Separated bike lanes are extremely effective at attracting people to the two-wheeled transportation alternative. But there is less attention paid to the larger component of Vancouver’s continent-dominating cycling infrastructure. Namely, neighbourhood streets changed into cycling routes. Traffic calming, lower speed limits, bike buttons at arterials — all contribute to making it easy to get around the city by bike.
Mike Hagar looks at this cheap and effective infrastructure in the Globe and Mail. Replete with extensive quotes from Gordon Price.
Urban-planning and transportation experts have long feted Vancouver’s extensive system of bike-friendly side streets as a cheap and uncontroversial way for bike-resistant North American cities to create the infrastructure that gets people out of their cars and onto two wheels.
It’s very simple,” says Gordon Price, a six-term former city councillor and former director of Simon Fraser University’s City Program. “All you have to do is put in traffic signals where these side streets cross another arterial.” . . .
. . . Price was a councillor from 1986 to 2002, after which he says his Non-Partisan Association party committed to fomenting a “bikelash” among Vancouver’s more conservative residents to oppose any expansion to the city’s cycling infrastructure. This movement began to reach a fever pitch in the run-up to council reallocating a car lane of the Burrard Street Bridge in 2009 to create a separated path for cyclists riding in and out of downtown.
It’s territorial, it is tribal – it doesn’t matter what the data says,” Mr. Price says of the resistance toward such separated bike lanes. “People just feel like ‘you’re taking space; the congestion’s bad already; you’re deliberately making my life worse. For who? A bunch of jerks who aren’t obeying the law. Why don’t you licence them and make them pay their way? Anyway, we don’t have room and blah blah blah.’ And guess what happens [after a new bike lane is built]? Nothing.”
Nothing, that is, except a steady rise in mode-share for the two-wheeled alternative. Today, roughly 10% of trips to and from work are made by bicycle, and that number seems likely to continue its rise.