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Metro Vancouverites support separated bike lanes: survey
Published Tuesday, July 2, 2013 6:34PM PDT
A cyclist rides on the Hornby Street bike lane on June 7, 2012. (CTV)
More than half of Metro Vancouver residents are on board with separated bike lanes, but some are worried about access to parking, a new survey says.
The cycling survey, conducted by the research marketing firm Insights West, found that three of five Metro Vancouver residents support the area’s ongoing bike lane initiative. The support is even greater in Vancouver proper.
Erin O’Melinn the executive director of HUB, a cycling education and improvement non-profit, isn’t surprised.
“People improve their health, the air quality, and often have a more affordable lifestyle when they cycle. Those things are all really top of the mind,” she said.
The survey found 75 per cent of residents think bike lanes provide more opportunities to be physically active, and 74 per cent agreed they’re safer for cyclists and motorists. More than 50 per cent agreed they reduce pollution.
The survey also found some areas of concern. Thirty-seven per cent of those surveyed strongly agreed that separated bike lanes make parking more difficult, and 24 per cent said they and hurt businesses as a result.
O’Melinn says when it comes to finding parking it’s not about getting rid of the bike lanes, but signage pointing out parking needs to be improved. And the perception that less parking means less business doesn’t account for the growing number of shoppers who aren’t driving.
“A lot of surveys show that in popular shopping destinations, the majority of shoppers come by transit, biking, and walking,” O’Melinn said.
According to her, cyclists also have an easier time stopping and browsing than cars do, and take up less space.
“With 10 bicycles fitting into one car parking spot, that’s potentially 10 more customers for local businesses.”
Vancouver currently has two main separated bike path routes, one crossing the Burrard Street Bridge and the other extending across the Dunsmuir viaduct.
In mid-June, the city passed the proposal to construct two additional separated bike routes along the Canada Line Bridge at Marine Drive and downtown at the north end of the Cambie Street Bridge.
Proposals generating controversy over partial traffic closures are at Point Grey Road between Alma Street and MacDonald Street and the busy Adanac Bikeway along Union Street.
Both proposals could see a loss of parking and increased traffic density in surrounding areas, critics say.
Despite their concern, those surveyed liked the idea of a bike share program that the city is considering.
Seven out of 10 Metro Vancouver residents, cyclists, motorists, and transit-users alike welcomed the idea of having a network of shared bicycles available for short-term use.
Insights West surveyed 596 people over the age of 18 between June 22 and 25 using online studies to get their results