A few weeks back I wrote about the comments posted online regarding the planned downtown bike lane network in the City of Edmonton. In the last week or two, the construction got underway on the first protected bike lanes in my own neighbourhood, Lynn Valley in the District of North Vancouver, BC, Canada. The image above shows the original condition, albeit they central median for the vehicle left turn lanes have already been removed. The usual comments ensued...
First a bit of background, Lynn Valley Road is currently a five lane road, two through lanes and centre left turn lane. Its one of two ways in and out of the neighbourhood to the south, the other, Mountain Highway, is not particularly nice for cycling but Lynn Valley Road is just horrible, for the most part you are sharing a narrow lane with vehicles as per the top photograph.
At the west end the curb lane peels off directly onto a highway ramp, requiring cyclists to move over into the left lane to move through the intersection being squeezed between moving cars as shown in the image below. Not sure if this is being addressed int he current work or the next phase. In North Vancouver, riding you bike on the sidewalk is illegal, so the safer option here is technically not allowed.
The construction in questions is over a short three block section of one of the two main arterial roadways in and out of Lynn Valley. The image below is all that has been made publicly available with regard to the design.
Essentially it is being widened to make way for a protected bike lane in each direction. All vehicle lanes will be retained and things will shift to the south. requiring some trees bordering properties but in District right of way to be removed, and I understand replaced.
A story was shared on a local Facebook and the usual outcry ensued. Now granted this is Facebook and not necessarily the best place to go for well informed debate, but from the early responses it seems trees are more valuable than our fellow human beings to many!
I think many of the complaints and concerns could be averted with a rendering on the project website and even on the streets signs to allay peoples fears over the finished product. Something like this example from San Francisco is probably not far off from the Lynn Valley design with the exclusion of some bollards and hopefully a painted buffer for them to sit in.
So as I say, here we go again, here are are some of the comments from my neighbours in Lynn Valley, North Vancouver...
"Was there ANY public input from local residents, or did the District just decide on their own? It's disgusting what has happened! Not only losing the unique welcome to Lynn Valley (the beast, which now hides at Kirkstone Park) but all those trees!! I can only imagine those living ON Lynn Valley Rd must be overjoyed losing their privacy and noise barrier."
Improvements along this corridor have been a part of the District of North Vancouver's Transportation Plan for many years, map showing Lynn Valley Road as a high priority bike improvement below.
City went out of its way to retain the hedge creature which is much loved in the community. Granted it is no longer in such a prominent location which is a shame. Here he is in all his glory...
"Disgusted with the District for doing this I live on Morgan beautiful old trees cut down across the street all for bike lanes when you hardly ever see anyone on a bike".
It has been stated that trees along property lines will be replaced. There is a reason you don't see tons of bikes using Lynn Valley Road. Its currently too dangerous, but having said that I do drive and run along Lynn Valley Road quite regularly and I see plenty of people on bikes. The whole point is to build bicycle facilities that make it safe for all ages and abilities to ride their bike without feeling squeezed by cars. A feeling I don't think enough car drivers really understand. Here's a study that demonstrates the increased ridership that can be expected. Across six cities, the study finds a rise of ridership between 21% and 171% after protected lanes were installed. Until the network is built out or even extended in both directions along Lynn Valley Road, I expect we'll be at the lower end of that.
"This is ridiculous. No offence to anyone who bikes, but did we really have to lose the well known bug and all the trees on Lynn Valley road for the ten or so bikers I see each day! Glad our tax dollars are going to bike lanes and not the horrendous traffic congestion we have each day on the NS."
When you start a sentence with "No offence, but" you're basically going to offend people. I've answered the first couple of points. I assume the tax comments is sarcastic, why shouldn't some tax dollars finally be spent on infrastructure for bikes, we've been spending most of the transportation dollars on infrastructure for cars for the past 100 years and its clearly not working, time to provide people with safe alternatives to the car.
"This, along with the multi lanes now taking up so much space in the boulevard makes my skin crawl. Seeing all those trees come down along with every new development is changing the place of why we all moved here. Sad for Lynn Valley and our community. Sure maybe those trees weren't perfect specimens but provided habitat for critters and privacy for those homeowners. Yuck"
Lynn Valley Road could be described as slightly congested for short periods of time each day, most of the time I drive along there or run along there, I see very little congestion. We could have lost a car lane in each direction or just the turn lane with narrower through lanes to make space for bike lanes, but there would likely have been an outcry from drivers. Looks like the District had space in their right of way and are using it to make sustainable transportation options more appealing.
"So an arborist said that the trees were in "poor condition". How convenient! If bike lanes weren't being built would the District have been so quick to remove all those dangerous trees?"
I'm not sure they said they were dangerous, even if they wern't in poor condition I hope the district would choose a solution that enhances the safety of our fellow human beings over the life of a few trees, which are being replaced. Furthermore, we have no shortage of trees in Lynn Valley, in fact every one of our homes or places of work in Lynn Valley required the removal of probably many thousands of trees to make space for humans. Spot where the trees used to be...
Even the trees that are here are likely second growth after the entire area was logged in the early 1900's. Google shaketown...
"So disappointing! Lynn Valley road looks terrible!!!! 80 trees!!!!! So upsetting! Where is the privacy for the homeowners on LV road. They say they will replant two trees for each tree removed. What kind of trees???Those were mature tall trees!"
Looks terrible, of course it does, they are in the clearing stages of the project, it will look better when complete.
"Since the City and District of North Vancouver have built many of these bike lanes with probably tax payers money maybe it's time for cyclists to have insurance like all vehicles do. Just saying since they do share the streets with vehicles."
You don't think cyclists pay tax, here's a response from my previous post:
"I drove up Lynn Valley Rd. yesterday for the first time in a week and was shocked and disgusted at the clear-cutting of trees. Are we losing our perspective on what is important? I moved out of L.V. three years ago and will never move back after witnessing the caving in to developers, and now to cyclists. My heart goes out to the residents along Lynn Valley Rd."
Someone is losing their perspective on whats important for sure, in what world are a few trees more important than the safety of our fellow human beings?
"So sad to see all toughs trees just gone....Lynn Valley slowly loosing all it's Charm...not the same place I grew up in but I guess there is always going to be these kind of changes things and places keep evolving...."
These trees provide little charm. I compare recent changes on Mountain Highway with the many trees that used to be there. Its far more pleasant to walk and cycle there now. Past and present streetview images below...
"So much for "green" biking... And a "nod" to the "asphalt necklace" CNV has paved over Grand Blvd. Park. Green/ environmentally friendly? Lol! And, yet nobody even blinks an eye at how "green" and "environMentally -friendly" the off -road mountain (dirt)biking has become on our mountain slopes... Another fine mess.... <sigh>"
This one never misses a chance to criticizes any cycling facilities. I do not understand how anybody can have so much hate for a person riding a bicycle. Again, check what used to exist where your home is no built.
"Just saw the clearcut on LV road and mtn hwy and paving of bolv. What retards are in charge of this ugly mess !! HAD ENOUGH I am moving !!"
ok, its probably for the best :)
"I'm all for making room for the bikes but where are they going to put the hundreds of new cars that will soon be here once those towers are built?"
The actual roads in Lynn Valley are rarely at capacity the problem occur nearer the highway. Regardless, adding capacity for bikes without removing any vehicle capacity is surely one part of the solution.
"I don't believe those bike lanes will make people get out of their cars and start biking to work what a joke."
Just about every single example of protected bike lanes has done exactly that. I think the network needs to be completed before it makes a big difference to demand though. Finishing the underpass component and extending to at least Lynn Valley Centre.
"It is horrible. Just a concrete corridor to satisfy the infrequent use of bike lanes. Total BS!"
I suspect the temporary removal of the median was the driver for this comment but lets do the math here anyway... 5 car lanes v 2 bike lanes, Width of car lanes approx 16m+, width of bike lanes 3-4m. I think the concrete corridor is there to satisfy the car drivers more than the cyclists.
"I saw them this morning again, they are keep cutting more and more every day"
That's the plan
"How many kilometers a biker should go to reduce carbon footprint as much as 80 trees ?!!!"
Great question, from the first few google hits I found some stats, no idea how accurate they are, but here goes... For trees, from here, a single tree can absorb CO2 at a rate of 48 lb. per year, or 0.022 tonnes per year. 80 trees would therefore abosrb 1.76 tonnes of CO2 per year.
For cars, from here, a small car (40 mpg or 5.88 L/100km, that like a Prius) doing about 10,000km per year would emit about 1.84 Tonnes of CO2. Therefore if this project takes just one car off the road it would break even in terms of CO2, in reality it will likely take far more cars off the road and thus provide a benefit.
Oh yeah, and they are planting more trees to replaces those being removed. Win! Win!
"Anything to accommodate affluent bike riding hipsters when the preponderance of the population are seniors who would benefit from better public transit."
this is exactly the opposite, google all ages and abilities or 8-80, the lanes being built are designed to encourage young and old to get out and ride, to make riding a bike safer for all.
"Do you know if we permanently lost our left turn lanes as well, or if it's just for construction?"
No you did not, the project website clearly shows the median being retained, which is only there to provide left turn lanes.
"So sad when I saw this today. Those beautiful trees for nothing."
Not for nothing, to make cycling safer for your fellow human beings.
"There's no bikes. Lynn valley is the wettest part of north van. We need more roads for our cars."
You have plenty of roads for your cars in Lynn Valley. People ride in all conditions here, its a fact of life, bike lanes make it even safer, especially in poor conditions when driver visibility is reduced.
"Oh this is so sad when we're supposed to be going "green"!"
See above responses, they pretty much cover this one.
"Agree with so many of these comments. So not how to be environmentally sensitive and inclusive. I truly believe there was another solution. "Cutting off your nose to spite your face comes to mind"
Wouldn't an inclusive street be the one that provides space for all people no matter what mode they choose, that makes it safer for people of all ages and abilities. The other solution was to remove vehicle lanes. If people get this upset over a small strip of trees, I'd hate to see the backlash from removing vehicle lanes.
"So ridiculous! How many bikes are actually going to use this? So sad.
Where did the left turn lanes go?"
The left turn lanes were temporarily removed to make space for construction crews, if you took time to look at the plans they would see they remain in the final design. How many will use it, who knows, but it will be higher than at present as it is very unsafe.
"Infuriating. We NEED trees and green space. I drive Lynn Valley Road daily and there's hardly any cyclists traffic and the lanes are wide. No problem. But no trees = HUGE problem. Who made this decision???? They should be fired."
Seems this is a common point of view. You don't determine the need for a bridge by the number of people swimming across the river. Give people safe cycling facilities and they will use it. The lanes are not wide nor comfortable for a cyclists to share with another vehicle.
"I just can't wait to see the traffic situation in Lynn Valley after they put in all those high rises. Good thing we have this bike lane. That's surely the best thing to do when your populace works miles away across huge bridges."
Surely you notice the number of people cycling over those bridges every day. Making it easier for Lynn Valley residents to do so is a good thing.
"Bikers need to be safe....but this is a loss of why we love LV. It looks so bad. There must have been some opportunity for input that we all seemed to miss no? Could there not have been some type of compromise? We lost both the centre lane (come on, we all loved that bug bush) and the trees on the south side. Is there more destruction to come? There must have been a better way this could have been done. So sad."
"So ugly now;("
Of course, its in the middle of the clearing phase of construction, at least give it a chance before you criticise!
"Bike lanes everywhere and no-one in them!!"
Bike lanes everywhere, not in North Vancouver, what I do see frequently and I often drive along Lynn Valley Road and my usual running route is also along this section of Lynn Valley Road is many people riding bikes. Maybe not downtown Vancouver levels, but given the risk along this section, the fact we see any is encouraging. Induced demand is usual talked about in terms of cars and as a bad thing. It can also be a good thing for other modes. Protected bike lanes induced demand for cycling!
"This is ludicrous and completely unacceptable. Combine this de-greening effort and the ugly Open Pit mine look at the bottom of Mountain Highway and we're becoming a real eye sore. Granted traffic flow for the highway needs to improve but still.....sad to lose our forests and greenery to make way for asphalt."
We're not really losing a forest on Lynn Valley Road, just a few trees that will be replaced. The Mountain Highway Interchange, well that's another matter entirely.
"Getting rid of green for green - hmmm"
"This is sickening."
"Sad they have to cut down so many trees "
"No real need for this destruction. Need all the trees possible to beat pollution."
ok, i'm tired, now, think I've covered the last few comments in earlier responses. I look forward to seeing the completed design and trying it out. I congratulate the District on moving forward with this and look forward to many more protected bike lanes throughout the District.
If you don't ride a bike, try it, you might actually enjoy it, feel good afterwards, improve your health in the long term, emit fewer greenhouse gas emissions, and see things you miss while driving. You'll also learn to appreciate why protected bike lanes make such a difference to unprotected facilities and especially shared lanes!