Saturday, June 19, 2010

dunsmuir bike lane

It's a wheel forward for Vancouver: a 2-way, on-street, separated bike lane running E-W across the city into the central business district. Dunsmuir Street is forever changed!

dunsmuir bike lane

Don't those cars look speedy? For some segments, the safety-enhancing divider between cars and bikes is a row of planters like this. I like how it serves a dual purpose by also integrating more greenery into the "concrete and glass" streetscape. These days, nobody is going to complain that adding plants is a waste. (Nobody that likes to breathe air, at least.)

dunsmuir bike lane

It looks like they're automatically collecting usage data. Hard evidence! Maybe, if things go well, we could get a counter?

sign on dunsmuir bike lane

There's new signage, of course...

dunsmuir bike lane

...and changes to the intersections. Some right-turns (across the bike lane) are now prohibited in a few places, which may take some time for regular drivers to get used to and cause extra confusion for infrequent drivers.

bike parking on dunsmuir bike lane

I'm unsure about my opinion on the decision to use racks as the divider on one stretch. At first thought, it doesn't seem like a good way to foster goodwill in drivers towards the bike lane. Jury's still out on this one.

dunsmuir bike lane

I accidentally caught this chic cyclist while photographing the one half-block without a physical barrier between cars and bikes.

Overall, it's been a frequent conversation topic these past few weeks. My coworkers had a variety of reactions:

"It looks very European."

"I felt so safe!"

One said that it made her ride to work quicker, another has tried riding to work again after having spent the last while commuting by skytrain, and a third, who doesn't currently own a bike, seems to be inspired by the enthusiasm of me and the others and is looking into picking up a used one so he can get back into riding again. (He's a motorcyclist, so gets "on few wheels" points for that, too.)

Our resident department curmudgeon was complaining about it but he complains about everything so in a way that just validates it as 'normal'. It's change. Change is inevitable and hard, even when it's positive. Life goes on and our city and culture develops.

Congratulations, Vancouver, on embracing this change.

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