David Finnis who is on Twitter @ilovethearts says:

“This is one of the reasons many people don’t feel safe cycling in Vancouver. If drivers can’t slow down and avoid hitting a stationary object.And this slow street sign is on a quiet residential street!”

Which also brings up who is managing the  pandemic response of Slow Streets 30 km/h infrastructure in Vancouver, and why there is not someone that can go out and check that the infrastructure is where it is supposed to be. And as we go into Year Two of the pandemic, why are we not making these barriers a bit more substantial so they stay in place? Why can’t they be filled with water or sand?

While Vancouver Slow Streets was introduced several months behind programs in other Canadian cities, it consisted of jersey barriers of different kinds either on the street or at the street’s side, indicating that it is a slower street, with  repurposing for walkers, rollers and cyclists to maintain physical distancing.

There were two reasons for doing this: one, to facilitate  destination oriented routes for people not in vehicles; and second, to provide a way for families and others to exercise in a safer environment with physical distancing that could not be met on the sidewalks.

This presentation on the Covid-19 Mobility and Public Life Response which was given to Council in May 2020 provides  more background and rationale for the City’s response. In a survey conducted in April 2020 the City found that walking downtown had declined by 40 to 50 percent, commuter cycling had declined by 35 to 50 percent, and transit usage had declined by 80 percent.

At that time there were  48 percent less vehicles coming in and out of the downtown, with a 39 percent decline of vehicles coming in and out of Vancouver as a whole compared to April 2019.

The City’s three pronged approach included  “Room to Move” which included Slow Streets, “Room to Queue” which provided  expanded street space for people to queue outside of businesses. This also meant taking over the parking lane if needed outside of businesses.  “Room to Load” was to assist deliveries  to businesses, with the offshoot of allowing outdoor restaurant dining to spill onto city owned streets and sidewalks.

As we go into another pandemic Spring, a program of ensuring the barriers are in their correct places will assist everyone in getting outside and enjoying the designated Slow Streets safely.

 

images:twitter,davidfinnis

Comments

  1. I live on a residential street that is also a bike route. I walk all over my neighbourhood and I had completely forgotten about this project because I cannot recall seeing any of the barriers/markers. I am certainly in favour of slowing down traffic but this seems to be a complete failure in execution.

    1. Unfortunately, not all bike routes are slow streets and vice-versa. For the most part, these slow streets seem to work well when I’ve used them. My favourite is Wall Street, which seems to work extremely well. That being said there is no indication on the signage what ‘Slow Street’ means. I would love to see 30 km/h signs added.

      1. We shouldn’t need 30km/h signs in the city. If our gutless politicians would get off their behinds, all streets would be 30km/h unless otherwise marked.

        1. The problem is the BC Government needs to update the Motor Vehicle Act to enable cities to do this as currently, they need to sign every block. There have been several passed motions by the Union of BC Municipalities asking the province to make this change, but they have fallen on deaf ears.

  2. haven’t seen any evidence of “room to queue” or “room to load”, but you know i only hang out in gastown around revolver and east van so maybe they are elsewhere in the C o V? Anybody know?

    1. I’ve seen a bunch of them around the city. Basically, they’ve removed a couple of parking spaces, to allow space for people to cue outside stores, while allowing people to pass in safety. Some seem to work better than others.

      I’ve seen them on Denman, East Hastings and Commercial Drive among other places.

  3. The temporary barriers are hopeless. When they were first rolled out in my area they had water in them, within a few days someone had drilled holes to let the water out and moved them off to the side of the road. Inspectors aren’t going to be able to keep up with the vandals. If they really want to them to remain in place they’ll have to install something more permanent and a lot more immovable.

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