Jul 14 2009
If you live in Vancouver, you know all about the Burrard Bridge bike lane trial that went live this Monday. Before the trial began, the experiment attracted all kinds of controversy and allegations that this very tepid and insignificant traffic change would decimate local businesses and turn commuters into road-rage-aholics.
Vancouver journalist Frances Bula helpfully posted a summary of the trial for those Vancouverites who have been living under a rock:
Protected pathways for cyclists and pedestrians are scheduled to be in
place on the Burrard Bridge starting Monday, July 13. This trial
addresses three key issues: safety, sustainability and affordability,
and involves the following changes:
* the west curb lane of the Burrard Bridge towards Kitsilano will
become a bicycle lane
* the west sidewalk on the English Bay side of the bridge will be
for pedestrians only
* the east sidewalk becomes an exclusive bicycle path into
Green is still potentially a vote-winner in a city that can already claim to be a leader in environmental sustainability. Those who oppose the City’s trial, being undertaken to promote more sustainable alternative modes of transportation (including biking, naturally), have turned out to have far worse bark than their bite, at least for now. The fury foretold has simply not materialized. Even my friends at CityCaucus have had to hold off on using the Gregor’s Gridlock website to hammer the mayor and Council (at least until the next rainy day. Wait for it…)
As you can see from the video below, traffic on the bridge so far seems perfectly normal.
I expect the bridge trial to be a success in the long run, and that it will be one of many increasingly daring experiments in remodeling our transportation model to make us more sustainable. When the economy recovers and energy prices rise (setting off more economic shocks?), once again we’ll be looking at how we can change our transportation habits to save money and commute times. But first local governments will have to see with their own eyes that bigger changes are possible, and that vocal complaints doesn’t necessarily translate into widespread political opposition.
Hat tip to Hummingbird604!