Frances Bula header image 2

Last concrete pour for Hornby bike lane already?

October 31st, 2010 · 86 Comments

Doug sent me this photo and message about the (incendiary) Hornby bike lane today, which I’m posting somewhat against my better judgment, as every cycling post here seems to reignite the cyclical and never-resolved Hundred Years War.

About noon on Halloween day, the last concrete was poured for the separated Hornby St bikeway lane.  I happened to be passing by when I overheard the workers announcing it to one other… so I snapped this pic for you Francis.
Interesting that the lane extends to the very last block of Hornby at False Creek… obviously to tie in with both the Seawall bike path and the Aquabus bike ferry that crosses from Granville Island to the foot of Hornby.

I also was on Hornby today and saw planters starting to go in on top of the concrete dividers. I’m not surprised it’s finishing so quickly. I always thought when the original estimate of 10 weeks for construction was given that that was to paint the most dire scenario, so that anything less than that would look good.

BTW, if I can offer this information without negating any complaints about process or choice of street for the lane, I’ve had many people fume to me that pouring concrete is “proof” that the rabid Vision council is installing these lanes permanently.  (It all seems to be part of a lot of pent-up rage about the new bike lanes in general, which inevitably come up as the first item people mention when I ask them what they don’t like about the Vision Vancouver council. And even when I don’t.)

So I asked the city’s head of engineering, Peter Judd, recently why the city didn’t just put in concrete barriers or something more temporary.

He said it was because one of the main complaints they had from businesses along Hornby and Dunsmuir — you know, the people the city is trying to keep happy — is that they didn’t want something ugly on the street like the concrete barriers they saw on Burrard Bridge and the Dunsmuir Viaduct. Thus the poured concrete curbs with planters.

Apparently those curbs can be chipped off with a backhoe in no time at all, while the planters, which are all plastic, can always be picked up and moved anywhere else they’re needed.

One question answered. Several dozen more to go.

Categories: Uncategorized

86 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Julia // Oct 31, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    I would love to know the over time rate for all that ‘urgent’ work.

  • 2 Brenton // Oct 31, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    And I would love it if people stopped looking for things to find wrong. Maybe Gregor charged chewing gum to the city’s accounts but didn’t consult first, or didn’t share it with car drivers…

    I imagine it’s in the budgeted amount, Julia.

  • 3 Julia // Oct 31, 2010 at 5:43 pm

    It has nothing to do with finding things wrong or bikes or cars or chewing gum.

    Given we are walking into a 20 million dollar shortfall in next years budget, I am perplexed why this effort was fast tracked at a huge additional expense as we move into winter months when the bike lanes will be barely used. Do you see gardens being planted anywhere else this time of year – there is a reason for that.

    Fiscal responsibility and accountability should be a fair question – 2 wheels or 4.

  • 4 Jason King // Oct 31, 2010 at 6:14 pm

    YES! Bike Lanes are ready!

    Ok, so now let’s lay out the benchmarks so we can determine the success or failure of this “trial”. Can’t have a “trial” without some way to gauge the success!

    How much is ridership into downtown Vancouver going to increase?

    By what percentage will accident rates for cyclists decrease?

    Let’s lay these out now so that we can all agree, and then we can wait for the numbers to come in! Or if someone could point me to the benchmarks the city laid out for these “trial” lanes, I’d appreciate it…I can’t seem to find these on the cities website…but I’m sure I just missed them….right?

  • 5 Gar // Oct 31, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    I wish they could be as fast on the Carall St. Greenway as they have been on the cycle paths. They have closed Carall for months on end while they put the greenway in ( it’s a way I use to get home when I’m not riding my bike). Its a similar attitude that I see with city parks such as Victoria, Grandview and Oppenheimer, which have stayed closed for a year while the city “worked” on them. It shows that this city has a mis-placed sense of priorities. Guess I won’t be voting Vission anymore.

  • 6 Brenton // Oct 31, 2010 at 7:15 pm


    Fair enough.

    But do you know that it was done at a “huge additional expense”? Perhaps Frances can find out if it has gone over the original budgeted amount, or do you think that the original budgeted amount was too much?

  • 7 Julia // Oct 31, 2010 at 7:26 pm

    hello? the budget was too much if it included un-necessary overtime for crews and 3rd party cement delivery on a weekend. Since when is it OK to spend too much money just because you ‘warned’ people first?

    There are $20,000 programs such as graffiti removal and street cleaning that have been cut because there is no money. I can almost bet the overtime costs on this project would have more than paid for those programs.

    To me, that is a fiscal outrage and as a taxpayer, I think I deserve an explanation of why cement had to be poured today instead of tomorrow when the cost would have been half.

  • 8 Diane // Oct 31, 2010 at 7:40 pm

    This picture was taken at the most ridiculous part of this new bike lane. I get the point of all the rest of it (whether, I agree with it or not) but this part just doesn’t make sense. Was it really necessary to remove the two parking spots in front of the convenience store on a street that is a cul de sac? Where do they think the car traffic menace is on this block? I can see why it starts across Beach Avenue but this choice penalizes a small business, doesn’t seem particularly necessary (I used to live in this neighborhood and rode my bike here all the time) and was done on a Sunday at what was no doubt a higher cost to the taxpayer. Genius!

  • 9 Richard // Oct 31, 2010 at 7:57 pm

    Some people are impossible to please. First they complain about construction impacts on businesses and traffic. Then when the city expedites the construction to minimize the impact, they complain about that as well.

  • 10 Julia // Oct 31, 2010 at 9:15 pm

    those same businesses are being taxed to death by an out of control city budget so choosing to die by firing squad or electric chair is really a moot point.

  • 11 Richard // Oct 31, 2010 at 9:49 pm


    Anyway, it seems to be quite common for such roadwork that requires lanes of traffic to be closed to take place on the weekends. It is less disruptive for the businesses and motorists and probably safer for the workers. Not sure why people are making such a big deal about it here.

    The city has committed to minimal tax increases this year so your claim “those same businesses are being taxed to death by an out of control city budget” is just a bit over the top. The HST is a much bigger problem for some of these businesses.

  • 12 Julia // Oct 31, 2010 at 10:06 pm

    a budget that is increasing faster than the rate of inflation and population grow it ‘out of control’ and when 8% of the properties in Vancouver pay 50% of the bills may I humbly submit there is nothing over the top about it.

  • 13 Mary // Oct 31, 2010 at 10:26 pm

    It’s not too late to complete the official City survey on the 2011 budget. Go to the CoV website and the links are easily found. Every commentor on this blog should complete the survey, flawed as it is (no place for comments, no contextual information, limited choices). You might also email the mayor and councilors about your priorities.

    We get the government we deserve.

  • 14 spartikus // Oct 31, 2010 at 10:28 pm

    those same businesses are being taxed to death by an out of control city budget

    When people make this claim, it always makes them lose all credibility with me.

  • 15 Julia // Oct 31, 2010 at 10:36 pm

    Spartikus, you are comparing income tax to property tax. We are talking city budgets and property tax.

  • 16 Julia // Oct 31, 2010 at 10:41 pm

    Mary, thanks for the heads up.

  • 17 mezzanine // Oct 31, 2010 at 10:54 pm


    This is from spatikus’ KPMG link:

    “[this report] compares the total tax burden faced by companies, including income tax, capital tax, sales tax, *property tax*, *miscellaneous local business taxes*, and statutory labour costs.

    The report ranks 41 major international cities, with Vancouver ranking first, Montréal fourth, and Toronto fifth. “

  • 18 Don Buchanan // Oct 31, 2010 at 10:57 pm

    I don’t expect the corner store bases its business plan on people driving to buy a can of Pepsi bag of chips and smokes. I actually find some of the rudest driver behaviour takes place as people are leaving and arriving at their building. The “get out of my way I’m almost home” scenario. Personally I’m grateful the separated lane has been extended south of Beach and wish it went all the way to the seaside route!

  • 19 Julia // Oct 31, 2010 at 11:05 pm

    but, look at how Vancouver compares to its neighbouring municipalities and the song begins to change.

    We don’t compete with Montreal and Toronto. We compete with Victoria, Surrey, Burnaby and Richmond.

  • 20 Jason King // Oct 31, 2010 at 11:24 pm

    A) Spartikus is right (ugh, I hate even writing that), Vancouver, since the Liberals took power, has done nothing but reduce taxation on businesses. Even the city has continued the commitment to transfer the tax burden off of businesses and onto citizens.

    B) THAT BEING SAID…one can always criticize the priorities of a government and the way they spend our tax dollars. This municipal government has continued to increase spending, and rearrange priorities….and some would argue, ignore the concerns of business.

    C) As far as the bike lanes are concerned, we have no idea what the outcome is going to be for the businesses on Horby. The construction has obviously been horrible for them, but I’ll be interested to see what happens once construction is finished. I think they had a very legitimate complaint about the process, I’m just not sure whether their concerns about the bike lanes reducing business will come to fruition or not….only time will tell.

  • 21 Glissando Remmy // Nov 1, 2010 at 12:21 am

    The Thought of The Day

    “I’ve tried to match the Webster’s definition for the word ‘trial’ with what’s being done on Hornby Street, under the covert operation codename ‘Trial’. I couldn’t.”

    You wouldn’t take out someone’s kidney and call it ‘trial’ surgery, would you?
    You wouldn’t test a Boeing 777 with 550 passengers on board and call it ‘trial’ flight, would you?
    You wouldn’t send 100, 000 troops to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan and call it ‘trial’ liberation, would you?

    Now, why would you spend $ 3 millions +… monies you don’t have; order the entire City Hall Street crews to work overtime, evenings and on weekends; ask them to break the asphalt, rebar and pour new concrete barriers…if it’s going to be, all… ‘trial’?

    The Vision people behind this type of decision could only fall in two categories: it’s either the one in which they think, Vancouver IS THE Stupid City, or the other one in which they think THEY ARE the Pixie Dust Fairies.

    Oh, wait, there might be a third one, the ‘Allen Garr Tales of Worship’ Category (you may need a shot of Tequila, or two, before reading his Vancourier propaganda column)

    But, hey, all I wanted to do was to post this for Julia!

    It seems the most suitable tune for this tenacious lady. Julia, what your detractors didn’t get is that your initial post was… not a ‘trial’.
    They didn’t expect you coming back at them. Again, and again, and again. Loved it!

    We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

  • 22 gmgw // Nov 1, 2010 at 1:22 am

    Dear Mayor McJuice:

    Now that you have stroked one of the most loyal segments of your core supporters to collective orgasm by spending millions of dollars so they can ride their two-wheelers along selected major downtown streets in perfect safety, maybe you can explain to me how you were able to: A) Appropriate $3.2 million dollars for the Hornby lane alone: B) “Expedite” construction of said lane and get it completed in a record-breakingly short time.

    I only ask this because for the past ten years I have tried– sporadically, I must admit– to interest City Engineering in taking some relatively simple steps that would considerably enhance pedestrian safety on the Granville Bridge, steps that would cost a fraction of what you have already spent on bike lanes. I have been stonewalled each time I have approached the Engineering department on this matter, by department personnel ranging up to the City Engineer, who told me that such enhancements were “not a priority for the department”. I have also approached, at varying times, various City councillors, each of whom promised much and delivered nothing.

    Sooner or later, Mayor McJuice, one of us who walks across the Granville Bridge daily is going to be killed by a speeding car in one of those lethally dangerous crosswalks. I sincerely hope it isn’t me, because, should this happen, I hope to have a field day talking to the media about how your administration, like previous City administrations, clearly does not give a damn for pedestrian safety in this city yet can find millions to spend on bicycle safety. And maybe the City Engineer will be persuaded to tell the victim’s family why their loved one’s safety was “not a priority” for his department. I will be most interested in hearing his explanation. As will their lawyers, I suspect.

    Thank you, Mr. Mayor. Do have a safe ride to work tomorrow, won’t you?

    Your pal,

  • 23 The Fourth Horseman // Nov 1, 2010 at 2:35 am

    Thinking aloud…

    Since we are talking taxes, and who should pay ‘em, I have allowed what is left of my mind to wander further afield here, and am thinking about new sources of revenue for the city:

    Since there is a general perception that business property tax costs are so unfair to the homeowner (hey, ask a small biz owner in Gastown, who watched his rent go up 100 percent in the last 2 years, because of the property tax hit his landlord has taken, because propertyvalues keep rising), I know I certainly would love to be paying 5 times the homeowner rate. Not.

    And as an aside, and as a comparison, go to many similiar sized jurisdictions in the US and see what their homeowners are paying. I have a friend in upstate New York state who lived here in Westwood Plateau 2 years ago. He paid about $3,500 per annum in property taxes for a good sized home and property. He is now paying $18,000 in property tax for the same size home/property there . So much for writing off that mortgage interest, huh?

    Rates of course, vary across that country and are set at different levels of government dependent on state and local government controls, but here is an interesting take on property tax as seen through the eyes of someone comparing Seattle’s to Vancouver’s:

    Perhaps we would be better served locally by shifting the burden not from business to residential—or back again–but by by paying LESS direct tax to our provincial and federal masters. Go to a higher property tax, that would then go directly to infrastructure necessities (hello, sewer system!) and quality of life services (parks and pools for our kids).

    Our low property tax rates are actually hurting us. Part of what is attracting a lot of outside investment in Vancouver’s real estate market, IMHO, is the extremely low mill rate here. And of course, more investment on limited land means that our housing prices/assessments keep going up, up, and up. Yet the property tax here remains one of the lowest–if not THE lowest in North America.

    Here’s another thought.

    Since we are building all of these one bedroom highrises, clearly NOT built for families, and we acknowledge that many offshore buyers/investors (not necessarily landed immigrants, who I presume operate under different rules) are purchasing many of these babies, just what is the obligation of those homeowners/investors to the city, province and nation, vis-a-vis kicking in their fair share? I mean, besides the property tax?

    If a home property investor doesn’t work here, or have a business here, (and therefore their investment could be considered “speculative”) or doesn’t have landed immigrant status, I assume that that property tax is all that they have to pay? No income tax, for instance?

    How about looking at a ” foreign investors residential and commercial property tax” for foreign nationals who do not pay income tax here or who do not run or own a business (exclusive of commercial property, whose taxes are just downloaded on tenant businesses) in the jurisdiction, to help support city services? If they become landed immigrants, I assume they are then subject to some Canadian income tax? It could be a graduated program—once you are in, and paying income tax, your pre-immigration property would not have that tax removed.

    Perhaps a modest .5 or 1 per cent on the value of their residential property ? I wonder how many private, non-rentable properties that would entail—and the total value of same?

    Or, we all pay a little less income tax, and more property tax. Paying at this rate is robbing the local population of services while driving up the price of residential.

    I look forward to hearing from developers and politicians about this suggestion. :-)

    For your general amusement, a very simple Wiki look at “property tax” charges (or “other” taxes on property) around the world: how they are made up, how they are computed. Quite fascinating.

  • 24 The Fourth Horseman // Nov 1, 2010 at 2:40 am

    Sorry, re: para on possible foriegn investors tax. That last line should read:

    ‘It could be a graduated program—once you are in, and paying income tax, your pre-immigration property would have that tax removed’.

  • 25 Roger Kemble // Nov 1, 2010 at 4:26 am

    Oh no, no, no, “. . . posting somewhat against my better judgment . . . ” Oh no, no, no . . . Frances! For God’s sake are we back to this again.

    Well, I’ll say this for ya Julia you’re the first to come on this blog with red-hot cojones. Don’t let the addled pant waists bug ya.

    Yes Penny is a flake. Yes there’s a C$20M shortfall and when the whiners’ Spandex wears out they’ll clue into the prob: the world wide banking scam.

    Jeezless going way back, Art, Mike, Sam all the losers flotsam, jetsam and forgettable Mountebanks, VV, for all its failings, is the best we’ve ever had.

    Bike lanes, lots of ‘em, for Xzts sake.

    Ya got what you’re whining after. Stop defecating in yer leathers and gedda life.

  • 26 Dave // Nov 1, 2010 at 7:27 am

    @ Francis

    Re: Peter Judd’s claim the concrete can be chipped away…

    Ah Francis, perhaps you can ask Peter the cost of “chipping away” concrete reinforced with “R-bar” and embedded into the street. Last time I checked it was very expensive to demolish concrete and not exactly and easy job. Oh yeah what about the cost of repaving (yet again) the area that the concrete was “chipped off”.

    While you are at it, perhaps you can ask him about the cost of increasing the “green space” two years ago and now tearing it all out.

    If a City Official wants to gloss over costs thats fine but at least make the “mistruth” a semblence of believable.

  • 27 Michael Geller // Nov 1, 2010 at 8:14 am

    I’m not going to comment on the bike lane today, but I want to talk about grafitti.

    According to Julia….”There are $20,000 programs such as graffiti removal and street cleaning that have been cut because there is no money.”

    I would invite city staff to advise if this is true, since I, and no doubt many of you have been greatly disturbed by the grafitti that suddenly appreared on the Burrard Bridge Structure, and has remained for at least the past 6 days.

    One of the things that Vancouver has done very well over the past few years, especially compared by most international cities, is manage grafitti.

    I therefore hope that a city worker will get over to the bridge as soon as it stops raining, and paint over this grafitti. It’s an eyesore, and I’m astounded it has remained for so long. Grafitti leads to more grafitti….let’s manage it.

  • 28 Michael Geller // Nov 1, 2010 at 8:15 am

    I hate it, but can’t spell it…yes, graffiti!

  • 29 Julia // Nov 1, 2010 at 8:28 am

    gmgw: Granville Street got 2 crossing lights this week after almost 10 years of lobby efforts on behalf of pedestrians. 1 at 15th and 1 at 6th Avenue. Hopefully the cross walk roulette will end.

    Check out the upcoming council reports. New bike lanes are heading to Kingsway.

  • 30 mezzanine // Nov 1, 2010 at 8:44 am


    “but, look at how Vancouver compares to its neighbouring municipalities and the song begins to change.

    We don’t compete with Montreal and Toronto. We compete with Victoria, Surrey, Burnaby and Richmond.”

    In the end, it’s about directing money to local priorities. If all we were doing is competing against other metro municipalities, I would ask why the CoV is being asked to carry the lion’s share of housing and programs for the homeless in metro vancouver.

    Another way to look at things is to compare Burnaby (pop=216K) and the CoV (578K):

    -Burnaby has only 4 public libraries vs 22 for CoV. Are we spending too much or is burnaby spending too little on public libraries?

    -Burnaby’s recent homeless counts numbered 100 versus 1500 for vancouver. [1]

    -BBy has 2 city skating rinks and vancouver has 8. [2]

  • 31 Julia // Nov 1, 2010 at 9:01 am

    Mezzanine, Businesses don’t go to libraries or skating rinks but business pays for half of their costs. Vancouver residents buy all their services at 50% off. Business picks up the rest.

    Instead of taking about business vs. residents we should be talking about spending ALL of our money wisely, so nobody is paying too much.

    Simple question – do you want a job in the city where you live… or not.

  • 32 MB // Nov 1, 2010 at 9:45 am

    Last time I checked Vancouver emergency services (not to mention city infrastructure) protected and served equally businesses, residents, workers and over a hundred thousand employees who work in Vancouver but live elsewhere and do not pay directly for the services they use.

    There is a huge cost associated with one city supplying the lion’s share of services, largely for regional and national (i.e. port, Olympics, etc.) needs.

    Perhaps the most fair way to provide regional services through taxation is to ensure they are shared equally on a regional basis.

    As a project manager I really appreciate the efficiency of building the lanes faster and for planning it so that the most disruptive work (e.g. pouring concrete) was done outside of the work week.

    With respect to funding bike lanes within the context of a car-dependent society, the hit is like a mosquito resting on a grizzly bear’s back.

    The moral of the story is when you’re in a room with a mosquito and a grizzly bear, you don’t swat the mosquito.

  • 33 Chris Keam // Nov 1, 2010 at 9:47 am

    “Businesses don’t go to libraries or skating rinks but business pays for half of their costs.”

    There’s a whole floor of the downtown library devoted to business topics and clearly many business people use the library for research. Ice rinks feature business advertising, and many have ‘beer’ leagues where businesses sponsor employee teams, as a means of enhancing employer/employee relationships (among other goals). Businesses need libraries and ice rinks.

    Compared to the traditional ‘company’ town, where the primary employer has to pay the majority of costs for all the local amenities, as a means of attracting and keeping workers, to see that paying half maybe isn’t such a bad deal when it means you have a pool of talented individuals to draw from when you place a help-wanted ad.

  • 34 Ternes // Nov 1, 2010 at 9:47 am


    I agree! As a fellow Granville bridge pedestrian commuter I would really like to see some improvements to the crosswalks and pedestrian experience in general. Especially since, as you point out, the changes would be dead simple to do and with a motivated workforce could probably be finished off in a month.

    I know people that take the burrard bridge instead, even now that you can only walk on one side of the bridge, just because they find the granville bridge too dodgy to walk across.

  • 35 spartikus // Nov 1, 2010 at 9:52 am

    We compete with Victoria, Surrey, Burnaby and Richmond.

    You overreached by adding Victoria. City of Vancouver residents do not travel to Victoria to buy groceries. Or anything else, other than enjoy a visit.

    And the idea that a City of Vancouver resident will commute to Richmond to shop simply because they might save a few dollars from the presumed property tax savings the business might have passed along to the consumer – something which you have NOT supported – rather than shop at the location that is the product of a calculus of convienence v. cost to them. I might travel to Richmond to buy certain things, mostly because those things are not available in Vancouver. I don’t shop for groceries or for 90% of the things I buy from week to week in Richmond. I don’t because any presumed saving – which once again have not been demonstrated as existing – are negated by the fact I have to travel to Richmond. I lose money on gas. I lose my time.

    People really should take in what is being argued here by a vocal minority of the business community: They are arguing for permanent, radical changes to the way we operate our City all on a plea of poverty despite enjoying one of the most optimal business climates on the planet. They have enjoyed 10+ years of having the tax burden shifted off them on to the resident. And it’s not enough.

    It will never be enough.

    Times are currently tough. But I find very dangerous the idea we must remake our conception of local government based on a temporary trough in the business cycle. True, recessions have gotten more severe since the Reagan/Thatcher revolutions, but I would posit this is due to the dismantling of services and regulations government provides, rather than the level of property tax, which is paltry in the grand scheem.. And if you don’t believe this is a temporary trough – well I would posit again the fix lies at a higher level of government than Vancouver’s.

    The Granville Bridge in my experience is indeed a white-knuckler. And it has been since 1954. Why has it never been made more pedestrian friendly across all these decades? I don’t know. I could speculate that the amount of pedestrian traffic on the bridge isn’t enough to warrant the cost of fixes. But that’s a guess. And perhaps if the bridge was made safer there would be more users.

    But if you are arguing that this should have been a higher priority than “Bike Lane X” then you are buying in to the narrative that despite living in one of the most privileged cities of the world in the wealthiest era of human history, we can no longer afford anything. It’s a false dilemma and it’s encouraged by purveyors of limited government to turn, oh, bike lane advocates against pedestrian advocates against anti-homelessness advocates against…etc.

    We could easily afford to do both.

  • 36 Morven // Nov 1, 2010 at 9:53 am

    It is one thing to cite the KPMG report and opine that businesses in downtown Vancouver should not complain about property tax and another to see the total expenses involved in running a business.

    While Vancouver may indeed have relatively a lower business property tax rate, there are other factors such as prime rental rate for office space, costs of accommodation in Vancouver and many user pay charges that add up to substantial burdens.

    We all want Vancouver to be a competitive business location (we all depend on that) but if we factor in the total costs of running a business in Vancouver, Vancouver is not quite as competitive as the KPMG report suggests.

    Anything that suddenly increases direct and indirect costs will always be a concern to business and resident alike.

  • 37 MB // Nov 1, 2010 at 10:04 am

    @ Julia: “Vancouver residents buy all their services at 50% off. Business picks up the rest. ”

    I would really like to see a full analysis of that done by KPMG in a regional context.

    They may conclude that Vancouver’s billion dollar budget reflects the fact suburban municipalities do not pull their weight and Vancouver picks up the slack.

  • 38 spartikus // Nov 1, 2010 at 10:23 am

    It is one thing to cite the KPMG report and opine that businesses in downtown Vancouver should not complain about property tax and another to see the total expenses involved in running a business.

    The original claim was “businesses are being taxed to death by an out of control city budget.” It’s a claim that is demonstratively false.

  • 39 Ron // Nov 1, 2010 at 10:29 am

    I am a very conservative individual but I wholeheartedly support these bike lanes. The fuss against them is absolutely ridiculous.

    COST: Three million of public money for a bike lane is a lot, but how much does the taxpayer get soaked paying out insurance funds for car/bike accidents?

    INCONVENIENCE TO BUSINESS: Businesses, suck it up. Construction is normal. What city never temporarily blocks streets for construction?

    BAD TIMING: I guess it is a bit ridiculous to be opening this in time for winter. On the other hand, I ride all year round and am not especially hardy or hardcore about cycling. Rain gear is cheap.

    LOSS OF PARKING: I shop downtown all the time, but it’s all small portable stuff — gifts, DVDs, lunch, maybe shoes. When I need my car for stuff (e.g. Costco) there is onsite parking. How will loss of spots hurt the businesses? People will either want to go there or not go there whether or not they can park in front of it.

  • 40 spartikus // Nov 1, 2010 at 10:30 am

    Just to note, KPMG also has a study on business costs, which Vancouver again is rated favourably.

  • 41 The Fourth Horseman // Nov 1, 2010 at 11:21 am

    Gee, no one wants to take a shot at my suggestions to raise property taxes?


  • 42 gmgw // Nov 1, 2010 at 12:18 pm


    The amount of pedestrian traffic on the Granville Bridge, in my near-daily experience, is more than enough to justify the minimal work that would be required to make the bridge more pedestrian-friendly. “We could easily afford to do both” (i.e. bike lanes/ped-enhancements) is a point I neglected to make, but it is most certainly true. And indeed, in a truly “green” city much more than lip service would be paid to pedestrian safety. I think that bike lanes are a fine idea as far as it goes. But I don’t ride a bike, and I do a great deal of walking, and I would like some assurance that TPTB in this city care about my safety as much as they do bicyclist’s. And about facilitating pedestrianism, and not only on the Granville Bridge (though that span serves admirably as one of the worst-case negative examples of same in the city).

  • 43 Julia // Nov 1, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    MB – City of Vancouver consumption of services report 2007

    of course businesses use fire services, police service etc. and business should pay for them. But should they subsidize the residential share of those same services? And what is a reasonable level of subsidy?

  • 44 Richard // Nov 1, 2010 at 2:34 pm


    Bike lanes improve pedestrian safety by helping to traffic calm streets.

    From page 23 in:
    pedestrian KSI crashes on streets with bike lanes were ~40% less deadly as crashes on other streets. The installation of bike lanes usually involves a narrowing of the motor vehicle portion of the roadway and indicates to drivers that they need to watch for other road users. These changes have a traffic calming effect, lowering speeds and increasing driver attention.

    Granville Bridge badly needs improving for both pedestrians and cyclists. Cyclists are forced to “share” the road with motor vehicles that are likely going way over the 60km/h limit. It is truly scary. Imagine not having a sidewalk and being forced to walk on the roadway with the traffic and you will understand what it is like to cycle over Granville Bridge. It has been ten years since the False Creek Pedestrian and Bicycle Crossing Study identified Granville Bridge as needing improvements. It is about time they got around to it.

  • 45 Morven // Nov 1, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    I accept at face value the assertion that Granville Bridge is dangerous for pedestrians and wonder why public safety has not had a higher priority for the traffic engineers if the issue has been on the table for so long.

    But as far as cyclists are concerned, if it is that dangerous on Granville Bridge (and I am prepared to believe them) why not use the Burrard Bridge instead (where there is a separated bike lane) and save the taxpayers the extra costs of cycle lanes on the Granville Bridge.

    Just a devil’s advocate

  • 46 IanS // Nov 1, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    I’ve no interest in repeating, once again, my earlier points regarding the bike lanes, but thought it might be worthwhile to point out that the only safety data we have with respect to the Burrard Bridge bike lane comes from ICBC. That data seems to indicate that there was a spike in accidents on the north end of the bridge for a few months after installation of the bike lane, but the accident rate has now gone back down to pre-bike lane levels.

    AFAIK, there is no data available which indicates that the separated bike lane on Burrard Bridge has made the bridge safer for anyone, bikes, cars or pedestrians.

    That’s AFAIK, of course. If someone is aware of such data, I’d be interested in hearing about it.

  • 47 pacpost // Nov 1, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    @ IanS

    According to this article in the Van Courier, the spike in crashes has to do with car drivers rear-ending each other:

    Bikes themselves hardly figure in the statistics:

    “In the past five years, only 15 of nearly 900 ICBC accident claims at Burrard and Pacific involved a cyclist.”

    So, with the number of cyclists having gone up (25-30%), and the number of cyclists admitted to VGH or St. Paul’s being down dramatically (from 4 down to 1), I’d say it’s become a lot safer for cyclists.

    @ the 4th Horseman

    Sure, I’m all for any change to the tax system which lowers income taxes and raises other types (consumption, property, etc.).

    However, in a town like Vancouver that is so heavily dependent on development, it’s going to be a while before we see any political party champion that cause.

    @ Morven

    As a taxpayer and a cyclist, I’d like to see my tax money used to build the infrastructure I actually use. As Don Cayo pointed out a few weeks back, cyclists have been subsidising automobile infrastructure for decades. It’s about time we tried to find a balance, let alone make up for decades of mis-allocation.

    To your question: as you might be aware, what you’re suggesting is quite a detour for anyone whose trip might be shorter by taking Granville rather than Burrard. Especially since cyclists are moving under their own power.

    For someone who simply has to push down on a gas pedal, it wouldn’t be much extra effort. Playing the devil’s advocate, maybe it’s car drivers who we should be rerouting? ;-)

    As someone who has both cycled (once was enough) and walked Granville Bridge, it really is an uncomfortable experience. If at all possible, I avoid it. Luckily, it doesn’t figure amongst the usual routes I take to get downtown. I do feel sorry for those who have to take it on a regular basis.

  • 48 East Vancouverite // Nov 1, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    The assertion that we should not be spending $3.2 million (from the two-year $25 million bicycle infrastructure capital fund) when we are enduring a $20 million dollare shortfall in the City’s operating budget is odd.

    The separated bike lanes, sewer separation programme, new left turn bays on Knight St, the rebuilding of the Trout Lake Community Centre, etc., are all being paid for our the City’s capital budget, which is entirely separate from its operating budget. This is pretty basic municipal government stuff. It is a fair argument to say that our capital budget is too high when we have operating budget shortfall, but why pick on the bike lanes in particular? Why not the gigantic new Vancouver Police Department Force Options Training Centre beside the VCC Clarke SkyTrain station? That appears to me to be one of the largest City buildings to go up this decade, easily on par with the largest community centres.

    I’m thrilled that the Hornby Separated bike lane has been built so quickly and this will mean people can use it sooner and the construction will be wrapped up long before the Christmas shopping season begins in earnest.

  • 49 IanS // Nov 1, 2010 at 6:04 pm

    @Pacpost #47:

    You wrote:

    “According to this article in the Van Courier, the spike in crashes has to do with car drivers rear-ending each other… Bikes themselves hardly figure in the statistics”

    I agree. I merely cited the ICBC statistics as the ONLY available data addressing safety on the bridge since the installation of the separated lane.

    You then write:

    “So, with the number of cyclists having gone up (25-30%)…”

    Actually, according to the City’s numbers, the actual increase from before /after the bike lane is 13.8%. You can check that out on the data published by the City.

    “… and the number of cyclists admitted to VGH or St. Paul’s being down dramatically (from 4 down to 1)….”

    Is there data to reflect that? Can you point me to it?

    “… I’d say it’s become a lot safer for cyclists.”

    You might well say that and, who knows, you might even be right. But, to date, there’s no data to support that statement. AFAIK, anyway.

  • 50 IanS // Nov 1, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    @ East Vancouverite #48,

    You write:

    “The separated bike lanes, sewer separation programme, new left turn bays on Knight St, the rebuilding of the Trout Lake Community Centre, etc., are all being paid for our the City’s capital budget, which is entirely separate from its operating budget. This is pretty basic municipal government stuff.”

    I don’t have your experience with municipal government, so please forgive me if this is a stupid question.

    What happens to funds in the capital budget which are not spent by the end of the fiscal year? Are they destroyed? Returned to the taxpayers or otherwise dissipated? Or can they be used in the capital budget the following year, to allow for a larger operating budget going forward and thus limiting shortfalls in the operating budget?

  • 51 Richard // Nov 1, 2010 at 7:22 pm


    For the same reason why drivers and pedestrians use the Granville Bridge, because it is more convenient for many trips.

    I am puzzled why you think people on bicycles should be forced to go kilometres out of their way to find safe facilities.

  • 52 pacpost // Nov 1, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    Hi Ian,

    “Is there data to reflect that? Can you point me to it?”

    Since you accept city data, here you go:

    “Findings from a University of British Columbia cycling safety study indicate that accident rates for cyclists on the Burrard Bridge have decreased. In a twenty week period during the summer of 2008, four cyclists were injured on the bridge severely enough to attend Emergency at Saint Paul’s or Vancouver General Hospital. Two of these incidents involved collisions between cyclists and pedestrians with cyclists falling into the roadway. In the same twenty week period in 2009, since the re-configuration of the bridge, the number of cycling trips was up over 20% , but only one cyclist attended Emergency.”

  • 53 pacpost // Nov 1, 2010 at 9:09 pm

    @ IanS

    Quick follow-up: the same website states also:

    “Between July 13, 2009 and July 12, 2010, 24% more bicycle trips were made over the bridge than would have been made had the reconfiguration not happened. This amounts to an additional 200, 000 bike trips in one year.

    In addition, certain periods have seen even more dramatic growth:

    “Growth on summer and fall weekends has been the most dramatic, with volumes up 40-70%.”

  • 54 gmgw // Nov 1, 2010 at 10:52 pm

    @ Richard:
    The assorted dangers faced by cyclists who use the Granville bridge roadway is undoubtedly the reason why so many of them– I would venture to say the majority– use the bridge’s sidewalks. This may be against the law, but given that that law is never enforced on the bridge (at least not to my knowledge), it’s small wonder that only the most experienced or perhaps the most foolhardy opt for the roadway. Given the narrowness of the bridge’s sidewalks, this inevitably creates an additional hazard for pedestrians, especially on the long southern slope of the bridge. I have lost count of the number of times I have been walking, even right against the bridge railing, when suddenly, with no audible warning, a cyclist will pass within a foot of me at a fearsome speed, taking advantage of the long down-slope to coast. Such an encounter is never less than startling and is occasionally terrifying for the unprepared or uncentered pedestrian. There used to be a regular poster in this forum, a hyper-aggressive (by his own admission) cyclist who would brag about deliberately brushing pedestrians back to their proper side of the wide sidewalks on the Burrard bridge (this was before the cycle lane was installed) by passing perilously close to them. The fact that this practice potentially placed the lives of both cyclist and pedestrian in jeopardy appeared to be lost on him. I suspect that some of the more aggressive cyclists on the Granville bridge occasionally engage in the same practice. I do know that when a speeding cyclist passes me from behind without warning, close enough to brush against the sleeve of my jacket, he/she is too damn close.

    There is simply no room for such hijinks on the much narrower sidewalks of the Granville bridge, nor is there room for separate bicycle and pedestrian lanes. If the creation of bike lanes on the bridge roadway would mean that cyclist and walker no longer would travel in such close and dangerous proximity, I’m all in favour of it. I would point out, though, that when buses– (and there are innumerably more buses and large trucks crossing the Granville bridge than on the Burrard)– are re-routed down Seymour rather than Granville, as has been happening since the Olympics on Friday and Saturday nights because of the street closures in the so-called entertainment district, those buses– the trolleys, at least– are required to move to the curb lane before they have even reached the mid-span. How this practice would permit the creation of a dedicated bike lane on the bridge is difficult to envision. And this is just one of the more obvious challenges that would have to be met.

    One thing is certain– something must be done, and done soon. Walking across the Granville bridge ought not to be a life-endangering experience.

  • 55 IanS // Nov 2, 2010 at 5:42 am

    @Pacpost 52 and 53,

    I was referring to data, not summaries or characterizations presented by the City or by others. Pretty much every time I’ve had an opportunity to review the actual data, as opposed to descriptions of that data, I’ve discovered the description to be untrue or misleading.

    (That includes the original Province report on the ICBC data, as Spartikus demonstrated.)

    Hence, AFAIK, the only data available for review reflecting safety on the bridge since installation of the bike lanes remains the ICBC data. If you are aware of the source of the data which the City relied upon in stating the conclusions you cite, please point me to it.

    As for cycle numbers, look at the data, not the conclusions posted by the City. If you look at the actual numbers, which the City has made available, you’ll see they represent an increase of 13.8% from before / after installation of the separated bike lane.

  • 56 Chris Keam // Nov 2, 2010 at 8:04 am

    “If you are aware of the source of the data which the City relied upon in stating the conclusions you cite, please point me to it.”

  • 57 spartikus // Nov 2, 2010 at 8:18 am

    I’m not sure how we got from fixing the Granville Bridge to make it safer for pedestrians to talking about a bike lane there, but IMHO the Granville Bridge is not a good fit for one.

    From what I’ve read the cycling volume is miniscule on it compared to the other bridges, and there are no feeder lanes serving it, again unlike Burrard, Cambie and Dunsmuir.

    Just my 2 cents.

  • 58 spartikus // Nov 2, 2010 at 9:39 am

    [Caution: Humour] Forget bike helmets. Try the new Swedish-designed airbag for your head.

  • 59 IanS // Nov 2, 2010 at 9:44 am

    @ Chris Keam #56,

    Thanks for the link, Chris. That’s an interesting site. However, I was unable to find the data relating to the separated bike lanes on the Burrard Bridge. I’m probably just not seeing it. If you could direct me to the data on that page, I’d greatly appreciate it.

  • 60 IanS // Nov 2, 2010 at 9:45 am

    @Spartikus #58:

    LOL. Nice find.

  • 61 Chris Keam // Nov 2, 2010 at 9:51 am


    bottom of this page

  • 62 Ternes // Nov 2, 2010 at 10:27 am


    My experience is the same in regard to cyclists on the sidewalk of the granville bridge: it’s very common and pretty scary at times. Especially on the offramps where the sidewalk is just ridiculously narrow.

    To be fair to cyclists I agree that biking along the roadside of the bridge looks pretty horrifying and I’m sure dodging around pedestrians on the sidewalk isn’t much fun either. The idea of a bike-pedestrian collision with there being literally nothing between you and the traffic whipping by at 70-80kph is not a pleasant one for any involved.

  • 63 IanS // Nov 2, 2010 at 10:38 am

    @ Chris Keam #61,

    My apologies for being slow here, but this is what I see at the bottom of the page you linked:

    “presentations, posters, reports

    Preliminary classification of the first 300 injury events presented at the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians conference in Montreal, June 2010. Also summarized in an article in the Globe and Mail.”

    The “preliminary classification” refers to accidents in Vancouver and Toronto between May and December 2008. This has nothing to do with the Burrard Bridge bike lanes.

    “Evidence review of the health benefits and risks of active transportation published by the National Collaborating Centre for Environmental Health.”

    The “evidence review” reports on the health benefits of increased physical activity. Nothing to do with the Burrard Bridge bile lanes.

    “Article in Momentum Magazine and media release about the launch of this study.”

    No data there. In fact, the “media release” is dated June 2008, and does not appear to be directed at, or even contemplate, the separated bike lane installed in 2009.

    “Outline of the BICE study presented at the 7th International Conference on Urban Health in Vancouver, October 29-31, 2008: Methods for studying bicyclists’ injuries and the cycling environment .”

    As is plain from the date of the presentation, this outline has nothing to do with the bike lane, as it occurred in October 2008 and the bike lane was installed in July 2009.

    “Data on cycling injuries on the Burrard Street Bridge from the BICE Study reported on CBC News, Metro News and The Georgia Straight.”

    Here at least we have reference to the bike lane, but no data, just links to newspaper reports. As Spartikus recently demonstrated in respect of the Province story on the ICBC data, newspaper reports can be misleading.


    – the CBC News article is not available
    – the Metro News Article is dated May 2009, ie. before installation of the separated bike lane
    – the Georgia Straight article is dated May 2009, ie. before installation of the separated bike lanes

    Obviously, none of those articles can reference data relating to the bike lanes, as they had not yet been installed.

    “The BICE Study featured in the Vancouver Sun and UBC Reports.”

    The UBC Report linked predates the installation of the separated bike lanes and the Vancouver Sun article is no longer available.

    If I’ve missed the data relating to the separated bike lane, please let me know. However, based on my review of the link provided, I remain of the view that the only data available concerning safety on the Burrard Bridge since installation of the separated bike lane is the ICBC data referenced above.

  • 64 MB // Nov 2, 2010 at 10:41 am

    @ gmgw

    From an Administrative Report from Oct 1st 2002 to Council:

    >> G1 Mid-Level Crossing – Options 1 &2

    >> Council asked staff to further explore Option G1 and bring back a feasibility assessment. This option has been further developed with staff and the consultant and is shown as Options 1 & 2 in the attached study.

    >> It was found that the cyclists and pedestrian ramp connections proposed by the G1 Option at each end are difficult to achieve due to cost, alignment and urban design issues. The Granville Bridge lower truss over Granville Island and north of False Creek is not as robust as the main span truss over the creek and therefore is not suitable to support a suspended walkway, as per the G1 proposal. Consequently, a cyclist/pedestrian ramp over Granville Island would require column supports throughout the Island. This would result in the loss of parking, greatly reduce future development potential and have shadowing impacts on the island. Canadian Housing and Mortgage Corporation have indicated that they would not support this component of Option G1, though they are in general support of the other concepts discussed here. Similar issues make the extend ramps north of the creek also less desirable.

    >> As shown as Options 1 and 2 in the attached study, the modified proposal for G1 is to use stairs and an elevator to get users from grade to either a mid level crossing supported by the main span truss or up to the existing sidewalk. A 3 metre wide shared walkway could be supported by the truss to allow users to walk or ride approximately 90 feet above False Creek. G1 included a 6 metre walkway and it has been determined that this could not be supported on one side of the bridge without local and global upgrades to the structure and is not practical, while 3 metre is achievable with no upgrades required globally or locally.

    >> Options 1 and 2 are attractive because they give users an unparalleled experience by allowing them to cross at a very high level (approximately 90 feet), see the inner workings of the bridge and remain separate from the vehicles on the upper deck. Users would have the option of using the staircase to climb the 75 feet and cross, or use the elevators, which would stop at the mid-crossing level. This scenario also has the ability to take users between gradeand the bridge deck so all users have the option to be where they feel most comfortable.

    >> The drawback to this option would be gauging the potential usage. While some users may enjoy the experience and this may become a very popular “Urban Grouse Grind”, others may feel too exposed due to the height. Potential users may also perceive that because it is out of sight of the traffic it may be less safe if one were accosted or injured. Staff feel that these issues need to be discussed further with potential user groups and stakeholders prior to proceeding.

    >> While this option provides access to walkers, disabled users and recreational cyclists, it would be less attractive to commuter cyclists due to the need to use elevators or stairs.

    >> Deck Level Improvements for Commuter Cyclists

    >> Through all of the major interventions we reviewed on Granville Bridge related to the mid-level suspended G1 option staff and the consultant were not able to find a strong upgrade for commuter cyclists. Therefore, staff are proceeding with developing deck level options, as endorsed by Council March 26, 2002.

    >> ariations being considered include bike lanes or wider shared sidewalks similar to the east sidewalk on Cambie Bridge.


    >> The False Creek Crossing Study has concluded that pedestrian and cyclist improvements are necessary on Granville Bridge and this most recent study has narrowed down those options and shown that they are feasible and could serve the City well.

    >> Therefore, staff recommend pursuing funding opportunities and further input from stakeholders before a final design is recommended to Council.

    I’m running short of time and cannot pursue what became of the request for funding.

    Over to you.

  • 65 Chris Keam // Nov 2, 2010 at 10:52 am

    Hi Ian:

    In your original post you asked about the city’s comments on Burrard Bridge safety. The link I provided is the place where they got their information.

    If the link is broken or otherwise doesn’t provide you with the info you’re looking for, then that’s a separate issue I guess. You might get in touch with the Cycling in Cities people directly to see if there’s somewhere you can find the data you’re looking for.

  • 66 MB // Nov 2, 2010 at 11:02 am

    @ Julia 43.

    You are taking an expenditure that will consume less than 1/300th of Vancouver’s annual budget and conflating it into a major debate on the business vs. residential tax split.

    Your comments tell me that you do not own a residence in Vancouver, and therefore do not pay residential taxes which have seen annual increases for several years now based on a foundation of hyper property values.

    But you obviously do own a business, or are involved in the business community organizations, and are therefore biased in that direction. This view has had an influence on at least two Councils so far and as the direct result the tax split is shifting in your direction.

    Obviously that is not enough for you, and I suggest the topic of bike lanes is not an appropriately expanded forum for a discussion on municipal taxes.

  • 67 IanS // Nov 2, 2010 at 11:22 am

    @ Chris Keam #75,

    Hi Chris.

    You wrote:

    “In your original post you asked about the city’s comments on Burrard Bridge safety. The link I provided is the place where they got their information.”

    Fair enough. I misread your response as an assertion that the data was available on the website. My mistake.

    “If the link is broken or otherwise doesn’t provide you with the info you’re looking for, then that’s a separate issue I guess.”

    Nope, as you pointed out, you answered my question.

    So, as matters stand then (to switch gears and complete my response to Pacpost), there is no data available which indicates that the separated bike lanes have resulted in increased safety for anyone.

    The only data available is that from ICBC, which, as discussed, shows a two or three month spike in accidents at the north end of the bridge, followed by a decrease to pre-bike lane levels.

  • 68 Chris Keam // Nov 2, 2010 at 11:59 am


    “So, as matters stand then (to switch gears and complete my response to Pacpost), there is no data available which indicates that the separated bike lanes have resulted in increased safety for anyone. ”

    Have you contacted the Cycling in Cities people or ICBC, or health/medical authorities to determine if that is actually the case, or whether getting that data is possible? I recall a poster (DonB?) who shared some additional information regarding cycling injuries in the area a while back.

  • 69 pacpost // Nov 2, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    Hi IanS,

    Since you seem to be incredibly keen on getting data (and aren’t happy with the CoV’s summary of UBC data on cycling injuries), how about you contact the cycling safety study coordinator at UBC yourself:

    Kay’s the one quoted in the Straight on numbers of cycling injuries in 2008. I’m sure she’ll have the numbers you are looking for from 2009 (and maybe even 2010).

    If that doesn’t make you happy, I’m afraid nothing will.

  • 70 pacpost // Nov 2, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    Whoops, took too long to post. ;-)

  • 71 Sean // Nov 2, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    @MB #66
    “Your comments tell me that you do not own a residence in Vancouver, and therefore do not pay residential taxes which have seen annual increases for several years now based on a foundation of hyper property values.”

    To correct a frequent misconception – property tax increases are NOT caused by increases in property values – they are caused by increases in the city budget. The budget is determined FIRST, then the amount is apportioned over all city properties based on their property value.

    If the value of your property increases at the SAME RATE as the average Vancouver property, your property tax will NOT increase unless the city budget increases (except that taxes on commercial properties are being reapportioned to residential, but that is also independent of property value increases).

  • 72 IanS // Nov 2, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    @pacpost #69,

    I’m not expressing satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the availability of the data. I’m merely stating a fact, ie. there’s no data publically available (AFAIK) which indicates that the separated bike lanes on Burrard Bridge have resulted in improved safety. That’s all I’m saying.

    If you chose to believe that the bike lanes have increased safety, you are, of course, free to do so. All I’m saying is that there’s no data to support that conclusion.

  • 73 Higgins // Nov 2, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    Forzza azzura!
    I love that picture, man! The guy in the foreground holding the spade, with the Italian flag printed on the sleeve of his T-shirt could be mistaken for working in Florence or Naples, no problemo. Cosa vuoi? Priceless.

  • 74 pacpost // Nov 2, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    @ IanS.


    As Mozart famously composed: “Leck mich am arsch!”

  • 75 Mark Allerton // Nov 2, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    @IanS: define “publically (sic) available”

    The “data” for the safety of cyclists on the bridge is a single measure – the number of ER visits from cyclists injured on the bridge. This number is very much publicly available as the city has given it out over and over. You’ve also been told who the source of the information is and how to contact them to confirm.

    So I think we have to ask what it is you mean in addition. Do you want times, dates, description, names and addresses, signatures of the victims, DNA samples?

    Then once you’re satisfied, we can move on to you damning the progress with faint praise.

  • 76 IanS // Nov 3, 2010 at 6:29 am

    @Mark Allerton #75,

    I’m talking about data I can look at and assess for myself. The usage data posted by the City for Burrard Bridge is a good example. Or the ICBC data for accident rates.

    In my experience, numbers provided by politicians and, often, newspapers are frequently misleading and inaccurate. The various statements made by politicians relating to the separated bike lanes are no different. Remember the reported increase from 500 cycle trips / day to 1500 cycle trips / day on Dunsmuir that turned out to be not quite right?

    And if don’t believe me because you don’t like what I’m saying, ask Spartikus about how his investigation of the actual ICBC data shed a very different light on the Province story about accident rates on the bridge.

    As for trying to ferret out data from sources, I have no interest in doing so. I’m prepared to assess the separated bike lane trial on the basis of the facts, but I see no need to try to knock loose the data myself.

    If someone is making a positive assertion, such as “the bike lane has increased safety on the bridge”, they have the burden of pointing to some data which support their assertion. In this case, there is none. That’s all I’m saying.

    As I indicated to Pacpost, he (and anyone else, for that matter) is free to believe what he wants to believe. For all I know, the separated bike lane has increased safety overall on the bridge. I don’t know that it has or hasn’t. To date, AFAIK, there is no data available on which to draw a conclusion, so I’m reserving my opinion.

  • 77 Chris Keam // Nov 3, 2010 at 7:57 am

    “As for trying to ferret out data from sources, I have no interest in doing so. I’m prepared to assess the separated bike lane trial on the basis of the facts, but I see no need to try to knock loose the data myself. ”

    That’s what I find problematic Ian. These online conversations are a bit like a potluck dinner in my opinion. We all (hopefully) bring a little something to the table and share in the work of finding information to discuss. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect you to do a little digging on a topic that’s obviously of interest to you. To turn your own argument around, how do you know there’s no data available until you ask the people who are collecting the data if you can find out more? You’ve essentially violated your own precept of drawing a conclusion prematurely.

  • 78 Mark Allerton // Nov 3, 2010 at 8:06 am

    @IanS: I note that despite writing 273 words repeating things you’ve said previously, you’ve managed to completely avoid saying anything about what would constitute good data *in this case*.

    So what would constitute good data in this case, over and above the information you have already been presented with?

  • 79 IanS // Nov 3, 2010 at 10:11 am

    @Chris Keam #77,

    You write:

    “That’s what I find problematic Ian. These online conversations are a bit like a potluck dinner in my opinion. We all (hopefully) bring a little something to the table and share in the work of finding information to discuss.”

    FWIW, and perhaps I flatter myself here, I think I do bring a “little something to the table”. I (try to, at least) assess the data that is available and express an objective assessment of that data. (Surprisingly, that seems to constitute a controversial approach on this topic.)

    To the extent I express any assertion or opinion, I do so on the basis of that data. Where someone else makes an assertion in the absence of data, I point that out.

    My apologies if I’m not doing enough work to provide a sufficiently substantive contribution to the discussion. I do what I can.

    @Mark Allerton #78,

    I never made reference to “good data”. That’s your invention.

    As for the meaning of “data”, I’m surprised that this is necessary, but offers the following:

       /ˈdeɪtə, ˈdætə, ˈdɑtə/ Show Spelled[dey-tuh, dat-uh, dah-tuh] Show IPA
    1. a pl. of datum.
    2. (used with a plural verb) individual facts, statistics, or items of information: These data represent the results of our analyses. Data are entered by terminal for immediate processing by the computer.
    3. (used with a singular verb) a body of facts; information: Additional data is available from the president of the firm.

    In the context of the present case, I’d point to the City’s data on bike / car / pedestrian use on the Burrard Bridge as an example of “data” in this context.

    I hope that helps, because I don’t think I can be any clearer on this.

  • 80 Jason King // Nov 3, 2010 at 11:43 am

    Give up IanS…..I know you’re a sane man, without a set opinion on the lanes, and are just asking some questions, however…..

    Unless you’re:

    a) 110% supportive of the bike lanes and do nothing but praise them, you’re going to get attacked

    b) the onus is on you to come up with any and all data, regardless if you’re just making a suggestion or asking a question. The thought that you would dare question the accuracy of reports, that may lead someone to in anyway think the bike lanes aren’t wonderful, is sacrilegious.

    c) You must dedicate all your free time to finding data, analyzing data, and investigating any and all comments or suggestions that are not 110% in support of the bike lanes. It doesn’t matter if you have a life, or are merely asking a question…you have dared to question the bike lanes, and therefore you better have any and all data available to justify your question.

    d) In the event that you do all of the above, and the data provided proves in anyway to shed negative light on the lanes, you will either be ignored, or the relevance of the data will be questioned.

    Give up now IanS…you can’t win…you’ll continue to fall down this rabbit hole until you begin to question your own sanity.


    “A member of Bike lane questioning anonymous”
    P.S. No need to go on the attack Chris, Mark, Pacpost….just dropping in quickly to save a poor, rational man from any further pain.

  • 81 pacpost // Nov 3, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    @ IanS

    “I do what I can.”

    Which is: strictly nothing.

    You are not actually interested in data. Neither are you actually interested in learning. You simply wish to make the cheapest of debating points. Hence my crude rebuke.

    @ JK

    “You must dedicate all your free time to finding data, analyzing data, and investigating any and all comments or suggestions”

    Writing one email does seem like ever so much work. Positively Sisyphean in scope.

    Anyway, ride on Tonto. Your hyperbolic posts do humour me.

  • 82 IanS // Nov 3, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    @pacpost #81,

    You write:

    “You are not actually interested in data. Neither are you actually interested in learning. You simply wish to make the cheapest of debating points. ”

    Well, we shall have to agree to disagree on this point, I’m afraid. I’m sorry you feel this way, but, in my experience, by the time one party resorts to posts such as yours, the discussion is pretty much over.

    And as for:

    “Hence my crude rebuke.”

    I kind of enjoyed your rebuke… cultured and crude at the same time.

  • 83 pacpost // Nov 3, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    @ IanS

    “the discussion is pretty much over.”

    Had I been aware of your antipathy towards learning when I tried (sincerely) to help you with your search for data, I’d have known the discussion was over before it began.

    However, I’ve only been reading Bula’s blog for a few weeks, and was unaware of this trait of yours. Now I am.

    Mein letzter wort: “Wer seinen Fehler nicht erkennt, kann ihn nicht verbessern.”

  • 84 Veronica // Nov 14, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    With respect to the Hornby Bike lane, and all of the others that the current Mayor has installed in rapid order, I would like to know two things, 1) Who is counting the number of cyclists that are using each of these lanes over the course of the entire 12 months and 2) when are we going to see the related licencing and accountability of the cyclist, as shown in other countries that have these initiatives. In Britain for example, NOBODY rides a bicycle without a licence, (not even a child)!

  • 85 bint // Dec 20, 2010 at 10:05 am

    The entire Hornby bike lanes cost the same amount as the 2 new left hand turn lanes that are being installed on Knight Street. The bike lanes costs a fraction of the road costs for Vancouver.
    Please consult the City for cost comparisons and work from facts. It makes for a better conversation. It seems that whenever something is done to keep cyclists safe its too much, but whenever something is done for all the traffic – much of it one person per vehicle, no one thinks to ask how much that costs. Comparisons based on facts is the only way people can learn and be informed whatever conclusion they then want to draw from it all.

  • 86 bint // Dec 20, 2010 at 10:20 am

    Hi again, I just read a few more posts regarding the safety of riding bikes on Burrard Bridge and what the lanes do..

    It may go unnoticed but to me the real problem with riding across Burrard Bridge before the new bike lanes were installed came down to the height of the sidewalks which sit a solid foot – if not more, above the car lanes. Before the bike lanes were installed, it was quite scary when you passing a pedestrian (and if they swerved) and worse if they walking and talking with someone. If the cyclist had to swerve off the sidewalk there was no way most cyclists could squarely land on their wheels – and even if they did, could some of the traffice see this happening in time and swerve or stop in time? For me, and I’m somewhat athletic and an experienced cyclist (correct, I’m not a mtn biker), I would not land properly and I would definately fall. With the speed of traffic on the bridge I doubt the driver could easily avoid hitting me or, another car if he/she actually did have time to swerve.
    If you wonder about bells, sometimes when you give a warning ring, a pedestrian will actually take up more room as they turn out to turnaround and see you, OR, immediately heads onto the otherside witihout looking and end up directly in your path. So, depending on the width of path/sidewalk, you have to quickly decide to navigate around a wandering pedestrian, or not ring at all.
    Blocking up the sidewalk with a barrier also unfortunately does not leave enought room for both pedestrians and cyclists: see bell reactions above. thx!

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