Carrall Street Greenway

A physically separated bike lane in Vancouver, B.C.

[via Momentum]

10 Responses to “Carrall Street Greenway”

  • David Hembrow says:

    That path falls below Dutch standards for many reasons:

    Minimum width here now is 2.5 m for unidirectional paths and 3.5 m for bidirectional paths (they’re frequently wider if there is a lot of traffic). I can’t tell the width of that path, but suspect it might be less.

    There is a requirement for paths to be separated from the road by 2 m of space (though to be fair, they don’t always have the room for this)

    The surface looks other than completely smooth.

    And worst of all is the road junction design. At the end of the path (how long is it anyway ?) it dumps you to the right of motor vehicles to share the same traffic lights. That’s dangerous and I’ve not seen the like of it here. I think this is the sort of thing that gives segregated paths a bad name.

  • martian1 says:

    “David Hembrow says:
    That path falls below Dutch standards for many reasons …………………………….”

    The sky is falling, the glass is half empty and the sun might not rise after the accelerator sparks.
    Is it the start, a beginning ?
    Of a community attempting to improve cycling resources ?

  • David Hembrow says:

    Please don’t see it as a criticism as such. It’s almost certainly a good start and of course I hope this community does improve both its cycling resources and the rate of cycling.

    However, this junction looks to me to be precisely the kind of thing that could create danger for cyclists by putting them in the wrong place at a shared junction. We don’t want that, do we ?

    Cyclists shouldn’t accept being treated as second class citizens. There are things that could be, and ought to be, improved in this design.

    There are examples of traffic light junctions which work well for cyclists on my blog:

    These are not new ideas, but normal practice over here.

    I’m as happy as anyone to see cyclists start to be taken seriously, but new infrastructure should surely be designed with both the safety and convenience of cyclists in mind.

  • Abhishek says:

    I would be uncomfortable with this junction too. In current un-separated bike lanes that I ride on, when I come up to a stop light, I move to the center of the motorist lane and control it. That way, I make sure that no one will turn right and cut me off.

    Also, the path does look more like a sidewalk. I would prefer it to feel like a road way.

    This is not a criticism but merely a pursuit for quality. Kudos to the community for making an effort to make bicycling safer. The way the bicycle path meets the intersection though would turn more people off like it turned me off.

  • CJ Eder says:

    Generally, this is a move in the right direction, at least for those made uncomfortable by riding amongst traffic. As for the intersection design, I think the design depends largely on what is required of cars to make a right turn. The US standard to ‘stop before making the turn’, in this case will need to change to a ‘stop and yield to bikes’. As a Portland resident, I will attest that intersection design is helpful only to the extent that it reminds the drivers to yield (colored lanes). As for resolving the inherent conflict in requiring cars to turn across a lane of traffic, it really doesn’t do much as I am frequently nearly clobbered on a regular basis by cars pulling into the bike box before I get there.

    Cyclists shouldn’t accept being treated as second class citizens.
    Cyclists really need to stop framing ourselves as a ‘victimized class’. In addition to being complete non-sense, it is really unhelpful in developing solutions. The current matter, for instance should not be thought of as cycling accommodations. Intersection design needs to be based on the weakest link in the safety chain. This would be cars, that to turn right, are required to detect and gauge the distance of slower-moving, difficult to see, quiet and cautious bicycles while simultaneously yielding to oncoming traffic. For all the tinkering we do with bike lanes, we do almost nothing to give drivers instruction on how to make this process as safe for them as possible.

  • Shay says:

    I have to agree with the others who say this looks even MORE dangerous than just trying to share the same lane or having an on-street bike lane. I live in Kansas City, which I assure you falls WAY below Dutch standards. Dumping you into an intersection like that, when cars haven’t been accustomed to dealing with a bicycle? No thank you!

    I’ll also continue the negativity by disputing that this is a step in the right direction. Here, you have bikes separated as a third entirely separate class of traffic, apart from both motor vehicles and pedestrians.. That’s okay, so long as the complete infrastructure and legal backing is there for a third class, which I highly doubt. Until it is, bikes should be able to act either as a motor vehicle (VC) or a pedestrian, according to the rider’s preference, traffic conditions, people density, etc.

  • andy parmentier says:

    i’m uncomfortable riding in traffic, but once i went on a group ride with the “rat patrol” and “skalawags” bicycle “gangs” on their tall bikes and other home’built contraptions. being on that “bike bus” gave me a feeling of security, happiness, camaraderie..under the bright city lights

  • andy parmentier says:

    ..of chicago, about several years ago

  • Alan says:

    [David Cambon sent the following and asked that I post it for him. Thanks David! —Alan]

    So far the Carrall Street bike lane is only two blocks long but it is a great achievement for the City of Vancouver.  The Carrall Street bike lane is the culmination of 30 years of valiant cycling advocacy by unpaid volunteers.  The three levels of government that control transportation in Vancouver have been doing everything possible to eliminate cyclists (especially the Provincial and Federal governments).  Increasingly aggressive motorists in Vancouver are emboldened by law and infrastructure that clearly sends a message to motorists that cyclists are road lice and cars are the number one priority of transportation planners and politicians.

    Given the increasingly dismal cycling situation and the glacial pace of change in Vancouver I had previously assumed that it would take at least 10,000 years before Vancouver saw its first bike lane.  I am now optimistic that within 5000 years there may be a network of bike lanes throughout the city – if cycling advocates continue to put tens of thousands of hours of their free time into fighting for sustainable transportation.

    We have a new mayor in Vancouver who says he is going to make it a green city.  We have several capable people that already work for the City of Vancouver who only have to be freed from political and beaurocratic constraints and they really could turn Vancouver into a green city – with bike lanes everywhere!  I am keeping my fingers crossed.

    South end of the Carrall Street Greenway.


    Second block of the Carrall Street Greenway.


    Third block of the Carrall Street Greenway under construction.


    A typical Vancouver dooring lane (at the south end of Carrall Street).


    Another type of Vancouver “bike lane” (Carrall Street in the background).


    A typical Vancouver designated “bike route” – another good place to get doored, especially when motorists play chicken with helpless cyclists on the narrow streets with cars parked on both sides.  You know you are second class when even parked cars are given a higher priority than your life.

    There is a picture of a slightly wider Vancouver bike route on my Crazyguyonabike touring page:

  • Abhishek says:

    Even if there are rules to stop and yield before making right turns, I dont see many motorists obeying that. Therefore, I would like to see bicycle infrastructure aimed towards giving cyclists priority at such intersections. The pictures look great and I applaud your achievement. It is years ahead of city I live in. Yet, I dont see any consideration given to the problem of the ‘Right Hook’.

    Enforcing rules has been unable to reduce and eliminate violations. People continue to speed and drive under influence. The solution lies in taking the human element away from making decisions and assumign responsibility. In case of the right hook, it is probabaly easier and definitely effective if the bicycle lane had its own set of lights, like in the Netherlands and it went green before the stop light for motorists.

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