It is official, Hornby is getting a separated bike lane! Construction is set to begin immediately and be finished in 2 1/2 months. It is the best Christmas present I could have wished for – a completed downtown cycling network with separated lanes.
I’m really proud of city council for standing up to the fear-mongering of Laura Jones (of the CFIB, formerly of the Fraser Institute), who claims businesses along Hornby are set to lose 23% of their sales when the Hornby lane goes in (source) – a great made-up statistic. We’ll have to see if business actually suffers, but given the experience of businesses on Dunsmuir I highly doubt it. Hornby is not a strip-mall. It’s a busy street in downtown Vancouver. I’m not sure how any business on that street can reasonably expect to have cheap, abundant parking close by. Nor should they need it. The area is well served by transit and 100,000 people live within walking distance.
There were several passionate speeches to council, both for and against the bike lane, but the one that seems to stand out is remarks made by Gordon Price. He talked about how many of Vancouver’s most cherished, quality-of-live features were controversial when added – deciding not to build a freeway into downtown, traffic calming, and even the paved seawall. You can watch his full comment by loading http://www4.insinc.com/ibc/mp/md/play/c/317/1199/201010051910wv150en,003.asx into Windows Media Player and jumping to 2:33:50. I’ve heard from a few people, it was his speech that convinced opposition councillor Susan Anton to vote for it, which meant city council unanimously approved the bike lane construction.
Update: I was disappointed to learn this morning that Councillor Anton has decided to rescind her vote in support of the bike lane. My opinion of that decision is here.
Note: The title for this post was stolen from CBC’s Bill Richardson (source).
Laura Jones is not with the Fraser Institute; she is Vice-President, British Columbia and Yukon. of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.
The Fraser Institute has no position on Vancouver bike lanes.
Fraser Institute director of communications
Thanks for the correction. I was under the impression she was still with the Fraser Institute. I guess her Wikipedia article is out of date.
I am so glad you told me about Gordon Price’s speech. it was statesman-like; very moving
Yesssss!!! I will also consider this a Christmas (and birthday) present even though I won’t be able to test it out for a while yet! Awesome!
I must be a geek. I can’t believe how much I enjoyed watching that public council meeting. Thanks for the link.
Some of it was interesting. The nerd in me liked the technical details from the city’s engineers, and of course Gordon Price’s speech was excellent. I was amused by the guy who wanted to name the bike route the Falun Gong Trail.
That was Mr McGuire, who owns a small limo company in Vancouver. Seems like a nice guy and all, but has spoken at council before, recently to oppose making the burrard bridge bike lane permanent, citing traffic congestion and that some bike riders aren’t courteous. He was originally scheduled to be one of the first speakers, but wasn’t there when his name was called, so was placed at the end of the queue, and probably didn’t want to sound like a negative nelly right after Mr Price’s speech.
Cool idea though I thought.