Short of 10% Cycling Goal – How about a new route along 45th Avenue?

Mayor Gregor Robertson laments city’s cycling “hesitation” >> Georgia Straight

According to the 2006 census, 3.7 percent of all trips to work are made by bicycle, a 12-percent increase over the figure reported in the 1996 census. The cycling mode share is highest in the South Cambie and West Point Grey–Kitsilano areas, at 11.9 and 11.8 percent, respectively. The mode share in Grandview-Woodlands is also over 11 percent.

Well, the numbers are not totally surprising given that most of the bike routes are in the neighbourhoods mentioned above.  If we think of the Off-Broadway and 10th Avenue routes alone, that would cover all three of the neighbourhoods above.  And those routes are literally blocks from each other.  I’m happy that 10th Ave was made a bike route because the Off-Broadway along 7th and 8th is really hard to climb when going westbound.  Plus, 10th is probably now one of the busiest routes.

However, the rest of the city really lags in designated bike routes.  If you look at South Vancouver, there is barely any.  There are few north-south routes, but there is almost nothing south of the Ridgeway/Midtown route.  If Mayor Robertson wants higher cycling numbers, then more routes through the neighbourhoods south of 16th Avenue would be a great start.

Once I rode from Kerrisdale to Killarney in the night.  It was a tough ride.  There were no true bike routes and few of the bike signals to cross the major roads.  I used 45th Avenue for most of the route, but go back and forth between the different streets.  Signage would have helped to direct me to where the appropriate crossings would be and not end up in a dead end road.  However, the ride took me past many parks, including the expansive Memorial South Park.  It went by major shopping areas like Kerrisdale, Oakridge and South Hill/Fraser St.  That’s my nomination for the next crosstown route.

Possible 45th Ave bike route (Kerrisdale)
Possible 45th Ave bike route (Kerrisdale)

In Kerrisdale, there are plenty of shops and services.  It is already a major destination for those who live on the West Side.  There’s even a bike store right near the starting point (green diamond) of the route in the picture.  This point is a little off the main stretch along 41st Avenue, but that’s not far by bike.  Even a walk from 45th to 41st is pretty quick along West Boulevard because of all the eye candy in shop windows along the way.

Possible 45th Ave bike route (Oakridge)
Possible 45th Ave bike route (Oakridge)

As 45th Avenue crosses Oak Street towards Cambie, the route has to turn south towards 47th Avenue for a few blocks.  The ride would take you through a rare neighbourhood on the West Side – an apartment neighbourhood that abuts against Oakridge Centre.  Plus, there is Tisdall Park just south of Oakridge Centre.  The mall and the park would be major destinations for any cyclist.  Also, the new Canada Line stations at 41st and 49th Avenues could be great transfer points to go north to Broadway and downtown or south into Richmond.

Possible 45th Ave bike route (South Hill)
Possible 45th Ave bike route (South Hill)

Another great destination along 45th Avenue is South Hill.  45th Avenue goes right through the heart of this great retail area.  This East Side neighbourhood has great little shops, most of which are from a variety of ethnic backgrounds.  The South Hill Education Centre, John Oliver, and the South Hill Library are all nearby the route.  There’s also the very large Memorial South Park.  So weekend outings or a Little League game could be a big draw for some recreational cyclists using the route.

Possible 45th Ave bike route (Killarney)
Possible 45th Ave bike route (Killarney)

After Victoria Drive, the ride takes one into the very suburban feel of Killarney.  The route must dip southwards again, but it passes Nanaimo Park and Waverley Elementary on the way.  The route can then meet back up with 45th Avenue either at Nanaimo Street or Vivian Street.  At that point, there is already an established bike route (Midtown) that follows 45th Avenue all the way to Boundary Road and Central Park on the Burnaby side.  Killarney Park and the newly upgraded Killarney community centre, pool, and rink are very close by.  Killarney Park has been the overnight destination for the Weekend to End Breast Cancer for the past few years.

So I think there’s a lot going for45th Avenue as a major crosstown bike route.  There’s still more road from West Boulevard westward that I haven’t really explored, but I think it would be worth taking the route all the way to Marine Drive. Hopefully the planners already had 45th Avenue on their radar and this post will be a moot point.  However, if it wasn’t on the radar before, I hope it will be now.

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