Durning picked this feature by Chris Bruntlett in the Brisbane Times:

Bike city, great city: How Vancouver can inspire a better Perth

In 2008, when Vancouver’s newly elected mayor proposed taking out a general traffic lane of a busy city bridge and replacing it with a protected bike lane, some pundits predicted it would be the end, not just the beginning, of his political career.

Television helicopters were sent to capture the impending “carmaggedon”. A prominent business leader declared it would “choke the lifeblood out of the downtown”.

Not only did everything turn out fine, but Burrard Bridge — which now sees more than a million bike crossings per year — proved to be the first piece in a robust network of AAA (“all ages and abilities”) infrastructure that has transformed Vancouver for the better. A decade later, cycling is the fastest growing mode of transport in Vancouver — up 300 per cent in that period. Today, 10 per cent of Vancouver residents bike to work.

The most striking changes, however, have been qualitative. …

As of last year, 50 per cent of trips in the City of Vancouver are made by active means (foot, bike, or public transport). The target came a full three years ahead of schedule, with a goal to reach two-thirds by 2030.

Vancouver has many similarities to Perth (and most cities in Canada, the US and Australia) having long followed the pattern of sprawling suburbs and car-oriented street design.

The experience of Vancouver, however, shows that change is not only possible, it’s preferable.

Vancouver proves that cities that work better for walking and biking, also work better for living: streets become safer and less congested, expanded transport options give people more choice and promote greater independence for children, for seniors and everyone in between.



  1. As I recall from a 2013 visit to Perth, Vancouver could learn a lot as well from Perth with Perth’s multi-line commuter rail service, free circular bus routes in the downtown core or CBD, car free downtown street malls, less complex ferry service, and even a state provided passenger train service to other parts of the state. Cycling is important for a city and its citizens but many do not either cycle, can nor want to and thus, other forms of public transport are important as well. Vancouver could also learn much from Brisbane and Sydney in using ferry services that use their harbours and rivers in a less complex/expensive system than our SeaBus. Mainline commuter rail also serve those cities’ suburbs in a much greater way than our very expensive SkyTrain.

    1. Seeing as Vancouver has almost twice as many pedestrians and transit users – respectively, 7 and 20 percent to their 3/12 – it seems Perth could learn a lot from us as well. Remember that riding transit as a tourist is always more pleasant than as a regular.

      For suburban rail, here’s a map of the Lower Mainland network (https://static.pwrs.ca/product_images/41676_4.gif). Which corridors would make passenger trains useful to commuters, and how useful would they be with existing freight trains limiting them to 30-minute, peak-only service?

  2. Look to Denver or other transit oriented cities where tracks are shared by transit and freight railways or a separated rail on the same right of way; or better still look at Vancouver in the 50’s with BCE’s three interurban routes, one to Chilliwack with Valley stations, GN now BNSF to White Rock, earlier (1900’s) to Cloverdale, Ladner, and Chilliwack, CPR national trains but also locals even in the 50’s to Hope, PGE to Horseshoe Bay, Squamish and beyond-the latter has one return train a day now so not a problem there. The routes are there, scheduling can be done-West Coast Express, separate rail lines can be built to better connect with existing sections ie BCE. What is missing is the vision and urban planning vs just add another lane to the roads and even more congestion. We build a new Patullo bridge without adding the rail section despite the existing New West rail bridge is inadequate and obsolete.

    1. We definitely should not be ‘looking to Denver’ which is certainly NOT a transit oriented city. Transit use in Denver is a footnote. They are working on it, maybe in 50 years they will reach 1/4 of the transit use Vancouver has now.

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