British Columbia

With fewer drivers on Metro Vancouver's roads, cyclists call for temporary bike lanes

HUB Cycling says temporary walking and cycling paths could help people keep an adequate distance from each other as more people may choose to to walk and cycle during this time.

HUB Cycling says cities like Calgary and Minneapolis are closing down some roadways to vehicle traffic

Roads through Stanley Park were closed Wednesday to allow better physical distancing for pedestrians and cyclists. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

Cycling advocates are calling on Metro Vancouver cities to create temporary bike and pedestrian lanes to encourage physical distancing.

HUB Cycling says the COVID-19 outbreak has led to fewer cars on the roads in several cities in the region, making it a prime opportunity to create new cycling infrastructure.

Navdeep Chhina, the organization's acting director, said temporary lanes could help people keep an adequate distance from each other as more people choose to to walk and cycle during this time.

"We are looking at places where community members want go which are destinations, and so that they can easily walk or cycle without having to fight for space with each other," he said.

HUB said cities like Calgary and Minneapolis are already closing down roadways to vehicle traffic to encourage people to keep a safe distance from each other.

It's led at least one city planner to call for some greenways in Vancouver to be temporarily given over to cyclists and pedestrians.

HUB Cycling says it can be difficult to maintain adequate physical distancing in popular areas with the increase in people walking and biking. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

Chhina said HUB has already been in touch with the City of Vancouver to propose some roadways that could be converted, including Quebec Street near Terminal Avenue, Main Street, Pine Street from West 1st Avenue to West 7th Avenue, and West 1st Avenue from Creekside Drive to Cypress Street.

Earlier this week, the City of Vancouver announced roadways across Stanley Park will be closed to vehicle traffic, allowing cyclists to use the roads instead of sharing walking paths on the seawall.

If you have a COVID-19-related story we should pursue that affects British Columbians, please email us at impact@cbc.ca. 

With files from Meera Bains

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