Seaside Greenway Along Point Grey Road Going Ahead

Next summer, people of all ages will be able to enjoy cycling and walking from Kits Beach to Jericho along Point Grey Road extension of the Seaside Greenway. Thousands of residents and visitors will experience the great views from parks dotting Point Grey Road. Year round, cycling commuters will take advantage of the this safe direct route from the West Side to Downtown and out to UBC.

Point Grey Road at Trutch

Point Grey Road at Trutch – City of Vancouver

City council heard from over 130 people during five days of meetings. Councilors Carr, Deal, Louie, Meggs, Reimer, Stevenson and Tang voted for the Point Grey improvements while Affleck and Ball voted against. On the previous Monday, council unanimously approved improvements to the Burrard Cornwall intersection that will make it safer and more convenient for everyone. Council also asked Park Board to plan improvements to the Seaside Greenway paths in Kits Beach and Haddon Parks. 

Macdonald to Alma

The most contentious part of the plan is the diversion of through motor vehicle traffic off Point Grey Road between Macdonald and Alma. People walking and cycling will be able to continue straight along Point Grey between Macdonald and Alma. Drivers will still be able to access the homes and parks along Point Grey through the north south side streets.

 Several residents along Macdonald and other streets were concerned about increased traffic due to the Point Grey diversion. In response to the concerns, council directed staff to address livability concerns and help mitigate the impact of traffic through measures including traffic calming on residential streets.

Many people on both sides of the debate agree that motor vehicle traffic is dangerous. People don’t want to cycle in it or have it near their homes. That is why improving transportation choices is so important. When projects like this encourage more people to cycle instead of driving, the city becomes safer for everyone driving, walking or cycling.

Others were worried about congestion. Chances are, as with the case with Burrard Bridge and Hornby bike lanes, these issues will very likely not be as bad as some expect. In fact, more people cycling and walking due to these improvements will decrease traffic on roads throughout the community and downtown.

Road space will be reclaimed to join Tatlow and Volunteer Parks together with only a bike path and sidewalks separating them. Future plans include the daylighting of Tatlow Creek. Also Point Grey Road Park will be expanded at Trutch Street.

Balsam to Trafalgar

From Balsam to Trafalgar, the proposed separated bike lanes were rejected due to resident’s concerns regarding the removal of parking. Instead, the street will likely remain pretty much as it is now. While there is not much traffic on this section of Point Grey, parking is allowed too close to the driveways to allow cyclists and drivers pulling out of the driveways to see each other. Hopefully, the City will address this problem.

Trafalgar and Macdonald

Between Trafalgar and Macdonald, there will be a 4m wide separated bike lane on the north side of the road. A pedestrian and cyclist activated signal at Stephens and Point Grey will allow cyclists to access the new York Bikeway.

Alma to Jericho Beach

From Alma to Jericho Beach, there will be separated bike lanes on the north side of Point Grey.

3rd Ave

Also approved were improvements to 3rd Ave including a bicycle pedestrian signal at Macdonald and a traffic diverter at Bayswater.

Connection Needed to Burrard Bridge

Overlooked in these plans, is the need for an all ages connection from Burrard Bridge to Kits Beach and the Seaside Greenway at Yew and Cornwall. The current plan has the Seaside Greenway extending east to Yew adjacent to Cornwall in Kits Park, then heading north. It is uphill to York along Yew. It would make more sense to extent the path east to Arbutus then either have a path along Arbutus to York or find a way to include separated bike lanes along Cornwall. One possibility is acquiring space from the property owners on the south side of Cornwall.

Safe Convenient Cycling

The new route along Point Grey will only require cyclists to cross one intersection between Yew and Jericho while the current route along 3rd Ave requires crossing 18. As intersections account for over half of cycling collisions and much of route is separated from traffic, the new Seaside Greenway should prove to be very safe to cycle on. The lack of intersections and hills will also make it faster. 

Thank You

The Seaside Greenway will be enjoyed by thousands of people from all parts of Vancouver, the region and around the world everyday. A big thank you to City Council for their strong leadership, city staff for their hard work and all the members of the community that helped make this happen. A good idea to send a quick thank you email to: Mayor Gregor Robertson and Council <>

More Information

Cycling to Work East of Dunsmuir Up 40%

Bicycle commuting by Vancouver residents east living of Dunsmuir is up by 40% since 2006! According to the just released 2011 Census results, the number of people biking to work in the area bounded by Main, 1st Avenue, Boundary and Burrard inlet went from 1,330 to 1,860, an increase of 530.

2011 Census Cycling Commuting Mode Share - City of Vancouver 2011 Census Cycling Commuting Mode Share – City of Vancouver

These results strongly indicate that Dunsmuir Separated Bike Lanes have been very successful in encouraging more people to cycle. The results are even more impressive as this part of the city already had high levels of cycling. Now, Grandview Woodlands and Strathcona have the top three census tracts in the region with 14-15 percent of people cycling to work.

The improvements to Union and Expo should further increasing cycling. This positive news and your letters to Council will help make the case to divert traffic from Union east of Gore as well.

For comparison, overall in the City of Vancouver, commuting by bicycle increased from 3.7% in 2006 to 4.4% in 2011. That is 12,855 people up from around 10,380 people in 2006, a 24% increase in the number of people riding to work. In Metro Vancouver, the increase was only from 1.7% to 1.8%.

These results help make the case even stronger for a network separated bicycle lanes and other all ages and abilities cycling facilities around the City of Vancouver and the region. Much of the reason for the success of Dunsmuir is that it connected the already popular Adanac Bikeway to several streets downtown that either had painted bicycle lanes or had low enough levels of traffic to make them ok for cycling.

Moving forward, separated bike lanes on Cornwall and Pt Grey as well as diverting traffic off Pt Grey between Macdonald and Alma will help expand the all ages and abilities network in the west side of Vancouver enabling to safely connect to the separated bike lanes on Burrard Bridge and Hornby. The increase in cycling in Kits and Point Grey was around 10%, likely reflecting the fact that there are really no all ages routes in this part of the city. Cypress, the main north south bikeway is clogged with cars during rush hour making it not that attractive to novice commuters.

There was also a significant increase in cycling commuting in North Vancouver with 2.2% of people cycling to work. In the census tracts closest to the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge, cycling mode share increased from 1.3% to 1.9%, an increase of 53%. Hard to say how much of this was due to Dunsmuir though.

The other good news is that Vancouver remains number two in North America among cities with more than 500,000 people after Portland where 6.3% bike commute.

Thanks to Mayor Robertson and Council for their strong leadership on cycling, staff for the great job implemented the separated bike lanes and to all the people cycling on the bike lanes. Please thank them:

Thanks to Chad Skelton of the Vancouver Sun for the great maps of the Census results. Interesting to poke around:

British Columbia Needs a Passenger Transportation Plan

The Future is Active and Electric


Transportation is being transformed by new realities including an aging population; mobile communications technology; the end of inexpensive energy and resources; rising health care costs due to inactivity and collisions; the need to reduce environmental impacts; and a generation of young people for whom driving is not a priority. The emergence of car and bike sharing along with mobile communications technology is changing personal mobility from a consumer product to a service.

Currently, there is no Province-wide plan integrating the various initiatives, projects, services and transportation authorities including BC Ferries, the BC Transit Plan, the Cascades High-Speed Rail, the Gateway Program, the Island Corridor, BC Transit and TransLink.

Projects and systems are being planned in isolation without consideration of the long-term provincial context: the Massey Tunnel, Surrey Rapid Transit, the BC Ferries Review, the Pattullo Bridge, the E & N corridor and so on. These initiatives will cost billions of dollars and there is little or no overall coordination.

In light of the new realities, British Columbia is in need of a long-term passenger transportation plan that will provide residents and visitors with safe, convenient, affordable transportation options between cities and towns connecting to with current and planned transportation networks in neighbouring provinces and states. This plan should integrate rail, bus, ferries, airports, land use, cycling and walking into seemless combined mobility solutions.

Also needed are secure funding sources that are aligned with the objectives and the goals of the plan.A coordinated plan would provide higher levels services, lower travel times at less cost to the provincial government and passengers while minimizing environmental impact, congestion and collisions. It would also help met goals of producing compact livable communities where people do not have to use personal motor vehicles.

Such a plan would enable efficient use the capacity of existing and planned road and transit infrastructure. This could delay or eliminate the need for costly capacity upgrades of bridges and tunnels thus allowing capital funds to be used on other projects. This also maximizes revenues and decreases operating costs thus minimizing the subsidies required for given levels of service. Good connections to intercity ferries and rail could also improve the business case for rapid transit lines enabling their completion to be advances.

It also could affect the prioritization of rapid transit investment.Most BC communities and regions including the CRD and Metro Vancouver have produced transportation plans. However, without knowing where provincial intercity transportation routes and stations will be, decisions may be make that will not be optimal.

The Provincial Transit Plans outlines goals, objectives, routes and projects for regional transportation. It does not define such for inter-regional transportation. The South Coast Transportation Act does provide the opportunity for communities east to Hope and North to Squamish to join but so far, that have chosen not to. Without a provincial transportation plan, it will be more difficult to make decisions on where to put development and transportation projects.

There is also a need to reserve right-of-ways, station sites, dock sites, rail yards and other space required for multi-modal hubs. With expensive land prices and pressure to develop land, right-of-ways and other land required to support transportation can easily be lost greatly increasing the cost of transportation projects by then requiring expensive tunnels or elevated structures.

Even other transportation can impact future intercity transportation right-of-ways. For example, the construction of the Millennium Line and the Highway 1 widening may opportunities for high speed rail along these corridors.


Mobile Communications

For many people, mobile communications is now more essential socially and economically than owning a car. With smart phones, laptops and tablets, ime spent in transit and rail can now be productive economically and socially. Transportation expert Tom Vanderbuilt has queried that it is not mobile devices that are distracting people from driving, in reality it is driving that is distracting people from mobile devices. If we don’t provide such forms of transportation, we will be less economically competitive and BC will have challenges attracting the talent required to build the economy of the future.

The Cost of Collisions

Then there is the horrific human cost of motor vehicle collisions. Transport Canada estimates the societal cost of collisions amounts to around 3% of GDP. Collisions are also responsible for around 20% of congestion. Delays caused by collisions are typically long and random and thus have the greatest impact on travel time predictability.

Reducing motor vehicle distance traveled by providing people with safer options such as rail is one of the most effective ways to reduce collisions, injuries and fatalities. Intercity travel is typically higher speed and thus better options could have a significant impact on collisions, injuries and fatalities.

Electric Oriented Transportation System
Our current transportation system is built around and made possible by gasoline. Gasoline has high energy content for its weight and volume, is inexpensive to store and can refuel vehicles quickly. These properties enable people to own one relatively inexpensive vehicle that can be used both for short urban trips and long trips across the province, country or continent.
While it may not be the best or most efficient form of transportation for many types of trips, gasoline powered automobiles are obviously good enough for a very large percentage of people. Electricity, on the other hand, is more difficult effectively store. Batteries are expensive and much heavier than gasoline per unit of energy. It takes much longer to charge batteries than it does to refill a gas tank. For short slow speed trips, trips Long intercity trips in BC are particularly challenging for battery powered vehicles due to:

  • Long distances
  • Step grades
  • Lack of grid access for recharging
  • Weather extremes
  • More passengers and gear = more weight
  • Larger vehicles for gear and passengers
  • High speeds to cover long distances

All these factors combine to increase the power required and thus increase the size and the cost of the batteries needed. When most trips are short urban trips, it is not cost and energy effective to drive the vehicles needed for long trips everyday. Without other options for long distance trips, given the choice between buying the very expensive electric vehicle required for long trips and a much cheaper gas powered one, many people will likely chose the gas-powered one.

For longer distances, it is much more efficient to draw electric power from the grid rather than store it in batteries. As such, electric high-speed rail is an ideal compliment to lightweight battery powered urban vehicles.

For trips up to 20km, electric bicycles a good solution for many people especially in hilly BC communities. They are becoming very popular in countries including the Netherland and China. In China, 30 million per year are sold compared with 23 million automobiles. The main barrier as with regular bicycles is the lack of safe-comfortable all ages cycling infrastructure. Golf cart sized electric vehicles are very popular in retirement communities.

High Speed Rail Electric

rail is an obvious choice for longer distance travel that can be much faster and more comfortable than automobiles or buses. Higher speed passenger rail has different performance and design requirements than freight rail making track sharing less than ideal. Grade separation is typically less expensive as grades of up to 6% can be used as opposed to 3% for freight trains and less vertical clearance is required from overpasses.

Long straight stretches are also needed for high-speed rail to hit maximum speed. Sophisticated automated signalling and control systems are used to prevent collisions on dedicated track reducing the need for heavy impact protection structures on the trains. This reduces operating and rolling stock costs while increasing maximum speeds.

Faster travel time reduces staff and rolling stock cost per trip and increases passenger revenue as people value reduced trip times. This improves the bottom line meaning lower or no operating subsidies are required.

Already, we are following behind even our immediate neighbours. Washington State has invested over $600 million in the Cascades Rail Corridor, mainly between Seattle and Portland due to indifference from the BC and Canadian Governments. Premier Reford of Alberta, is supporting high-speed rail between Calgary and Edmonton. The Washington Department of Transportation has lead the study and improvement of the Cascades Corridor.

BC Ferries
With BC Ferries experiencing financial challenges, now is the time to look at a complete rethink of its role in the transportation system. This could include transforming BC Ferries into an integrated transportation organization that is a marine transit system in addition to a marine highway system. The current mandate was reasonable back in the 1960’s but faced with the new realities going forward, this needs to be reconsidered.
Passenger-only ferries from terminals close to population centres and to current or planned rapid stations would be a much better option.It is estimated that BC Ferries accounts for 4% of the GHG emissions in BC.
The BC Ferries Act review does mention improved transit to terminals but did not evaluate options to do that nor evaluate options to better integrate transit at lower cost by more optimal terminal locations.In the Metro Vancouver, the terminals require the majority of the population to cross bridges and tunnels that do not have excess capacity and are congested during large portions of the day.

Connections to Naniamo, the second largest community on Vancouver and the communities between Naniamo and Victoria including Duncan, Ladysmith, Chamanis and Shanagan Lake are particularly inefficient. Naniamo is essentially due west of UBC and YVR but to access the ferries to it, travelers are required to go way north to Horseshoe Bay or way south to Tswassasen. A terminal near UBC or YVR like Bridgeport would be much more direct.The Island Corridor Review mentions ferry connections but did not evaluate options to improve those connections nor evaluate locations that might be optimal for ferry and rail connections.

Next Up
Hubs and corridors.


Welcome to my new blog. Where I can post about anything. Not just my usual cycling or transportation stuff although I expect that I won’t be able to help that. The advantage here is that I’m not posting on behalf of an organization so I can pretty much say what I want. For better or worse.

Really excited about nabbing! No idea how that happened. Google Richard Campbell and you will see what I mean. There is quite a gang of us. Maybe I should buy a lottery ticket!