My comments to Vancouver City Council supporting the Broadway Plan and urging them to support Councillor Boyle’s amendments to make the street better for pedestrians and cyclists. You can listen to my remarks on YouTube.
I think this is a good plan. If Vancouver is going to reach its carbon reduction targets, we need more people living, working, and shopping next to fast and efficient public transit. So, I’m supportive of the new density this plan allows.
But there is one big gap.
Vancouver’s Transportation 2040 plan has a section on importance of adding underground rapid transit to Broadway. It says:
“By freeing up road space, we create opportunities to transform Broadway into a great street by allocating more room for other uses such as wider sidewalks, public spaces, more street trees, and bike lanes.”
I’m glad to see the Broadway Plan partially realizing the vision of a Great Street, but what happened to the bike lanes?
As far as I can tell, there was broad based support for new separated bike lanes along Broadway during the consultation period. I don’t have access to the raw data, but looking at the engagement summary notes:
“[People] like the Great Street concept and more space for pedestrians and cyclists”. That “Investment in pedestrian and bike lanes will make traversing the corridor a more pleasant experience.” And lastly “more people are in favour than against” “new protected bike paths” on Broadway.
So what happened?
I listened to staff’s responses to questions this morning (thank you to Councillor Bligh/Boyle for asking them) they said “the City wants to see Broadway become a great walking environment first”. That’s great and I support that, but bike lanes, which add more buffer space between pedestrian and cars, make the walking environment better.
So, I’m disappointed bike lanes on Broadway aren’t in the final plan and hope council can rectify that before they approve it.
Finally, I wanted to close by saying this is my first time speaking at city council and I’d prefer not to do it again. I’m here because I think this plan is important, but nothing I said today couldn’t have been captured in an email. Unfortunately there’s a perception that speaking at council carries more weight in your decisions – a perception backed by the large number of people signed up to speak. But this isn’t an efficient use of time and its not inclusive.