Green council candidate Pete Fry likes the idea of a “decent” bike route north of Hastings Street in Vancouver.
“I think it would be great as long as it’s done right,” Fry, who recently resigned as chair of the Strathcona Residents’ Association to run in the November municipal election, told the Georgia Straight by phone.
However, Fry said that a new proposal for a separated bike lane on Cordova and Powell streets or Water and Powell streets, floated by the nonprofit HUB Cycling, raises several issues. For one thing, Powell is a truck route, he noted.
According to Fry, Strathcona community members were troubled by what he called a lack of consultation on the Union Street separated bike lane, which was installed in 2013. If the City of Vancouver considers putting a new bikeway in the neighbourhood—on Powell or elsewhere—it will need to do a “better job” of engaging the public, he asserted.
“What we found when they did the consultation on the Union Street path, they billed it actually as changes to the Adanac bikeway,” said Fry, who described himself as a cyclist and pedestrian. “They really didn’t get into the notion of any changes to Union Street, and they sort of engaged just the cyclists and not the homeowners and the residents on Union Street or the businesses on Union Street or the people who drive cars and that kind of thing.”
On May 15, HUB executive director Erin O’Melinn told the Straight that a four-kilometre bike lane running through Gastown, the Downtown Eastside, and Grandview-Woodland would connect the downtown core with the city’s northeast corner. The proposed bike lane would link up with the seawall at the Vancouver Convention Centre on its west end and the Wall Street bikeway, near Victoria Drive, on its east end.
The $50-million Powell Street overpass, which is scheduled to be completed this summer, will feature a separated bike lane.
According to the city’s Transportation 2040 plan, approved in 2012, connecting the overpass with the Carrall Street greenway via an “all ages and abilities” bike route on Alexander Street is a potential priority for 2015 to 2017.
As well, the Downtown Eastside Local Area Plan, approved in March, calls for the city to look at “potential new walking and cycling routes” on Water and Alexander streets.
Tanya Paz, chair of the city’s active transportation policy council, told the Straight that HUB’s proposal is one way the city could make its planned Portside greenway, from downtown to Boundary Road, a reality.
“The city has identified that Powell Street to Carrall on Alexander is a greenway connection that’s in the plan for the next five years,” Paz said by phone. “It’s possible that could be extended for greater connectively in that time too.”