Stanley Park bike lane completions fill 'gap in the map'
Future regional priorities include connecting Port Mann and Massey crossing to regional network
Cycling advocates are welcoming the official completion of the new bike paths along the Stanley Park Causeway today, but say there are plenty more gaps in the regional map that need to be filled.
The project was launched after a cyclist was killed in 2013 when she accidently rode off the old narrow path and into the path of a transit bus.
"It is a huge improvement from what is was before. They have added safety fencing and widened the bike lane on both the east and west sides," said HUB executive director Erin O'Melinn.
Along with a fence to separate bikes from traffic, the bike lanes also provide more space for pedestrians on the east side and passing lanes for cyclists on the west side.
"This is a really important connector between the North Shore and Vancouver. There are already 2,200 people cycling it everyday, and we expect that to grow now that it does feel so much safer," she added.
Both bike lanes actually remained open throughout the construction, which was mostly completed at night.
The project cost about $7 million and took about two extra months to complete because of inclement weather and some extra work to protect trees.
O'Melinn says it's a small amount for one of the fastest growing forms of transportation in the province, adding she wants to see more work done to build the region's cycling network.
"We are spending a ridiculously small amount on cycling infrastructure," said O'Melinn, noting the province spends only 0.25 per cent of its transportation budget on cycling
She notes more people would cycle if they felt safer.
"There is about 41 per cent of people who say, 'I'd love to ride or ride more, but I don't feel like I have the network to support me'."
'Ungap the map'
O'Melinn says HUB is still working with the province to identify and prioritize future projects for the region.
But she says the new route just "removes that one gap from the map ... but when we look at the whole region there are of course other areas we want to ungap."
To promote that, HUB has put together a map of the regional cycling network to illustrate what it call the gaps in the map.
"It shows those areas where there is actually a hole in the cycling network, where you can't get from one ... city to another city reasonability safely."
Some of the top priorities include connecting the Port Mann Bridge to the Central Valley Greenway.
"It's a beautiful connector that goes all the way from Vancouver through Burnaby and New West, but then there is this gap and you can't actually reach the Port Mann Bridge and Surrey and beyond."
"We are also looking at the Massey [Tunnel] conversion into the new bridge and how that can better connect Richmond and Delta and destinations beyond such as the ferries and the border."
- In a previous version of this story O'Melinn said the province spends only 0.02 per cent of its transportation budget on cycling. In fact it spends 0.25 per cent, according to O'Melinn.Feb 29, 2016 10:53 AM PT