Urge Your Mayor and Council to Support Cycling Resolutions at UBCM

There are a couple of important cycling policy resolutions recommending bike lane sweeping and safe routes along highways that will be voted on at the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) Convention September 26 – 30 in Vancouver. Thanks to Delta and the Sunshine Coast Regional District for proposing them.

Please contact your mayor and council and urge them to vote for these resolutions.

From page 101 of the Resolutions:

WHEREAS highway corridors such as the South Fraser Perimeter Road provide important linkages for both commuter and recreational cyclists;
AND WHEREAS in many communities the current cycling infrastructure provided along these corridors consists of shoulders without physical separation, which is considered unsafe and discouraging to cyclists:
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Province be requested to provide parallel routes, physical separation, and safe facilities for cyclists along highway corridors.

This proposal proved quite popular in an on-line poll in the Georgia Straight article Union of B.C. Municipalities will look at highway bike lanes.

From page 28 of the Resolutions:

WHEREAS governments invest in the provision of cycling lanes adjacent to provincial roadways to promote healthy lifestyles and provide alternatives to single occupancy vehicles;
AND WHEREAS gravel and other debris on the cycling paths pose a risk to cyclists and act as an impediment to the use of alternative modes of transportation:
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that UBCM urge the Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure to amend road maintenance contracts to increase the frequency of bike lane and highway shoulder sweeping.

This one from page 77 of the Resolutions is not cycling specific but as a lot of cycling collisions occur at intersections, general improvements to intersection safety should reduce cycling collisions.
WHEREAS intersection safety cameras have the potential to significantly reduce the frequency and severity of crashes at highway intersections regardless of pavement markings;
AND WHEREAS current Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) policies do not allow for the installation of intersection safety cameras on approaches without marked crosswalks, such as the intersection of Highway 17 and Ladner Trunk Road in Delta:
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that UBCM work with the Province and ICBC to interpret and apply the current legislation to allow for intersection safety cameras to be installed at crash-prone locations where marked crosswalks are absent.

Posted in Campaigns | Leave a comment

Cycling Investment Elsewhere

As summarized in the following table,
jurisdictions around the world are investing significant amounts in cycling
infrastructure. Some such as the Netherlands and Copenhagen already have high
cycling mode shares and require investment to address capacity and safety
issues. Others, such Winnipeg, Seville and Sydney, Australia, that have cycling
mode shares lower than Vancouver, have committed to dramatically increase
cycling in a short period of time.

the host city for Velo-city 2011, demonstrated the advantages of rapidly
building cycling facilities. In four years, they invested $42 million to
complete a network of 78 km separated bike lanes throughout the city. In
addition, they also installed a 2,500 bicycle bike sharing system. As a result,
mode share increased
0.2% to 6.6% and cycling trips
increased from 2,500 to 70,000 per day. Perhaps more importantly, it is now
quite common to see children cycling in the city.[i]

The Netherlands

government expenditure on cycling has now reached an annual level of 487
million euros per year.[ii] Much money
is now being spent on improving regional routes, for longer distance commuters,
which leads to higher rates of cycling to work.

Munster, Germany

Munster, Germany (population 270,000)
increase cycling trips up from 29% in 1981 to 43% in 1992 with an investment in
cycling facilities of $112 million in today’s dollars.[1]

Sydney, Australia

The City of Sydney is investing $71
million over 4 years to build a 200km cycling network including 55km of
separated cycleways.[iii]  Currently one per cent of trips into the
city are made on bicycle – the city aims to increase this number by 10 per cent
by 2016.

Portland, Oregon

Portland’s recently approved 20 year
bicycle plan contains bicycle paths and other cycling infrastructure that is
estimated to cost $613 million. Funding sources are being explored.[iv]


In 2010, Winnipeg invested $20.4 million in capital funding to build an extensive active transportation network throughout the city.[v]  The funding came from the three levels of government (the City, Province and Federal governments each contributing one-third, or $6.8 million). This active transportation program involves the creation of 35 projects that range from multi-use pathways to bike boulevards. Almost all of these projects are bicycle routes.

In Minneapolis, over $50 million was
spent between 2000 and 2009 contributing to bicycle commute work trips more
than doubling from 1.9% in 2000 to 4.3% in 2008.
[vi] An
additional $18 million is budgeted for bicycle facilities and programs in 2010.
This includes federal investment through the Non-Motorized Transportation Pilot
(NTP) program. From 2000 to 2009 total bikeway mileage in the city increased
from 95.5 miles to 127.8 miles. An average of $2 million per bikeway mile was
spent during this period. The 2010 Bicycle Master Plan that aims to increase
mode share to 10% by 2020
[vii] will
require an additional $500 million to complete and an additional $300,000 per
year will be needed for maintenance. Non-infrastructure programs including
education and promotion will cost $2 million per year to sustain.


Already Copenhagen stands out among other cities for its cycling infrastructure, counting more than 390 kilometres of bike paths. Between 2006 and 2010, it spent DKK 250 million in bike infrastructure and an extra 75 million kroner were allotted for 2011. Within the city, 55 percent of all commuters already travel by bike. Their goal is to hike the percentage of suburban commuters cycling to and from the city from the 37 percent it is today to over 50 percent by 2015.[viii]

[1] Ibid, p i.

Posted in Funding, News | Leave a comment

Help Save the KVR Trail from ATVs

The Kettle Valley Railway Trail is being threatened by ATVs. They destroy the surface of the trail and create ruts making it very difficult to cycle on.

Photo - http://www.castanet.net

From Trails BC:

Trails BC is expressing concern about a recent petition and a letter writing campaign by the provincial motor sports sectors, lobbying the provincial government for authorized motorized access to the Kettle Valley Trail (KVR) trails which are the backbone to BC’s portion of the national Trans Canada Trail as well as the province’s Spirit of 2010 Trail Network.

Spearheaded by the provincial ATV organization, the Quad Riders of BC, this campaign threatens to turn the KVR/Trans Canada Trail into an official motorized trail with major negative implications for non-motorized users. 

Over the last two years there has been resurfacing of sections of the KVR trail between Summerland and Faulder. In an attempt to maintain the integrity of these newly surfaced sections as well as to address other concerns impacting non-motorized users, the government of British Columbia Recreation, Sites and Trails posted official non-motorized signs on these sections just before the May long weekend. These non-motorized signs were immediately removed by unauthorized individuals. As a result, motorized users are still using these sections and the newly resurfaced sections are already degraded from motorized use. Such degradation discourages cyclists, the main intended user, from using the trail.

The KVR is largest component of the Spirit of 2010 Trail and the Trans Canada Trail in BC.

The Spirit of 2010 Trail is the first segment in the creation of world class recreational rails to trails product that will stimulate the development of incremental tourism infrastructure and incremental tourism visits across a significant portion of British Columbia. The Spirit of 2010 Trail is 750 kilometres in length and there is the potential to convert over 2000 kilometres of rail trails in total. The rails to trails movement has become an accepted model in North America for sustainable economic development in rural and urban areas. It is the conversion of former railway corridors into world-class recreational trails for use by cyclists, hikers, equestrians and Nordic skiers. It has enabled primarily rural communities to develop a sustainable business case for economic development using rail trails.

Marlene Gregory of Summerland reports:

Clear signs indicate that motorized vehicles are not allowed yet many of the cement blockades have been removed. Some refused to slow down, causing undue dust and one dirt bike rider narrowly missed hitting a cyclist in our group.

Parts of the trail are so soft that cycling and even walking are difficult.

Please write Premier Clark, Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and your MLA encouraging them to protect the KVR and other trails from motorized vehicles.
Premier Christy Clark

Hon. Steve Thomson
Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations

[email protected]

cc your MLA

As well, cc:
[email protected], [email protected]

Posted in Campaigns, Okanagan | 6 Comments

Closing a gap in the TransCanada Trail

The TransCanada Trail on Vancouver Island leads south from Nanaimo to Shawnigan Lake, where it currently ends, just short of the Capital Regional District (CRD). Cyclists and hikers destined for Victoria must travel over the Malahat, a busy highway, or take the ferry across Finlayson Arm to Brentwood.

Now, the CRD has announced that it is in negotiations to complete the final 750 metres of trail that would establish a link to the Galloping Goose in Langford, allowing users to continue on a “Rails to Trails” multi-user facility into Victoria, or, once south of the Malahat, up the Saanich Peninsula to the BC Ferries terminal at Swartz Bay.

The CRD expects to finish this link within three years, enabling a “triangle route” from the Lower Mainland via BC Ferries to Nanaimo, south to Victoria and back to the Mainland (or the reverse, of course!)

Read more (including a map) in the Times-Colonist newspaper article at http://www.timescolonist.com/Parks+officials+plan+close+national+trail/5281421/story.html#ixzz1VxZvgyLv

Beyond this, we can all hope that the existing trails north of Nanaimo can be linked together, to provide a facility all the way to Courtenay, where you can take a ferry to Powell River and the Sunshine Coast. That would be a very popular “circular tour” of some of BC’s best country!

Posted in News | 1 Comment

Five is the New Twenty – The Advantages of Quickly Completing Cycling Networks

Often a city or town will produce a fairly good cycling network plan. Due to financial considerations, the implementation plan will call for a route or two a year to be built. At that rate, it could take twenty to thirty to complete the network. The first bicycle path will open with a fair amount of fanfare with the mayor and other dignitaries cutting ribbons and perhaps even jumping on their bikes. Unfortunately, more often than not, even for high quality separated bicycle paths, the first route or two is not that well used and the good plans start to lose steam.

Some communities are taking a much bolder approach. They are planning and building whole networks of high-quality routes at once, essentially treating the network as one project. Instead of a twenty-year build out, they are completing their networks in three to five years.  The result is dramatic increases in the number of people cycling over a short period of time and the community experiences the benefits much sooner.

Better Bike Bang for the Bucks

By enabling more trips per route, complete networks help maximize the investment in cycling routes by increasing safety, decreasing GHG emissions, increasing physical activity and reducing congestion. As construction costs rise over time, the total cost of building a network rapidly is likely even less than building over several decades. This is basis for the BCCC’s recommendations to the Provincial Government in Realizing the Benefits of Accelerated Investment in Cycling.


Seville Cycling Network

Seville perfectly demonstrated the advantages of rapidly building cycling facilities. In four years, they invested $42 million to complete a network of 78 km separated bike lanes throughout the city. In addition, they also installed a 2,500 bicycle bike sharing system. As a result, bicycle mode share increased from 0.2% to 6.6% and cycling trips increased from 2,500 to 70,000 per day. Perhaps more importantly, it is now quite common to see children cycling in the city.

Sydney, Australia

The City of Sydney is investing $71 million over 4 years to build a 200km cycling network including 55km of separated cycleways. Currently one per cent of trips into the city are made on bicycle – the city aims to increase this number by 10 per cent by 2016.

Why Complete Networks Work

There are several reasons why complete networks can dramatically increase the number of people cycling.

1. More Destinations

One route serves few destinations and thus is useful only for a few trips. A complete networks enables people to safely and comfortable cycle from anywhere to anywhere.

Due to network effects, the number of trips per route increases significantly as the number of connected routes increases. This is illustrated in the following figures showing a very simple network where each of the squares represents a destination.

Figure B
Figure A

In Figure A, the one route allows each of the six locations to access each of the other five locations. Thus, the number of possible trips is 6 x 6 = 30. The number of trips per route is 30.

In Figure B the 12 routes allows each of the 36 locations to access each of the other 35 locations. Thus, the number of possible trips is 36 x 35 = 1260. The number of trips per route is 1260/12 = 105.

2. Shorter Trips

With a system with only a few spread out cycling routes, people will often have to go out of their way to get to the cycling routes increasing travel distances. A complete network minimizes travel distances and times decreasing the effort required and increasing the number of trips that are in reasonable cycling distance.

3. Less Time in Bad Weather

Shorter travel times also means less time exposed to the cold, wet, heat and snow making cycling more comfortable.

4. Safer

Shorter travel distances decrease the chances of being involved in collisions and allow cyclists to better avoid nasty intersections.

5. Less Effort

Shorter distances require less physical effort making cycling more accessible for more people for more trips. This is especially important to young and old cyclists. Even for people in great shape, reducing effort reduces sweat making cycling more attractive especially for work and business trips. Complete networks also make it easier to avoid hills.

6. No Maps Needed

Well, at least no maps to find the bicycle routes. Just like drivers, cyclists still may need maps or a GPS to find the best route to their destination.

7. Less Bicycle Congestion

Too many cyclists on a bike route maybe the furthest problem from people’s minds in communities just starting their cycling networks. However, cycling congestion both slows people down and creates potential safety problems. A dense, complete network, spread the bicycle traffic out over more routes allowing people to get to their destinations quicker.

On the Ground

The value of complete bicycle networks is demonstrated in Davis, California and Boulder, Colorado. With around 20% of trips by bicycle, these communities have the highest levels of bicycle usage in North America. This high level of cycling is facilitated by mature networks, which include bike lanes on almost all of their arterial roads and extensive off-road commuter bicycle paths.

Residents can simply get on their bicycles with confidence knowing there will always be a safe route to their destination.

N. Keates, Building a Better Bike Lane, Wall Street Journal, May 4, 2007, W1.
Posted in Funding, News | 1 Comment