Monthly Archives: July 2010

The Challenge of Crossing the Street

A short video documentary on the challenge of crossing the street. Pedestrians in this Florida neighbourhood are dying to get across a major suburban highway. It’s something that many communities suffer from – hostile road networks built to facilitate vehicle mobility ignore the needs of pedestrians.

See the video at: http://video.pbs.org/video/1550369887/

Shelbourne Street a Challenge for Cyclists

Shelbourne St. runs through Saanich and into Victoria, a long, straight, flat route connecting major destinations and neighbourhoods. It’s long been a frustration for cyclists who find the directness and the level grade appealing, but bristle at the narrow lanes, heavy traffic and high vheicle speeds.

Bike lanes are not easy to retrofit on the corridor where traffic volumes in the main sections are likely beyond the numbers where road diet treatments will work.

Some projects are advancing with Victoria designing bike lanes for a short stretch along Begbie that connects Johnson St. and Pandora, two major east west corridors feeding traffic into or out of downtown. Begbie curves into Shelbourne and bike lanes will be incorporated north to Bay St.  Beyond, the challenge of residential parking and narrow travel lanes will prevent addition of bike lanes for some time.

At Hillside, a development project to add more retail space at HIllside Mall, a major shopping centre, will add bike lanes for a short section between Hillside and North Dairy Rd at the Victoria/Saanich border.

Saanich has its own plans in progress, with bike lanes nearing completion on the north end to Mt. Douglas Park. For the major segment of the corridor, however, a longer term planning process aims to redesign Shelbourne with a new streetscape that will include boulevards, generous sidewalks, rain gardens, and a daylighted Bowker Creek at some points. Bike lanes are also envisioned within the project.

The plan, however, is a long term undertaking, with redevelopment likely to provide the additional right of way necessary to add bike lanes and the other amenities.

Saanich has been working through community consultations with open houses and online connections where citizens and corridor users can provide their feedback. More open house opportunities will come back in the fall of 2010.  Information on the plan can be found at the District of Saanich website at:

 http://www.saanich.ca/business/actionplan/shelbourne.html

Shelbourne St. in Saanich is getting bike lanes at the north end of the corridor.

Bike for Your Life Parksville

Support stroke recovery efforts in the Oceanside communities on Vancouver Island. North of Nanaimo in Parksville local community leaders are putting on a ride event Sunday, August 8th. It’s an important cause and a great place to ride.

Find out more at: www.bikeforyourlife.org

Bicycle culture is a mosaic

The Seattle Times writes covers the diversity that is the cycling community in the Pacific Northwest. Cyclists are as diverse as the population is varied and it speaks to the need for context sensitive responses to support cycling as a transportation or a broader lifestyle choice.

For many populations of current and would be cyclists, the diversity has been previously analyzed in Portland to determine what policy and infrastructure approaches are needed to support cycling or grow participation.

Infrastructure is essential but there is so much more and the Times covers the waterfront in dissecting what is not (if you are a Star Trek fan), “the Borg”. We aren’t all attached to a single brain that governs cycling behaviour.

Here’s the story:

 http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/pacificnw/2011849645_pacificpbikes23.html?syndication=rss

Creative bicycling

Go fast time

Victoria hosts all sorts of biking events, plus a selection of multi-sport races. Sunday, August 1st is the Self Transcendence Triathlon and Duathlon. Check it out at www.victoriatriathlon.com/

Ride the Divide

Wednesday, July 28, 7:30 p.m. at the Victoria Event Centre. It’s “Ride the Divide” a new documentary about a 2700 mile ride along the Continental Divide from Alberta through to the Mexican border.

Check the trailer at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7MqAiPOF8c&NR=1

PARK(ing) Day

Sticking some coins in the parking meter but using the space for a park, public seating and other very temporary displays is a playful way of getting out your message.

Too much of our public realm is devoted to the storage of private automobiles – the population of cars in any city is mulitiplied several times by the number of spaces needed to store them at home, work, school, and so many other destinations that generate our daily travel demands.

Converting a handful (in Victoria there are somewhere near 10,000 spots downtown), to better uses (some have been converted to bike parking already), or occupying (don’t forget to plug the meter (or pay station), will make a very small impact on the supply of vehicle spots on any given day, but sure would have a big impact on public discourse.

Parking space converted to bike parking "corrals" are popping up all over Portland.

New bike "corrals" pioneered in Portalnd are being copied across North America.

See the PARK(ing) Day concept at:  http://www.parkingday.org/

Measuring bikeability

San Francisco has developed tools for evaluating the appeal of bicycle routes and facilities to support their investments in infrastructure. Historical court action challenging the environmental benefits of cycling (a specious attack claiming congestion and idling GHG emissions increases) spurred development of the resource.

Check out the tool at:  http://www.sfphes.org/HIA_Tools_BEQI.htm

Separated Bike Lanes in San Francisco

The most recent Tube Times, newsletter of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, features a story on new separated bike lanes along “the busiest bicycle street west of the Mississippi”. It’s a model fast taking hold in other cities around the continent.

SFBC’s Andy Thornley with me and Adam Fukushima, now with the city of San Luis Obispo, California.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/luton/2845657639/
Here’s my photo study of the Dunsmuir project in Vancouver where a huge jump in bike traffic has followed the installation of a separated bike lane into Downtown.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/luton/sets/72157624330232313/

Economic Benefits of Bicycle Infrastructure Investments

Good research shows benefits of investing in cycling and other infrastructure that support active transportation.

A report by the League of American Bicyclists and the Alliance for Biking and Walking summarizes some of the benefits and provides and extensive bibliography of sources.

A very useful report for those working to counter critics of projects aimed at improving conditions for cycling, a current and recurring issue in Victoria.

Check out the report at:
http://www.bikeleague.org/resources/reports/pdfs/economic_benefits_bicycle_infrastructure_report.pdf

Worth paying for:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/luton/4153501880/