News / Vancouver

More Vancouverites hop on bicycles, city contemplates new bike lanes

More Vancouverites are embracing the city’s new cycling infrastructure and hopping on bicycles, prompting the city to ponder where to build additional bike lanes to encourage even more people to travel on two wheels.

The number of trips taken by bicycle jumped to nearly 100,000 per day in 2014 from 83,000 in 2013, according to a transportation survey of 2,500 Vancouverites presented to city council on Tuesday.

The switch to bicycles means that half of Vancouverites (49.7 per cent) made trips by biking, walking or transit instead of by motor vehicle last year. That’s six years ahead of schedule for the city’s goal to get 50 per cent of people out of their cars by 2020.

Mayor Gregor Robertson said it was “phenomenal” to see such a “dramatic” shift that sets the city on the path to reach its 2040 goal of reducing the number of car trips to one third.

Bike traffic was the highest on the Burrard Bridge, where the city completed extensive upgrades to the intersection last year.

“The improvements to the seaside greenway certainly contributed to increased trips,” the city’s acting general manager of engineering Jerry Dobrovolny said, referring to the controversial new bikeway on Point Grey Road.

“The improvements to the seaside greenway certainly contributed to increased trips,” the city’s acting general manager of engineering Jerry Dobrovolny said, referring to the controversial new bikeway on Point Grey Road.

The report also outlined the city’s five-year plan to build bike infrastructure along Commercial Drive from 1st to 12th Avenue, West 10th Avenue from Trafalgar to Victoria, and Cypress Street from Cornwall to 16th. It’s aiming for all ages and abilities (AAA) bike paths that make cycling less scary for the tentative.

“Removing some of those barriers is probably all that’s required to get people to cycle when they don’t already,” the city’s acting director of transportation Lon LaClaire said.

The city will also study future bike infrastructure on Burrard Street north of Pacific, Main Street north of 33rd Avenue and Broadway west of Commercial.

This doesn’t necessarily mean separated bike lanes are coming to Commercial or Main Street, Dobrovolny said, but the city isn’t ruling out any options.

Meantime, car trips dropped to 50 per cent in 2014 from about 60 per cent in 2008.

But Coun. Geoff Meggs expressed concerns the 2040 goal could be hurt by the increasing popularity of car sharing companies such as Evo and car2go, which appeal to non-drivers. Car share participation jumped to 20 per cent of Vancouverites last year, according to the report.

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