So much new cycling and public space infrastructure is happening at the moment, from new bike lanes to bikeshare, that it’s hard to believe it’s occurring without much controversy. We seem to have reached a new stage in our cycling evolution.
Looking back, it appears the first stage was, with the appointment of a Bicycle Advisory Committee in the 1970s, the creation of a cycling vision and plan. A small cohort of committed individuals within small organizations lobbied consistently and maintained pressure to get change on the ground. Once ongoing capital commitments were approved, the Engineering department responded.
From that we got the network of bikeways – extremely cost-effective, requiring few trade-offs with other road users.
But the second stage led to controversy: the commitment to a network, primarily downtown, of separated bike routes. See Dunsmuir and Hornby. See Burrard Bridge. See Point Grey Road.
Each was the focus of inflamed media attention, each had to be fought separately. All required political commitment, all were won.
And now the third stage: the build-out of a minimum grid, a complete network of separated routes, a bikeshare system, a triple-A culture (all ages and abilities), a steadily increasing modal share for cycling, an integration with greenways and public spaces. It’s happening without a lot of controversy, based on recognition that what we have done is working and what we can do will make the city better and our citizens healthier.
In the last few weeks, there’s been a lot of evidence of that third stage. For one instance, at the north end of the Burrard Bridge.
Send in the evidence as it happens.