Council to consider “paradigm shift” in cycling investments, planning

Proposals for a new Vancouver Cycling Program Master Plan going to council this week will not only add 57 kilometres of new, safer bike lanes and bike routes by 2011, they will lay the groundwork for a green transformation of the city’s pedestrian and cycle network.

When work is completed in 2011, the city’s 400-kilometre bike route, already one of the best in North America, will have grown by 124 kilometres or 31 per cent since 2008. Perhaps even more significant is the commitment to create the new master plan with a clear set of criteria, with safety and increased cycling as the top priority, to guide future planning.

Altogether, the proposed investments and a new 10-year plan amount to a paradigm shift in the city’s cycling investments.

“We’ve made a lot of improvements to Vancouver’s bike network in the past 18 months, but we need to do more if we want to meet our target of making cycling 10 per cent of all trips by 2020,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson in a news release.

Following are the highlights of the report:

  • begin work and consultations on separated bike lanes outside of the downtown core;
  • make spot improvements to existing bikeways to address safety and capacity concerns;
  • create a new cross-town bikeway along 45th Ave. from Balaclava to Nanaimo;
  • improve cycling connections to the Canada Line Bridge, which carries cycle traffic over the Fraser River to Richmond;
  • implement the North Arm Trail Greenway, generally along 59th Ave. from Boulevard to Vivian; and
  • make improvements to on-street bicycle parking

The total investment in these projects by 2011 will be about $25 million, or 30 per cent of the $85 million streets and roads budget for the same period. Funding will come from budgets already approved for cycling infrastructure.