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Hornby bike lane trial approved, engineering would like to see it tested for “four seasons”

October 6th, 2010 · 91 Comments

The debate and speechifying finally wrapped up at 11:38 last night and, to no one’s surprise, the Hornby bike-lane “trial” was approved — unanimously, with even NPA Councillor Suzanne Anton voting in favour, though expressing concern about the process and the snippy remarks some councillors made that she felt trivialized business concerns.

(And much debate already about Councillor Andrea Reimer’s tweet during the public presentatiions (“Let the theatrics begin – Can Fed of Small Biz makes emotional appeal: vote for bike lane is a vote against biz, seniors & disabled.”)

Get used to this bike lane, people, because I think this is the kind of move that becomes very hard to go back on by any council. Any attempt to dismantle it will be portrayed by bike advocates and the general media as Vancouver putting its lips up to an SUV muffler to inhale exhaust.

One result of the numerous concerns expressed by business is that both staff and councillors will be hyper-alert to any signs of dissatisfaction. The mayor said last night that everyone needs to pay attention to the “feedback loop.” But I’m waiting to see what kind of attention is paid. Many supporters said that businesses should welcome the lane, that it will bring new kinds of business opportunities, that cyclists are increasingly buying the European-style commuters bikes with baskets, signalling the arrival of the cycling shopper, and so on.

So if a business says it’s not doing well, will there truly be sympathy or will that business be blamed for not having leaped into a grand opportunity to market to the cycling set?

By the way, although the trial is officially designated to last for six months, a somewhat exhausted-sounding Jerry Dobrovolny, the city engineer who has been responsible for carrying out the VV’s aggressive bike agenda, said it would be preferable to have the trial extend over four seasons to see what the impacts are at different times of the year.

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