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Vancouver budget cuts would include Bike Program

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on June 1st, 2010 at 1:39 pm

Tour of Tomorrow
Riding near downtown Vancouver.
(Photo © J. Maus)

The City of Vancouver is proposing to cut its Bike Program.

According to a draft of its Transportation Improvement Program, the Bike Program is one of five programs in the City's transportation department that are "not funded beyond 2010." The City also plans to eliminate programs to install ADA improvements, traffic safety infrastructure, and its Pedestrian Program.

The cut would be a blow to the city's recent bike infrastructure momentum. Back in March, Vancouver got their first on-street bike parking corral. In addition to more bike parking, the City had recently installed a buffered bike lane and a project is in the works to install signage and markings to improve the bikeway across the I-5 bridge.

Detail of table from City of Vancouver Draft TIP.

The proposed cut of the Bike Program comes as the City of Vancouver readies to adopt its Transportation Improvement Program, a six-year plan of upcoming capital projects. In the past, projects have been paid through bonds and local taxes, but with both of those sources running dry, the entire capital project program is headed for an indefinite hiatus.

Vancouver Bike Program manager Jennifer Campos says, "Because our capital program is going away, this means that the sidewalk program, ADA curb ramp program, school zone safety program, and bicycle program will be gone after this year."

In the same Draft TIP document that announced the potential cut, a "performance snapshot" showed that the percentage of traffic collisions that involved someone biking or walking has gone up 24% in recent years. The City notes that the increase is "likely due to increasing ped/bike travel."

A one-pager on the City of Vancouver's bike program notes that in 2007, a statistically significant Vancouver community survey showed that 12% of respondents said they rode their bike at least once a week. "This clearly shows that a significant number of people in Vancouver do ride their bicycle on a regular basis."

In 2005, Vancouver was recognized as a Bronze level Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists.

Vancouver City Council will hold a budget hearing TIP workshop on Monday June 7th in City Council Chambers. Citizens will be able to address council during the open communications period.

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Comments
  • Marcus Griffith June 1, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    The bike and pedestrian programs are high value assets to Vancouver's community. They are worth funding even in the budget crisis.

    Bike and pedestrian programs are not luxuries of a good economy; they are the foundation for a modern city and vital to the long term livability of Vancouver.

    Vancouver can, and must, do more to ensure the growing demand for safe active transportation routes are met.

    Funding needs to be restored to those programs.

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  • q'Tzal June 1, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    This just in:
    Stock price for Hoveround powered wheel chairs has risen as cites across the nation commit to car-only mobility lifestyle.
    Hoveround forsees a whole new generation of customers who will need their product to get from the parking lot to their final destination.

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  • Bjorn June 1, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    I don't see what the big deal is, they have a mandatory helmet law so everyone is safe right?

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  • Vancouver Bob June 1, 2010 at 11:39 pm

    How is Vancouver encouraging more bike riders if its cutting its bike program?

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  • Spiffy June 2, 2010 at 9:45 am

    weird that they're cutting the bike program when they show that a lot of people ride bikes...

    Marcus, you're right, people need to get around, and with the economic slump they'll be walking and biking... so look for those walking/biking collisions to keep going up past 24% if they won't put the resources into making it better...

    I didn't even know there was a bike path across the I-5 bridge... I use the I-205 one since I live five blocks from it...

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  • Dennis June 2, 2010 at 10:31 am

    Residing in Vancouver has taught me a lot about collective human behavior. They appear to desire walkable, bike-friendly places, as long as it isn't they can continue to drive SUV's all over the place, and "those darn bike folks" don't get in their way.

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  • SteveD June 2, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    I think the real question is how do you restructure the funding processes for capitol improvement projects? You can simply say "don't cut this or that program" but the money is just not there to fund them. Where has the money gone, and where can we get it from in the future? Every agency is really struggling with these questions today. Bailouts are just prolonging the inevitable. In the past we relied on development fees and borrowing (bonds) to pay for improvements. Those sources have dried up today, and borrowing is just short-term thinking. Cutting waste and spending is already being done and is causing the loss of services we expect to have. Currently politicians are campaigning on cutting taxes, which will lead to further cuts in services. Frankly, I don't have an answer.

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  • 007 June 2, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    Vantucky. What do you expect?

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  • Blockfoot June 2, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    Just got an email from the BTA about the City of Vancouver having some serious change laying around in its budget plans. Not sure why the city would cut a 50K bike and ped plan if there is serious dough waiting to be invested in the community.

    Maybe they just don't want anymore free-bird cyclists biking around.

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  • Paul Johnson June 3, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    Vancouver: Insisting that "We're Not Portland" by striving to be more Californian...

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