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  1. #1
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    Proposed (under construction) Separated Bike Lane in Vancouver

    I am attaching a link to a pdf with changes happening to a somewhat busy commuter cycle route in Vancouver.

    They want to increase usability for pedestrians and wary cyclists. It is primarily an industrial area, there is a connection to a pedestrian bridge over the river to the south of W Kent Ave S.

    Here is the design link: http://vancouver.ca/files/cov/Canada...esign-2013.pdf

    and image of pdf:

    Canada-Line-Connections-Open-House-Boards-recommended-design-2013 (1).jpg

    Here is the project site: Canada Line Bridge Pedestrian and Cyclist Connections Project | City of Vancouver

    They have been planning this for 1.5 years (I only started commuting in this area in January after moving), so I was unaware of it until they began construction prep a month or so ago.

    My biggest concerns are for eastbound commuters along W Kent Ave N. and northbound commuters at Cambie Street and SW Marine Drive. The SE corner of Marine and Cambie is a commuter train (Skytrain). On Cambie St northbound there is a bike lane on the road and a two way mutil-use path (I rarely see anyone cycling on it) on the east side of Cambie. Commuters use Cambie street not the mup.

    Is it worth fighting? Does it seem as bad an idea as I think it is?
    Last edited by joeyduck; 07-30-14 at 03:13 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member TransitBiker's Avatar
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    If the lanes are too narrow on the roadway, then i'd definitely fight it. As the US supreme court once said, separate is not equal.

    I feel these kinds of bike lanes do more to undermine the legitimate fact of bicycles being vehicles. Not everywhere can even fit bike lanes such as these, and i personally feel that having such an absence of continuity (sharrows, painted bike lanes, segregated bike lanes, or even nothing at all) does more harm than good. But you are there, it's your town, not mine. Whatever you choose to do, definitely keep that in mind.

    - Andy
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    Not a fan of these two-way bike lanes that have half of the bike traffic going the 'wrong' way. At least they seem to be putting it on the side of the street where there are no driveways so you won't have conflicts with traffic driving in and out of those. But unless you have a steady stream of bike traffic I'd be concerned that pedestrians and other vehicular traffic will tend to only watch for traffic in the 'correct' direction and ignore the possibility of cyclists coming the other way on this two-way bike lane.

    Opposing it is likely to be difficult if they're already at the point of starting construction. Usually by that time there've been a series of public hearings and proponents will feel that they have already answered all objections. At least check into the past history of the proposal and what meetings and discussions have been held so you have a better idea of what the pro/con arguments have been and how much support you might have in trying to stop the project at this late date.

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    This is also part of my current commute, and I think the changes are at least an improvement. As a disclaimer, as a shift worker I am usually transiting the area around 3:30pm southbound, or 11 am northbound, depending on whether I'm working mornings or evenings.

    The only annoying part for me is that I use the bike lane south bound on Cambie, so it looks like it would be a little annoying to get into the segregated bike lines after crossing SW marine drive.

    It's like any change; it's never perfect, they won't please all of us, but somehow we'll adapt

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by cvskates View Post
    This is also part of my current commute, and I think the changes are at least an improvement. As a disclaimer, as a shift worker I am usually transiting the area around 3:30pm southbound, or 11 am northbound, depending on whether I'm working mornings or evenings.

    The only annoying part for me is that I use the bike lane south bound on Cambie, so it looks like it would be a little annoying to get into the segregated bike lines after crossing SW marine drive.

    It's like any change; it's never perfect, they won't please all of us, but somehow we'll adapt
    I am curious what you think are improvements?

    I usually heading south at 8 and north at 5:20, how is traffic at your times? I never find it dangerous or unmanageable.


    @prathmann That is what I am worried about bikes being overlooked by drivers, since it will likely not be a continuous flow of traffic.

    I also have major concerns about the number of times vehicles (cars and/or bikes) cross paths in extra and non-standard ways/directions at intersections/junctions.

    I think that the plan increases a cyclists chance of being hit because of being in a non-standard road position.

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    Quote Originally Posted by joeyduck View Post
    I never find it dangerous or unmanageable.
    Agreed, it's not unmanageable, and even if it's not dangerous, that doesn't mean it can't be safer. The biggest traffic annoyance for me is all the commercial traffic moving around as part of that new condo tower going up. Aside from that, it's not horrible (by which I only mean I bike through worse).

    Not everyone is comfortable with traffic - I can see how this makes things a bit nicer for people - I know my wife would be much more likely to bike to work in a segregated bike lane than on the street. She'd also be more comfortable waiting at a controlled crossing to cross Kent, then sitting in the middle of the lane with her arm out waiting for an opening to turn left.

    I also understand the argument about non=standard intersections junctions. To be honest; I feel like people don't look for bikes even when they're with the flow of traffic. Vancouver is [I'm finding] a super bike friendly, but I still have people look me in the eye when they pull out in front of me nearly causing an accident. If the city wants to give me a nice bike lane separated from the steel death machines by a cement barrier, I'll use it.

    When I leave at 2 am to go to work, I go the same route I use when I drive - down #2 road - Arthur Lang Bridge - Marine Drive - onto Cambie and onwards through downtown to Lions Gate. In the afternoons (or with any traffic), I like the bike lanes, even though it adds 5 km and half an hour to a 39km commute (I only bike every second day). I see an accident a week where two drivers managed to plow into each other either through not seeing other, or being too close. I don't find travelling the same direction as the traffic makes me feel any safer.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by cvskates View Post
    Agreed, it's not unmanageable, and even if it's not dangerous, that doesn't mean it can't be safer. The biggest traffic annoyance for me is all the commercial traffic moving around as part of that new condo tower going up. Aside from that, it's not horrible (by which I only mean I bike through worse).

    Not everyone is comfortable with traffic - I can see how this makes things a bit nicer for people - I know my wife would be much more likely to bike to work in a segregated bike lane than on the street. She'd also be more comfortable waiting at a controlled crossing to cross Kent, then sitting in the middle of the lane with her arm out waiting for an opening to turn left.

    I also understand the argument about non=standard intersections junctions. To be honest; I feel like people don't look for bikes even when they're with the flow of traffic. Vancouver is [I'm finding] a super bike friendly, but I still have people look me in the eye when they pull out in front of me nearly causing an accident. If the city wants to give me a nice bike lane separated from the steel death machines by a cement barrier, I'll use it.

    When I leave at 2 am to go to work, I go the same route I use when I drive - down #2 road - Arthur Lang Bridge - Marine Drive - onto Cambie and onwards through downtown to Lions Gate. In the afternoons (or with any traffic), I like the bike lanes, even though it adds 5 km and half an hour to a 39km commute (I only bike every second day). I see an accident a week where two drivers managed to plow into each other either through not seeing other, or being too close. I don't find travelling the same direction as the traffic makes me feel any safer.

    My concerns are commuter based, not leisure cycling based. I agree Vancouver is bike friendly, but drivers keep getting put out by new infrastructure, sometimes unnecessary in my mind. This I fear will create aggression and animosity to cyclists. There are ways to do these projects and places to do them, I think that one block on kent is not the answer, especially since it does not connect to the established Heather bike route for the demographic for which they want to make cycling easier.

    I enjoy the separated bike lanes downtown that connect to somewhere. The connection is the crucial thing. Most of the downtown lanes are on one way streets also. Eliminating an immediate degree of danger. Having four lanes of traffic alternating in different directions on a formerly two lane street is not wise in my mind, especially without traffic controls.

    People sometimes don't look, but I make them see me with lights, positioning and high vis clothes. I also look out for them and what signs to indicate an unaware driver (more difficult at night). I think you and I will look out for drivers if we are in this bike lane since we know what to look for. I think it will be easy for a new cyclist unsure of themselves to easily make a wrong call and end up in a bad place with a car along the Kent section. To paraphrase @TransitBiker, this makes cyclists sub-standard in drivers minds. Commuters who act as cars more frequently than not will earn that respect with drivers.

    I find commuters have no problems taking the lane to turn left on cambie. As opposed to getting into a bike lane across two car traffic lanes, merge into one bike (low) traffic lane, then turn left, ensuring one eastbound car lane behind you knows you are crossing cambie, one westbound car lane in front knows you are crossing cambie, traffic southbound on cambie needs to be monitored and westbound cyclists need to be monitored. Who has the right of way; eastbound cyclist turning north or westbound car turning north?

    If they get into the one block bike lane eastbound to continue east past cambie they then again have to cross two traffic lanes. No sensible commuter I think will put themselves into this situation. Instead they will use the now narrow drive lanes and upset drivers by not being the special new dedicated bike lane. Trust me drivers do not like you not using a bike lane.

    As far as I can tell there is no traffic control device being installed at Kent and Ash. You will have to wait to cross in the bike lane, then cross the bike lane and two drive lanes. Or act as a pedestrian and walk across. Actually in the current design you are not allowed to ride your bike between bike lanes on N and S kent. It is a crosswalk, no cycling in crosswalks. I am not going to dismount and walk across every time, will you? ​[edit/clarification: I would not put myself in this position by being in the car lane not the cycle lane. If in cycle lane I would likely turn into the car lanes on S Kent not the cycle lane.] I will act as a car in the car lanes and yield to pedestrians (which cars do not do anyway) and turn to the east from S Kent.

    Overall these are not lanes for people not "comfortable with traffic" they have many more traffic interactions to consider through extra lane crossings.

    Who has the right of way at Cambie and Marine with a northbound cyclist heading to the on street bike lane and a southbound cyclist on the MUP? They must cross paths.
    Last edited by joeyduck; 07-31-14 at 03:57 PM. Reason: Clarification

  8. #8
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    So they put the barriers up on Kent yesterday.

    This morning there were already a few tire rubs on the barriers.

    And one paint/rubber/metal scrape on the leading edge from a vehicle that mounted it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by joeyduck View Post
    I am not going to dismount and walk across every time, will you?
    To this specific question; Yes, I would walk across if I'm in a crosswalk. It's a pet peeve of mine, so I try to be the cyclist I'd like to see in others. It's also the reason I don't cycle on sidewalks.

    I understand your perspective, and agree with you. You made a lot of good points I'm not debating.

    All I'm saying is that on 4pm on a Friday, I'll feel better with a cement barrier between me and the distracted drivers. Could this be better? We both agree it could. I suspect given the opportunity to design it ourselves, we'd probably come up with something really similar to each other. I'm trying really hard to keep my glass half full Maybe that makes me apathetic...

    If you see a guy on a green Kona with yellow panniers, his name's Darcy (me), and if he's south bound it means he's on his way home from work and probably has time to stop and buy you a beer (and he won't even refer to himself in the 3rd person).

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by cvskates View Post
    To this specific question; Yes, I would walk across if I'm in a crosswalk. It's a pet peeve of mine, so I try to be the cyclist I'd like to see in others. It's also the reason I don't cycle on sidewalks.

    I understand your perspective, and agree with you. You made a lot of good points I'm not debating.

    All I'm saying is that on 4pm on a Friday, I'll feel better with a cement barrier between me and the distracted drivers. Could this be better? We both agree it could. I suspect given the opportunity to design it ourselves, we'd probably come up with something really similar to each other. I'm trying really hard to keep my glass half full Maybe that makes me apathetic...

    If you see a guy on a green Kona with yellow panniers, his name's Darcy (me), and if he's south bound it means he's on his way home from work and probably has time to stop and buy you a beer (and he won't even refer to himself in the 3rd person).

    I clarified my quote. I meant I wouldn't be in the bike lane so I would not use the crosswalk.

    I only use this route when I do not have to do the daycare run (which is only once or twice a week). Otherwise I am crossing a bit after 5 pm northbound and 8 am southbound. I have a blue Surly with red panniers. Usually a with a kids seat on the back. But I will be on the lookout for you.

    That is a heck of a long commute you do. Do you go over the Lions Gate?

    I will accept your offer and extend the favor in return. The name is Richard.

  11. #11
    Senior Member timvan_78's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joeyduck View Post

    Is it worth fighting?
    Maybe 6 months ago...but that ship has sailed.

    (I've only ridden through this location a few times) but generally speaking a lot of the infrastruction is "unneccessary" for you or I and even makes things a lot slower. My local example is all the goings-on at the south end of the Burrard Bridge. BUT, since my 5 year old started cycling independently (behind or in front of me), I appreciate these "unneccessary" improvements. They are working towards "all ages and abilities" which means they want to make it easier for grandpa or wobbly kids, even if it means slowing down commuters. Right or wrong? I'm not sure, but that's what they are doing. Sometimes I feel odd cycling on the road, right beside a separated mup, but sometimes it is just the safer option unless you are cycling very slowly.

    Isn't there a whole bunch of residential towers going in there? They are probably catering to that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by joeyduck View Post
    Do you go over the Lions Gate? ... ...The name is Richard.
    Nice to make your acquaintance - I do cross the Lions Gate: I do this every second day when I'm working - #2 road and francis out to Horseshoe Bay. About 2 to 2.5 hours each way. Not my typical commute, but I just got transferred to Horseshoe Bay from the Island.

    People at work think I'm nuts until I explain that I'm currently staying at my mother-in-laws house. Then the 4.5 hours of biking a day makes perfect sense

    Hopefully once our house sells and we find a condo in North Van the commute will down around 20km each way.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by timvan_78 View Post
    Maybe 6 months ago...but that ship has sailed.

    (I've only ridden through this location a few times) but generally speaking a lot of the infrastruction is "unneccessary" for you or I and even makes things a lot slower. My local example is all the goings-on at the south end of the Burrard Bridge. BUT, since my 5 year old started cycling independently (behind or in front of me), I appreciate these "unneccessary" improvements. They are working towards "all ages and abilities" which means they want to make it easier for grandpa or wobbly kids, even if it means slowing down commuters. Right or wrong? I'm not sure, but that's what they are doing. Sometimes I feel odd cycling on the road, right beside a separated mup, but sometimes it is just the safer option unless you are cycling very slowly.

    Isn't there a whole bunch of residential towers going in there? They are probably catering to that.
    I agree with all that you said.

    I know and realize it is too late. But why do something mediocre, then (probably) redo it in a different way when they are done or nearing completion of the towers?

    I have no problem taking the lane but I find myself more on edge when on the road next to a mup. Since I expect a driver to be upset and frustrated I am only going 27, not 30 and not in the bike lane.

    That being said I enjoy biking on the lanes downtown or Kits. I find I naturally bike at a more leisurely pace, rather than racing on the road or on-street lanes.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by cvskates View Post
    Nice to make your acquaintance - I do cross the Lions Gate: I do this every second day when I'm working - #2 road and francis out to Horseshoe Bay. About 2 to 2.5 hours each way. Not my typical commute, but I just got transferred to Horseshoe Bay from the Island.

    People at work think I'm nuts until I explain that I'm currently staying at my mother-in-laws house. Then the 4.5 hours of biking a day makes perfect sense

    Hopefully once our house sells and we find a condo in North Van the commute will down around 20km each way.
    Probably faster to kayak! Or get a little outboard skiff. But moorage (sp?) fees can get pricey.

    At least once a week my wife comments how happy I am riding to work. There are definite advantages.

    Heck, get a place on the Sunshine coast, cheaper and quieter and more bang for your buck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by joeyduck View Post
    Heck, get a place on the Sunshine coast, cheaper and quieter and more bang for your buck.
    My thought exactly - would be faster to get to work from Squamish

    The wife has MS, so proximity to transit and ease of getting around ended up eliminating that ideas. Never thought I'd relish the idea of a condo, but after a decade and half of lawn mowing, gutter cleaning, etc. I'm looking forward to it. Also looking forward to going down one vehicle!!

  16. #16
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    I have mixed feelings about these things. On one hand, the confusion they create in the minds of drivers may help to slow things down, but I generally feel safer riding on the correct side of the road.

    My commute along Westminster Highway has a substantial stretch of "wrong way" riding that is perfectly fine in the winter but becomes a little treacherous at this time of year when there are more visitors to the farms, wineries etc. that don't expect cyclists coming at them at 30km/h in the wrong direction. I've had a few good brake tests this week...

    They actually just added a new 2-way segment like this on 6 Road that was a horrible idea in my opinion. I refuse to use it, as the road is much faster and safer. Unless of course there is a traffic snarl, then I use it.

  17. #17
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    The city is paying, or are the property developers? Perhaps doing this was an approval condition.

    - Andy
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