Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Urban cyclists still face unfriendly terrain in Vancouver

with 6 comments

Georgia Straight

This is all very encouraging. Nice pic of my friend Bonnie Fenton. Good article all round. What is less impressive the box which is headed “Experts Grade the Local Cycling Infrastructure” which deals with Vancouver, the Tri-Cities, Burnaby & New Westminster, the North Shore, Surrey and Langley. I do not know why both Richmond and Delta have been left out, but they are both very good places to cycle – being flat – but there are a few features missing.

At one time I was both a recreational and a commuter cyclist. And this week I got my bike out of storage and down to Steveston bikes in their new digs at the south dyke end of No 2 Road (next door to the excellent bakery that deserves many more customers) for a clean and tune up, as well as fitting a bike rack to my Yaris.

Richmond does have a network of marked cycle routes. These are mostly on major roads, with just a painted line. The bike lane is removed at signalised intersections and becomes the right turn lane. There are no advance stop lines for cyclists anywhere. Several routes have shared access with pedestrians but are car free. These include the dykes, Shell Road/Horseshoe Slough and we will also have a link across the North Arm on the new Canada Line Bridge. Bike lanes are also provided on the Alex Fraser, Arthur Laing, Oak Street and Knight Street bridges. Unfortunately there is no marked link between the north end of Shell Road and the south end of Knight Street bridge but you can figure out a reasonable route through Bath Slough and the back streets (Rees Road yay!).

There is room for a segregated bike path on the CN right of way along the whole of Shell Road but for reasons that are not clear the bike route ends at its most vulnerable area – the ramps to Highway #99 at Shell. This is one of the most hair raising areas to try and bike through and is not for beginners or those of a nervous disposition. CN has applied to abandon its trackage here in favour of a new route near the south dyke, so there is hope for the future in terms of an exclusive right of way.
The bike lanes on the bridges tend to get used bi-directionally, and I have always noticed great politeness between cyclists as it is clear that someone has to stop and give way. (I think a cyclist going uphill should have priority.) I wish I could say the same of pedestrians.

The dykes are mostly used by recreational cyclists, and the west dyke especially can get very busy on nice summer days. The trail does get a bit lost in Steveston, but that is a good place to go look for refreshments anyway. The concession in Garry Point being a very popular stop (PaJos fish and chips, Timothy’s coffee and ice cream). The only place where I have seen user conflict is the dogs off leash area at the end of No 3 Road and round the Crown Paper plant. Some pooches find moving pedals very tempting targets. By the way, west of No 5 Road facilities get very sparse indeed.

Without doubt the worst lack of continuity is on Garden City which is a cycle route north of Granville (another marked bike route). It is not at recommended that cyclists or pedestrians try to get south on Garden City across Granville. The only bike lanes on Garden City south of Granville are on the short section between Francis and Williams: one is shared with pedestrians, the other is a marked curb lane. A similar lack of continuity is seen on Gilbert Road and the Dinsmore Bridge.

Massey Tunnel Bike Shuttle Service van and trailer 2007_0904

But the biggest issue in terms of the regional network is the Massey Tunnel. There is a free bike shuttle (operated by Mainroad), but it is not geared to year round commuting, and a lot of cyclists resent having to pay for a two zone bus ticket just to get from Ladner to Ironwood.

Massey Tunnel Bike Shuttle Service timetable 2007_0904

Written by Stephen Rees

March 6, 2008 at 5:31 pm

6 Responses

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  1. Honestly, I may be a wimp, but with Vancouver drivers, it scares the heck out of me to bike in Vancouver. No matter how many friends of mine do it.

    hummingbird604

    March 7, 2008 at 12:33 am

  2. By the way Stephen, I added you to my blogroll on WordPress (could you please change the link on yours to the WordPress one? Thanks!)

    hummingbird604

    March 7, 2008 at 3:22 pm

  3. Yes done

    Stephen Rees

    March 7, 2008 at 3:34 pm

  4. I also left England in 1979 as Thatcher was elected….

    I am considering cycling from Tsawwassen to DT Vancouver – the Massey Tunnel might as well be a roadblock although I understand there is a free shuttle, but it’s unclear whether it is still working. Very poor design when a whole segment of the population (cyclists and pedestrians) are blocked from a transportation route.

    Michael

    February 6, 2009 at 11:27 am

  5. Yes the shuttle is still working and in fact has been extended to year round operation. All the buses through the tunnel carry bike racks as well, though many object to paying a two zone fare to get from one side of the river to the other.

    Stephen Rees

    February 6, 2009 at 11:56 am

  6. Sungsu

    February 6, 2009 at 1:31 pm


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