Some numbers extracted from the Translink GTFS feed [4] (for the day of Sept 5th, 2014), for the 2km segment between Hasting and Broadway. The current average speed is ~11.5km/h, could be increased to ~15km/h with a bus lane…or reduced to ~9km/h according to the tradeoff done to implement bike paths

  • number of #20 runs: 304 (but I counted only 276 between Broadway and Hasting) requiring a minimum of 19 vehicles in revenue service [3]
  • time and speed between Broadway and Hasting [6]:
  • Min time Average time Max time
    10.3mn 5.3mn 12.4mn
    Max speed Average speed Min speed
    22.6km/h 11.65km/h 9.65km/h
  • ~15,700 annual operating hours meaning $1.57 millions in annual operating cost (at $100/hr, in line with [5])

bus lane Impact on Commercial Drive
We are considering the previously presented Commercial Drive proposal as illustrated below

4.5meters wide bike+bus lanes, with bus keeping in its lane at bus stop. It features transit signal priority and right turn specific signal to protect both transit and cyclists – Transit average speed is estimated at 15km/h

  • This bus lane, featuring clearly marked corridors (protected in one direction) and transit priority signal, suggests that average speed typical of BRT or urban LRT could be achieved: that is ~20km/h.
  • That said, noticeabily because the stop are closely spaced, an average speed of 15km/h could be more realisticaly and conservatively achieved:
    • That is roughly the average speed of the bus 20 outside the Commercial Drive segment.

Annual operating cost

average speed Average time Annual operating cost
9km/h 13.3mn $1.9M
11.5km/h 10.5mn $1.5M
15km/h 8mn $1.2M
20km/h 6mn $0.9M

The potential operating cost saving is in the tune of of $300,000 to $600,000/year.

On the opposite, a configuration of Commercial Drive with a single lane of traffic per direction to preserve parking [2], negatively impacts the speed of the bus, as we have seen before:

Commercial street redesigned as per StreetForeveryone group

Commercial street redesigned as per StreetForeveryone group – Transit average speed is estimated at 9km/h

Similar configurations, be on Davie or Robson, suggest a reduction of the average speed to ~9km/h; That could increase the route 20 operating cost by $400,000/year:

    the bus+bike lanes proposal is conductive of $1 Million in operating cost saving versus a proposal favoring street parking over transit.

A bus lane + traffic signal priority, allows an increase in the bus schedule reliability: lay over can be reduced accordingly, increasing the operating saving

Operating cost is only part of the picture:

Capital cost

the slower a bus route is, the more buses are required at same frequency/seat capacity:

The steeper the slope of a line, the faster the travel, and the sooner a vehicle return to its orgin, ready to do another run. the number of starting lines in between represent the required number of vehicle – credit Melbourne on Transit

The bus requirement is compounded by two conflating issues:

  • Demand is at its greatest at peak hour, but
  • transit speed is also at its slowest at peak hour
  • .

    On the route 20, afternoon peak hour traffic cost ~4 buses:

    number of vehicle in service on route 20 according to the time of the day (graph for friday Sept 5th, 2014)

    A bus lane, making transit more immune to traffic congestion, allows to reduce drastically the peak hour buses requirement (in our example, the average speed maintained at ~15km/h, vs 9.5km/h currently in peak hour)

    Adding a peak hour bus is a very expensive proposition: it means (to preserve spare ratio, and other contingency)

    • the Purchase of an additional bus
    • Adding storage capacity for this bus (even if in use 20mn a day)
    • Adding maintenance cost
    • adding a driver on payroll and all ancilliairy cost (training, administration)

    According to a conversation with a former Toronto Transit Commission employee, the TTC is costing an additional peak hour bus at $100,000 a year (that is for a 40footer, typically sold a ~$300,000)

    It is worth to note that Translink is in very short supply of articulated trolleybus, estimated each at $1M

    Revenue

    It is no secret that the faster a transit service is, the more ridership it will attract. That has been again recently verified in Seattle, with a quasi linear relationship:

    • an increase of 20% in speed is conductive of a similar increase in the ridership, which de facto increase the bus operator revenue[1]

    This coumpounded to lower operating cost makes Transit much more financially sustainable.

    Conclusion

    When all the effects are combined, it is relatively conservative to estimate that a bike lane, done at the expense of transit on Commerical, could end up to cost more than $1 million/year to Translink, when compared to a solution improving both

    …and here we have analyzed only the direct cost for Translink…


    [1] New markings aim to keep drivers out of Battery Street bus lane, Aubrey Cohen, SeattlePi- Tuesday, October 21, 2014.

    [2] We refers here to the “Street for Everyone” proposal we have previouslly discussed, which has also been discussed on the pricetag blog.

    [3] That makes the route 20 the 4th most frequent bus route of the network, behind route 99,9 and 41.

    [4] See our reference spreadsheet (which has been updated with the 2014 data) for further detail.

    [5] We use here the hourly operating cost as stated in the 2013 Bus Service Performance Review (see Annex A): it is worth to note that this hourly operating cost doesn’t include neither bus lay over and dead end trips. It doesn’t differentiate artics buses from standard ones too: the $100 mark is a very significant under estimate of the real operating cost of a route. A $180 per customer hour service could be closer to reality as we have seen before.

    [6] It seems that the average speed of the route 20 is decreasing year over year, almost 10% reduction in the last 7 years according to our spreadsheet [4] (which also depends of the Translink data quality): A probable consequence of the city council inaction on Transit front

    The first round of segregated bike tracks has essentially concerned non essential transit corridors (Dunsmuir, Hornby…), but it is natural for cyclists to expect similar bike facilities on the Main arterial of the city, where shopping destination are located. Not surprisingly some groups are making pressure toward it. That should be an opportunity for the various municipal candidates to offer their vision and their differentiators on a complex problem which will require significant trade-off, and priority setting. Since transit has been much neglicted by the current council, the prospect of bike lane along transit corridors become a matter of concerns for Transit advocates

    Below is an exert of the “Commercial Drive Campaign” by “Streets for Everyone” :

    Commercial street redesigned as per StreetForeveryone group

    Commercial street redesigned as per “Streets For For Everyone” group [3]

    The main strength of this proposal is that it exists and provides a basis for discusssion. It also highlight the reason of our concerns in regard of Vancouver bike lanes: They obey to a disturbing sense of priorities:

    • “Our plan leaves parking intact on both sides of the street”

    …The same sense of priorities which could have lead to pave Kitsilano park to save street parking. Here there is no park, but there is the very important transit route 20, which is neglicted: It is nevertheless called a “win-win-win” proposal by some bike lanes advocates for the reasons below:

    mode Improvment
    Pedestrians
    Cyclists
    Transit Users
    Car Users
    Emergency Vehicles

    This layout, where the bus can be hold back by left and right turning cars, as well as the occasional parking car, is obviously very detrimental to Transit:

    • On could expect the average speed of the bus 20, actually ~ 14km/h, to slow down to the one of the bus 5 or 6 (lower than 9km/h), which face similar street configuration (single traffic lane + parking lane). Speed is an issue, reliability is another one.

    Such a slow down can have a dramatic impact

    • On the attractivity of Transit, defeating a purpose of a street calming effort (get more people to choose alternative mode to car)
    • On the operating cost of the line. so such proposal can be in be fact very costly [1].

    It is hence very important to find a compromise which not only is not detrimental to Transit but can also be an opportunity to improve it:

    Thought Commercial Drive is relatively narrow (80feet), it is possible to find an arrangement which improve the bike experience as well as the Transit experience:

    Commercial2


    CommercialScene2
    The bike lane + bus lanes is 4.5meters wide…the all purpose lanes total 9m wide (including separator), leaving space for sidewalks not narrower than today

    The width of the all purpose lanes is what can be seen on most of the Vancouver residential street, such as 6th avenue (#Commerical),

    • It is enough to preserve a parking lane, but that means drivers must be willing to “share the street” and negociate with other drivers, as illustrated in the above rendering, on some uncommon but possible traffic case involing large vehicles
    • Traffic lane are ~3m wide, not unlike the traffic lanes on Number 3 road in Richmond (North of Westminster Hwy)
      • Narrow traffic lanes are a powerful device toward traffic calming
    • The bus lane on the parking lane side is “protected”, both from dooring and ill parked vehicles, while the one on the other side can be infringed (“mountable obstacle”) to allow occasional passing of large vehicle
    • The Bus+bike lanes are 4.5meter wide, a parisian standard [4]. Could it be possible to slighlty separate them, in a Dutch way (that is by having raised bike lane)? may be, but the preservation of a parking lane make the proposal difficult.
    • The bus lanes morph in emergency lane when needed

    All in all:

    mode Improvment
    Pedestrians
    Cyclists
    Transit Users
    Car Users
    Emergency Vehicles

    The above is a suggestion fitting better the objective of the 2040 Vancouver transportation plan: It must certainly exist better layouts. A complete economic analysis of a street layout could be useful to determine the objective value of one layout vs another one [1].

    This proposal, as the “Streett for everyone” one, is uncompatible with the Mayors council idea of a hierarchized (local+express) transit service on Commercial, idea proposed for the Transit referendum

    Intersection treatments

    “Street for every one” suggests “dutch intersections” pretty much every where:

    The ducth intersection offers dangerous conflict points, if one street doesn’t have bike lanes

    We prefer a more traditional bike box (doubled of a “queue jumper”) on street bereft of bike lanes: A solution avoiding some unnecessary conflict, and also more friendly to pedestrians (no detour imposed around the dutch “circle”):

    Bike boxes on crossing streets are used to do a left turn

    Bike boxes on crossing streets are used to do a left turn


    [1] Here, we mention only the Transit operating cost, which could increase in the tune of million of $ due to lack of bus priority, but Transit lack of efficiency has more generalized social cost, in term of lost time,… as suggested by George Poulos on Price Tags

    [2] See also Urban reality and transitized viewpoint.

    [3] The blue car in the rendering is a Toyota Passo, it is a sub compact car, not seen in North America. We have included the same car in our rendering along other more common model seen in the Vancouver street to provide a better idea of the width of the different lanes.

    [4] The STM is also experimenting a 4.5 meter wide bus+bike lane on Viau Street in Montreal, albeit with slightly different configuration (see “Can buses and bikes safely use the same reserved lane?, Montreal Gazette, July 14, 2014 )/p

    Cycling or not in Hadden park

    February 19, 2014

    This article has been mainly written in November 2013, so could need to be read in the context of a still active law suit regarding the construction of a bike path in Hadden park [4]. I have added further information made available in the interim

    Is it legal to cycle in Hadden park (block 136-137)?

    Like in most of the urban parks, cycling is prohibited in Vancouver parks, except on footpath or promenade specifically designated as a cycle path [2]: Does such exception exist for Hadden park?

    The cycle maps provided by different sources from City of Vancouver seem to be confusing:

    map-cycling-vancouver-extra

    The Vancouver cycle map (1) seems to indicate a path thru the north of the maritime museum, hence not on the land covered by the Haden covenant, but that is not practcal, while the report (3) seems to indicate a shared bike/pedestrain path thru the Hadden donation

    The signs, along the seaside route, say a total different story again:


    various sign along the seaside bike lane in Kits point

    The real sanctioned route is apriori:

    the existing seaside route, as according to signage

    the existing seaside route, as according to signage

    The Vancouver street and traffic by-law confirms this interpretation [5]

    extract of the {5) showing that the Seaside bikeway doesn't infringe Hadden park

    extract of [5] showing that the existing Seaside bikeway doesn’t infringe Hadden park


    The lawsuit [4]

    The Nov 2013 Megan Carvell-Davis vs City of Vancouver lawsuit states two important points:

    • The City of Vancouver approved an “active transportation corridor” which mandates a bicycle path through Hadden park but requires the approval of the park board to approve the construction of the bicycle path
      • This first point insisting on the bike path rational, tend to support the idea that the goal pursued by the construction of the bike path thru Hadden, is not for the enjoyment of the public, what is a first contravention of the Hadden covenant
    • The construction of a paved bicycle path through Hadden park is a violation of the term of the Hadden trust.
      • The second point claims that the bike path is an alteration to its present state of nature which is not reasonably motivated by neither park preservation, safety or enjoyment of the public

    It will be probably an important legal point to demonstrate that either or not, a legally sanctioned bike path already exists or not in the Hadden park land under covenant (block 136 and 137).

    It will be also eventually important for the petitioner, to demonstrate that the current use of Ogden avenue constitutes a reasonable, and safe alternative for cyclists to enjoy the current state of nature of the park, making the request for a bike path in the park an unreasonable alteration of it.

    There is little question that cycling along Ogden allows cyclists to enjoy the park and the view it has to offer. The arrangement chosen to the under construction bike route along Point Grey road (near Trutch) will support the idea, that Ogden avenue is

    • either safe enough for cyclist of all age and ability to cycle,
    • or the city can modify Ogden avenue to achieve a desired safety without infringing the Hadden park covenant:
    The seaside bike way at Point Grey Road at Trutch will share the road with local traffic

    The seaside bike way on Point Grey Road at Trutch: cyclists will share the road with local traffic, demonstrating that such arrangement can be considered safe enough for cyclist of all age and ability on “neighborhood” street, such as Ogden

    Addendum

    To give more strength to its case the petitioner has provided reference to a peer reviewved scientific paper titled ”Safe Cycling: How Do Risk Perceptions Compare With Observed Risk?” [6] (affidavit [7]). A paper, we have already studied here. What is important to retain for the case under trial is that this paper states that a “bike only path” and “residential street designated bike route” exhibit a similar level of objective safety (thought that the perceived risk is measured greater in the later case) as shown in this graph:

    A study on Toronto and Vancouver (Canada) from [6]: “bike only path” and “residential street designated bike route” exhibit the same level of objective safety

    Epilogue

    The petitioner case proved strong enough to have the City of Vancouver finally renouncing to fight against it on February 17th. That also makes the route alignment, thru the picnic area, in Kitsilano park, meaningless.


    Main source is the lawsuit filled by [4]

    [1] City of Vancouver cycling map

    [2] park by laws City of Vancouver, Jan 1st, 2008.

    [3] Seaside Greenway Completion and York Bikeway (Phase 1 of Point Grey-Cornwall Active Transportation Corridor),General Manager of Engineering Services, City of Vancouver, July 16, 2013

    [4] lawsuit filled by Megan Carvell-Davis vs City of Vancouver, on Nov 4th, 2013

    [5] street and traffic by-law no. 2849, City of Vancouver, January 1st, 2014

    [6] Route Infrastructure and the Risk of Injuries to Bicyclists: A Case-Crossover Study, Teschke K, Harris MA, Reynolds CC, Winters M, Babul S, Chipman M, Cusimano MD, Brubacher JR, Hunte G, Friedman SM, Monro M, Shen H, Vernich L, Cripton PA., American Journal of Public Health: December 2012, Vol. 102, No. 12, pp. 2336-2343.

    [7] Megan Carvell-Davis vs City of Vancouver: 3 affidavits filed on January 29th, 2014

    Hadden park, a bit of history

    November 12, 2013

    Most of the below come from Megan Carvell Davis affidavit in [1]. She had already stated the issue in a comment on the bike lane vs the park post, but then unaware of the covenant exact terms, I have no commented on that before. The below is under the light of this covenant attached in [1]:

    Some historical context

    Hadden park (right part) and Vanier park (left) circa 1907...the staircase seems at the same location as today

    Hadden park (right part) and Vanier park (left) circa 1907…the staircase seems at the same location as today

    The land known now as Hadden park (originally given to CPR as a provincial crown grant in 1886) was promised to be a harbour, according to the CPR wishes:

    Kitsilano plan by the CPR - circa ~1920

    Kitsilano plan by the CPR – circa ~1890

    The CPR always had some development plans for this Kitsilano area, and those encountered opposition at the time (“already many nimby there!”): Even the park board objected to see this area (the land east of Chestnut, was also slated to be an indian reserve by the federal government), to be turned into a major facility for shipping, this in July 1919 [1]. The area was then looking like below:

    toto

    1919 aerial view of Kitsilano, and what is now Hadden and Vanier parks

    Picture from 1982 Ogden avenue, circa 1923- future Hadden park is second grown bush – it will be restored in a more “natural” state by 1928 – (credit photo CoV archive ref AM1376-: CVA 1376-691)

    “According to the 1933 journal of Major J.S. Matthews, Vancouver’s first city archivist, on his final trip to Vancouver in 1928,
    Mr Harvey Hadden, a real estate business man from London, expressed the view that he would “like to do something for Vancouver which had done so well for him-in his real estate investments”. Hadden accepted the proposal of his former architect and friend, Mr S. M. Eveleigh that there should be a waterfront park connecting the Kitsilano Indian Reserve to Kitsilan Beach.” [1]
    In October 1928, Mr Hadden, gave for a $1 and subject to a covenant, to the city of Vancouver, the properties he had just purchased from the CPR. That is block 136 and 137 (DL 526), then valued at $41,000, are shown below:

    subdivisionDl526

    Hadden donation to the city consist of the block 136 and 137: only those block are covered by the covenant Hadden donation to the city consists of the block 136 and 137: only those blocks are covered by the covenant

    The city accepted the gift, and the covenant.

    Hadden park, as we know today, consists of

    • Block 136 and 137 (DL 526) as donated by Mr Harvey Hadden
    • “Closed road” Maple and Cypress, North of Ogden, on April 27, 1931
      • The Centennial Totem pole erected in October 1958, is in the Cypress ROW north of Ogden
    • “water lots” 5780 and 5781 granted by the Province of british columbia, on June 12, 1935
      • Part of those land has been filled up, noticeabily to erect the maritime museum in 1958, and the unleashed dog area is also on this area

    The covenant
    The term of the Hadden Trust are that Hadden Park (that is stricto senso applying to block 136 and block 137 as illustrated above)

    • “shall be used as and for a Public Park or recreation ground and not for any other purpose whatsoever”
    • “shall be improved and put in shape as a public park or recreation ground, but in carrying out such improvements the Board of Park Commissioners shall keep the property as near as possible in its present state of nature subject to such alterations or changes as may be reasonable necessary for its preservation and for the safety and enjoyment of the public. it being the desire of the grantor that those using the Park shall as far as reasonably may be enjoy the same in its natural state and condition”

    The maritime museum

    In the 1950′s, the city had acquired the St Roch vessel and was looking for a place to moor and preserve it.
    After much controversy, a decision was made to house the St Roch into a new building: the maritime museum. This will be built circa 1958, on land granted by the Province in 1935: The “water lots” 5780 and 5781 have been partially filled for that purpose, and that has been considered at one point as not violating the covenant by the city [3]. The fact that the blocks 136 and 137, have lost de facto, their waterfront status, is considered as a violation of the riparian right of the said blocks, this, according to the Hadden park conservators [1].

    The dog off-leash area

    The covenant, stipulates that “the grantee shall use and maintain the properties for park purposes and the beach for bathing more especially for women and children”. In 1998, the park board approved Hadden Park Beach as an off-leash dog area, while that dogs are not allowed on bathing beaches, according to the park bylaws [2].

    The enforcement of the covenant in that matter per-suppose, that the blocks 136 and 137 have riparian right, but the city viewpoint could be that:

    Mr Hadden rights did not extend below high water mark as he did not hold title to the water lot which was at that time in the name of the crown. He therefore had no power to convey any rights with respect to bathing on the beach [3].

    The letter and the spirit of the covenant

    The spirit of the covenant could not have been respected that well, but so far the letter of the covenant has been relatively well respected (neither the maritime museum, nor the totem pole are on properties donated by Hadden). Basically, the only alteration the properties has seen since 1928, has been the installation of benches (already there circa ~1940), and can be considered, as a reasonnable alteration forward a better enjoyment of the park. The construction of a bike path, directly on block 136-137 could certainly set a major precedent:

    the "approved" bike path  routhe into Hadden park. Some cyclists currently use the path on the right, but is it legal?

    the “approved” bike path routhe into Hadden park. Some cyclists currently use the path on the right, but is it legal? (credit photo facebook)


    Main source is the lawsuit filled by Megan Carvell Davis [1]

    [1] lawsuit filled by Megan-Carvell-Davis-vs-City-of-Vancouver, on Nov 4th, 2013

    [2] park by laws City of Vancouver, Jan 1st, 2008.

    [3] Corporation counsel letter to city, November 20th, 1957, as attached in [1]

    the Kitsilano bike freeway

    October 30, 2013

    Some critics of the park board plan [1] have called the infamously bike path approved by the park board, a “bike freeway”. Is it an “over the top” rethoric”?

    A freeway definition:

    freeway
    /ˈfriːweɪ/
    nounN. AMER.
    dual-carriageway, especially one with controlled access.

    The park board plan for the bike lane:
    kitsBikeLanePicnicArea

    The dual carriageway is there, albeit on a short section, where downhill bikes can accumulate lot of speed (the reason for the “freeway”?). That is a point for the bike freeway qualification. Unfortunately it is also at the most convoited picnic area site…If the project proceeds ahead, picnickers will be separated from the shore by no less than 3 rows of paths…The bike path takes more space than we have initialed thought


    Notice, that the gradient of the slope is roughly similar to the one on McNicoll, but the elevation difference, 6m, is 50% greater than between arbutus and Maple, along Mc Nicoll (4m). That increases the risk of speedy cyclists, and potential safety hazard


    Notice also, that from a cycling effort perspective, it makes little sense, to go down to the parking lot from Arbutus (2m elevation change), to have a longer hill.

    The route above is extracted from the RFP No. PS20130532, providing detailled engineering plans: this finding call for a recap of the Kits beach bike lane saga


    • On october 7th, the Park board approves a bike lane bisecting Kistilano beach and Hadden parks, the approved report [1] mentions that benches need to be relocated, and fences erected around the playground area (see more here)
    • On october 14th, thanks to some chalk lines materializing the approved bike route alignment, park users and residents discover the existence of the project. That creates an outrage in the community, Howard Kesley seems to emerge as a leader, and seems to be behind @savekitsbeach and the associated facebook page (Raymond Tomlin, is also following this on his blog Vanramblings)
    • On october 15th, Park board commissioner Aaron Jasper explains it is a “done deal”, and there is no intention to consult the public on it [3]
    • On october 16th, The city of Vancouver issues the request for proposal PS20130532, with detailled engineering plan – specifying at least 5 memorial benches to be relocated, in addition of picnic tables, and the fencing of the playground area. the deadline is November 5th
    • On october 18th, Park board chair Sarah Blyth issues a media release [2] qualifying as “untrue rumour” the above and stating that the “White chalk lines outlining a wide route through the Park” as not in any way reflect the route to be taken”. The park board staff said otherwise the day before. She goes as far as to say that “The final route has not been determined”, and advisory group will be established to work on the final design of the route. Some media, like the Georgia Straight, reprint the media releases in extenso without pointing any contradictions
    • On october 20th, a town hall meeting organized by savekitsbeach is held at the Kitsilano boat house. NPA park board commissioners Melissa De Genova and John Coupar, NPA city Cuuncillor George Affleck and Vision park board commissioner Constance Barnes are attending. Ms Barnes then recognizes than the lack of public consultation was a mistake, explained the the park board has been misleaded by its staff, and agreed to correct that…
    • On october 22th, Park board chair Sarah Blyth and commissioner Constance Barnes agree finally to qualify the attendance to the sunday town hall meeting, as a “mob of retiree loitering around the Boathouse” and “enjoying obsolete pasttime…as picnicking” [4].
    • On october 28th, NPA Park board John Coupar and Melissa De Genova issued a motion calling for Special Meeting on Kits Beach Park, to be held on Novemebr 4th, 2013, 6pm

    In principle, After all the damages inflicted to the public trust, by more noticeabily park board commissioners Barnes and Blyth, the park board, recognizing it has been off track, should be eager to regain this trust and approves the NPA motion…and finally forms the promised advisory committee….

    …let see how gonna unfold all this….


    [1] Seaside Greenway Improvements,Vancouver Park Board, Oct 1st, 2013

    [2] Park Board statement on Hadden and Kitsilano Beach Bike Path – Next Steps, Sarah Blyth, October 18th, 2013

    [3] Kits Beach bike path a done deal, Sandra Thomas, Vancouver Courier – October 15, 2013

    [4] See various tweet from the concerned indviduals: as here and there for Constance Barnes. Sarah Blyth did the same.

    Some people ask,

    Many parks have bike paths, or scenic drives. Some have even a train, what is the problem with Kits beach?

    Bike path at Trout Lake and motor road at Stanley park - credit photo left (1), right (3)

    The problem is one of geometry:

    • A park needs to be accessible
      • The larger a park is, the more it needs to have access infrastructure, if one want to see it “used”.
    • The smaller is the park, the more a new infrastructure impacts it

    Trout Lake is not only much bigger than Kits beach park (overlayed on it), but it has also a square shape, when Kits beach is a “strip park”. Notice also that there is no continuous street on the East side of the park (where the bike path is)

    According to what is measured, the impact of a bike path along Kits beach (around 1.1km) is between 2.5% of the total park area to 10% of the effective green space (vegetation):

    The different space allocation of Kitsilano park. A bike path can have a significant impact on the useability of the park

    In comparison, John Hendry park (Trout lake) is 27Ha and has a ~900m bike path. Kits beach a 50% smaller park, could have a bike path 40% longer than John Hendry park. The Trout lake bike path occupies roughly 1% of the park area. A number order of magnitude lower than in the Kitsilano Beach case

    • Some shapes are better than other

    Comparing surfaces area disregarding their shapes is missing the most critical informations on the quality of the space

    paved area (grey) surface  is the same in the left and right case. but no volleyball court fit in the left one, when 2 fit in the right one

    paved area (grey) surface is the same in the left and right case.
    but no volleyball court fit in the left one, when 2 fit in the right one

    Kitsilano is a narrow “strip park”, which usuability can be quickly compromised, if it can’t offer swaths of grass of sufficient size for spontaneous activities, usually occuring on grass that is ball games but not only; spontaneous activities typically occur on space with non defined use.

    SlacklinerCollingwoodPark

    Kids playing soccer, young practicing Slacklining: a sample of many spontaneous activity observed this week-end at Collingwood park, all of them requring swath of grass of sufficient size

    A good picnic site, in addition of a good view, also requires an agreable environment able to maintain a minimun of “social distance”, with other people and activities…what requires a certain size, too

    One of the problem with a bike path into Kitsilano park, as initially approved by the park board [2], is that it will impact other activities justifying a park in the first place. If the park board proceeds as it wants, there is no doubt, the bike path will be successful, but that also means, that our seaside will become increasingly homogeneous, geared toward the enjoyment of cycling only, instead to offer a wide and diverse range of recreational activities

    Fortunately, it is possible to provide a safe and scenic ride to cyclists, with minimal impact to the park, and its current usages, as we have seen here and in more detail, there. The question rest, does the Park board will finally listen?


    [1] twitter user neil21

    [2] Seaside Greenway Improvements,Vancouver Park Board, Oct 1st, 2013

    [3] flickr user keepitsurreal

    …or the robfordisation [7] of a bike lobby…

    People looking at the bike lanes from the plane, tend to see all of them as created equal…and after all, a massive mall development, be at Oakridge in Vancouver, or at Tsawassen could also looks the same as seen from the plane… it is then easy to frame the debate as pro vs anti bike lane… but on the ground it could quickly appears that the reality could be a bit more complex:

    • As we have seen before: Why insisting to bisect a narrow and crowded park, when perfect alternatives, still offering a seaside experience to the cyclists, are able to satisfy all parties?

    Bike lanes on the street

    the bike path at English bay is on the Beeach avenue ROW, making the best use of the narrow strip of grass

    the bike path at English bay is on the Beach avenue ROW, making the best use of the narrow strip of grass

    Could such an alternative be that difficult to implement at Kits point:

    Arbutus

    A bike path can be implemented along Arbutus, providing some minor alterations: In this option, Arbutus is one way north of Creelman, and lost parking space on its west side, south of it (to preserve 2 way general traffic)

    The example above considers the bike path along Arbutus,

    • To preserve park space as much as possible
    • To provide a seamless conection with the future York’s bike lane, and in longer term a Rapid transit station at Arbutus#broadway (making Arbutus a desire path to join Kits beach)

    The example above is not the sole solution on the street but is provided to demonstrate that alternative exists:

    • They offer far less dramatic change than the one involved by the closure of Point Grey
      • The illustrated option converts Arbutus one way, to preserve parking space- but around 20 space are lost south of Creelman, if the bike bath is kept routed on Arbutus (that is no more than the current proposal by the park board) south of the tennis courts
    • They provide a defacto lighted path at night, and eye on the street, so enhancing the general safety feeling at no additional cost (no additional lighting)
    • They could please or not the residents, could need to be altered according to their feedback, but since they haven’t been presented to them, we don’t know

    What we know, is that the Vancouver park board refuses, so far, to consider such compromise and prefers, the below solution, adding basically nothing to the cycling experience, but certainly removing an important park space.

    the 3.5meter wide bike lane cut accross the park…depriving the park of a significant swath of grass for better use of it

    Shared space

    A similar solution (bike lane on the street ROW) at Ogden could be in place as easily, nevertheless, the very low level of traffic on it could justifies a shared street arrangement, something planned on the future traffic calmed Point Grey Rd, part of the same seaside bike route [4][6]:

    The seaside bike way at Point Grey Road at TRutch will share the road with local traffic

    The seaside bike way on Point Grey Road at Trutch: cyclists will share the road with local traffic

    Why the above solution is considered good on the Point Grey portion of the seaside bikeway, and not at Odgen road, lining Hadden park?

    To be sure, as illustrates the desires line below, it is not a problem for cyclists:

    this googleView shows the desire lane of the cyclists: coming from Vanier: they overwelmngly go to Ogden avenue, in despite of a steep slope (which could need to be gentled), rather than trying to continue along the pedestrian path – the marked path in Hadden park is mainly created by cycling coming from Kitsilano beach (no option)

    Shared space for bike is often the recommended alternative, as explained by the Bicycle network, an Australian cycling advocacy group:

    When speeds and volumes of motor vehicles are low enough, no separate space is needed for bikes – they share the road with motor vehicles. Quiet, slow streets not only allow children and family groups to walk and ride in comfort, they also allow more interaction between people using the street. This usually requires restrictions to motor vehicles access to keep actual speeds and numbers of motor vehicles low (30km/h and 3000 per day) as well as complementary measures to favour walking and cycling. [1]

    There is no recent traffic number for Ogden, the latest ones available, suggest a traffic of ~500 vehicle a day (in March 93) to ~1500 vehicle a day (July 98), what makes the street apriori suitable to be shared by both car and cyclist. To be sure:

    • More recent traffic data should be collected
    • Traffic calming measure can be implemented to reduce further the traffic and speed there

    Again, such possibility is quickly dismissed without analysis: The population of Metro Vancouver grows steadily by an average of 40,000 people annually, and we have little if no room to create new park spaces, even less with waterfront and beach, and serviced by frequent transit. So all measures should be taken to minimize unecessary paving of this space…but still it is obviously not what is happening. Why?

    The park board doesn’t provide answers, but what is also of a concern is that some bike lanes apologists also refuse to consider that other solutions, minimizing impact on the park, can exist. why?

    The robfordisation of a bike lobby

    Some bike lobbyists share the common though with Rob ford:
    The street is too dangerous for cycling, and cycling belong to the park, or at minimum requires segregation

    That is, as Rob Ford, they give up on the idea of sharing the street and tame the car, and advocate for segregation everywhere,…but like the bike helmet law, the segregation paradigm foments widespread and largely unjustified fears about cycling outside of bike lane, especially when they are used unappropriately (that is neither for cycling safety nor comfort). The fact that some proeminent bike lobbyists use this fear card, to exclude cycling on street seeing less than 500 vehicles/day [3], is just doing a disservice to the cycling cause, since we don’t gonna install segregated bike on every single street in our city…or are we?

    [2] gives a reason for that: cycling groups, in as much as they choose to concentrate on political lobbying rather than facilitating cycling socially, benefit from maintaining the segregation paradigm because they legitimise their existence by the results of their lobbying and segregation policies (whatever their real effects on cycling) and offer faster and more clearly quantifiable results of political value to show their constituencies

    What should have been a tool, segregated bike lane, to be used appropriatly, to facilitate and encourage cycling, is becoming a goal in itself:

    For this reason, some bike lane apologists [3] wholeheartly embraces the paving of a park, and dismisses any research of better compromise…and to justify a such extrem position, the arguments are well known, they are exactly the same that the road builders use (asphalt is asphalt!):

    • We have already pave a lot of the park, why stop there?
    • (As for the Massey tunnel:) There is lot of congestion, we need more space for our constituency
    • (As for the Sea to sky Hwy and the tunnel), We do it for the sake of safety, and especially the little children
      • And the ones playing in the playground will be put behind a fence to not pose a safety hazrd for cyclists [5]

    None makes good sense, when better alternatives exist…


    [1] Notice that some other publications consides that shared space can work with as much as 5,000 vehicle a day, see Traffic Calming and Cycling

    [2] Segregated cycling and shared space in today’s cities, Garcia, Velo-city 2009 Conference, Brussels, Belgium

    [3] see Richard Campbell blog for an example of the tone.

    [4] To make sure, to not be misunderstood, It is eventually useful to remember my position on it, as worded on the Gordon PRice’s blog

    [5] Seaside Greenway Improvements,Vancouver Park Board, Oct 1st, 2013

    [6] Seaside Greenway Completion and York Bikeway (Phase 1 of Point Grey-Cornwall Active Transportation Corridor),General Manager of Engineering Services, City of Vancouver, July 16, 2013

    [7] neologism, to express the Mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford, view of the world…By the way, Rob Ford also recently inaugurated a segregated bike lane

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