Vancouver budget cuts would include Bike Program

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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