Vancouver city council has unanimously approved a separated bike lane for the Dunsmuir Viaduct.
“We want to cement the mood of the public, that the provision of bike lanes is the new normal,” Vision Vancouver councillor Geoff Meggs told a city services and budgets committee meeting today (February 4).
Following council’s approval of the new two-way lane, slated to cost no more than $300,000, Meggs moved that council support, in principle, connecting the Burrard Bridge and Dunsmuir Viaduct to the downtown core with additional separated bike lanes.
He then added two amendments of his own, including a recommendation that staff report to council this spring with “options for a trial of separated lanes in the central business district this year”. The final request was that staff report on options in 2010 to “conduct a trial of a fully separated bike lane or lanes on part of the city’s existing street bikeways”.
Speaking earlier on the same item, city manager of strategic transportation planning Lon LaClaire said 2006 census data showed that approximately four percent of Vancouverites bike to work.
“Cycling is a rapidly-expanding mode in Vancouver,” LaClaire told council. “We’ve seen about a tripling of cycling for all purposes.”
LaClaire then ran through a presentation on bike initiatives in Portland and Copenhagen. He noted that Vancouver has 400 kilometre lanes of bike lane infrastructure currently.
A City of Copenhagen study showed that “improved health from increased cycling outweighs the additional cycling accident risk by a factor of 20”, according to LaClaire’s presentation.
Staff also noted that the Dunsmuir Viaduct has already been reduced to two traffic lanes since construction began on the adjoining Costco and high-rise towers downtown.
“Seeing how it has functioned so well with two lanes, we propose removing the barriers from the left side of the viaduct and moving them to the right side to create a protected lane only for cyclists,” LaClaire told council.
Five speakers, including cycling advocate Richard Campbell, spoke in favour.
Graham Anderson, an SFU student in sustainable community development, said he was “generally speaking in favour” of the proposals.
“Separated bike lanes are absolutely necessary,” he added. “They are long overdue.”
Assistant city engineer Jerry Dobrovolny said that cycling maps with all the routes clearly marked will be available for visitors to the city over the coming weeks.
“They’ve been printed and we have lots,” Dobrovolny added.
The separated bike lane will be added to the Dunsmuir Viaduct after the Olympics.