A few selected quotes from this industry expert. It’s a good perspective from someone who runs a small business, and is in touch with the big shifts now taking place in transportation in Vancouver.
Best spot to grab a mobi bike share
“It’s all pretty new, but I’d say the Cambie Street station—it’s really conveniently located. There are great setups all over town, though. By my house, for instance, at 16th and Arbutus, there’s a big station in front of the new Loblaws that always has loads of bikes available.”
Best Vancouver neighbourhood for cycling
“With all the new cycling lanes, it’s probably Kitsilano. The traffic is generally quieter to begin with, and with the new infrastructure it’s very nice and relaxed out there.”
Best downtown bike lane
“The new Burrard Street path will be fantastic when it opens. Until that’s done, though, I’d say Hornby Street—the one with the segregated lane, with potted plants all along it.”
Best thing to say to businesses that oppose bike lanes
“You just have to look at the statistics—everywhere there’s a bike lane, business goes up. And that’s all over the world, not just in Vancouver. Cycling provides a different way to see the city, so you notice more stores, and because you’re going slower, you’ve got more time to look around you. Plus, you don’t have to worry about parking—if you want to visit a shop, you can go right in.”
Best way to get people out on their bikes
“The Mobi bike share is such a great idea for just that. If somebody is thinking about starting to ride their bike to work, or just using it around town, it’s possible to get the app and just do a pay-as-you-go service. When people try cycling and realize the huge benefits, they get hooked.”
City of Vancouver Parks Board has approved 11 Mobi stations in its parks. This according to Michael Mui in 24 Hours Vancouver. See other Mobi info below, from the article.
The Park Board designated seven locations in Stanley Park, two at Sunset Beach, one at English Bay and one at Kitsilano Beach, as stations where Mobi users will be able to pick up and drop off bikes, adding to the 72 locations that have already been revealed around the downtown core.
Mobi general manager Mia Kohout . . . said additional consultation will be done with First Nations for the Stanley Park stations, but after that Mobi will be installing the bike infrastructure within the parks.
Park Board spokeswoman Margo Harper said the board is also asking Mobi to advertise park services, in exchange for using parking lot space.
A few Mobi numbers (as of Sept 21, 2016):
- 64 stations activated, another 6 installed and ready (eventually 150 total)
- Around 600 bikes in service (eventually to be 1,500)
- 2-3 trips per day per bike on average
- Total of 73,000 trips so far (1,200 to 1,500 per day)
- Membership is around 5,000
Just a guy, out for a ride. And a photog who likes the image.
Out on a windy, quasi-autumnal Sunday afternoon. A lovely, lively place.
Tony Valente sent on a pic from SeaBus on the morning of the Gran Fondo Whistler, as North Shore cyclists take advantage of transit to get to the downtown starting line:
Looks like about a 50:50 gender balance too.
This tweet came my way today:
Now, if they were all in yoga gear, with a mat and growlers in their baskets, heading for a refill on their last stop before docking . . . maybe our work would be done.
It is 8.30am on a weekday rush hour and the Voie Georges-Pompidou along the right bank of the Seine, normally one of the busiest highways in Paris, is eerily quiet.
Around 43,000 vehicles a day used this expressway, built in 1967, to cross central Paris from west to east, but they are nowhere to be seen. Instead, teams of workers are there, planning playgrounds, wooden terraces, waterside gardens restaurants and rectangular terrains for playing boules.
The drone from traffic on the parallel Quai des Celestins, higher up the river bank, suggests traffic there is moving along at a respectable pace – confounding those doomsayers who suggested the controversial scheme to pedestrianise two miles of city centre highway would bring neighbouring roads to a standstill.
While this section of the Seine closes every summer to host the Paris Plages – in which temporary artificial beaches are created along the right bank of the river – this time the expressway has not been reopened.
Instead Paris’s prefect of police – the state representative – this week approved the closure of the riverside route for a six-month trial. Socialist-run city hall says it intends to keep the highway closed to vehicles for good. …
Few issues have so bitterly divided Parisians than the closure of Voie Georges-Pompidou. The move, one of the pillars of Hidalgo’s 2014 election campaign, has pitted city hall against the regional council, right against left, motorists against pedestrians, in increasingly bad tempered exchanges. …
Christophe Najdovski, Paris deputy mayor responsible for transport and public spaces, and a member of the Ecology Green party, said the new project is all about changing attitudes. “The first few weeks will be difficult and then it will become normal. As we have seen with this type of project across the whole world, including places like New York and Rio, is that when an urban highway is transformed or closed, there is an evaporation of traffic. Either people modify their route, or they use their car less and take other forms of transport.
“Behaviour will change. Habits will change. And our objective, to reduce traffic and thus pollution, will be achieved.”
Najdovski added: “We have done all studies necessary for this project and we’re convinced that after six months, a year, everything will be fine and nobody will be talking about this any more. That’s what happened with the right bank three years ago.
“If Anne Hidalgo wants to ride a bicycle then that’s up to her, but why should motorists suffer? Let’s make no mistake, her goal is purely electoral and this stupid idea will please two or three bobos (bourgeois-bohemians) and upset 10 million others. She doesn’t care about the people in the banlieues [suburbs] because they don’t vote for her.”
“If you close a major road, it’s obvious the cars aren’t just going to disappear. Anne Hidalgo isn’t David Copperfield. They’re going to turn up elsewhere and there will be traffic jams elsewhere,” Chasseray told the Guardian.
He added: “City hall wants to change people’s habits by force, but we’re not a dictatorship. Instead of closing the highways, they should find a way for cars and pedestrians to coexist.”
The Ile-de-France regional president Valérie Pécresse, of the opposition centre-right Les Republicains (LR) party, said the trial should last a year to take account of “spikes in pollution” in summer months. She said the pedestrianisation project was “seductive” but added: “It all comes down to how it’s done.”
“Paris cannot take brutal decision without real consultation and without taking into account the impact on the banlieue,” Pecresse told Le Monde.
Temporary Pathway Consultation: From the City of Vancouver:
The Arbutus Greenway is a future north-south transportation corridor that will connect False Creek to the Fraser River.
In the short term, the City of Vancouver is building a temporary pathway that everyone can enjoy. We’re looking at several different types of hard-surface materials, especially those that that improve safety and accessibility.
Space is limited so RSVP soon HERE, or at email@example.com, to participate and have your say.
- Saturday, September 17th, at the False Creek Community Centre between 1-3pm.
- Wednesday, September 21st, at the Coast Vancouver Airport Hotel between 7-9pm.
- Thursday, September 22nd, at the Kerrisdale Community Centre between 7-9pm.
I’ll probably attend. While I certainly do not expect to have a veto, I will be speaking in favour of a temporary pathway that allows as many potential Greenway users as possible to travel it and imagine their preferred final design. I will oppose exclusion in any form.
More project info HERE, plus a sign-up page for the project newsletter.
As some people in Metro Vancouver continue to applaud funding gigantic bridges, and in some powerful quarters to lust after building tract-home subdivisions on the Agricultural Land Reserve, Smart Growth continues to attract other people.
Todd Litman has published a concise and detailed (how does he do that?) guide to countering criticism of Smart Growth by the proponents and defenders of 1950’s-style sprawl.
Smart Growth: refers to development principles and planning practices that create more efficient land use and transport patterns. It includes numerous strategies that result in more accessible land use patterns and multi-modal transport systems. It is an alternative to sprawl. Smart Growth is supported by diverse interest groups and professional organizations. Smart Growth has been criticized by various individuals and organizations. This paper evaluates that criticism.
Critics tend to assume that consumers prefer large single-family homes in automobile-dependent communities, and that current transport and land use policies are overall efficient and fair. As a result, they criticize Smart Growth as being harmful to consumers and the economy. This ignores evidence that many people will choose other housing and transport options if given suitable options and incentives, and that current markets are distorted in ways that increase sprawl and automobile dependency. Many Smart Growth strategies are market reforms that correct existing market distortions, increasing consumer options, economic efficiency and equity. Critics endorse some Smart Growth strategies in recognition that they increase market efficiency.
Critics often misrepresent Smart Growth and make various analytical errors which can lead to false conclusions. They often evaluate Smart Growth based simply on gross regional population density, ignoring other Smart Growth factors, geographic scales, and confounding factors. As a result, some evidence presented by critics misrepresents key issues. Specific Smart Growth criticisms are summarized below and evaluated in detail in the body of this report. . . .
. . . Critics tend to assume that consumers are inflexible, helpless and lazy, and so would be unable to accept living in more Smart Growth communities and reducing their automobile travel. However, experience indicates that people are actually quite adaptable and creative, enjoy walking and cycling, and can flourish in a wide range of land use conditions and transportation patterns.
Mr. Litman is a respected researcher and analyst who runs the Victoria Transport Policy Institute (Victoria, BC). He is unafraid to wade into the issues with critics, no matter who they are and at what level they discuss the issues.
This article in the Financial Times asks the question directly: is urban cycling worth the risk?
Sure we know about the extraordinary health benefits, getting to places efficiently, and living in a smart way. But in a 2014 survey “64 per cent of people surveyed by the UK’s Department of Transport said they believed it was too dangerous for them to cycle on the road. These decisions are often based on gut feelings or anecdote: a friend who has had a great experience commuting by bike can inspire us to follow suit, while seeing or hearing about a bad cycling accident may put us off for life.”
In London England nine cyclists died in 2015 as a result of crashes at intersections. In response to this, the new cycle superhighway just opened in London on Blackfriar’s Road phases the traffic lights so that cyclists go through intersections separately from motorized vehicles.
Surprisingly Transport for London’s analysis points the finger at the DESIGN of trucks being responsible for crashes, and is urging for a new truck design with improved visibility for drivers.
And are you safer biking or walking?
Mile by mile, people in the UK are actually more likely to die walking than cycling, according to figures from the Department for Transport. For every billion miles cycled last year, 30.9 cyclists were killed, while 35.8 pedestrians were killed for every billion miles walked. Both activities are significantly safer than riding a motorbike – 122 motorcyclists are killed for every billion miles driven.
While you are statistically more likely to succumb while walking, you are three times more likely to have an injury biking. But back to how to make biking in cities safer- John Pucher and Ralph Buehler’s book City Cycling notes the following: London, with an average of 1.1 deaths per 10,000 commuters, fared better than New York’s 3.8. But both lagged far behind the 0.3 annual average deaths in Copenhagen and 0.4 in Amsterdam.
And we know the reason: Copenhagen and Amsterdam have long standing policy and demonstrated implementation of separated bike lanes, not painted lines or share alls, but actual bike lanes with separate traffic signals. It is possible to do a complete commute on some of the bike lanes without crossing a vehicular interloper.
It’s great to see the Financial Times take an active interest in cycling and commuting, and they include additional information in their article on health benefits, and pollution exposure. Bottom line-infrastructure is key to safe urban cycling, and retrofitting for separated bikeways is the 21st century way to increase ridership and enhance safety.
PT: I joined Mobi as a founder member; it seemed the right thing to do – even though I was doubtful that I would use the system all that much. (I have a couple of bikes conveniently stored in the locker rooms of my building; I generally commute from the West End to downtown. What more do I need?)
And yet, to my surprise, I’ve been using Mobi more than I ever expected.
First of all (and critically), it is convenient. With a docking station across the street (one of three on the Chilco Bikeway), it’s just as fast to grab a Mobi as to go to the basement, open locked doors, and head out through the garage.
With the Transit App interface, I can check to see if docks are available at my destination station.
More often, though, I use bikeshare on my return home (it’s mostly downhill) if I took transit, taxi or had a lift into the city in the morning. Weather, clearly, plays a role, and I’m more willing to choose the best option available now that I have more choices.
But here’s what I didn’t really take into account: I now take a Mobi if I have to meet someone, typically in the West End, and know that I will be walking with them to another destination like a restaurant. I then don’t have to take my personal bike with me, awkwardly walking it on crowded sidewalks, nor do I have to think about getting back to wherever I might have first racked my bike. I just check the app for the closest Mobi docking station.
In a way, I’ve been liberated from my bike.
Another unexpected use: I came in by SkyTrain from Surrey last night, expecting to transfer to the local bus when I arrived downtown. But I found that it would take about ten minutes for the Robson 5 to arrive (thank you again, real-time Transit App) – and so it was a faster choice to use Mobi for the final leg.
Another surprise: I’m using the helmet – partly because I’m used to wearing helmets, partly because I have to pick one up when the bike and cord are released, partly because so far there’s always been one with every Mobi I’ve used. Looks like the system is working.
Final surprise: I’m amazed how much Mobi is being used generally, if my local docking station is an indication. Within a day of its launch, more than half the bikes were apparently in use.
21 bikes or one SUV
The feel of the central area is most definitely changing – much more like what I’ve experienced in Europe. As the car continues to drop out as a dominant mode, Vancouver becomes more like other world cities that have made the same commitments to walking and cycling. Sure, it’s summer; it’s only a small segment of the city; there’s much less car ownership and use. But still, it feels like we’ve now passed a point of no return, and that, as more infrastructure comes along, so will we.
And for those still begrudging the changes, including many in my own building – get over it. Or better yet, get on a Mobi.
I visited the Burrard Bridge bike counter on Monday, Sept 5, 2016 at around 11:30, but I missed the big flip-over to 1,000,000 bike rides on the bridge. Probably by about an hour or so.
These people, tourists (clearly) and a local, stopped to audibly oooh and ahhh over the big bike number.
The date is later than 2015 (by 14 days), which is odd considering the steady growth in number of people on bikes. Perhaps it’s Burrard construction, or a rainy spring, or natural variation in large numbers, or maybe anti-bike propaganda is finally winning the day. In any case, it’s earlier than any year for which data is available, except 2015.
I haven’t been at Granville Island for a while, but these bike parking racks look new to me. They replace 4 motor vehicle parking spots, and by my estimate, will park around 130 bikes. It’s a good type of rack, and the spacing is excellent.
They’re just east of the Market — a great location. Perhaps it’s another baby step towards making Granville Island more friendly to people. Maybe one day it will become permanently car-free.
The second phase of this project on Point Grey Road gets underway this week as city crews prepare to expand sidewalks, install benches and public fountains. Plus sewer and water upgrades.
Presumably, there will be some opposition to this.
Excerpt of City overview:
- Improvements to walking conditions, public realm, expanded green space and connections to waterfront parks along Point Grey Road
- Construction to be coordinated with sewer replacement
- Seaside Greenway Completion: Completes a critical 2 km gap in the Seaside Greenway, running from the Vancouver Convention Centre to Spanish Banks.
I’m promoting a comment, left anonymously this morning by “robotboy44” on the post “Arbutus Greenway: What’s Up?”. The writer questions the definition of “Greenway”, and argues that Vancouver has a choice on the Arbutus Corridor between a “bike freeway” and a “nature based stroll”, sort of like Pacific Spirit Park, but nevertheless reminiscent of “. . . the way it was.”
Personally, I feel that we need to ensure that a broad cross-section of the public has the opportunity to visit, ride, stroll or wheel along the corridor before we set a specific concept in … er… ah… cement (as it were).
This is very clearly a partisan space in support of the “bike freeway” position on all things path related, so pardon me for sharing another view, but I will.
It’s a cheap and baseless dig to characterize opposition to the paving as the “creme de la creme”. That kind of comment speaks more to your prejudice than it does a desire for thoughtful discussion and appreciation for a point of view which is not your own, so how about we try here to avoid these kind of assertions and instead discuss the issues.
People were upset about the paving because it seemed wholly inconsistent with the promise to discuss and listen to the people about how to treat the “greenway”. It was called a greenway and references were made to the NY Highline, which is not paved and not a fast bike route, but a leisurely stroll with amazing views. The Arbutus Greenway will never be the Highline because it’s not in NY, it runs along Arbutus. Very different experience, although I should think that does not need to be said. The term “greenway” even implies a more rustic, nature based experience. At least to me.
The previous use of the AB was more rustic and characterful. The feeling from many was that some of that character would be retained in creating the new user experience. Perhaps a kind of Pacific Spirit Park approach with green and a natural feel. On the other hand, biking proponents feel that the logical approach is to make it as clean and efficient a bike path as possible, so that means asphalt. No time for dirt getting on tires or gears.
Other bikers, like myself, really enjoy the more leisurely pace of a path much like the one at Kits Point or Jericho Beach or Pacific Spirit Park. If your goal is to make an active transportation corridor to get from A to B, then clearly asphalt is the way to go, but it’s clear that there are many who did not see the “greenway” in those terms.
So why the upset about the asphalt, which was called “temporary”? Because it felt like a very surprising move given the plan to consult and listen. Also, given the cities spotty reputation with listening, it felt like a decision had been made. In my opinion, people were rightly offended by this move.
I have my views about how the greenway should look and feel, but honestly, If there is true, broad consultation and it is felt that it should be primarily a bike commuter path rather than a more nature based stroll more reminiscent of the way it was, then so be it, but it seems reasonable to hear from the public before paving it. And in the mean time, I hope we can avoid characterizing people with baseless insults about their interests, financial well being or proximity to Arbutus.
Cathedral Square on Dunsmuir at Richards in Vancouver. Oh yes, sharing bikes too.
Part of the DVBIA’s initiative: “The Perch”
A Summertime Patio Project
One of the best parts about Summer in Vancouver (yes, there are many) is enjoying the dry, sunny weather. Iced coffee, the ‘ole PB&J sandwich from home or a food cart treat just tastes better in a quiet, comfy seat where you can watch the world go by.
While there are lots of year-round benches, the DVBIA-led Perch program adds temporary bistro tables and chairs to publicly accessible plazas in the downtown. They’re free and available for anyone to use.
At Cambie and Marine in Vancouver, a whole new ‘hood is rising around the Canada Line station. It includes separated bike lanes from Kent Street to eventually hook up with the Ontario bike way. With a little creativity and a small detour, you can get quite safely from the Canada Line bridge bike lane though Cambie & Marine all the way to the downtown bike lane network via Ontario Street. With good separation where traffic is thickest, as it is here.
And yes, that’s Douglas Coupland’s Golden Tree.