Summer of Cycling Update

This summer has indeed turned out to be action-packed for cyclists, and for the growth of cycling (and argument of the auto vs. cycling) in the realm of public discussion. The Burrard Bridge bike lane 'trial', Critical Mass finally being discussed in mainstream media, and the Summer Spaces project point towards some huge and welcome change yet to come.

The City of Vancouver recently released Burrard Bridge traffic volume statistics, which look promising so far. The counts have been performed for cyclists, pedestrians, and automobiles both before and during the trial so far. Statistics for the Granville bridge have also been included. Overall, cycling has increased by about 30%, the number of pedestrians has remained about steady, and vehicular traffic has decreased slightly. The busiest days have seen increases of about 40% in the number of cyclists. The summary does note the weather and fireworks events, as these are determining factors.

As an aside, it looks like even the Americans are getting on their bikes too: 36% more than a few years ago. (Maybe even a few people outside of Portland).

The July Critical Mass ride hit the mainstream media big time, which brought all the usual "car vs bike" arguments to the fore once again (seemingly only days after the Burrard Bridge blood had dried). The Province's headline on that day read "Critical Mess". The ride proceeded as usual, without a pre-determined route, and everything went smoothly. I'd say this was due to the fact more people knew the ride would be happening, due to all the pre-ride chatter.

After the ride, some major media stories took a breather:

The Globe:
Vancouver's bike shorts in a knot for nothing

The Sun:
Time to step beyond the bikes-versus-cars conflict

More disappointing news also arrived regarding the status of the car-free days across the city. Earlier this year, the city decided to try closing some parts of the city to traffic not just on the big Car-Free Days, but every weekend for the summer. The 'special event' Car-Free Days have been a huge success.

It turns out that this project may not be the success it could have been, Frances Bula noted in her story on the subject that local businesses even on Commercial Drive were complaining about the loss of customers. This seemed odd, since the original car-free days actually drove lots of additional customers to local shops. A more detailed survey might tease out the pertinent information: one of the complaints came from the Home Hardware store. While this is a great shop, they may be one of the more 'car-oriented' shops on the Drive, simply due to the nature of their stock. She did report that the other car-free weekends are reporting a success, so I'd discount Bula's story until a more wide-ranging discussion ensues.

>> incriminating photo from random dude