Archive for the ‘Vancouver’ Category

Last week, Cycle TO did a demonstration of a fully protected intersection at the intersection of St. George and Bloor. However, what kept it from being an effective demonstration was the fact that it was done during open streets, and so there was no barrier to having bikes just bike leisurely through the intersection, as if they were car traffic.

Today I found myself in Vancouver with a little time on my hands, so I took the opportunity to check out the first fully protected four way intersection that was just installed at Quebec and 1st.

Today’s ride was my old Dahon Speed Uno folder. One of the advantages of such a simple machine is that you can put it away for two years and then pull it out, put air in the tires, and just ride off.


Here I am at the intersection, looking way too happy.


The intersection is designed so that pedestrian and bike crossings are separated, and there are concrete islands that prevent right turning cars from intruding into the space for bikes and people on foot. Here is the diagram from the twitter post linked above.


One thing that I found amusing was that on the south east corner, there was a dealer for these very odd electric vehicles.


Ok, I’d settle for the Porsche on the end, but I did not get close enough to it to see if it was a replica.

Here are some cyclists waiting for a light. You see that they are naturally hugging the intersection side of the crossing.


Here is a short video of me simulating an indirect left turn.

The thing that you notice at the end is the lack of a push button for the bike crossing.

However, you can see that there is a mount on the black pole.


I also noticed that the pedestrian buttons were not active yet.


I talked to this workman who was in the process of wiring up some of the signals. He confirmed that there will be push buttons for both cyclists and pedestrians at all four corners.


Action photo of some cyclists crossing.


Word is that we will eventually get a similar intersection as a pilot project at Bloor and St. George. However it will be probably two years away.

On the way back, I took a little detour to Duffin’s Donuts, a local eatery that appeared in the movie Edge of Seventeen, and also has a very interesting history that explains why it serves both donuts and tamales. Regretfully it was a bit early for lunch, but I had a nice cinnamon donut.


Also rode through the woods for old times sake.


Update: talking to Chris Bruntlett on the book ride, he said that it took three years of fighting to get this intersection built.





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Today, Lucy and I took a ride downtown. Wait a minute, something is different about Bloor today, but I can’t quite put my finger on it.


Today was the first of two Open Streets events, from 10 am to 2 pm.

A gathering of cargo bikes at Curbside, with some Bromptons hanging around for good measure.


Councillor Kristin Wong Tam has been a champion of this event. She led an official group bike ride.  Smile, Peter, smile 😉


This was the finest bike decorating I saw today.


These people were going nowhere in an awfully big hurry.


There was also a group dog walk put on by Toronto Animal Services, but Lucy said “no, I prefer to keep riding”.


Cycle Toronto had a demonstration fully protected intersection laid out at Bloor and St. George.


The location meant, of course, that it was within sight of the Dalia Chako ghost bike.


Temporary markings indicated how bicycle and pedestrian traffic should flow.


Ironically, since there was no car traffic at this crossing, most people were just strolling or riding through the intersection.  Sort of like the King St. pilot.

Hopefully the city will install one of these, even just as a trial. Of course Vancouver is way ahead of us, and they already have the real thing.


Parks and Rec advertised a temporary grass installation at Yonge and Bloor. 5000 square feet sounds like a lot, but when you actually look at it, it looks rather small compared to the acres of concrete and asphalt everywhere else.


Lucy and Yonge St. This time there wasn’t a selfie station in the centre of the intersection, which was too bad.


On the way home, we passed bike buddy Doug who was riding his new Wike Salamander cargo bike. Most in the bike community have met Honey the dachshund, but now Chelsea can also attend bike events as well.


There is going to be one more Open Streets event on Sunday, September 16. Mark your calendars!



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The pie ride is a weekly informal ride put on by the Vancouver Bicycle Club. From their website:

Wednesday Night Pie Rides

The ride: We zip around the edges of Vancouver. Starting from Canada Place we climb to Prospect Point in Stanley Park, then along Beach to Science World, across to Kits, and out to UBC and back home along the bike routes of Kits. A fast, but friendly ride with several stops to collect everyone.

Meet: EVERY Wednesday at 4:30 PM at Canada Place (west side). (Ride depends on the weather.)

Distance: About 20 to 50 km, depending on how far you ride.

Pace: Multi-paced – please wait at pre-determined spots for others.

I went down to the start point at Canada Place, not knowing quite what to expect.  After accosting several people who were not part of the club, I finally meet up with these fine people.


I was told that my Brompton was the first six wheeled bike to appear on the pie ride.

Lots of car traffic on Georgia approaching the Lion’s Gate Bridge.


Entering Stanley Park, I see a Haul a Day in the wild.


Circling the perimeter of the park, I was pleasantly surprised with the lack of car traffic at this time of day. I was told that ramps to the Bridge are closed and so cars don’t take this route at this time of day.


First regroup was at Prospect Point.


After circling the park, we ride out along Beach Blvd, and along Pacific Ave, eventually going onto the multiuse path to Science World.


The second official regroup point is just after Science World.


At this point, several other riders who live in the east end peeled off, and it was down to Henry and I to head towards UBC along the Seaside route.


I was told that the last regroup point is at the top of the hill leading up from Spanish Bank, right by the Chan Centre.

The ride tonight was relatively fast paced, but with regroup points, and also various people peeling off to head home. Overall it was very enjoyable, and also nice to meet a few local cyclists.




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The bike lanes across the Burrard St. bridge are some of the most important pieces of bike infrastructure in Vancouver. First posted about them in 2010 when they were still in the pilot stage. They were made permanent, and then in 2015, there was a series of further upgrades approved.

I’ve posted about the bridge a lot in the past. Here are a series of before and after pictures showing some of the changes implemented over the years.

Back in 2010, here is the entrance to the northbound bike lanes, which for many years were on the former sidewalk, with pedestrian traffic diverted to the west side of the bridge.

This is the state of the northbound lane in 2014, on the former sidewalk.

This is what is looks like in 2018. Note that one lane of car traffic is now given over to bikes (just like the southbound direction) and the sidewalk has been restored to pedestrians. Also note the steel railings that are an antisuicide feature. They did a nice job of picking a design that merges with the original features of the bridge.DSC02869

Back in 2010, the north end of the bridge ended with a right turn lane for cars, and as a result, bike traffic was discouraged from continuing straight on Burrard.

This is what it looks like now. The right turn lane is gone, and there is good separation between bike and pedestrian right of ways.


The short section of bike lane of Pacific leading to Hornby is now off the roadway.


Here are a couple more pictures of the intersection at Pacific and Hornby.


The Hornby bike lanes on the far side run north/south and are bidirectional.


Taking a look back at the north end of the bridge, but this time approaching it from downtown, a lot has also changed. Here is a picture from 2011.

There is a right turn lane for cars coming from Pacific that isolates a triangular island with a short section of separated bike lane marked in red.

Here it is in 2014. Green road markings are an improvement, but the intersection is basically the same.

Here it is in 2018.

DSC02875The right turn lane is gone, and there is more protection for both pedestrians and cyclists, with good separation between them as well.

Here is a close up of the far side of the intersection.


For cyclists, you can go straight on, or make a right turn onto a bidirectional bike lane on Pacific.

In Toronto, after years of pleading, probably the most we would get would be the type of road marking shown in the 2014 picture.

At the south side of the bridge, there is the bike counter.


Because of the multiplexed display and my short shutter speed, you can’t see all of the digits, but I was the 2224th southbound cyclist today, and there have been 65,4521 cyclists so far this year.

It would be great to get a couple of these in downtown Toronto just to show everyone that there there can be a substantial amount of bike traffic when you build the correct kind of bike infrastructure.

Update: Kevin Rupasinghe points to this slide deck from a presentation to NACTO that provides diagrams of all of the changes done to the bridge since 2015. He also notes that:

“Also, wherever the opportunity exists, I think it’s important to push for bridges and underpass to have similar concrete barrier separation. Changes in elevation coupled with a lack of human-scaled features on a long straight encourages motorists to speed up a ton. A strip of paint is no way to be protected while crossing a bridge with your family. Strachan has been the most recent conversation on this topic with Layton & Cycling Staff, but I think the principle should be universal.

Lastly, I believe Bloor is expected to get one of those counters near U of T in the fall. There were permanent counters installed at Madison this year, so perhaps that is where the display will be put.”

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I’m in Vancouver doing some last minute tuning up of the Brompton, with less than a week to go before STP. This is analogous to my post about the Tikit from two years ago.

This was also the first time I’ve suitcased the Brompton.

Unpacking it was a breeze.


I ended up removing the saddle, which made packing a lot easier. Unpacking: I put on the pedals and saddle, and readjusted the handlebar and bar end positions (which I had to alter to reduce the total width of the folded bike). Much less work compared to either my tikit or PBW.


I’ve figured out a position for my Garmin mount that still allows the bike to be folded.



The water bottle holder is from Randi Jo fabrications, works great, and does not affect the fold. I tried the Monkii cage, but it does not allow the bottle to be removed and reinserted on the fly.

I also took a brief ride out to JV bike to get an extra tube for my Brompton. They are the Brompton dealer for Vancouver, and they also specialize in other folders such as Dahon. I got there by riding across the Cambie bridge for the first time.


Here is the nice bike offramp.


You have to see it in person to understand what is going on, but it actually loops around in order for bikes to get around an offramp for cars.

Here is the entrance to JV Bike which is right by the north end of the Cambie bridge.


An extensive stock of Dahons.




including this special edition.


The other thing that caught my eye was this updated version of the Opus Rambler, a 24″ bike that both my daughters loved. This version has a large front basket that is probably more useful than the rear rack on the old version.


Heading back across the bridge, I realized that I was probably on the wrong side of the bridge headed south, as indicated by the wrong way sign.


This morning I went out for my last long ride before STP, about 80 km. Since it was relatively cool, I wore my wool jersey (from Portland), but sadly I will probably not be wearing it on STP as the forecast is for temps above 30°C.


Crossing the Burrard bridge, I see that both directions have a bike lane on the roadway now, whereas previous bikes headed into downtown were on the sidewalk, and pedestrians had to use the walk on the west side only.


At Pacific street I see that they’ve removed the right turn lane for cars to reduce bike/car conflict.  Also the short stretch on Pacific before Hornby was now a separated bike lane.


At Hornby, there is what looks like 1/4 of a fully protected intersection. The design is appropriate for the fact that the Hornby bike lane is bidirectional.


This is how Vancouver routes a bike lane around a condo construction site.


During my ride, I saw many packs of riders that looked like racing teams or racing clubs. The only group ride that I saw that looked like I would want to join was this one, with a goodly mix of different people and types of bikes. Very little Lycra in evidence as well.


From my Strava stats, it looks like I’m just as fast on the Brompton than the Tikit two years ago, so it looks like the clipless pedals and the faster tires help. However, it may have been a bad move to not bring one of my old saddles along. We can see this coming weekend.

Update: some additional notes on the B&W suitcase: there are some reviews that express doubts about the durability of the case. The one that I got was being cleared out because it was not the updated one with TSA compatible locks. If I was to do it again, I’d probably opt for the Samsonite Stryde Long Journey case that looks more sturdy, and is about 5 lbs lighter, allowing for more things to be put into the same case while staying under 50 lbs. The MSRP on the case is also less than the latest price on the B&W case.


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The Arbutus Greenway is a new transit corridor that has been enabled by the City of Vancouver buying lands associated with an old CP rail line. Although detailed planning is to extend over several years, with lots of public consultation, the city put in a paved 9 km multi-use trail as a preliminary “demonstration”.


The trail runs from about 5th and Fir all the way south to almost the north end of the Arthur Liang bridge to Richmond. My understanding is that it went in fairly recently.

Here is the north end of the trail.


This is the first time I’ve seen one of the bike share stations. The rates seem to be similar to Toronto’s.


One quirk of this local system is that there is a helmet law, and so each bike has a helmet attached to it.


The overall configuration of the trail is pedestrians on one side, and a bi direction bike path on the other.


It might have been just the fact that it was Canada Day weekend, but there were tons of people on the trail. What was particularly striking was the large number of families with kids.


I found it amusing that there was this billboard along the trail.


After a relatively short east-west section, the path turns south.


Some of the road crossings are not finished. This is the non crossing at Broadway, where people were walking their bikes along the sidewalk to the intersection nearby.


Smaller intersections have the cross traffic controlled by stop signs. You can also see concrete curbs that slow traffic on the path.


This railway crossing sign was cute, but it looked like a recent addition.


There were also a few bits of public art along the trail. Here are a few sections of rail beside this bench.


The placement of the concrete curbs was a bit inconsistent. Here, the curbs are blocking the bike portion of the trail.


At this intersection, the bikes and pedestrians are explicitly directed to an adjacent crosswalk at the intersection.


Old power line poles remain along the pathway.


A rainbow of painted rocks.


Existing pedestrian trails that cross the corridor are clearly marked.


Here just south of Kerrisdale, there is more space at this intersection so that foot and bike traffic are separated for the crossing.


On this section of the trail, there were a lot of community gardens. This one had a shed and several scarecrows.


There was only one remaining crossing that looked like it was still being built.


Here is the south end of the trail.  You can see the old rails continuing further. I had a nice chat with the fellow in the yellow shirt. He said that the right of way will eventually also include a street car line, and that there is still much planning to be done before the plan is finalized. In the meantime, Vancouverites can enjoy this great path.


Coming back north, I note the marked turn off to connect to the Canada Line bridge that has a bike path on it.


I do realize that the West Toronto Railpath is a more complicated project, but it seems like it is going to take forever to complete, in comparison to what Vancouver has managed to do in less than a year.


Update: posted to the HUB cycling FB page:

“Arbutus Greenway Temporary Path Construction June Update We’re building a temporary path that everyone can enjoy while the future Arbutus Greenway is being planned and designed. In June we finished paint line markings and stencils to help visitors share the greenway. We also added project signage, so that visitors know how to get involved. Next month we are making finishing touches to the intersection at West 41st Avenue, adding safety improvements at local intersections along the greenway, and adding signage to either end of the temporary path to help visitors get to the Seawall/Granville Island and the Canada Line Bridge.”




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Today was the late Tooker Gomberg’s birthday. Appropriately enough, it was also the day that the Bloor bike lane pilot was officially opened. I posted some pictures over on the Bells on Bloor website, so I won’t repost them here.

However, I will note that this picture (by Martin Reis) showed up in the CBC news coverage of the opening.

Screen Shot 2016-08-12 at 5.00.57 PM

The other piece of good news was the official announcement that the West Toronto Railpath will be extended south past Queen and Dufferin which could be a game changer for the west end.

Finally, just a link to an article showing that not all aspects of bike infrastructure in Vancouver are ideal.


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