Cycling
April 22, 2019

Councillor Pete Fry, Slower Speeds in the ‘Hood, and Why This All Makes Sense

I have been advocating for slower vehicular speeds in neighbourhoods to make communities safer, more comfortable and convenient for vulnerable road users. I also have been writing about  the impact on communities elsewhere that have adopted 30 kilometer per hour as the default speed in municipalities.

The Scottish Parliament is considering a bill to  lower speed limits to 20 miles per hour (equivalent to 30 km/h) in all cities, towns and villages. That is a reduction from the currently accepted 30 miles per hour (50 km/h). London and several counties in the United Kingdom that have adopted the slower speeds within their city limits have seen vehicular deaths decline by 20 percent, and serious  injury also substantially decline.

City of Vancouver Councillor Pete Fry has introduced a motion asking that Council support a resolution to the Union of British Columbia Municipalities to lobby the Province to amend the Motor Vehicle Act “to a default speed limit of 30 kilometers per hour for local streets with municipalities enabled to increase speed limits on local streets in a case-by-case basis by by-laws and posted signage.” Councillor Fry has also requested that staff identify an area of Vancouver to pilot a 30 km/h speed limit, report back on the strategy, and implement the slower speed in that neighbourhood area to ascertain the effectiveness of the policy.

This is not the first 30 kilometers per hour rodeo going to the Union of British Columbia Municipalities. The City of New Westminster and Councillor Patrick Johnstone headed up such a request a few years back.  What really needs to happen is for this initiative to leave the purview of the municipalities and be seriously considered by Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Claire Trevena who can give authorization for the change to the Motor Vehicle Act.

The beauty of a blanket implementation of the residential neighbourhoods is that there will not be a huge capital cost to create signage everywhere indicating how fast you can move on which street. While arterial roads would remain at 50 km/h, the local serving streets  within Vancouver  neighbourhoods could  all be 30 km/h.

This is also City of Vancouver City Council’s opportunity to correct the term “Vision Zero”. During the Vision Party’s majority they did not want the term “Vision Zero” in Vancouver’s reports  (which refers to the Swedish approach adopted in 1997 to achieve zero road deaths) to be used for political reasons.

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105 Avenue Connector Road, Surrey 

At the 6th Annual Bike Awards on February 28th, HUB Cycling awarded five municipalities for their efforts to #UnGapTheMap across the region.

The first category of infrastructure winners were part of the 20 in 20 Infrastructure Challenge, launched last year as part of HUB’s 20th Anniversary.

Third place went to the City of Burnaby for completing nearly 20 Quick Fixes,  ranging from re-paving parts of the Sea to River Bikeway, trimming foliage that obstructed bike lanes and urban trails, and re-painting faded lines and shared lane markings.

A close second went to the District of West Vancouver, who also nearly completed 20 Quick Fixes, including removing narrow bollards and adding reflective diamond paint along the Spirit Trail, adding wayfinding signage at Ambleside Park, and installing rapid flashing beacons for safer crossings along 27th and 29th streets at Marine Drive.

And coming out on top was the City of Surrey, who doubled the 20 in 20 target with over 40 Quick Fixes. Highlights included adding new wayfinding signage, widening narrow bike lanes, and removing and or widening several narrow baffle gates that now allow people cycling with trailers (often with children inside) to pass through.

The Cities of Vancouver and Surrey also won an Infrastructure Improvements Award for providing All Ages and Abilities (AAA) cycling infrastructure at East 1st and Quebec (below) and along 105 Avenue (above).

East 1st and Quebec, Vancouver

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A few years back I wrote about the magic of the Idaho Stop.  In Idaho traffic laws were revised in 1982 with an innovative bicycle code that allowed  “bicyclists to do a “rolling stop” instead of a dead halt at stop signs~treating the “stop sign” like a “yield” sign. Some cyclists and police officers advocated for an amendment to this law which was passed in 2006. The amendment stated that cyclists must stop on red lights, and must yield before proceeding straight or making a left turn at an intersection. The benefits of the Idaho Stop according to two studies are that safety is improved, and cyclists can move to see around obstacles, lessening car collisions. “

You would think that this aptly named Idaho Stop would just be a good thing for cyclists to practice, keeping themselves safe and at the same time allowing them to review exactly what is happening in an intersection. They are not legal in British Columbia, as many a ticketed cyclist can attest. It is puzzling that the adoption of the Idaho Stop has been painfully slow, with even New York City’s Doug Gordon the co-host of “The War on Cars”podcast wondering why rolling stops are not allowed in T intersections.

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If you’ve ever wanted to see changes in how City of Vancouver parks — the public spaces themselves, as well as their facilities and services — are managed and delivered to citizens, now’s the chance to have your say.

On Sunday, April 7 from 1-4pm, Park Board Commissioners and staff are holding an open house at CityLab (511 West Broadway) to gather public input for “Vancouver’s Playbook” (also called VanPlay), a new plan intended to guide the parks and recreation strategy through to 2045.

Vancouver is home to world-class parks and recreation, and our population is growing and changing.

It’s essential we look to the future to protect and improve parks and recreation across the city.

VanPlay is a year-long conversation with you, our staff, partners, stakeholders, and experts to make this the best plan it can be.

Of note – the Park Board wants to define “Strategic Big Moves for a More Equitable and Connected future”. What does that mean?

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It is a bit of a 21st century thing~when a city hall staffer looks like they had been in a bar fight it usually is the result of a bike crash.. But it was extremely troubling news when the City of Vancouver’s transportation manager Dale Bracewell who was cycling to work from the north shore took the full brunt of road rage from a driver who sped off after knocking Dale off his bike.

Dale Bracewell is simply a nice guy and his kids’ dad as well as doing a lot of work advocating for safer streets for cyclists in Vancouver. Dale took to Twitter on Thursday morning stating

 “Today this was so real as an aggressive driver knocked me over while I was biking to work,I’m in the hospital right now getting x-rays. I still am in shock that a driver did something like this. Thanks to all who cared for me after the car knocked me over.”

Dale also did the right thing by not describing what happened but contacting the Vancouver Police Department and ICBC ( Insurance Corporation of British Columbia) to immediately follow-up. And that driver who left the scene after knocking Dale off his bicycle is responsible for Dale’s fractured elbow.

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The Mayor of the  City of Toronto  is now talking about  instituting 30 kilometer per hour speed limits in the city.  I have written about the road carnage that is happening in Toronto where 46 pedestrians and cyclists were killed on city streets in 2018. That number increased by ten percent from 2017. Imagine~almost four people a month dying walking or cycling in the City of Toronto. The quickest way to alleviate this carnage is to slow vehicular speeds and enforce them~being crashed into by a vehicle at 50 km/h a pedestrian has a 10 percent chance of survival. Survival odds increase to 90 percent if a pedestrian is crashed into at 30 km/h.

In Oliver Moore’s article in the National Post, fingers have been pointing at Toronto Mayor John Tory who has been very conservative about addressing this road carnage. The City also instituted Vision Zero, a road safety program that should be focused on eliminating all traffic related deaths and serious injuries according to its creed. But no, in the City of Toronto they decided to only try to achieve a percentage lowering of deaths, not the complete elimination of carnage, and received much bad press about that.

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Chris and Melissa Bruntlett the fine people of Modacity Life passed on this fascinating article by Tom Parron on the marketing of Coolblue‘s new bike service. Coolblue is an electronics company that has been in business since 1999 in the Netherlands and Belgium. Their creed is to provide excellent response with a good slice of humour interspersed in their customer service. And if you order an item online, you are guaranteed delivery of that item the following day.

With online and 9 traditional retail locations this business delivers bought goods by “CoolblueFietst” which translates as Coolblue bikes.  With service commencing in two Dutch cities last year  Coolblue has expanded to have bicycle delivery of their products in major Dutch and Belgian cities with a fleet of 250 delivery riders. And get this~those delivery bike riders will  “all be employed with contracts and receive fixed salaries.”

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February 22, 2019

Vancouver’s Jericho Lands are essentially 90 acres of greenfield, located amid some of Canada’s most expensive and most desirable real estate.  [Ocean Views!!]

Here’s your chance to have your say about the evolving plan. Remember, though, Ken Sim and the NPA did not win council — so you won’t get a veto, even if that were possible here, given who owns the land.

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