In 2012, the city of Vancouver in Canada’s British Columbia province set a lofty transportation goal — for people to make more than 50 percent of their trips in the city by foot, bicycle, and public transit by 2020. In 2015, the city had already met its target.
As the short video by Streetfilms below shows, the city accomplished this through a multi-modal approach by making sustainable transportation safer, more convenient, and more accessible.
In Toronto, *days* of City Council are spent discussing a 2 km *pilot* of a bike lane. The (ultimately successful) *pilot* that had the support of 6 (!) residents associations, the majority of businesses in the 2 km pilot area, business improvement associations and countless other organizations, as well as the majority of Torontonians across the city.
What if car drivers have to drive another 30 seconds to find a parking spot? What if it takes and extra minute to drive across the city? These may sound like insane questions I’ve made up for comic relief, but they’ve been asked by pro-car City Councillors who represent the outskirts of Toronto.
Meanwhile, in Vancouver, they realize that the more people you can get on a street, the better the street will function. This means devoting to space to bikes (not to mention pedestrians and transit) instead of cars, which are incredibly inefficient at moving people.
As part of their Transportation 2040 plan, they set their sights on achieving a 7% cycling mode share by 2020. It was an ambitious goal for a mountainous, rainy city in a country with an average cycling mode share of 1.3%, nestled on the west coast of a continent with an average cycling mode share so depressingly low it isn’t even worth mentioning.
Four short years and hundreds of kilometers of new bike lanes later, the city has reached its 7% goal a cool four years ahead of schedule. When it comes to trips to work, the cycling mode share jumps to 10%, placing Vancouver firmly in the top three for bike commuting anywhere in North America.
This news is fitting right after the recent approval here in Toronto of a Bloor bike lane pilot.
Vancouver, a city that has been (and continues to) investing in safe cycling infrastructure, is undergoing a transformation – giving people the option to bike to work/school/play safely, and it’s paying off in getting cars off the road and easing congestion, making the city healthier and more economically vibrant.
A new report presented to Vancouver city council this morning shows that 10 percent of Vancouverites ride their bicycle to work—pointing to the fact that Vancouver may soon overtake Portland for the highest cycling commuting rate in North America.
“These new biking records clearly show that the city’s investments in Vancouver’s active transportation network are paying off big—reducing car traffic and making it safer and more affordable for people to get around,” Mayor Gregor Robertson said in a news release. “There’s more work to do, and council will continue working to make Vancouver an even more safe, accessible and vibrant city for residents of all ages and abilities.”
Click through to the Global Vancouver video story about proposed bike lanes for Commercial Drive, the predictable local BIA coming out against them, and BIA business members asking why the BIA is using their member fees to fight something that’s good for business.
Many businesses along Vancouver’s Commercial Drive fear a proposed, separated bike lane will drive away customers, but as Aaron McArthur explains, some shop owners are all for it.
Spoiler: bikelanes are always effective (if you want a happier, cleaner, friendlier and less congested city).
There were protests in the streets, and allegations of class warfare and political favours. Even by Vancouver standards, the debate over the city’s latest bike lane grew especially heated.But nearly one year after a stretch of Point Grey Road closed to vehicles, the city says the bike route that was later installed is often the busiest in Vancouver and the plan to shift traffic to major arterial roads has worked.