Eastbound Cycling Access on Pacific Across Burrard Needed

The intersection of Burrard and Pacific is currently pretty bad for everyone walking, cycling and driving. It has one of the highest number of motor vehicle crashes in Vancouver due mainly to the right turn lane from Pacific to the Bridge. It is pretty dicey for cycling as well. Drivers often block the bike crossing while they are waiting to merge onto the bridge forcing cyclists to either wait or dodge them.
Assuming the proposed changes are approved by Council, Burrard and Pacific will join Burrard and Cornwall as one of the best intersections in North America for cycling. People cycling and walking will be protected from turning vehicles by separate signal phases greatly reducing the chances of crashes. It will also be great to be allowed to walk on the East Side of the Bridge again!
burrard-detail
However, the proposed plan is missing an all ages and abilities cycling connection eastbound along Pacific across Burrard. This connection is needed to provide basic access to businesses and residences in the area. With two right turn lanes heading onto the Bridge from Pacific, riding on the road with traffic will be even a dicier proposition than it is today.

As well, the grade on Beach and Pacific is much less than the grades on Thurlow (14%) and Hornby (10%) thus Beach and Pacific is naturally a better cycling route than the other options to access downtown via Burrard and Hornby. This is likely why it was included in the City’s 1999 Bicycle Plan.

Without eastbound access across Burrard, there is really no reasonable bicycle access to downtown from residences and business in the area bounded by Harwood, the west side of Burrard, Thurlow, and the north side of Pacific. Without this access across Burrard, the only options for all but the bravest are to cycle to Bute then up to the alley that connects to Drake or to cycle to Thurlow then down to Beach or the Seaside Greenway then back up Hornby. As confusing as it sounds. Either option is several hundred metres long and requires crossing more intersections taking more time and exposing people to greater risk of a collision. Even worse, should a visitor or wayward local find their way to the southeast side of the intersection, as all the bike lanes are one-way leading to that side of the intersection, with no eastbound access across Pacific, the only allowed option is to cycle over the Bridge then cycle back across the Bridge.

As this is pretty unreasonable, the result will be people not cycling, riding on the sidewalk, cycling in crosswalks or riding the wrong way in one-way bike lanes. Not safe for people cycling or walking.

Cycling Routes Should be Direct and Obvious

With Burrard Bridge and cycling in general proving popular with visitors to Vancouver, bike routes need to be obvious. I have witnessed many a tourist, some with maps open, at the north and south ends of the bridge wondering how to get anywhere.

In the following photos, four people, likely visitors, making their way across Pacific to get to the bicycle rental shop on Burrard. A sure sign that better access across Burrard is needed.

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As well, the goal is to attract new people to cycling. These people will be used to navigating around the city by car, foot and transit. If cycling connections are providing along the roads that they are used to, it will be much easier for them to find their way around the city by bike.

Overloading Weak Network Links

The only other eastbound all ages cycling route across Burrard south of Comox is the Seaside Greenway. The section of the Greenway between Burrard Bridge and Hornby is rather problematic with the current levels of bicycle traffic. Providing people with a route to avoid the problem areas is a good idea that will likely reduce cycling and walking conflicts and injuries.

Possible Solutions

There are a couple of possible solutions that would provide people with good bicycle access across Pacific. Sadly, one involves removing the large tree at the intersection. The other really worth considering is removing the eastbound traffic lane on Pacific across Burrard which could allow for enough space for the bike lane while sparing the tree. Unlike for people cycling, where there are two bicycle rental shops, there are no destinations where the eastbound lane Pacific from Thurlow to Hornby provides needed motor vehicle access.  Traffic on eastbound Pacific is pretty low and so is eastbound traffic on Beach. Beach also doesn’t have the long traffic light at Burrard so at most times of the day, Beach might even be faster than using Pacific. Traffic from Thurlow would just cross Pacific and head to Beach. The hill up from Beach  isn’t a problem for motor vehicles either.

Please email Mayor and Council at Mayor Gregor Robertson and Council mayorandcouncil@vancouver.ca and copy the project team at BurrardBridgeNorth@vancouver.ca to encourage the City to provide this badly needing cycling access.

More info on the improvements and a questionnaire at:  http://vancouver.ca/burrardbridgenorth

Car Free Streets in Vancouver Bike Cafe – April 14

Please join us for the next Bike Café where we will be discussing Car Free Streets in Vancouver.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

6 p.m

Musette Caffè Chinatown, 75 E. Pender St., Vancouver | Map

Many cities around the world have car-free streets or even whole areas with limited motor vehicle access. What streets in Vancouver are good candidates? What measures are needed to ensure that car-free streets are successful?

My gallery of great car free streets here.

More here.

More info on the upcoming SFU Bike Cafés here.

Car free streets are popular even in the rain!

Batemyth Busters: 40 Centuries to Fund Mayors Transportation Plan with CTF Waste

Brad Cavanagh has done a great job of shredding a key premise of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation’s slick expensive looking new website notranslinktax.ca He did the math and found that all the “waste” that they found totalled $1.9 million or 1.3% of TransLinks annual budget.

To put this into perspective, it would take 3,947 years, almost 40 centuries to fund the Mayors $7.5 billion Transportation Plan with this $1.9 million assuming that a similar matching waste could be found rattling around in Provincial and Federal budgets. The Millennium Line extension to UBC would take
525 years and LRT in Surrey would take over 370 to complete with Federal and Provincial matching funds. Even the 2700km of bicycle routes would take almost 70 years. Cycling routes should be built for people 8-80 years old. We can’t wait until an 8 year old is 80 to finish the regional cycling network.

This is also a small amount relative to real B.C. boondoggles like the BC Place Stadium roof, the Fast Ferries and the Golden Ears Bridge. Taxpayers would be better served by watchdogs resisting the temptation of $30,000 poodles and instead focusing on upcoming projects like the $8 billion Site C dam and the $3 billion Massey Bridge.

It looks like it is the Canadian Taxpayers Federation that not using their money very wisely. First, they used an American calendar (maybe to please their funders) to try and make fun of TransLink, then this. They would be well advised to spend more on accountants, fact checkers and proofreaders and less on slick websites.

For more information on the Referendum or to help out with the Yes campaign, please goto: http://www.bccc.bc.ca/yes

Form and Development: What’s happening in Richmond? – 1

Richard Campbell:

Price also notes that the preservation of single­family neighbourhoods is “classist. He says it’s the lower income families who are relegated to the townhouses on the main arterials, buffering the elitists residing behind them from noise and air pollution.

Originally posted on Price Tags:

Megahouses, vacant homes, speculation and affordability aren’t just issues for Vancouver.  Reporter Graeme Wood in the Richmond News has been writing about the transformation of Richmond.  Here’s an excerpt.

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Mega Homes: Absent homeowners, foreign speculation, overdevelopment and skyrocketing land value has reached a boiling point

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New homes in single­-family home neighbourhoods are pushing the boundaries of floor space ratio, by uprooting lawns, and height restrictions, by adding a third level. It’s a result of increased land values and housing demand that has seen this resurgence of the megahome in Richmond. …

On Spires Road, one of the last bastions of “Old Richmond” is about to get a major makeover; Yamamoto Architecture Inc. has applied to develop seven market rental homes into 60 townhomes for purchase. The densification of the City Centre neighbourhood (one quarter of a major city block) is planned under the city’s Official Community Plan.  But with a rental crunch…

View original 991 more words

Parking Study: There is an Abundance of Parking Surrounding Commercial Drive

Richard Campbell:

Car parking that is. More bike parking needed.

Originally posted on SLOW STREETS:

Parking Study: There is an Abundance of Parking Surrounding Commercial Drive
By Slow Streets

Parking is certainly important for providing delivery and customer access to businesses. However concerns about losing parking spaces on Commercial Drive if a Complete Street is implemented are unwarranted. Slow Streets conducted a parking inventory finding that there are over 700 public parking stalls surrounding Commercial Drive (between Grandview Highway and 1st Avenue). 87% of parking stalls are located off Commercial Drive and are available to the public for free, with the remaining 13% being paid meters. Implementing a Complete Street on Commercial Drive would have no impact on the total parking both on and off Commercial Drive.  What does this mean for Commercial Drive? Slow Streets will be releasing a report on January 19th with full details.

Parking Utilization Study

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All Weather Cycling Bike Café – January 13

I’m very pleased to be moderating the first Bike Café! Please join us.

All Weather Cycling

Currently, cycling levels fall significantly when in it rains. What measures, policies and infrastructure will encourage more all weather cycling?

Tuesday, January 13, 2015
6pm
Musette Caffè Chinatown, 75 E. Pender St., Vancouver | Map

The new Bike Cafés take place along major commuter cycling routes at cyclist friendly coffee bars. This new series engages with Vancouver’s cycling community and others interested in discussions regarding the sustainable evolution of our cityscape.

In collaboration with the SFU City Program.

More info on other Bike Cafés here.

Stanley Park Causeway Safety Improvements

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure just revealed its proposed plan to improve the safety of people cycling and walking along the Stanley Park Causeway.

The plan looks good in general and will be a big improvement over the current narrow sidewalks. While a wider path on the west side would be better, it would have impacted more trees.

Still, there are only two passing areas in the stretch south of the Park Drive exist. Another passing zone would improve safety and impact relatively few trees. As well, the proposed fence does have poles that are exposed. If a person cycling hits those at 50kph, the average downhill speed, a serious injury or fatality is likely. While there is a rub rail at the top, it will not prevent children or shorter adults from hitting the poles. As well, if someone sides on ice or leaves, they also could hit the poles at high speeds. At a minimum, the cables should be installed on the inside providing some protection from the poles. Also worth considering at fabrics designed to protect motorcyclists from hitting fence poles that would also protect cyclists.

As these changes involve Stanley Park, please email Vancouver Park Board PBcommissioners
@vancouver.ca
 supporting these badly needed safety improvements.

More information and a feedback form here.