Archive for the ‘Arbutus Greenway’ Category
We walked from Valley to Granville Island today. Since I was on foot there are more photos than the last episode.
A woodchip trail has now been laid parallel to the blacktop between King Ed and 16th.
It would appear that some of the neighbours have needed to adapt a STOP sign to something more needful.
The first bike rental station I have seen on the Greenway itself, but I am still not tempted to use them – they are just too pricey. $7 a day – as long as the none of the individual rides is longer than 30 minutes.
The crossing at 12th seems to be utterly contrary to the City’s stated priorities: cyclists are expected to get off and walk their bike down to Arbutus street and back again.
From 10th to Broadway is the only section that has not yet seen any blacktop.
I have not taken any pictures of the crossing of Broadway since there isn’t one. There is also no signage. One group of cyclists we saw were riding in circles trying to see what it was they were supposed to be doing. The answer of course is to walk to the existing crosswalk at Arbutus Street.
There isn’t any official public art on the Greenway yet but this piece seems worthwhile.
This is the City’s poster on the trail – actually almost at the same point where the photo was taken before it was photoshopped to show the chip trail and “divided” blacktop.
It was a nice day today
The crossing of Burrard Street is all in place but just not working yet. Even so, compliance seems admirable. Down at the Fir Street playground things seem to fizzle out. Like the southern end there is no signage but at least the right of way between 5th and 4th has been kept clear of parked cars, unlike the following sections.
Sunshine – and everyone (it seemed) was out on the greenway this morning. Though the pictures don’t show that.
There are to be benches at regular intervals: this is Maple Crescent around 29th Avenue
The Greenway ends in one of those no-places – with no connections, or even signs to indicate onward connection. This is Milton Street at Rand Avenue. Note that the Greenway doesn’t appear on Google maps – even as a disused railway.
This is the reverse angle looking back up the Greenway. The dashed lines indicate where the blacktop will be removed and replaced by a “landscaped” divider.
The bike ride is great – but will definitely get better as more separation between pedestrians and cyclists is established. Right now people tend to just keep to the right even where signs and paint on the path indicate otherwise. The biggest issue is the street crossings – especially on the busier streets like 41st Avenue and Marine Drive. The old train signals are still place – and what signage there is suggests that cyclists behave like pedestrians. 41st at the Boulevards has long been a vehicle only type of intersection with corrals and blockages to pedestrian desire lines. Much work is long overdue here – and the Greenway is going to increase that pressure.
But even so it was nice to be out on the bikes again – and enjoying the long sections of gravity assistance!
So since these are screen shots you need arbutus-greenway-temporary-path-oct-2016-open-house-information-displays which is a downloaded pdf from the City. You can also check out their webpage
The track at the level crossings is steadily being removed from the section between 16th and 33rd.
Redundant street sign warning of the approach to the now removed railway: the stops signs remain in place at all the crossings north of Nanton Avenue where there are no traffic signals.
Track removed at Nanton Ave crossing
King Edward Avenue
King Edward Avenue: some new blacktop added across the median
You can see the edge of the new road surface on the extreme right, where the track used to be. The white truck has pulled well forward of the stop line, which I think is going to be a continuing issue for cyclists aiming to get back to the Greenway.
While the track has been removed, the stop line and detector loops remain where they were. Even so, the white van moves up to the marked crosswalk, and thus fails to trigger the green arrow signal for the left turn onto Arbutus.
Diverter to encourage people to use the signalled crosswalks: the blacktop used to be part of the off street parking for The Ridge on the other side of Arbutus Street.
Oh for goodness sake, Gregor, we know you haven’t had a chance to clean up this bit yet, but this is ridiculous!
PS for the last word on why paving should be the answer
The tracks have been removed at the crossing of 37th Avenue, with an extension of the gravel path to the corner of West Boulevard. The level crossing signal equipment remains in place.
Postscript: September 3
The crossing is being removed at King Edward Avenue this morning.
The City of Vancouver is holding Public Feedback workshops. You have to register – click that link!
The stencilled graffito has appeared on the Greenway at 29th Avenue at the north end of Quilchena Park
A man using one of those small wheeled Brompton style bicycles stopped, and got off his bike to lift the front wheel over the lip of the bitmac. He started the conversation and told us “A lot of people opposed the use of blacktop.”
“A lot of people?” I asked
He was unwilling to take his bike onto the gravel, and felt that the opposition was overstated. He doubted that there was much danger from the runoff from blacktop and concluded
“I know that there are some people opposed to this because they want to extend their gardens.”
The crushed rock use starts south of 33rd and continues up the hill towards 37th. The top surface is loose: in some places very loose indeed.
This kind of loose surface is not acceptable – especially for bicycles.
I have come off my bike on loose gravel, and it was not a pleasant experience. There are some significant drop offs on the west side of the right of way here.
As we were walking up the hill, a cyclist drew alongside us and continued to ride as we walked. He thought that there had been some loss of character in the greenway, as it used to be kind of wild and rugged. Maybe not everywhere needs to be entirely smooth and safe, he suggested. I have read something similar from Patrick Condon.
“People have gotten quite used to the Arbutus Corridor as kind of a romantic landscape — the kind of unkempt quality of it,” Condon said, adding that “it’s level of decay has become something that people kind of like, that they’ve gotten used to.”
He said the path (“A little wide to be called a bike path and way too wide to be called a pedestrian path”) makes some sense from an engineering perspective. It would have been easy to plan and cheap to install — ideal for a temporary path, Condon said. Meanwhile, its foundation of crushed stone would offer drainage and stability.
“I think from a political perspective, they maybe today wish they had not acted so quick,” he said.
He might even be right in some places but the area between the two Boulevards in Kerrisdale is definitely not one of them.
There is no reason at all why this could not be blacktopped. On each side is a road and a parking lot. In fact between the faces of the buildings this is the only bit not paved!
and from Christopher Porter’s twitter
Postscript August 22
The section up from 33rd to 37th has now got a finer, better rolled surface.
None of the people in this group seemed to have any problem with the rolled gravel surface, though one lady wearing open sandals was none too pleased. You will note that the single wheeled stroller to the right of the group seemed able to cope with the coarser base on the outside of the rolled section.
There is nothing scientific about this: merely talking to the people we happen to meet when walking on the Greenway. I am astonished how much information people are willing to share. I think it is an affirmation of how effective the current work has been that people actually want to stop and talk about it. I have yet to meet anyone who opposes the use of black top. And on the section between 16th and 33rd where the work has been completed, I have only heard positive comments.
Today we met a woman who had been in charge of the work creating the BC Parkway (formerly the BCER right of way through Burnaby and New Westminster). She was most impressed by what has been done north of 33rd, where we met her, but was unaware of the opposition to the use of blacktop. She felt that rolled gravel was far inferior, and would be the cause of greater injury to cyclists.
“You come off on gravel, that’s gonna hurt!”
This is the unpaved surface south of the 33rd Avenue crossing: it is going to be like this all the way to South West Marine and beyond.
We also discussed the politics of the decision. There are some people who feel that the priority for City funds should be affordable housing, meeting the needs of the homeless rather than a public amenity for one of the wealthiest neighbourhoods. “But this” she said, indicating the Greenway, “is going to be available to everyone. And it’s going to be a great place to teach children how to bicycle. I taught my kids to cycle in a cemetery. There’s not much traffic and they don’t drive fast there.” She was also unaware of the upcoming consultations, so I pointed her to the sign (actually now set up again but facing the wrong way) which has the URL of the city information piece.
“I’m going to buy a bench for it!” She had also not heard of the use of movable tables and chairs in New York City for places like Times Square.
We also met Gabriel, on his electric scooter. My partner wondered to me if he was in the wrong place – but I pointed out it was not a motor scooter, as it was silent! He told us that the scooter is speed limited [“no faster than 32 km/h on level ground“]. He was very pleased to see the improvement which eases his commute: he works in one of the houses along the way. We talked about the process of consultation. He was full of ideas about what could go along the greenway. Perhaps the most far sighted was his idea for a roundabout to replace the current complex double signals at 41st Ave and the Boulevards. He thought that a large enough public space in the middle would become a popular meeting place, if properly designed, and a great improvement in the urban streetscape.
Earlier this week we met some people on bicycles, peering over the barriers at 16th Avenue where the gravel starts.
They were not inclined to proceed further, and turned around to retrace their route back up to Kerrisdale. They had some fairly pointed views on those who opposed the use of blacktop.
POSTSCRIPT I have just read another blog post in the form of a letter to Council on the issue from the perspective of someone who uses a wheelchair. Essential reading, I think, for a number of reasons.