The recently updated North Vancouver Bicycle Master Plan is indeed a good one, as mentioned in your Oct. 12 story, Cyclists Hope Bike Plan Will Get Action. But recent decisions show that having a good plan is not enough if it is not thoughtfully implemented. Here are two recent examples from both city and district:
The planned new Low Level Road will have no sidewalk and people on bikes are expected to ride between 18-wheelers and a tall retaining wall without a physical separation from traffic that will probably move at about 70 kilometres per hour. Last year's repaving of Keith Road west of Mountain Highway offered an opportunity to address the long-standing speeding issue and the safety concerns of cyclists, pedestrians and transit users on Keith, but district council decided that some drivers' concerns trump everybody else's. This is why I started a petition to district council to speed up the implementation of the bike master plan, which was signed by more than 1,000 people in just over two weeks in September.
Streets should be safe and accessible not only for drivers, but also for people on bikes and on foot and for the disabled. A variety of transportation options allows everyone, including seniors, people with disabilities and young people, to get out, reach nearby destinations and stay connected with the community. Making cycling and walking a realistic and convenient transportation option in North Vancouver makes sense on so many levels: health-wise, environmentally and economically. It is hard to understand why the new Low Level Road, the repaving of Keith and other, earlier opportunities were not used to promote healthy communities and reduce congestion.
Too many streets on the North Shore are designed only for speeding cars, or worse, sitting in traffic jams. They are unsafe for people on bikes and on foot - and unpleasant and unhealthy for everybody. Continuing to invest in streets that prevent people from riding a bike, walking or hopping on a bus only contributes to congested roads. Instead we need streets that are designed for all modes of travel and that can fit more people in the same road space.
Antje Wahl North Vancouver