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Old 06-06-09, 08:58 AM   #1
Big Lew
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City trying to look good

In preparation for all the people from around the world coming to their town, vancouver councillors have/are slapping bicycling lanes on many of the high tourist streets in order to look good for visitors concerned with pollution-free modes of transportation. I am a cycler, and also support bicycling lanes and any reduction in our carbon footprint. Unfortunely, some of the streets they have chosen are not safe bicycling streets even with painted signs because there isn't a cycling lane and are designated heavy bus and commercial routes. Main St. is a prime example, a major bus route with bus islands, and a major large commercial truck route. There already is a safer, low volume cycling route 2 blocks west (Ontario St.) but I suspect councillors are more interested in "looking good" then the safety of cyclers. I am a city cycler and city commercial truck driver. I see the close calls, the tension, and frustration everyday that come from directing bicycling traffic onto truck routes. I would caution anyone visiting vancouver and planning on bicycling about, try to get a map showing truck routes, and use alternate routes. Not only will you enjoy your ride more, you'll breath far less diesel fumes, and lessen your odds of running amuck with large buses and trucks. Vancouver is a great city to ride about, it has a tremendous variety of sights to see, just try to stay away from the main industrial roads and have a fun time!
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Old 06-06-09, 12:26 PM   #2
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Hopefully there doing that all over BC, not just in the Lower Mainland. I'm going to be moving there within a year or two.
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Old 06-06-09, 12:35 PM   #3
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When are they going to start shipping out the crack heads?
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Old 06-24-09, 09:54 PM   #4
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How very Canadian. Put up signs but don't actually make a bike lane. Clearly the city thinks of cyclists as an annoyance much like environmentalists.

On a positive note. I was in Ottawa last week. I wasn't on two wheels but there were bike lanes everywhere as well as cyclists. It appeared to be very cyclist friendly. Its been a long time since I've seen road and utility bikes out number recreational MTBs. Next time in Ottawa I'm taking a bike.
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Old 06-26-09, 11:05 PM   #5
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After talking via E-mail twice with the person in charge of alternate transportation, especially cycling, I got the feeling that some of vancouver's councillors, and he in particular, have tunnel vision is their zest to encourage every and anyone to use bikes to get around rather then cars etc. They are putting more importance to getting bikes out on the streets then safety. If I could see evidence that they were directing cyclists toward the safest routes and discouraging cyclists from using crowded, busy truck routes, I would whole heartedly support their efforts. Unfortunately this is not the case as yet.
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Old 07-07-09, 12:19 PM   #6
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If I could see evidence that they were directing cyclists toward the safest routes and discouraging cyclists from using crowded, busy truck routes, I would whole heartedly support their efforts. Unfortunately this is not the case as yet.
That's a very curious statement since virtually every bike route in the city (outside downtown) runs parallel to a major arterial (rather than on the arterial).

Like the 10th Ave bike route (which sees huge volumes of cyclists) which is considered the "off broadway" route (i.e. keeping cyclists off the busy/dangerous Broadway ave). And the Ontario St bike route, which keeps people off Main St.

Can you give me an example of a bike route in Vancouver that encourages cyclists to use a crowded, busy truck route?
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Old 07-07-09, 09:05 PM   #7
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You are very correct in your observation of the major cycling routes that have been properly laned such as tenth, dunsmire, cambie, richards, and many, many more. The city has done a wonderful job finding ways to put these painted bicycle lanes on a huge network of streets, and, as you have said, most are parallel to the heaviest conjestion; they should be proud of their achievement. They just have re-done cambie st. from one end to the other, south of the inlet and have put plenty of room in the system for great bicycle lanes.
My problem is not with these painted lanes, or with the well-signed cycling paths and routes; it is with the streets such as main st. that have painted bicycle images on the right lane. Councillers have stated these bicycle pictures are meant to advise motorists that cyclists are using these streets. Unfortunately, the majority of daily cyclists are led to believe these lanes with the painted bicycles on them are similiar to the properly painted cycle lanes. Using main st. again as an example, since the painted images appeared, a lot of bicycle traffic moved onto main st. from adjacent designated cycling routes such as ontario. All streets, unless signed not for cycling, can be used for cycling and I'm not against encouraging more people to use bikes, etc., just don't encourage heavy bicycle use on the main commercial routes that have no room, especially during rush hour, streets such as knight/clark drive and sections of venables, main st, and broadway. There is a huge assortment of secondary streets with less traffic to use everywhere, and it's great fun to explore these quiet streets while riding a bicycle.
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Old 07-08-09, 12:11 PM   #8
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When are they going to start shipping out the crack heads?
When is the rest of the country going to stop off-loading them here, and start taking care of the problem "at home"?
On Topic: Agreed on the Main St. "cycle lane".
At best it is a knee-jerk job.
Having cycled it from end to end (and experiencing many close calls with aggressive drivers): I have to say it gets a failing grade as an infrastructure "test"...
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Old 07-08-09, 01:46 PM   #9
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Yeah, the Main St. sharrows are controversial. As a scaredy-cat cyclist, I won't ride on Main St but I do appreciate markings on the street to remind motorists that I have a legal right to be there (and a legal right to take the lane). Unfortunately too many drivers are confused about the rules of the road and think that cyclists must ride in the gutter at all times (or on the sidewalk!). Sharrows do help in that regard. If cyclists are going to use the road (which, like you said, they can), shouldn't we do whatever we can to make it safe for them?

I do feel it's a problem in our cities that our commercial streets are so entirely given over to cars. Cyclists want to shop too..... kind of sucks that we're expected to be satisfied with the back routes only.

I'm not aware of any other streets that have any kind of sharrow treatment like Main St. - are there others? I haven't seen any bike markings/encouragement on Broadway....
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Old 07-08-09, 09:51 PM   #10
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Yes, there are several others, but most are not on such tight, narrow streets as main st. from about 20th north. What really makes the situation dangerous is the sorry lack of accommodation for larger, heavy truck traffic. Probably the most suicidal road for bikes is clark/knight street, with so many container truckers driving like they're on a race course, frequently changing lanes, cutting off any and everyone, passing each other while flying down the curb lane etc., blowing through red lights with their air horns, all this as they are talking on their cell phones. I drive a large, heavy commercial truck throughout the vancouver area every day. I have been a driver trainer and tester for many years. I would be the first in line to support and encourage the DOT and traffic enforcement to crack down on these reckless, inconsiderate, unprofessional clowns. Take a close look at their trucks....not many are without bent, twisted, or dented bumpers and fenders, mostly from hitting other vehicles in their haste or lack of attention. Sorry, I'm getting off topic, I quess what I'm suggesting to the cycling public, (and I'm one of you) is, if you can avoid riding on the narrow portions of the conjested streets without bike lanes, especially the major truck routes, do so for your own protection. If you are going to slip by a bus or truck on their blind right side, make sure you catch the driver's eye so he/she has a chance to accommodate you. I have seen too many cyclists hit or run over by the wheels of trucks and busses because they attempted to ride by on the right, or while the vehicle was making a right turn. The only one you can be sure to look out for you is yourself.
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Old 07-12-09, 11:10 PM   #11
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Not sure if folks have ridden on the Central Valley Greenway. A good idea. Much of the route is dedicated MUP. But there are also a few head-scratches. The worse of them all in my opinion is at Burnaby by the Sperling Skytrain stn. They've now built a bridge across Winston St. so that riders ride over the street below and railway track. However eastbound riders would have to later cross Winston St. in order to resume the riding at the right side of the road. There are cars and trucks travelling on Winston. Unlike Main St. which is always congested, an autombile can travel pretty fast on Winston.
So crossing the street even its is marked as a crossing path is dangerous! The signs are small, no lights whatsoever. It is an accident waiting to happen.
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Old 07-13-09, 02:27 PM   #12
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I believe that eventually the existing bike lanes will be replaced with a bi-directional MUP on the north side of Winston, so the new bridge will eventually feed eastbound bike traffic onto that. Until that's complete (and I've no idea when that will be) there seems to be no option but to take the bridge and then re-cross Winston to access the eastbound bike lane on the south side of Winston as you describe. It would be much safer if direct access to the eastbound bike lane were available without having to cross the bridge.
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Old 07-13-09, 03:22 PM   #13
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I concur with your last statement. However I highly doubt they will convert the north side of Winston to be bi-directional bike path. If you ride further east towards Government Rd. you will notice that the city is pushing dirt around to create some sort of pavement for ped/bikers. Currently there are nothing there. I would be great if the city put up the a crossing light at the crosswalk area. As it is, you are left at the mercy of the automobiles whether they even see you and then decide to stop or not for you.
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Old 07-13-09, 05:26 PM   #14
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... However I highly doubt they will convert the north side of Winston to be bi-directional bike path ...
I got this impression from talking to others and from the Translink CVG map which says:

"Burnaby Winston St. (Sperling Avenue to Cariboo Place), 4.5 km New path along north side of current street right of way. Area has both residential and light industrial land uses. Multi-use path separated from traffic with landscaped buffer and median."

I'd be happy to be wrong on this one as I don't particularly like the idea.
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Old 07-13-09, 10:21 PM   #15
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If they mean new path equates to fresh painted white lines with bicycle icons then yes. So does the south side for eastbound riders. I take the CVG during my commute.
Since the city has consciously painted a crosswalk on the ground with mediocre sign posts, I think their work is done for Winston St. Well apart from building a paved section from that old Costco to Cariboo Rd. I might try being a maverick and ride on Burnaby Lake Parl. Disturb some geese and all....
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Old 07-15-09, 01:54 PM   #16
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When are they going to start shipping out the crack heads?
+1, it will be interesting when this starts to happen 'just in time for the Olympics'
maybe they'll get a 2 week vay-cay on the island
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Old 07-15-09, 04:18 PM   #17
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+1, it will be interesting when this starts to happen 'just in time for the Olympics'
maybe they'll get a 2 week vay-cay on the island
I can't wait to see what they do as well. It's going to be a big black-eye for the city. But this needs to be addressed. It's a very complex problem.
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Old 07-15-09, 05:07 PM   #18
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^ one-way ticket to Alberta. I think Calgary did that during the Calgary games.
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Old 07-17-09, 06:17 PM   #19
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^ one-way ticket to Alberta. I think Calgary did that during the Calgary games.
Yeah a friend of mine was just talking about how ol' Ralphie gave them a one way ticket to BC.
They won't come back though, they have t too good there vs. ****e Calgary. better weather, beaches....
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Old 07-23-09, 07:58 AM   #20
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Yeah a friend of mine was just talking about how ol' Ralphie gave them a one way ticket to BC.
They won't come back though, they have t too good there vs. ****e Calgary. better weather, beaches....
Ah King Ralph, where are you when we need you? But seriously, I think that was merely an off the cuff politically incorrect joke by Ralph about the one way tickets, none were actually issued (prove me wrong).
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