Posted by Madeleine von Laue (Contributor) on June 21st, 2013 at 12:49 pm
The City of Vancouver has just announced that the entire stretch of MacArthur Blvd from East Mill Plain to South Lieser Road will have a dedicated bike lane.
Thanks to the diligence and perseverance of activists and local bike riders, the city reversed an earlier decision to remove bike lanes and replace them with sharrows along a popular bike commuter and recreational route, and is now planning a 'right-sized' road with one lane of traffic and a buffered bike lane in each direction. "The reconfigured MacArthur will continue to meet the needs of the current traffic volumes," reads the City's project website, "while allowing for full bike lanes in each direction."
MacArthur Blvd., the only east-west bike corridor in the city, has long been considered overly developed for auto traffic, with two lanes in each direction through a residential neighborhood with several schools along the route. A resurfacing and restriping project opened up possibilities to reconfigure the road. In April, the city conducted traffic volume and speed studies and found, what cyclists and others already knew, that the number of cars didn't warrant four lanes, and that the average speed was too high to provide safety for cyclists in a sharrowed lane.
"We're a long way from the transportation designs of Europe or even Portland, but this is a very positive step."
— Jan Verrinder, who lives and rides along the MacArthur corridor
Local citizen activists are celebrating the victory. "This totally changes the reputation of Vancouver," said Eric Giacchino, president of Bike Clark County. "It puts the city council in the forefront of promoting active transportation in the city and making us more bike friendly."
Jan Verrinder, a resident along the corridor, "Our city's decision is a huge step in the right direction. Our mayor came out on a Tour de Mac with us and was joined by more than 50 other cyclists. Our city council listened and our city engineers executed a new traffic volume and speed study giving them the numbers that turned the tide. Most of all, to me however, it was a sign that we can work together for all road users. We're a long way from the transportation designs of Europe or even Portland, but this is a very positive step."
The city's public works department will be presenting this proposal to the city council Monday. Activists are urging everyone who cares about traffic safety to attend the meeting to thank the city for choosing what is a controversial plan in that neighborhood and to show support more forward-thinking transportation planning in the city. Activists will be gathering at 6:30 pm outside the council chambers: 415 West 6th St., Vancouver, 2nd Floor.
Learn more about this project, and their rationale for the road diet and bike lanes, on the City of Vancouver's website.