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A cyclist on the Dunsmuir St. bike lane.

No opposition for Cambie St. and Canada Line bridge upgrades, but council compromises on Adanac St. changes

Vancouver City Council passed a $3-million plan to improve several bike lanes, including the north end of the Cambie bridge, and a connection to the Canada Line bridge at Marine Drive.

Compared to the opposition the city faced against new bike lanes on the Burrard St. Bridge in 2009 and Hornby St. in 2010, no one spoke up in council against the Canada Line or Cambie St. bridge upgrades. 

But support fell short on improvements along the Adanac bikeway near Main St., after Strathcona business owners and residents vocalized their opposition to the city's plan to prevent eastbound traffic along Union east of Gore and all car traffic along Union west of Main.

Originally proposed as a $750,000 upgrade that would see the street become car free, the proposal to expand Adanac Street's bikelane, the city's oldest, was not given the green light to move forward. The unseparated lane connects East Vancouver with downtown, and is used by an estimated 4,000 cyclists a day in peak season, according to the city. 

The changes don't respect the needs of Strathcona businesses and residents, says Steve Da Cruz, owner of The Parker restaurant on Union St. Da Cruz expressed his disappointment with the consultation process, and sees plenty of other bike lane options that would sate local business owners. A potential bike lane could easily run through the green space that flanks the south side of Union St., says Da Cruz.

Business owners with bike-lane adjacent store fronts still face challenges due to lost on-street parking and more difficult goods delivery, says Charles Gauthier, executive director of the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association.

"As an organization, we're not opposed to cycling, but we want council to take a measured approach to ensure that they take into account the very legitimate concerns of street level businesses," says Gauthier.

Businesses along Seymour and Hornby north of Dunsmuir, intersections at which motorized vehicles are barred from turning right, are feeling a negative impact, according to Guathier.

But more muted opposition and increase usage—daily cycling trips went up 40 per cent between 2008 and 2011—may indicate that separated lanes are here to stay. 

The city has prioritized plans for separated bike lanes along Cornwall Ave. and Point Grey Rd. this year, and SW Marine Drive in 2014. Further afield the city is looking at lanes along Powell St. and eventually across the Granville St. bridge.

Below: Vancouver City Council's five-year plan for cycling infrastructure. Courtesy the City of Vancouver.
 

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