What with the Central Valley Greenway, the Burrard Street Bridge, and the Dunsmuir and Hornby Street separate bike lanes, the good news just keeps coming for local cyclists. And in the past two days, there have been two more good news items.
Vancouver Bikes Lanes to be Salted and Ploughed
In previous years, I recall that city services would often make cyclists less safe. Particularly memorable was cycling along the Winston section of the Central Valley Greenway (intimidating at the best of times), and finding that a huge quantity of branches and leaves had been swept to the side of the road after a recent wind storm – basically piling up the entire mess in the bike lane, and forcing cyclists into fast-moving traffic! (See my video below which shows how scary Winston is, even when one is able to stay in the bike lane.)
Now however it seems that city services will be aimed at making us safer! Vancouver is planning to clear the snow from some of the major bike routes, including 10th Avenue, Adanac and the Stanley Park seawall. In downtown lanes, snow will be pushed to the side, and we may even see snow ploughs in bike routes. The city has apparently purchased two new machines for this purpose.
The City of Vancouver also plans to spray all 28 Vancouver bike lanes with a salt brine designed to make conditions less slippery.
Wow! This really makes me happy. I know a guy who was off work for six months after slipping on black ice while cycling to work. I am sure these initiatives will prevent many accidents, and make it easier for cyclists to keep cycling all year round.
I’m finding it hard to restrain myself from sending a bouquet to Vancouver City Hall!
Google Maps Coming to Canadian Cyclists
Every time I use Google Maps I imagine the day when there will be a bike symbol to click on – and now it seems the day will soon be here!
Google Maps has developed a rating system called Bike Directions. It uses colour coding to indicate levels of safety for cyclists on roads, ranging from dotted green lines to indicate roads that are safe for cyclists even though they have no bike lanes, to dark green lines to show dedicated bike lanes. In the United States, this feature has been integrated into Google Maps already, so you can choose to click on Bike Directions (as well as the usual transit, walking and driving options).
Google has just announced that Bike Directions is coming to eight Canadian cities: Vancouver, Ottawa, Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Gatineau, Quebec and Waterloo.
The system is interactive – you can report back to Google on routes, so cyclists will be able to contribute to making this an effective route-planning tool.
All in all, there’s never been a better time to be a cyclist in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland!