Posted by: VPSN | June 11, 2013

VPSN supports additional investment in cycling infrastructure

Union Street Bike Path - P1040443

Earlier improvements to the Adanac Bikeway

On Wednesday, City Council will be deliberating over a staff report on three ‘active transportation corridor’ improvements:

  • Union Street (Gore Street to Carrall Street)
  • Cambie Bridge (north end to Beatty Street)
  • Canada Line (pedestrian and bicycle connection)

The VPSN has written a letter of support, an excerpt of which can be found below:

We are writing to you to express our support in principle for the proposed upgrades to the Union Street as a part of the Adanac Bikeway. The Adanac Bikeway acts as a type of bicycle artery offering a safe connection appropriate for cyclists of all ages and abilities with relatively little interaction with motor vehicles into the Downtown Peninsula and False Creek from East Vancouver and beyond. However, as it is currently configured, the area on Union Street West of Gore is far less inviting to the cyclist and has a number of potential areas of conflict between cyclists and motorists. Reducing these areas of conflict and creating a more legible streetscape in this relatively small section of a much larger system should be a priority.

Although it would be our preference for the 200 block of Union Street to become one way to vehicles to allow for two separated bicycle lanes as originally proposed, we are willing to support the concept of the shared eastbound lane on a trial basis in order to help alleviate the concerns expressed by some of businesses in the 200 block of Union Street. Given that this intersection is considerably influenced by the viaducts, it would be our suggestion that the shared lane be on a trial basis until a decision has been made regarding the future of the viaducts, at which point it could be reviewed.

Some businesses have voiced their concern over the removal of on-street parking on Union Street as well as the change in traffic patterns. The perception that the installation of bicycle infrastructure creates negative impacts on local businesses has been frequently shown to be inaccurate. For example, a 2009 study in Toronto found that the removal of on-street parking in favour of a bike lane would have few negative effects on businesses and that they may actually benefit from lane re-allocation. In fact, it was determined that only 10% of those businesses’ patrons drove and that those that arrived by foot and bicycle visited more often and spent the most money per month.

Alleviating the fears of businesses will be crucial for the continued success of the Adanac Bikeway and other bicycle infrastructure throughout the City. In addition to the works on the Adanac Bikeway, we are also in support of the proposed Cambie Bridge to Beatty and Canada Line connections which we believe will help to increase bicycle and pedestrian use while improving conditions for transit users, pedestrians and cyclists.

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