For My 50th, Give Everyone the Gift of Cycling

I turn 50th this year. In lieu of presents, cake and gasp, even beer, please give everyone the gift of cycling by making a donation to or becoming a member of the British Columbia Cycling Coalition.

For half of that half a century, I’ve had the pleasure of working with many of you to improve cycling around Vancouver and BC through HUB, BEST, Canada Bikes and the BCCC. Working with political leaders and staff in all levels of government, we have had many successes. From wider sidewalks on the Lions Gate Bridge and the Ironworks Bridge, the Bicycle and Pedestrian Path on the Canada Line Bridge, to the Central Valley Greenway. All told, these improvements total around $70 million.

While there are many reasons why I work to move cycling forward, what I find most rewarding is seeing more and more people cycling. Especially families with children.

Still, there is much to do. BC is a large province with great potential.

We need cycle tracks along main streets so people can safely and comfortably cycle to shops, cafes, restaurants, offices and other businesses. More and more homes are being built along major streets. As well, in many cases, there are not convenient direct side streets nearby making separated bike lanes the only option. We are working with Streets for Everyone to secure funding for a pilot grassroots campaign on Commercial Drive that will serve as a model that can be used in communities around the Province.

We need safe connections between communities for locals and tourists. At least wide shoulders free of debris and preferable paths separated from high speed traffic.

We need to improve the Motor Vehicle Act or even better, replace it with a modern road users act that makes the safety of people cycling and walking the priority. Key changes include removing the requirement to ride single file allowing you to legally ride beside friends and families and a safe passing distance law.

We need improved standards for paths and roads ensuring that obstacles are not placed on or near bicycle paths, that fencing and railings do not cause crashes or serious injuries and that shoulders are wide, well maintained and kept clear of hazards.

We need improved and expanded education for people cycling driving. This October, in conjunction with the BCCC Conference in Victoria, thanks to a grant from the Capital Regional District, we are hosting a Bike Sense workshop to review educational material and plan the expansion and improvement of educational efforts.

We need increased funding for cycling. With a Federal election coming up next year and infrastructure spending a key election issue, we have the opportunity to ensure that improved cycling and walking networks receive the funding that is required so that every Canadian has the freedom to chose cycling or walking for recreation, transportation and vacation.

We need need to build stronger more organized cycling community across the Province to encourage leaders to make commitments to improve cycling and to provide the grassroots support they need when they show leadership in moving cycling.

We need your support to make this all happen. As the BCCC not a charity, we can’t issue tax receipts. However, that means we are not limited in the amount of money that we can and will devote for advocacy.

https://bccyclingcoalition.nationbuilder.com/donate

http://bccyclingcoalition.nationbuilder.com/membership

I look forward to continue working with you over the next 25 years making this beautiful province a great place for people of all ages to enjoy cycling.

Thank you for your great work and support.

Cheers

Richard

 

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Bike Path on Powell Street Overpass to Open Soon

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The $50 million Powell Street Overpass, expected to be completed in early August, will have a separated bike path on the north side stretching from Hawks Avenue to Clark Drive. This will be a big improvement for cycling in this part of town. Unfortunately, there not yet a good cycling connection west of Clark. Vancouver’s Transportation Plan included a cycling connection from Clark to McLean but it is uncertain when it will be completed.

The  $105 million proposed for renewal of transportation infrastructure in the draft Capital Plan includes funding for the repair of Water Street. The renewal of Water Street will be the ideal opportunity to improve it for cycling by either adding cycle tracks or by closing the street to through commuter traffic. This along with improvements to Powell and Alexander, would complete the Portside Greenway giving residents and tourists a great connection to East Vancouver, Burnaby and the North Shore.

A good idea to let the candidates in the upcoming election know that completing the Portside Greenway is a priority.

Increased Regional Investment in All Ages Cycling Networks Badly Needed

TransLink, the Federal & Provincial Government, Burnaby, New West and Vancouver Provided Funding for the Central Valley Greenway

TransLink, the Federal & Provincial Government, Burnaby, New West and Vancouver Provided Funding for the Central Valley Greenway

Cycling is a transportation bargain for both individuals and government. Compared to the billions for a new bridge or transit line, bike paths are really inexpensive. Still, it is not free. High quality cycling facilities separated from traffic do cost money. The cycling and walking path on the Canada Line bridge cost $10 million. At least $40 million has been invested in the Central Valley Greenway and more is needed for upgrades.

The Burrard Cornwall improvements were $6 million.  Until people of all ages and abilities can easily travel to anywhere from anywhere on a network of connected bike paths, separated lanes or low traffic streets, the bike routes already built will not be used as well as they could be by residents and tourists. Short sections of bike paths that vanish at busy intersection or don’t connect with major destinations will attract few people.

TransLink Provided all the funding for the Bicycle and Pedestrian Path on the Canada Line Bridge

TransLink Provided all the funding for the Bicycle and Pedestrian Path on the Canada Line Bridge

Rough estimates put the cost of creating all ages and abilities networks in communities around the region at nearly $1 billion. A fair amount of money but only third of the cost of Port Mann/Highway 1 Project and the proposed new Massey Crossing.

Currently, TransLink’s budget only contains around $2 million per year for cycling. Even when this money is matched by municipalities, it is nowhere near enough to complete the cycling network within our lifetimes.

TransLink’s Regional Transportation Strategy Strategic Framework States: “For decades, the region has called for priority for walking and cycling, but the level of investment has not always reflected that commitment. Early and significant investment will now be required to complete walkway and bikeway networks with a particular focus on traffic-protected bikeways in Urban Centres and other areas of high cycling potential.”

Cycling friendly jurisdictions spend much more on cycling. For example, the Netherlands invests around $40 per person per year or $100 million per year. As many of the benefits of cycling including health care costs savings and cycling tourism accrue to the Federal and Provincial Governments, they should provide matching funding for cycling as well. A regional contribution of around $34 million per year would be reasonable.

The good news is that many of the cycling and walking routes to transit stations are also important links in the regional cycling network. The BC Parkway, which needs a lot of work, provides cycling and walking access to many Expo Line stations in Surrey, New Westminster, Burnaby and Vancouver. The badly needed connection along United Blvd will connect Coquitlam and PoCo to Braid Station.

Improving these connections should prove to be a great investment for TransLink and the region. By enabling more people to walk and cycle to transit, ridership revenue will increase. And, there will be more space on buses for those who can’t or choose not to cycle.

Cycling can ease demand on busy transit routes delaying the need for costly upgrades enabling funding to be used on other transit priorities. For example, improvements to the BC Parkway, Central Valley Greenway and other routes connecting East Van to Downtown could relieve demand on the busiest section of the Expo Line. London is planning on investing billions in cycling to reduce crowding on the Tube. They are even naming the bike routes after the transits lines they parallel.

The Mayors Council is currently drafting a regional transportation plan which will likely form the basis of the transportation package in the upcoming referendum. Please email the Mayors Council, mayorscouncil@translink.ca, and your Mayor and Council encouraging them to support more regional funding for cycling and walking networks ($34 million per year) to supported by increased funding for cycling education and promotion ($3 million per year would be great). List improvements that are needed in your area to highlight where the regional funding is needed. A good idea to  copy Hon. Todd Stone, Minister.Transportation@gov.bc.ca, Claire.Trevena.MLA@leg.bc. ca, and your MLA (Find your MLA here). More on the BCCC’s funding recommendations to the Provincial Government here.

More Information

Cycling Recommendations for New Metro Vancouver Transportation Plan and Funding | HUB: Your Cycling Connection

 

Pt Grey Cornwall Greenway Slam Dunk for Tourism, Businesses

The Point Grey Cornwall Greenway, by completing the Seaside Path, will open up the West Side waterfront enabling people of all ages and abilities to enjoy Vancouver’s beautiful scenery by bicycle while giving both locals and visitors access to Kits Beach, Jericho Beach and Spanish Banks.
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Further on there is the Museum of Anthropology, UBC Botanical Garden, Nitobe Memorial Garden, Wreck Beach, Pacific Spirit Park and paths along the Fraser River. Hundreds of thousands of residents and tourists cycling along the Greenway will help boost business at restaurants, cafes and stores in Kits.
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Vancouver’s $3.7 billion tourism industry is critical to our economy. Vancouver’s new Tourism Plan identifies, Cycling, the Seawall & Beaches and Health/Wellness as part of its recommendation to initiate a product development strategy. The Plan also identifies Public Bike Share as part of the transportation infrastructure needed to support tourism. Cycling tourism in Oregon accounts for $400 million of the state’s $9 billion tourism industry. There is likely similar potential in B.C.

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Cafe packed with cyclists on Cornwall

Pretty much every article on what to do when visiting Vancouver, mentions getting on a bike. The most common recommendation is cycling around Stanley Park but more and more are mentioning the separated bike lanes and exploring other parts of the city by bicycle. Judging by the number of people taking photos from the Burrard Bridge and looking at maps along Pt Grey Cornwall, this part of town is getting to be a popular place for visitors to cycle to.

Vancouver, B.C., has idyllic and easy urban biking for all ages | Outdoors | The Seattle Times

Ride the Seawall, a paved route for bicyclists and pedestrians, in the heart of the city.

For adult fun, veer off the path into the trendy Yaletown neighborhood that’s packed with restaurants, coffee shops and bars.

Hungry? Stop for a bite at the trendy Cactus Club, which opened this spring right on the sand at English Bay Beach.

Thinking of a cycling vacation? Ocycler Jeff Mapes has some worldly ideas for you | OregonLive.com

The city has now steadily expanded the bike network to circle the entire West End and two bisecting cycletracks now offer comfortable riding through downtown.

On another day we headed east to Commercial Drive, a lively eating-and-drinking street that reflects the city’s rich immigrant diversity.

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Vistors looking at a map at Balsam and Cornwall

Seems like everyone except the businesses that would benefit the most are noticing Vancouver’s cycling tourism potential. Even tourism operators in other city as witnessed by this article More and more travellers taking a spin on bicycle tourism in Montreal.

All the possibilities clearly have Mayer thinking of exporting the bike-tourism concept to other cities in Canada and beyond. … Vancouver is a market that clearly has his interest. “We have better climate, longer seasons,” he said of the coast city.

A recent visitor from Melbourne really said she really liked Vancouver’s bike lanes.

I was dreading the trip through the city but the separated bike lanes on the Burrard Bridge and along Hornby made this part of the trip most enjoyable and I felt safe. Judging by the number of people we saw on bikes poring over a map, this is becoming a popular tourist activity. What a wonderful way to see Vancouver and get some exercise.

Great for Business
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Given the economic importance of tourism, it is rather surprising that Pt Grey Cornwall Greenway is not more strongly supported by the Kits Chamber of Commerce and some of the local business that stand the most to gain from more visitors and locals cycling by. Instead of worrying about losing a few parking spaces on Cornwall (which is not even in the current proposal), they should be really upset that the city is attempting to divert all these stomachs on wheels up York away from their businesses.

This is perhaps not entirely unexpected as the City has yet to integrate tourism into its bicycle route planning. In this case, tourism is not featured anywhere in the City’s materials on Cornwall Point Grey.

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Businesses Are Taking Advantage of Bike Lanes

When the separated bike lanes come, some businesses look to take advantage of the full advantage opportunity. Jeweliette Jewellery (love the name), on Hornby between Nelson and Helmcken has a pink bike parked in front with flowers in the basket. Owner Madalena Corsi loves having bike lanes in the neighbourhood and says many customers arrive by bicycle.

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Musette Caffè is a bicycle friendly cafe that ironically is in the middle of an auto lot on the alley between Hornby and Burrard north of Drake. They serve great coffee and baked goods and are a popular meeting spot for people on bikes.

Bike rental shops are also popping around the Convention Centre up at the north end of the separated bike lanes. Once the Pt Grey Cornwall Greenway is complete, businesses will likely take advantage of that opportunity as well.

Which Way to the Beach?

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Jam packed bike racks by Kits Pool

Unfortunately, it does not appear as if tourists, many local recreational cyclists or beach goers have yet been really considered in the planning process. It is not apparent how people will cycle from Burrard Bridge to Kits Beach and back again. I suspect most will just ride on Cornwall battling the traffic or ride on the sidewalk. Detouring up to York for just two blocks crossing busy Cornwall twice doesn’t seem likely.

Direct Obvious Routes for Visitors

Having got really lost cycling around Paris a couple of times, I can attest to the importances of obvious direct bicycle routes when visiting a city. Signage and maps are great but they are no substitute for obvious. York It is not very likely that tourists will use or even find York. They will also want to grab a snack or have a drink at the businesses along Cornwall.

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Crowded bike racks at Wreck Beach

Burrard Bridge Popular with Visitors and Beach Goers

There are great views of the city, mountains and ocean from Burrard Bridge. It is quite common to see people taking photos from the Bridge sidewalks. Burrard Bridge is a much faster route from hotels downtown to the beaches. The bicycle traffic levels on Burrard also peaks in July and August at almost 6,000 trips per day while Hornby and Dunsmuir are fairly steady from June through September indicating that a lot of beach and recreational trips are made on Burrard. Many sure look like they are going to the beach.

Seaside Path Needs a Lot of Work

The Seaside Path around False Creek from Sunset Beach to Kits Beach also needs tens of millions of dollars in improvements to address safety and capacity issues including creating separate bicycle and pedestrian paths in many sections. Not really a great idea to encourage more people to use these sections until improvements are made. Meanwhile, the Hornby and Burrard Bridge separated bike lanes have plenty of capacity, are separated from pedestrians and with the exception of Burrard and Pacific, have relatively few cycling collisions. Providing a direct cycling connection along Cornwall to Point Grey seems like the least expensive short term solution for cycling tourists.

In Barcelona, shared bikes are a very popular way to get to the beaches. From Granville Station, Kits Beach is a nice quick ride away via Dunsmuir, Hornby, Burrard Bridge.

Bike Sharing Big for Bikes and Businesses

Bike sharing, which will be going in early next year, should prove to be a game changer for bikes and businesses. In other cities, businesses have clamoured to get a station near by. A University of Minnesota study found that bike share users in the Twin Cities make more trips to and spend more money at nearby businesses including restaurants, coffee shops, bars, nightclubs, and grocery stores. When bike sharing does finally appear later this year, businesses, including those along Cornwall, might indeed be wishing they had separated bike lanes in front of them to encourage bicycles, shared and otherwise, to deliver customers to their doors.

Take Action

So, please encourage the City of Vancouver to build the Point Grey Cornwall Greenway now and speed up the implementation of other badly needed all ages and abilities cycling and walking improvements. Lets realize the health, safety, environmental, social and economic benefits of as soon as possible! Tell them the problems that you have experienced along Point Grey & Cornwall and let them know what the Point Grey Cornwall Greenway would mean to you, your family and community.

More on Point Grey Cornwall

Photos around UBC and along the Fraser

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Speed Up Building the Bike Network Starting with Pt Grey Cornwall

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The Point Grey Cornwall Greenway will mark the completion of the Seaside Path in the West Side of Vancouver. As with the rest of the Seaside Path, every year it will be enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of residents and visitors of all ages bringing customers to businesses in Kits and Point Grey.

The well funded and organized opponents of the Point Grey Cornwall Greenway are complaining that the city is moving too fast and want them to slow down the implementation of these badly needed improvements.

The reality is that the city is not moving very fast at all in the implementation of bike lane and greenway networks. A greenway along Point Grey and Cornwall was recommended way back in the 1995 Greenway Plan almost two decades ago. Bike lanes on Cornwall Point Grey were included in the city’s 1997 Transportation Plan way back when Philip Owen was Mayor. The plan also included bike lanes on several arterial roads including Commercial, Victoria, Kingsway, Nelson, Smithe, Howe, Seymour and Beach. Today, 16 years later, none of these streets have bike lanes yet. The Plan also included bike lanes on Burrard from the Bridge to 16th, Alma from Point Grey to 4th The 1999 Bicycle Plan also included bike lanes on 16th, 49th andKing Edward

1997 Transportation Plan Bike Lanes and Bikeways

Twelve years after the 2001 False Creek Pedestrian & Cycling Crossings Study recommended improvements to all three bridges, Burrard Bridge is the only one that has been improved.

So, by slowing down, what do the opponents of all ages cycling on Point Grey Cornwall mean? One year, five years, twenty years? Never?

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Child cycling on Point Grey Sidewalk

Today’s children should be able to cycle safely around the city while they are still children.

Other cities are moving way faster than Vancouver in implementing separated bike lanes that are safe and comfortable for people of all ages including children and seniors.

Seville
Seville perfectly demonstrated the advantages of rapidly building cycling facilities. In four years, they invested $42 million to complete a network of 78 km separated bike lanes throughout the city. In addition, they also installed a 2,500 bicycle bike sharing system. As a result, bicycle mode share increased from 0.2% to 6.6% and cycling trips increased from 2,500 to 70,000 per day. Perhaps more importantly, it is now quite common to see children cycling in the city.

Sydney, Australia
The City of Sydney is investing $71 million over 4 years to build a 200km cycling network including 55km of separated cycleways. Currently one per cent of trips into the city are made on bicycle – the city aims to increase this number to 10 per cent by 2016.

Take Action

So, please encourage the City of Vancouver to build the Point Grey Cornwall Greenway now and speed up the implementation of other badly needed cycling improvements. Lets realize the health, safety, environmental, social and economic benefits of cycling as soon as possible! Tell them the problems that you have experienced along Point Grey & Cornwall and let them know what the Point Grey Cornwall Greenway would mean to you, your family and community.