Lon LeClaire, the director of transportation for the city of Vancouver, was the speaker for the "planning for bicycles – infrastructure and bike sharing" session at the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies (BC) transportation conference, held on Jan. 26 in downtown Vancouver.
LeClaire said the goal for the city of Vancouver was for two thirds of all trips to be on foot, by bike or using transit by 2040. The amount of trips on transit have to double from current levels, but bike trips will also have to increase, he said.
The goal is to make cycling safe, convenient, comfortable and fun for people of all ages and abilities. While roads are open for anyone to cycle, most people feel unsafe on busy roads and want alternatives.
"This approach is working," LeClaire said, since cycling is the fastest growing mode share in the city, and collisions between motor vehicles and cyclists have decreased as more people bike.
Key directions from the city of Vancouver's Transportation 2040 plan are to upgrade and expand the bike network and connect biking to other transportation modes.
Many people are interested in cycling but afraid of motor vehicle traffic, LeClaire said. The bike network has grown steadily, but not every route feels safe for all ages and abilities, he added.
There are actually very few separated bike lanes, LeClaire said, but they are in very visible locations predominantly downtown.
Reducing car speeds and volumes in existing streets is one method of creating a bike lane, but in more intense, high speed traffic areas separation is required.
Burrard and Cornwall is the first fully protected intersection in North America, meaning each mode (motor vehicle, cyclists and pedestrians) are all held and released at different points.
A network of protected intersections are being built, including at the north intersection of the Burrard Bridge. To do so the bridge must be widened. Previously this area was the second largest collision area in the city, LeClaire said.
Priorities are to address gaps in the network as well as areas with high existing and potential ridership, he said. Another challenge is that bike lanes are usually a couple of blocks from shopping destinations, and the city wants to improve access to these areas.