British Columbia

Vancouver considers plan for 12 more bike lanes

Vancouver is considering plans for another dozen bike lanes over the next five years, according to a new transportation report by city staff.

City says it will seek public feedback on all new routes before they're implemented

The city is planning to add 12 new bike lanes, mostly in downtown Vancouver. (Alan Stewart/CBC)

Vancouver is considering plans for another dozen bike lanes over the next five years, according to a new transportation report by city staff.

The new routes would be mostly on busy downtown streets such as Richards, Bute, Smithe and Nelson, and include Commercial Drive and the Granville Street Bridge. More than a dozen existing routes would also be upgraded.

The routes had previously been made public in the city's Transportation 2040 plan, says city councillor Heather Deal, but the new report gives the public a clearer view of what to expect.

"The new ones are not a new idea, they'd been previously identified, but we'll start working on them now," said Deal.

Downtown routes mean less parking

The five year plan specifies a few projects that will happen in 2016-17 — including new routes on Cambie, Nelson and Smithe downtown.

The Cambie Street project will connect the Dunsmuir bike route to Gastown, and mean removing a quarter of the parking spots between Dunsmuir and Water streets.

New bike routes on Nelson and Smithe streets will connect east and west-bound traffic between Richards Street and the Cambie Bridge. Vehicle traffic won't change, but 20 parking spots will be lost.

In each case, bikes will be protected from moving cars by some sort of barrier, either a row of parked cars or a concrete divider, said Deal.

The goal is to expand the existing grid so cyclists have safe routes wherever they work or live downtown, said Deal.

"We know there are a lot of people who will bike if they feel safer. We've seen those numbers shooting up in recent years as we add more safe cycling routes." 

'Commercial Drive will be a challenge'

Deal said the plan has few details on the Commercial Drive route because it has yet to be addressed through the Grandview-Woodland community plan process.

"Commercial drive will be a challenge. That's why it's taking longer," said Deal. 

She said part of the difficulty will be negotiating with the buses that service the busy street. But she also said the route would be in one of the city's busiest cycling neighbourhoods, and there are a lot of people interested in seeing it go forward.

Deal said all the proposed routes will have some level of public consultation, although some will have more than others.

"For some of them, it will be very much talking to the people locally right around it," she said.

"For other ones, it'll be a much larger consultation that will look very closely at the impact it might have on businesses or parking or residences. So it really depends on the scale of the project."

With files from Lisa Johnson

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