NEWS: Share the Road Pilot Project

Burrard Street BridgeBy Think City Staff

Today, city streets are used mostly by private vehicles, but this space is also shared with cyclists, pedestrians, taxis, commercial goods movement and public transit. However, should street use be changed to provide more space for walking, socialising, bike riding, transit or other purposes?

The newly-launched, citizen-led Share the Road project will be seeking answers to that very question this summer in east Vancouver. While the City of Vancouver owns the streets, sidewalks, boulevard strips and back lanes, citizens can propose changes to how roads are used in their neighbourhood to their elected city council.

Local residents in the Grandview-Woodland neighbourhood and Think City are working together to consider how the city can make the area more pleasant, safer, healthier, cleaner and sustainable. The goal is to have citizens develop and propose their own ideas to re-allocate road space for the benefit of the entire community.

Transportation was one of the three key themes to emerge from Think City's 2007-2008, citizen-led policy development project called Dream Vancouver. Making more city road space car-free was the top priority in this issue group. Through the Share the Road project, Think City hopes to model how local residents can better inform the decisions that shape their neighbourhood, while at the same time meeting the number one transportation public policy objective that emerged from the Dream Vancouver process.

Starting June 20, Think City will be surveying citizens in-person and online. Over the summer, in collaboration with a working group of local volunteers, we will incorporate survey feedback into a set of transportation proposals which will be presented to the Grandview Woodland Area Council this fall.

In addition to gathering the ideas of local residents, Think City will also be asking for feedback on:

  • More separated bike lanes;
  • Wider sidewalks on Commercial Dr.;
  • Changing traffic lights in favour of buses and pedestrians;
  • Greening residential streets;
  • Changing residential streets so road space is shared equally by cars, cyclists and pedestrians;
  • Lowering speed limits on residential streets;
  • Making Venables St. into a greenway; and
  • Improving transit services to and through the area.

The City of Vancouver is not directly involved in Share the Road and there is no commitment from the city to implement the suggestions. However, we hope city council and TransLink will listen to the results and act on them. If this project is successful, Think City plans to work with other neighborhoods to develop more citizen-led Share the Road projects.

Unlit crosswalks in Vancouver

I consider that Vancouver has a generally poor state of pedestrian crosswalks. Having grown up with the experiences of much better quality crosswalks in Toronto, I am both surprised and dismayed at the poor level of awareness Vancouver drivers can have when a pedestrian is about to traverse a crosswalk, especially on dark nights. As a driver, I have personally had several near-misses with pedestrians who are virtually invisible to me until the very last moment. Toronto, which revels in calling itself a "world-class city", really does have a much better approach to pedestrian crosswalks. In every case, the pedestrian has the ability to push a button, which lights up two bright yellow flashing overhead lights. Visibility is even better than with the "runway-style" in-road lighting systems, because it stands out even more. As Vancouver has a high reputation to maintain as a liveable city, I think it would be appropriate for us to seek better solutions for our low-visibility pedestrian crosswalk intersections. Despite the spate of 16 pedestrian accidents in Toronto over the past 2 days, I would strongly recommend a close study of the accident statistics, and a closer examination of Toronto's superior approach to the crosswalk dilemma. Give Vancouver's pedestrians a fighting chance !

Bike lanes down town

to have a "temporary" bike lane put in with a concrete divider is a waste of public money when there is such a short fall in the budget. even more so when most people who do bike do not bike down town and when they do it is only max 4 months out of the year.

Sharing the road is

Sharing the road is especially important on secondary roadways which also have a high density of residential housing. For instance, Victoria Dr in the Grandview Woodlands neighbourhood is essentially a residential street, yet it is used by vehicles as a major thoroughfare. This street is also used extensively by members of the community who travel by foot and bike to enjoy the businesses and parks in the area. The quantity and speed of traffic through this area poses a serious hazard to residents and visitors alike. For instance, vehicles consistently speed through the school zone in the area, often driving at speeds double the posted limit. The only viable solution that will force drivers to share the road with other users is traffic calming. Traffic calming, in the form of speed bumps or traffic circles, will slow traffic while making the neighbourhood safer and more inviting to pedestrians and cyclists. Moreover, options exist to traffic calm Victoria Drive while still allowing rapid passage of the fire trucks from the Grandview fire station.

Cycling transport.

It's a not so dirty secret that many people love their private motor vehicles, especially newcomers from the Far East. In fact they still make up the majority. Metro Vancouver has made great strides in improving transit and bikeways for those who chose these modes. Separated bike paths are not realistic in a heavily built up urban setting, fine on the slopes of the North Shore mountains. We need to share the road and be able to cope with all forms of transport.

Share the Road

I strongly support the continued application of separated bike lanes/paths. Riding along a busy road with only a yellow line between me, my bike...and a car....is way too close and hence, I don't ride nearly as much as I might otherwise. We lived in Madison, Wisconsin and they have bike paths down.....you can pretty well ride anywhere in and around the city on paved, car free bike paths. I also would beg you to consider lowering speed limits...and backing that up with fines and removal of licenses! It is far too dangerous on the roads. Thank you.

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