In case you haven’t heard, Bike to Work Week starts today.
The annual cycling event aims to get more working stiffs out of their carbon-emitting cars and SUVs, and onto eco-friendlier 12-speeds and cruisers instead.
I’ll admit it.
I’ve drunk the cycling lobby’s Kool-Aid.
This spring, I’m captaining a Bike to Work team at my office.
And why not? I could use the exercise and the fresh air. Besides, cycling as a viable form of commuting has come a long way in the Lower Mainland.
Yes, cyclists still have to contend with rampant bike theft, and many routes could be a whole lot safer.
But beyond these points, cycling is an enjoyable, economical and environmentally sensible mode of transport in Metro Vancouver.
One of the chief reasons for this is how well it integrates with our bike-friendly public transit system.
TransLink already allows riders to take their bikes onto SkyTrain, SeaBus, West Coast Express, as well as buses.
What’s more, there will also be room for bikes on the soon-to-be completed Canada Line.
The beauty of combining pedalling with mass transit is that it opens up the biking experience to folks from across the region, and not just the inner city.
The arrangement isn’t perfect, mind you — especially during busy travel times when space becomes an issue on SkyTrain cars or the SeaBus ferries.
And on some popular bus routes, the bike racks are often full — making it difficult for cyclists to schedule their transit journey when they’re unable to board a vehicle.
But for the most part, the system works well —and holds up as a model of integration for other cities in North America.
One of TransLink’s impressive regional projects — one that will again benefit cyclists who combine riding with transit — is the planning of the Central Valley Greenway.
Slated to open at the end of June, the 25-kilometre cycling path will link downtown Vancouver to dense urban neighbourhoods in Burnaby and New Westminster, and will link up to 11 SkyTrain stations and more than 23 bus routes.
Our transit authority’s work is far from finished, mind you.
It is currently working on a Regional Cycling Strategy that will influence where and how cycling investment is directed in the coming decade.
Given that so-called mode share for bicycles compared to other forms of commuting is surprisingly mediocre across Metro Vancouver, their decisions should not be made lightly.
– Derek Moscato is a writer with a focus on urban issues, transportation, architecture
and economics; email@example.com.
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