Thursday, June 26, 2008

Bike Lane, What...

My strata just installed a secure bike lockup yesterday, and that got be thinking about our bike network out here in the South Fraser. South Fraser OnTrax is all about complete roads that allow equal access to all modes of transportation. So, how does the bicycle fare out here? Sadly, there is much room for improvement.

All the municipalities in the South Fraser have an official bike network plan. On paper they are very nice; Translink has even compiled a downloadable map of the network. In reality things are very different.

Right now our bike network is more of a patchwork of bike lane sections. Having ridden in both Langley and Surrey, cycling can be both a joy (when there are proper lanes) and a game of chance with your life (when the lanes end). Take Glover Road in Langley from my place near 53rd Avenue to Kwantlen at the Langley Bypass.

The road starts out as a wide two-lane road with no marked bike lane. The road is wide, so it’s pretty safe. From Langley City Hall to Logan Avenue, there are no bike lanes and the road becomes four lanes. This section of road is scary to bike on. There is a shared bike lane/side on the west sidewalk from Logan to Eastleigh. Finally from Eastleigh to the Langley Bypass, there is a shoulder that acts as a bike lane. It really is an adventure.

It’s not all doom and gloom. Surrey a few years ago repainted many of their roads with bike lanes and new road construction seems to come with bike lanes now too. Though it still looks like bikes are more of an afterthought than anything else, as some of these bike lanes can be dangerously narrow. I have always been a fan of physically separated bike lane like this one in Montreal.

These kinds of bike lanes do not break-the-bank, and provide improved safety for cars, cyclists, and drivers alike. Richmond is even starting to build them as they improve No. 3 Road.

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