29 June 2009 05:27
The Burrard Street Bridge cycling experiment that gets underway two weeks from today is raising hopes for a bike-friendlier future in Metro Vancouver. The expectation is that allocating more space for bikes on the busy crossing will encourage more commuters to swap their car keys for a two-wheeler.
But far from a breakthrough, this bold initiative is more likely to be a bust. Here’s why.
By taking over space previously reserved for automobiles and pedestrians, the summer trial runs the risk of alienating two traditional allies of the cycling community: Bus riders and walkers. Continue reading
08 June 2009 05:21
Last week, while cycling home from the office, I was almost flattened by a car charging through a red light. This came moments after I was nearly run off the road by another careless motorist who mistook my bike lane for a turning lane of his own.
Welcome to Bike Month in Metro Vancouver.
This being June, the annual push is on to get locals onto this more sustainable mode of transport.
But don’t be fooled by the cheery speeches or beefed-up Critical Mass rides: Bike mode share — the number of cyclists on the road compared to motorists, transit riders or pedestrians — is disappointingly small in this region. Continue reading
In case you haven’t heard, Bike to Work Week starts today.
The annual cycling event aims to get more working stiffs out of their carbon-emitting cars and SUVs, and onto eco-friendlier 12-speeds and cruisers instead.
I’ll admit it.
I’ve drunk the cycling lobby’s Kool-Aid.
This spring, I’m captaining a Bike to Work team at my office.
And why not? I could use the exercise and the fresh air. Besides, cycling as a viable form of commuting has come a long way in the Lower Mainland.
Yes, cyclists still have to contend with rampant bike theft, and many routes could be a whole lot safer.
But beyond these points, cycling is an enjoyable, economical and environmentally sensible mode of transport in Metro Vancouver. Continue reading
Despite the many obstacles it faces — everything from challenging terrain to zoning issues to some predictable Nimbies — the North Shore Spirit Trail connecting Deep Cove to Horseshoe Bay continues to make good progress, especially in the City of North Vancouver.
This past February, the first section of the trail, called the Squamish Nation Waterfront Greenway, was opened. For serious seawall enthusiasts, it’s worth taking the Seabus to North Vancouver to have a look. The pathway starts where the walkway running westward from Lonsdale Quay to Waterfront Park left off, and travels through the Mosquito Creek Marina. Continue reading
16 March 2009
It’s nice to see the growing focus on pedestrian and cycling greenways and trails in Metro Vancouver these days. Local governments are finally responding to demand for transportation choices that are easier on our wallets, and better for our health and environment.
A good example is the North Shore Spirit Trail, a 35-kilometre pathway connecting Horseshoe Bay to Deep Cove.
For walking and biking enthusiasts from across the Lower Mainland, the trail promises to be a recreational jewel. Continue reading
2 February 2009
It’s hard to believe, but it looks like a long-debated plan to dedicate two lanes of the Burrard Street Bridge to bike traffic is finally moving forward.
Hard to believe, because for years this issue has pitted the local cycling lobby against a politically powerful voting bloc: Residents of Vancouver’s west side. Back in 2005, Sam Sullivan — who was against the plan — used the issue as a wedge to propel himself to an upset mayoral victory against Jim Green.
More recently, the mayoral election of cycling enthusiast Gregor Robertson has reversed the tide once again.
A vote on the issue is set for March, which should result in a lengthy trial period for the bike lanes, stretching from this spring until October. Continue reading
08 December 2008
Gregor Robertson is on quite a roll these days. The mayor-elect in the city of Vancouver, who takes office today, has parlayed a successful entrepreneurial background into high-profile political stints at the provincial and municipal levels.
Already, some of his biggest fans are touting the photogenic Robertson as a future leader for the provincial NDP.
But while Robertson’s career is firing on all cylinders, he would be wise to back away from the partisan sniping and political points-scoring that was part of last month’s municipal election campaign — no matter how tempting.
Rather, he needs to find a way to work with old adversaries from the B.C. Liberal government on critical issues like the 2010 Olympics, the homelessness crisis, and Vancouver’s transit woes. Continue reading