Missing Link for Vancouver Cyclists: Point Grey Bike Lane Goes to Vote

Photo credit: Elaine Christian | Flickr

Photo credit: Elaine Christian | Flickr

When it comes to seaside biking, cyclists in Vancouver are spoiled silly.  You can pick up the 22-kilometre seawall just outside the Convention Centre and circumnavigate almost all of downtown without ever going into traffic.

Cyclists can pedal the seawall along Coal Harbour and around Stanley Park, past English Bay and into False Creek, back out to Olympic Village and Granville Island and all the way to Kitsilano Beach.

Courtesy of City of Vancouver

Courtesy of City of Vancouver

But that’s where things get a little tricky.  After Kits Beach, the seawall ends and bikes are diverted back into traffic along Point Grey.  The official route detours bikes along West 3rd Avenue.  But many cyclists skip the bike route altogether and take busy Point Grey Road instead, which has had 51 bike accidents in the last four years.  After that stretch, a seaside bike path picks up again along Jericho Beach and continues as far west as Spanish Banks.

Now, however, it looks like city council is on the verge of approving that final missing link for cyclists: a Point Grey bike lane.  The $6 million plan, which has attracted both vocal support and opposition, calls for calming traffic and adding a designated local bikeway along seven blocks of Point Grey Road, from Macdonald to Alma Streets.

According to estimates, some 10,000 cars would be diverted to surrounding arterial roads, ensuring cyclists a much safer ride.  In addition, separated two-way bike lanes would be added on either side of that critical stretch, specifically, from Balsam to Macdonald Streets and from Alma to Jericho Park. (Check out this great Vancouver Sun article for a list of all the proposed changes.)

For Vancouver cyclists, this may all sound like a dream come true.  However, not everyone is happy.  Some area residents are concerned that the calming of Point Grey Road could end up diverting traffic to other neighbourhood streets.

Vancouver city council is set to vote next week on the proposal.

Do you like the idea of a bike lane along Point Grey Road? Share your thoughts below.  

For more updates on Vancouver and beyond, follow me on Twitter @RemyScalza.

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10 Responses to Missing Link for Vancouver Cyclists: Point Grey Bike Lane Goes to Vote

  1. moloko

    No I don’t like the idea of closing off Point grey Road to regular traffic. ICBC reports that there has been 0 accidents between Macdonald and Alma between 2008-2012, so not exactly a safety issue.

    Why not just use one side of PGR as a bike lane rather than for parking? surely makes more sense than taking away parking spots on York to do the same, seeing as York has mostly multi-dwelling buildings and PGR has single family houses with driveways and garages.

    Or, just make cyclists use the 3rd ave route instead, like they’re supposed to, make it illegal for them to cycle on PGR (if that’s even possible).

    A few suggestions, others have even better ideas. Obviously this needs to be discussed further

    • Scott Baldwin

      Totally agree. A wasted effort with little consideration. Oddly none of the City’s proposed options include the existing bike routes, which are often void of traffic.

      • moloko

        ya god forbid they should use the existing bike lanes that we’ve already spent money on. That would inconvenience 600 cyclists by having to bike uphill for 3 super short blocks to 3rd, better to inconvenience 10,000 motorists, and create more traffic problems, and possibly lower the real estate values of the houses along the newly congested roads while increasing the value on PGR

        ah the rich get richer…

        • ChangeForTheBetter

          It’s ironic that you understand the potential of a reduction of motor vehicle traffic to improve the amenity and property values of a neighbourhood and an increase in motor vehicle traffic’s potential to degrade that amenity and reduce property values, yet you seem primarily concerned with maintaining bandwidth for cars. This is the essence of NIMBYism. Imagine then a city where more people biked and fewer people drove–everyone’s a winner–A healthier public, less air pollution/GHGs, quiet neighbourhoods that are safer for kids, more green space/less pavement, etc.
          How about lobbying for the displacement of motor vehicle traffic in your own neighbourhood and getting out of your car while you’re at it?

          • moloko

            I’m not against bike lanes. I’m against the closure of P.G.R. to traffic. They should just take away the parking on the north side of the street and put a bike lane there.

            FYI the bike traffic along the Burrard bridge lane has decreased every year since being put in.

            and, i don’t even own a car, I’m a cyclist and i still see the absurdity of this proposal. I’d much rather have a dedicated bike lane on P.G.R,much safer than risking parked car doors opening on cyclists

  2. The Pt Grey route will only have one intersection as opposed to 18 for the current route using 3rd. As around 50% of cycling crashes occur at intersections, it will be much safer. According to ICBC, in the past five years, 3rd has had twice the number of cycling crashes as Pt Grey. Once Pt Grey is traffic calmed, it will be a really safe bike route.

    It will be used by thousands of people every day for commuting and recreation.


  3. Pingback: Missing Link for Vancouver Cyclists: Point Grey Bike Lane Goes to Vote | The Times Of Canada

  4. caro

    Cyclists should use 3rd Ave. Closing those major roads in insane. And all the traffic to be diverted where exactly? All that area is already congested. I live on York Ave and indeed, there is increased cycling traffic during the summer, mainly by leisure cyclists, the numbers go down to almost nothing during the winter months. York is a high density, multiple dwelling street and it’s already impossible to park most of the time, and now with bike lanes, where exactly do they plan to have residents park their vehicles? Though bike lanes are a great idea, but also a luxury item, they should be planned properly and there should be considerable consultation with the neighbourhoods affected. Vison is out to shove bike lanes and other pet projects down citizen’s throats and that is wrong. And, sorry, but not everyone can be a cyclists. For many of us is simply an impossibility. Fix public transit first, make sure the side walks are safe for pedestrians, and then, only then is the time to start looking at bike lanes that benefit only a smal percentage of the population. Cyclists should respect and use what it is already in place.

  5. Deen hannem

    I don’t understand Vancouver and dont understand why Vancouver keeps electing the silliest people to office and expect anything wise from them. Good luck with the closure of more lanes to bikes and for your next foolish endeavour of bike rentals. Glad my property taxes are not paying for more silliness and that I only go to Vancouver if needed.

  6. commonsenseinvancouver

    I have riden the PGR and the 3rd ave route many times. The 3rd ave. route isn’t much different then many of the bike routes across the city and some minor improvements such as priority signals at some intersections would make it as good as any. I hope that during the next city election, there will be a political party that will have a more rationale position on bike routes as well as a fair process. The PGR just doesn’t make sense, unless you’re a property owner on the route. There seems to be some desire to have a bike route that is along the shore around the whole city. If thats is what they want, why don’t we just confiscate some of the property along the shore line using the concept of eminent domain and public good, and build this along the shore between the existing homes and the water. Now that makes sense!