“Cue the howling,” notes Ohrn, anticipating the media coverage and accompanying comments to the Burrard Bridge announcement, below.
Do we have to go through this every time? No matter how many times the city reallocates road space (miniparks in the 1970s and 80s, bike lanes in the 90s and 2000s), no matter how many controversies (Hornby Street, Burrard Bridge, Point Grey Road, the Viaducts), the pattern is the same: predictions of Carmaggedon, attacks on council and staff, calls for more process, lengthy public meetings, approval and construction – and then nothing. Maybe a week of adjustment, and life goes on.
A few years later, the data confirms what the engineers had predicted: sufficient existing capacity, some mitigation, improved road design, and more use of other modes means little negative impact on vehicle flows – and in some cases actual improvements.
Best of all, the city moves forward on the goals that every council and community process affirms:
So let’s see, now that the south end improvements on the Burrard Bridge are clearly a success, whether the north end proposals will be greeted with equanimity.
Maybe this item from CityLab might give some reassurance:
“A big reason for opposition to bike lanes is that, according to the rules of traffic engineering, they lead to car congestion. …
But the general wisdom doesn’t tell the whole story here. On the contrary, smart street design can eliminate many of the traffic problems anticipated by alternative mode elements like bike lanes. A new report on protected bike lanes released by the New York City Department of Transportation offers a great example of how rider safety can be increased even while car speed is maintained.
… just because a city values travel alternatives over car-centric engineering doesn’t mean that city’s traffic has to come to a halt.