Velo Vets member Bill Markvoort contacted the City of New Westminster to express concern about maintenance of separated bike lanes. It took a little while but the City has responded! We enjoy very good bike infrastructure in many parts of Greater Vancouver – but ongoing maintenance of that infrastructure can sometimes fall short. It might take a while but it’s worthwhile to bring it to the attention of municipalities when you come across problems.
Date: Thu, Nov 29, 2018 at 4:15 PM
Subject: Bike Lane Issues/AR2018-076
Dear Mr Markvoort,
Much earlier this year, it appears that you contacted the City about bike lane issues relating to 7th Ave between 6th Street and 8th Street, and Boyd St. between the Queensborough bridge and Howe Street. You were concerned about the lack of cleaning of these now separated bike lanes, because cyclists end up riding on the road due to the debris, which is not safe. Please accept my apologies, as your email was forwarded to me for a response at the time and I overlooked it. In the process of reviewing outstanding items that I have this week, I would like to finally respond, despite being so late!
I would like to confirm that indeed yes, your note has been forwarded to Engineering Operations, in order to highlight the need to sweep these bike lanes now that they are separated from the road. Thank you for bringing the issue to our attention.
From: Bill Markvoort
Sent: Sunday, February 25, 2018 10:13 AM
To: City of New Westminster
Subject: Bike Lane Issues
As a long term resident of New West and also a long time cyclist I have watched with interest the initiatives and improvements that have occurred in the city over the last twenty years. Hurray for separation on the Queensborough bridge . That is such an improvement and opens up the whole delta to safe cycling. Ditto for the Central Valley Greenway. Also I hope to be around and ride on the new Patullo cycling lane the day it opens. However there are also some cycling changes that do not, in my estimation, qualify as improvements.
The most recent of these is the divided cycling lanes on 7th Ave between 6th Street and 8th Street. The issue caused by separating the lanes as shown in the photos is that the bicycle lanes are not longer cleaned and as shown fill up with debris and puddles and force cyclists to ride through water which is not only unpleasant but dangerous and results in punctures especially to cyclists on road bikes. As a result of this I still ride on the road portion which of course is now greatly reduced in width and thereby inherently more dangerous. Previously this was a very safe cycling venue with almost nonexistent traffic however I believe the safety factor is now much reduced.
A second road with similar attributes exist on Boyd Street between the Queensborough Bridge and Howe Street in particular the portion across from the mall demarcated by plastic bollards separating the bike from the vehicular lane. Almost all the cyclists, myself included, ride on the road portion of the divided lane on Boyd Street because the cycling portion has debris and is muddy and to my knowledge is not swept or cleaned in any way. So what is meant to improve our safety has the opposite effect. If the bollards were removed the road surface would be that much wider, the road would be cleaned, naturally and by municipal equipment and riders would stick more to the shoulder.
These are two examples of “the laws of unintended consequences” whereby safety is reduced rather than improved. I bring this to your attention and trust that my note will be forwarded to the appropriate departments and /or committees.
Thanks very much.