Monday, December 1, 2014

Another highrise planned for Brown Ave; let's plan for cycling now before it's too late!

An 18-storey tower is being planned for 22576 and 22588 Brown Avenue (just east of Edge St.), which is a designated bike route. The file # is 2013-019-RZ. There are several more towers planned for Brown. It is expected that, in another 5 years or so, a developer will move ahead with 5 more towers between Brown and Dewdney west of 224th. It looks like Brown will be a busy street!
Before the Council meeting on Nov. 25, I sent the following e-mail to Coun. Masse (and alerted Coun. Bell to this issue on facebook):
"From a cycling perspective I'm concerned about the towers and further densification planned for Brown Ave. This is a designated bike route, but no bike lanes are planned according to the recently adopted 20-year Transportation Plan.
There will be on-street parking, which can make on-road cycling rather challenging for the average cyclist as traffic increases. If at a later stage the decision is made to add bike lanes, will the street be wide enough to add bike lanes WITH A BUFFER between parked cars and bike lanes? Bike lanes in the door zones of cars are some of the most dangerous types of bicycle facilities.
It's important to plan for this now. Especially since cyclists don't have a whole lot of safe east-west options. Some day in the not too far future we won't be allowed anymore on the sidewalk either, which will further limit our options (it's just a matter of time. There is no doubt in my mind that'll happen).
I also mentioned the need for bike lanes in my e-mail to Council of November 10, 2013 regarding the other tower (2012-115-RZ): "Since Brown Ave. is a bike route, I expect that the Engineering Department will at some point be planning to add bike lanes, since over time, with increased density, traffic volumes will increase. Perhaps it may make sense to make added bike lanes part of the rezoning requirements for this development."
The present road design requires cyclists to take the lane. Definitely not AAA (all ages all abilities) infrastructure...I actually saw an artist's rendering attached to the staff report with a cyclist riding on the sidewalk...

See agenda November 25 Council meeting, staff report on page 144: 

Council discussion at the Council meeting of November 25, 2014, starts at about 48 minute mark:

This development is on the agenda for the public hearing on Dec. 9.

All that's planned for this road is some bike symbols to alert cars that they should expect bicycles on the road. I think we need to start setting our bar a little higher than that, if we ever want to be successful encouraging more people to bike for short trips in and around the town core. It's obvious that if this design is according to city standards, these standards are not adequate for a designated bike route on a high density street right in the town core. 

It would be much appreciated if you could send your comments to, or speak to Council at the public hearing on Dec. 9 (the meeting will start at 6 pm).

Great to hear that several e-mails were received by Council from cyclists! 
Presentation by city planner starts at about 2:25. 
Presentation by HUB committee Ivan Chow starts at 17:00. 

Council meeting right after public hearing on Dec. 9:
Brown Ave. starts at 3:00. Great to see strong support from most Council members!

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