Cycling advocate concerned Vancouver Sun headline will “drum up controversy" regarding bike lanes
A long-time cycling advocate is upset over today’s above-the-fold headline on the front page of the Vancouver Sun.
The headline reads, “Bike lanes sure to cause division,” but the online version of the story carries a different headline: “Vancouver bike lanes set to expand with Commercial Drive, Point Grey Road under consideration”.
“It’s disappointing that a paper like the Sun seems to want to stir up division for some reason,” Richard Campbell told the Straight by phone. “I guess maybe it sells papers, but it would be nice if they would take a more measured approach to their headlines and stick to the facts rather than trying to drum up controversy.”
Veteran Sun reporter Jeff Lee referred to proposed capital projects that may include changes to parts of Commercial Drive, Point Grey Road, or Cornwall Avenue “in a quest to reduce bicycle-vehicle conflicts”.
Campbell, also a 2002 Green city-council candidate, spoke at the May 16 planning, transportation, and environment committee meeting referred to by Lee in his story.
“The meeting was mostly about the capital projects that are being approved this year,” Campbell told the Straight. “They are essentially bikeways on residential streets, for the most part. There are short segments that are separated paths. But on most of them, it’s shared with traffic.”
Bike lanes, widened sidewalks, and various traffic-calming measures are among the potential design options that could be put to the communities around Commercial Drive and Point Grey Road as part of consultations on the city's long-term transportation plan.
Jerry Dobrovolny, Vancouver’s transportation director, said after the May 16 meeting that those areas are among the highest-volume routes in the city for cyclists.
“We don’t have a design at this point,” Dobrovolny told reporters. “That’ll be the discussion with the businesses and the neighbours.”
Dobrovolny added that bike lanes in those areas are among “many potential options” that will be part of consultations early this fall.
Campbell told the Straight: “These are all nothing new and they’ve been talked about for decades.” He claimed that the 1997 Transportation Plan approved by then-mayor Philip Owen and the NPA-dominated council had a map to show this.
“There were bike lanes along Commercial and Victoria, Kingsway and Point Grey, Cornwall, and Burrard up until 16th, and Cambie until West 8th, at Seymour and Howe and Nelson and Smythe downtown,” Campbell added. “And, really, none of those have been done, so the city has not been too quick about even implementing some of these things in even their 1997 plan. It is good to see that this council is starting to move ahead with these.”
City council approved five bikeway projects for construction this year.
Bikeways on 45th Avenue between Ontario and Nanaimo streets and on Dumfries Street between 37th and 59th avenues will go ahead, as will revised plans for the Ridgeway Greenway between Nanaimo and Rupert streets, the North Arm Trail between Cambie and Ontario streets, and Union Street at Hawks Avenue.
The projects are part of a cycling work plan approved by city council in May 2010, and the funding was approved in 2011.
Another project, the Comox-Helmcken bikeway, is still in the consultation phase, and staff will report to council on this route later this year.