Vancouver council approves Dunsmuir Viaduct separated bike lane, pushes downtown trial

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.

Comments (17) Add New Comment
RodSmelser
Does this mean that the viaducts will not be destroyed after all?
Rod Smelser
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dumb and stupid
It's just plain stupid to piss away money like that for pansy cyclists who don't have the sense to ride on side roads.
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Not dumb and stupid
Perhaps you don't understand "dumb and stupid" but building a more balanced and equitable transportation network is actually a benefit to drivers because it means fewer cars on the road competing for space. This bike lane takes no road space away from cars while improving safety for cyclists, a key requirement in getting more people to travel around by bike instead of cars. It is definitely worth the investment in my opinion. Way to make a 21st century appropriate decision Vancouver!
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politics101
Dumb and stupid - so what are the side streets in the downtown core that we should be riding our bikes on.
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to pansy cyclists
@politics101,
Try Bute, Jervis ... Quebec as well as the grassy areas beside the sidewalks and sidewalks when people aren't using them. When you see someone on the sidewalk, dismount out of courtesy. Don't ride on 4th, Burrard or the Viaduct. I ride 5,000 km every year and don't have any problems getting to Georgia Street.
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RodSmelser
When you see someone on the sidewalk, dismount out of courtesy.
===============================

Good point. There are many cyclists in the downtown area who don't mind cycling at high speed within three feet of pedestrians. If you say anything, you'll be sworn at or threatened.
Rod Smelser
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Alexwarrior
@to pansy cyclists,
Riding on the sidewalk is illegal, and dangerous. The safest place is in the road where visibility is the highest.
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Running_Vancouver
I've been trying to figure a solution to getting cyclists to be respectful and safe riders - i.e., staying off the side walk, not screaming at walker / runners / pedestrians, watching for and respecting vehicles who are in the process of turning right when all of a sudden a cyclist has zoomed up from 5 cars away -- I have no solution. Certainly, I am not convinced that cycling lanes are the solution. As a driver, a cyclist, a runner and a pedestrian, I lean towards keeping the status quo and start ticketing and charging cyclists with cycling with undue care and attention.

BTW, who is paying for all of this?
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james
drivers are the pansies. ride a bike and come back and tell me what takes more guts. Biking is far and away more of a test of one's courage, endurance, skill, and fortitude than is driving. Any lazy moron can drive. Too often they do, and rely on their car's power to intimidate cyclists whose moral and character strength they lack. As for side roads, they have twice as many stop signs. Bikers are already at an unfair advantage for speed. Riding on main roads evens the score a bit.
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cyclist
dear running_vancouver

You are obviously a driver who cycles little. If you did you'd understand all the crap cyclists go through, the daily dangers and life-taking risks we endure at the hands of life-taking vehicles because of our beliefs. I think all the benefits cyclists do for society- ie. lower congestion, air pollution, improve health, make our roads less dangerous- would justify rewards, not tickets.
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dwntwnbiekr
I think the best solution for major roads downtown is a combined bus/bike lane slightly wider than normal. It allows cyclists to take the lane and stay visible, and to pass cars turning right on their left side. I really don't like riding on Dunsmuir because of the danger from right turning vehicles, and much prefer Pender, where the right lane is mine and I'm treated like another vehicle by cars turning right, rather than being dangerously cut off.
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Commuterman
I ride each viaduct each day (for many years now) and never felt the need for a dedicated bike lane. You've got to watch your ass but most drivers are pretty careful.
I rode the Dunsmuir bike-lane today westbound for the first time and wonder how I'm supposed to get on it Eastbound given that Dunsmuir is one-way Westbound.
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Barry
It's very interesting that city council approved this nonsense during the hype of the Olympics. Did they fear opposition?

The way the bike lane is laid out will mean more traffic problems at an already busy intersection. There are two left turn lanes off of Main street on to the viaduct. Imagine the surprise of motorists when they enter the viaduct and are immediately confronted with a narrowing to one lane.

It's unfortunate that the mayor, council members and cyclists don't understand that we live in a real world where not everyone can subscribe to their collective folly.

Why don't all of you count the few cyclists on the Burrard bridge....it won't take long! And where is the money going to come from. Will Trans Link hike taxes once again to pay for this folly. It seems so easy for the few to spend everyone's money for their own benefit!
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am
Barry,
The Burrard lane averages about 4000 cyclists a day.

http://vancouver.ca/projects/burrard/statistics.htm

Do some research before you spout. Also, Translink is separate from the City of Vancouver. They won't be paying for any of it.
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RocketQueen
First of all, I find it offensive that Vision Vancouver is telling me what my mood is - I certainly don't approve of their spending millions of dollars on this initiative.
More importantly, I walk everywhere and have been absolutely disgusted lately by the disregard of cyclists (not all, but enough to make me take notice) to pedestrians and street lights. You can't have it both ways, cyclists. If you want part of the road, you can't barrel through red lights, barely missing pedestrians (and then yelling at us). I feel like I'm being held hostage to the cyclists downtown where I live and work.
If you're going to spend tax dollars on this, I'd like to see some more money go into actually enforcing the rules of the road. That means stopping at lights and NOT cycling on the sidewalk.
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AhHa
Solution. Pay for all this by insuring bikes! I was hit (in my Prius) and run by one of these self righteous pricks who lost his balance and scraped a handlebar down my rear left door. I'm now out $500 for repairs and now going to advocate not just registration but INSURANCE of any bike on public roads! Want recreation? Stick to the Sea-wall.
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RocketQueen
AhHa - couldn't agree more. My boyfriend's car was T-boned last summer by a biker who barreled around a wall and through a crosswalk and bounced off the hood of the car. As he wasn't wearing a helmet, he was taken to hospital and my boyfriend was left with a $300 deductible to replace his windshield and fix the side paneling. There were several witnesses there that confirmed the biker was at fault, but the cop just shook his head and said drivers have no recourse.
I completely agree that they should be required to have some sort of license or insurance if they're going to be causing accidents, which is happening more frequently. I know it's just a matter of time before I get hit by a biker as I cross a crosswalk.
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