Share the Road

Share the Road

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 citizen-led Share the Road project was launched in the summer of 2010 to seek answers to that very question 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 worked together to consider how the city can make the area more pleasant, safer, healthier, cleaner and sustainable. The goal was 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 in the summer of 2010, Think City surveyed citizens in-person and online. Later that fall, Think City, in collaboration with a working group of local volunteers, incorporated survey feedback into a set of transportation proposals which were then supported by the Grandview Woodland Area Council. The final set of policy recommendations and survey results were forwarded to the City of Vancouver on December 9, 2010.

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. 

Below is a summary of the main proposals:
  1. Make Commercial Dr. more pedestrian friendly by reducing traffic to one lane each way from Broadway to E. 1st Ave., with on-street parking to access local business. The space gained from reducing the width of the road could be used to upgrade the environment with trees and flowers, benches, bike parking, bus shelters, etc.
  2. Between E. 1st Ave. and Venables St. people wanted to see on-street parking restored all day. This would mean allowing only one lane of traffic in each direction. In the longer-term the city should seek ways to enhance and widen the sidewalk on Commercial Dr.
  3. The pedestrian crossings on Commercial Dr at E. 1st Ave. and Broadway are too dangerous. Pedestrians are rushed and have to dodge turning cars. This could be improved by changing the traffic lights to include a phase when all traffic is stopped (including turning) and pedestrians can cross in all directions. This is called a pedestrian scramble.
  4. Along Victoria Dr. between Venables St. and Broadway there are several schools and parks. This stretch of road could be made safer and more pleasant by calming the traffic with improved pedestrian crossings and a bike lane.
  5. Many of the pedestrian-controlled crossings would be safer if there was more time for people to cross the road.
  6. Bus flows would be improved if traffic lights were triggered to change when a bus approaches the intersection.
  7. Residential streets would be safer and more pleasant with slower car speeds. This would be achieved by reducing the speed limit on local streets to 40 km/hour. This should be reinforced by changes to the road space making it clear these are areas to be shared with other uses. Narrowing street junctions with planting bulges, wider boulevard strips with more greenery and home zones would also enhance the neighbourhood.

The full results of the survey and the final policy proposals are available by clicking here.