Vancouver drivers may need to brace themselves for new bike lanes as the city looks into installing them on the Granville and Cambie Street bridges.
A request for proposals issued on the B.C. Bid website asks for bidders who can conduct a feasibility study for "pedestrian and cycling enhancements on Granville and Cambie bridges."
The study comes out of Transportation 2040, a city plan that aims to set out a vision for Vancouver transport in the next 30 years and determine where walking, cycling and public transit are "attractive options for getting around."
That plan, which is still in development, envisions a two-lane pedestrian and cycling path that cuts down the middle of Granville Bridge.
Peter Judd, the City of Vancouver's chief engineer, told the Province that the city wants to know whether the bridge enhancements are "structurally feasible."
While a bidder hasn't even been determined yet, the mere idea of constructing bike lanes on the Cambie and Granville bridges is already generating some controversy.
Charles Gauthier, executive director of the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association (DVBIA), told CKNW Radio that he wouldn't take a position for or against bike lanes on the Granville and Cambie bridges, but said he wants to know how the changes would fit into the city's long-term transportation plans.
"It's a transportation network, and I think it's important to better understand how all the different parts are going to be working together or not," he said. "Frankly, for us, it's a little bit out of context."
Urban planner Michael Geller told News1130 that the bike lanes could work, but the city would have to be careful about how the enhancements might affect businesses and parking along Cambie and Granville.
"I know from experience, cyclists do stop off in shops... but many shops are more dependent on people who are either in cars or using public transit," he said.
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Calgary scores <a href="http://blogs.calgaryherald.com/2012/05/15/new-bike-score-shows-strengths-and-weaknesses-of-calgarys-pathway-network/" target="_hplink">high in the inner city, older suburbs and northeast region</a>, thanks to its multiuse pathways.
While the prettiness of cruising Charlottetown on a bike is a real draw for tourists, it looks like only the very downtown core has any true 'bikeability' - <a href="http://spacingatlantic.ca/2011/06/14/connecting-the-dots-mapping-charlottetowns-cycling-infrastructure/" target="_hplink">Spacing magazine noted this could be due to the lack of connections between pathways</a>, and the lack of a usable map for visitors.
Halifax and nearby Dartmouth showed a similar pattern to other cities -- while the downtown areas had great 'bikeability', as you leave the core, it becomes more difficult. In the past, columnists have <a href="http://www.thecoast.ca/halifax/cycling-frustration/Content?oid=1663033" target="_hplink">complained about the lack of cycling infrastructure</a>, including paths and places to lock bikes.
Only a very small swath of land in Moncton is deemed bikeable -- <a href="http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/story/2011/07/18/nb-bike-lanes-moncton-kingston-139.html" target="_hplink">the city has had struggles when trying to enact a more bike-friendly attitude</a> and infrastructure.
Virtually unbikeable, the hills in St. John's make it difficult terrain to navigate by bike -- Newfoundland in general had <a href="http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2006/as-sa/97-561/table/t3c-eng.cfm" target="_hplink">the lowest rate of people who commute by bicycle in the country</a>, according to the most recent statistics. That, however, hasn't stopped the city from <a href="http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/story/2010/07/27/cycling-plan-stjohns-council-727.html" target="_hplink">attempting to create a cycling plan that works for everyone</a>.
With its flat lands, Saskatoon lends itself nicely to cycling, and in fact, scored <a href="http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/programs/environment-utsp-casestudy-cs77ebikeplanning-1177.htm" target="_hplink">second-place for cities where commuters bike to work</a>. It also has an extensive cycling network in development, with <a href="http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/story/2009/07/28/bike-lanes.html" target="_hplink">new paths and lanes being added all the time</a>.
It makes sense that <a href="https://montreal.bixi.com/" target="_hplink">the original home of Bixi bikes</a> would do so well on the cycling scale. Montreal's relatively flat terrain and condensed size -- not to mention its bike paths and Bixi stations -- earned it <a href="http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1915050_1915041_1915033,00.html" target="_hplink">a place on Time Magazine's Top 10 Urban Bike Trips list</a>.
Toronto's size plays a major factor in its bikeability -- bike-friendly areas are scattered throughout the city, but there are plenty of places where bikes still dare not go. And despite a much-publicized '<a href="http://www.theworld.org/2012/05/war-on-the-streets-of-toronto-motorists-vs-cyclists/" target="_hplink">war on cyclists</a>,' there are <a href="http://bikingtoronto.com/maps/bikelanes/" target="_hplink">plenty of sites</a> and <a href="http://www.ibiketo.ca" target="_hplink">people advocating for better resources</a>.
Vancouver scores very high on the bike-friendly index, thanks to the topography, bike lanes, and the difficult-to-qualify-but-still-important bike culture. It has a ways to go though -- <a href="http://vancouver.openfile.ca/blog/vancouver/2012/vancouvers-bike-score-heat-map-shows-city-one-canadas-most-bikeable" target="_hplink">northern Europe does better than every Canadian city on the map</a>.
Victoria was right up alongside Vancouver in terms of bikeability, and <a href="http://www.gvcc.bc.ca/" target="_hplink"> its strong Cycling Coalition and "Cycling Master Plan"</a> make it easy to see why.
VIkram Vij, Chef, Vancouver
<strong>"... open the borders."</strong> "Let everybody come in and enjoy being multicultural."
Mayor Mike Bernier, Dawson Creek
<strong>"... bring trust back to politicians."</strong> " I would personally love to see from the political side of things, municipal or provincial, that we reach out and try to do a better job of engaging the public and bringing them along for all the decisions being made."
Ta'Kaiya Blaney, Singer/Activist, North Vancouver
<strong>"... I <em>will </em>protect the wilderness and coast of B.C. from development."</strong> "In my culture it's part of my past and understanding that everything is connected so once you take away the cedar trees and clear-cut the forest, how are we supposed to make cedar baskets? It's important to me, to First Nations in B.C. to keep our culture alive and pass down what has been passed down to us."
Vancouver Councillor Kerry Jang
<strong>"... build more affordable housing."</strong> "For me it's about making sure we have a range of housing available in the cities and the regions to allow people to live and work where they choose, not because they have to. And that just helps our economy because if you can work closer, that's great!"
Antonia Freybe-Smith, Jets Overhead singer, Victoria
<strong>"... relax the rule about campfires on beaches a little bit." </strong> "I think we could all use a few more beachfire sing-a-longs in our lives!"
Ian Hanomansing, CBC Journalist, Vancouver
<strong>"... do whatever is necessary to make sure next time the Canucks are in the Stanley Cup final, the series doesn't go seven games."</strong>
Kaeli Robinsong, TacoFino co-owner, Tofino
<strong>"... (have) no pipelines."</strong> "I would like to see a ban of any future prospect of an oil pipeline coming through B.C. from Alberta to the coast."
Nardwuar The Human Serviette, Celebrity interviewer/Musician, Vancouver
<strong>"... share my favourite radio station with everyone."</strong> "I would make my favourite radio station in the world, UBC's <a href="http://www.citr.ca" target="_hplink">CiTR 101.9</a> mandatory listening for all British Columbians! Doot doola doot doo ... doot doo!"
Rabbi Shmulik Yeshayahu, Community Kollel, Vancouver
<strong>"... focus on educating the next generation with an emphasis on moral and ethical values and by inspiring them to live a life of meaning and purpose."</strong> <a href="http://thekollel.com/" target="_hplink">Ohel Ya'Akov Community Kollel</a>
Richard Hunt, CEO of Penticton Whole Foods Market, Penticton
<strong>"... how much better can it get?" </strong> "I sincerely believe that Canada is the best country in the world to live in and B.C. is the best province in the country. I can't point to a single thing that would make the whole province a whole lot better." <a href="http://wfm.ca/" target="_hplink">Penticton Whole Foods Market</a>