City of North Vancouver council unanimously agreed Monday to give city staff the power to reduce speed limits on select bike routes.
Speed limits could be reduced to 30 kilometres per hour on local roads with bikeways and greenways and 40 km/h on collector roads, which are designed to handle more traffic. Arterial roads will not be affected.
Lowered speed limits will be determined on a caseby-case basis, and public consultation would be held if necessary.
The plan will also permit cycling on a sidewalk that is part of a bikeway or greenway where signage is posted.
The bylaw changes also reflect the expansion of the Spirit Trail by allowing skateboarding and roller-skating in areas such as Carrie Cates Court, Chesterfield Place and Chadwick Court, where these activities were previously prohibited.
City council also received a report recommending that staff identify key north-south and east-west corridors suitable for cyclists of all ages and abilities, known as AAA facilities, which could form the backbone of a future bicycle network.
AAA facilities are usually separated from traffic by physical barriers or protected by lower speed limits. They include off-street, bike-only paths, neighbourhood bikeways along quiet local roads, separated lanes and multiuse paths.
Coun. Craig Keating said he believes there is an unmet demand for cycling facilities. "I certainly don't think we should be founding our cycling infrastructure policy based upon the notion of how many people are recorded to have been cycling so far," he said. "If the proper facilities weren't there for cars, the number of cars driving would be lower than it is right now."
Separated bike lanes present the safest option for both drivers and cyclists, he said. "If we produce things that are AAA, cyclists will come."
Coun. Guy Heywood voiced concerns about possible impediments separated bike lanes pose to truck traffic, particularly travelling along Esplanade, but manager of transportation Dragana Mitic responded that traffic lanes will still be wide enough for trucks and buses.
Coun. Don Bell was absent from the meeting.
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