Clear bike lanes raise eyebrows during snowy commute in Vancouver
Freshly plowed bike lanes left some commuters questioning the City of Vancouver's priorities during the snowstorm Friday morning.
As cars and buses struggled to negotiate hilly areas of the city, motorists spotted cleared but seemingly unused bike routes and fumed.
City engineer Jerry Dobrovolny insisted there are people using the lanes, however, and defended the decision to service the routes as a necessary and important safety precaution.
"If we don't get on the snow right away it can ice up and there are serious safety hazards for cyclists that hit ice," he told reporters at a press conference.
"We do have thousands of cyclists, even in inclement weather."
Dobrovolny denied it was a misuse of resources, arguing the bike lanes were just one of several priorities for the city, along with main arterial roads, truck routes and bus routes.
"We have different crews and different equipment," Dobrovolny said. "It's not a question of either/or."
Some drivers were also miffed that some major roads didn't seem to have been salted, even though the city promised earlier this week it was taking a proactive approach to the storm.
Dobrovolny said crews were out salting and brining for days, and the work continued throughout Friday morning with 40 pieces of equipment.
"Just because we're salting the roadway doesn't mean when it's coming down in a fairly heavy snowfall that you won't see any [snow] on the roadway," he told reporters.
"There will always be a delay between when we get heavy snowfall and when we start to see it melt."
The city said arterial roads were cleared by noon, but that another wave of heavy snow is expected to fall around the evening rush hour. Dobrovolny suggested people might want to consider leaving work early to avoid getting stuck in the snow.