at a fraction of the cost.

I wonder if Harvey realizes there are 720 new parking metres slated to be installed.

Paul T.

You forget the loss in revenue from the parking metres that were removed.

$1.9 million loss, not even a full year count.

Excellent post by Harvey O.

@Chris
Couple of North American cities, like Brooklyn and Portland use what they call "Buffered Bike Lanes and Floating Parking". If I knew how to embed a picture I would include it however, in simple terms, they paint the bike land between the curb and the "floating" parking spaces. In some instances, they use those collapsible plastic bollards. Both Cities have some data on usage on their respective web sites.

Anecdotally, when I have traveled to Europe in the past, larger cities in Demark, Sweden and UK used the floating parking method with and without soft bollards. I don't remember seeing the same level of infrastructure that we have on Hornby for example.

I am a cyclist and a driver. I tend to cycle on mountain bike trails rather than roads and I have to drive into Vancouver for business which may water down my opinion to some. Given the budget crunch the City seems to find itself in, I would have preferred if it had tried the less expensive route first and dumped the $3MM into parks. If that wasn’t successful then we could have graduated to the system we have now.

Paul (not T): Those cities, just like Vancouver, use a variety of treatments to accommodate cyclists on the road.

Here's a picture of a separated lane in New York City. Look how much road space is require for just one lane of cycle track.

http://www.nytimes-se.com/2009/07/04/new-york-bike-path-system-expanded-dramatically/

Compared to that, I think Hornby is pretty unobtrusive. Maybe what the local businesses need to do is let City Hall know that they would prefer parking over through traffic and are supportive of switching an existing lane on Hornby into parking?

"when you Chris, can boast his credentials... then maybe your opinions would prove as valuable..."

I'm going to hazard a guess that Mr Oberfeld's credentials weren't acquired by taking blanket statements at face value.

OMG CK. You didn't just post an article from the nytimes special edition did you? You do realize that site is entirely satire and has no base in reality right?

Unless of course you believe Mede Sivrac has returned from the dead to personally promote lanes for his invention.

You really don't have to go to New York to find things to laugh at though CK. Just listen to anything Gregor spews and you'll be left in stitches.

Ha. I guess I got punked! Didn't read the article as I did a google search for images. Mea culpa.

Here's another example of the same street. I think my point remains pretty valid about the amount of road space for a one way lane of cycle track and the comparison to Hornby's two way lane taking up less space.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/rllayman/2660998236/

@Chris - I clearly need another first name as there are a few Paul's on this site. To give credit where it is due, the Paul that pointed out the picture error wasn’t me.

To be clear, I don’t have an issue with bike lanes in general or moving parking to accommodate it where it makes sense. My main issue with CofV for the Hornby BL in particular was they went to the Cadillac solution (in a tough budget year) right away without any meaningful evaluation with a cheaper solution. To your point on Google, a quick search indicates clearly that there are sucess stories that don't require cement barriers. By going the route they did, it really forces the answer to be Hornby because the cost of moving it to try another street or option is prohibitive.

Paul, no worries, when you started posting I added a letter. I'm sure most readers will see we are not the same person. Even though I agree with your last point ENTIRELY. It's an argument I've been making since plans were first quietly released.

"You do realize that site is entirely satire and has no base in reality right?"

Sounds to me like the perfect source of information for bicycle advocates.

Translink suggests tailgating to improve space efficiency on our streets.

What's next NASCAR-style drafting for taxis?

http://604commuter.blogspot.com/2011/07/translink-tailgating.html

Copenhagen...the darling of the bike zealots, bludgeoned its citizens onto bikes by tripling the price of a car with punitive road taxes.( More than triple if you include the cost of financing). It also, sneakily, reduced parking by 5 percent a year to manufacture 'congestion'. Have no doubt, that Gregor, Meggs and VISION are not pursuing a TRANSPORTATION plan but a CONGESTION plan. It doesnt have to make sense.. it's holy work don't you know.

Somebody from Sun Media is opposed to bike lanes? Colour me shocked. I think a complete lack of common sense and a willingness to play fast and loose with the facts are prerequisites for employment with the chain.

where2beforfree-smallbanner
Check out BCWineLover.com!

Paid Advertisement

Paid Advertisement



Close