Kitsilano Bike Lane Improvements Win Over Even the Most Ardent Critics
Segment 1 Arbutus Link (Trafalgar to Burrard)
When the upgrades to the Health Precinct (Segment 3) of the 10th Ave corridor were being planned, many were understandably concerned over the potential impact it could have on one of our regions most most valuable institutions.
Fortunately, the City of Vancouver’s Engineers don’t work in an echo chamber, and the consultation with the general public, Vancouver Coastal Health, and other key partners led to a transportation network that now works for everyone.
Perhaps that’s why many who came to this event to discuss improvements to the Arbutus Link (Segement 1) section of 10th Avenue seemed to have an open mind, even if they normally opposed the idea of bike lanes. Hannah and I do our best to stay open to new ideas too, so, on my way to the event, I made sure to walk down 10th from Burrard to the Kitsilano Community Centre.
Even with the chilly weather, I noticed a lot of cyclists on the road. I guess it’s easier to keep warm when you’re commuting on a bike than on foot. Then again, I took plenty of time to stop, look around, and admire the amount of mature trees.
I had no idea what the city could do to preserve them, and was sure the only answer would be a mickey mouse solution. What struck me the most, aside from the terrible condition of the paving in some areas, is just how scary the roundabout makes the intersections by the schools.
So, I wasn’t surprised one of the first things I saw when I arrived at the event was a video showing the conflict between cars, cyclists, and little children trying to cross the road at one of these junctions.
These roundabouts are awful at these specific locations, and I made sure to let the city know I would gladly support their removal. Like others, I felt there were better methods of speed control, like raised cross walks, that could be used instead.
There were certainly many different opinions, as the event was really busy, with over 100 people in attendance before it was over. Given how contentious bike lanes have been in the past, that level of turnout was expected, yet the behaviour exhibited was anything but. I was shocked when time after time people approached staff, described how much they hate bike lanes, but would add they felt these changes were actually good ones.
This may be because no trees will be eliminated, or that only the immediate blocks on either side of Arbutus will be changed to one way traffic. In short, drivers are making some small concessions, but they’re not the only ones.
Cyclists will not have the luxury of uni-directional bike lanes here, as the preferred option shows one shared path divided into two directions. However, even the most ardent cycling enthusiasts agreed that, given the conditions of the area, this was the best option.
The treatments of the intersection at Arbutus won a lot of praise, too. The new signal operations in Option 1 will restore the ability for motorists to take left and right turns onto both sides of 10th Avenue during a green light. On a red light, cyclists will be allowed to cross, but the placement of their green paint marked route still allows motorists to make a right turn without any conflict.
That’s not to say there weren’t some critics. I couldn’t help but chuckle when I heard one person describe how no one cycles in the winter, even though, at that moment, the room was largely made up of individuals in full biking gear.
Another individual was very upset by the congestion these schools caused, feeling that students should be made to take a bus rather than walk or be dropped of by their parents.
Still, these individuals have every right to their opinion, but it shows the value of ensuring more people contribute constructively to the feedback process. So, make sure to take a look at the information boards, and then take a quick minute to fill out this survey before February 28th.