British Columbia

City councillor says it's time to make cycling safer in Richmond, B.C.

Councillor Kelly Greene is putting forward a motion to improve bike lane infrastructure in an effort to get more Richmond residents cycling and reduce climate change.

Coun. Kelly Greene is tabling a motion to improve city's bike lane infrastructure

Coun. Kelly Greene says physical separation between vehicle and bike lanes would make cyclists feel safer and should be considered by Richmond city planners as a way to get more people pedalling. (Kirk Fraser/CBC)

A Richmond city councillor is hoping more city residents will embrace cycling as a mode of transport if biking infrastructure improves. 

Councillor Kelly Greene is putting forward a motion asking the city to consider alternative lane configurations, like those found in European countries, that she says will not just protect bikers from vehicles, but will encourage more people to ride and reduce carbon emissions.

"What we're really lacking is separated bike lanes and that means fully separated, not just a line of paint on the road," said Greene Friday on The Early Edition

She said reconfiguring intersections similar to those in Dutch cities, with protected routes for cyclists and pedestrians, would make people more likely to bike. Greene's motion says protected bike lanes have shown to increase participation by women and children compared to painted lanes.

Greene said tweaking the timing of traffic lights to give pedestrians and cyclists a head start, and removing right hand turn bays at intersections, could also make the roads safer for everyone.

"There is opportunity for upgrading and making sure that we're thinking about all the people that are using the city and not just one segment," said Greene, adding a million people are projected to arrive in Metro Vancouver by 2041. She can't imagine the region supporting that many more cars.

The city's 2041 Official Community Plan aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 per cent below 2007 levels by 2050.

"We need to make sure that we're building infrastructure that supports other ways of getting to your destination," said Greene. "It's not just for congestion, it's also to meet our carbon reduction targets."

Greene said making safe cycling lanes does not mean having to eliminate car lanes because she says those lanes are already wide in Richmond.

"By reducing the size of the car lanes to normal and squeaking out a few inches from the easement in a lot of places we don't need to even talk about taking away vehicle lanes. It's just a matter of reorganizing what we already have."

Greene will table her motion at the next General Purposes Committee meeting on Jan. 7.

With files from The Early Edition

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