City of Vancouver Releases Commercial Drive Intercept Survey Results

Click here to view them: http://vancouver.ca/files/cov/commercial-drive-complete-street-display-boards-oct2016.pdf

Some highlights:

  • Over 80% of people surveyed on Commercial Drive sidewalks arrived on foot, bike, or transit (11% biked and 44% walked)
  • People walking, cycling, or taking transit visit businesses or services more frequently
  • 44% of Commercial Drive visitors are from within Grandview-Woodland; another 16%  are from the immediately surrounding areas
  • Half of all people in the area cycle regularly in good or fair weather, and 60% would like to cycle more often
  • About two-thirds of people visiting have never cycled on Commercial Drive, with safety concerns and not having a bike being the largest barriers cited
  • Only 14% of people would feel comfortable cycling with a small child on Commercial Drive today
  • Of those who drove, only 33% used metered parking The Drive
  • Only 11% found it somewhat difficult or very difficult (4%) to find parking

November 2015 newsletter

Happy Autumn From the Streets For Everyone team!

The Streets For Everyone team wants to support other communities where folks are interested in organizing around street improvements. Do you live around Main Street, Kingsway, or another street and want it to look more like a Street For Everyone? We want to hear your thoughts and ideas. Email us at info@streetsforeveryone.org and let us know what you’re thinking.

Update on the Grandview Woodland Community Plan

As you may remember from our last update, thanks to the input of many members from the Grandview Woodland community, the Citizens Assembly on the Grandview Woodland Community Plan recommended all components of the Streets For Everyone Commercial Drive Proposal in their final report to City Council.  This was a big step in moving a more inclusive, less car-centric vision for Commercial Drive forward.

The planning team at the City of Vancouver is still working on a formal response to the Citizens Assembly recommendations and is currently working on a draft Community Plan that will take the recommendations from the Citizens Assembly sub-area workshops into one document.

The draft plan will likely be publicly released early this winter at which point it will be open to public input. We’ll keep you in the loop as we hear more.

Let council know you want to see forward movement on Commercial Drive

Now that it’s been a couple of months since the Grandview Woodland Citizen’s Assembly report was released, we recommend writing Mayor and Council a personal letter letting them know that you want to see city staff move forward on the work necessary  so that Commercial Drive better suits the diverse needs of its community in the short term.

Without action from Council directing staff to begin the consultation and design work concurrent with other work on the Grandview Woodland Community Plan, it could be many years before anything happens.

The City of Vancouver has a great starting point with the SFE Commercial Drive proposal but they still have design and consultation work to do in order to ensure the best options are chosen. Doing this work concurrently with the finalization of the Community Plan will help Commercial Drive’s much needed updates happen soon after the Grandview Woodland Community Plan is finalized.

Honest letters to our elected leaders can go a long way. Email mayorandcouncil@vancouver.ca or better yet write each councillor individually.

Want to be the Streets For Everyone Website Coordinator?

You may have noticed that the Streets For Everyone website is very outdated. We are looking for a web-savvy volunteer who can improve the SFE website and keep it updated on a regular basis. If you’re interested, email Alex at info@streetsforeveryone.org and let him know you want to get involved.

Our community partners at Kickstand are having their big annual fundraiser party this upcoming Saturday, November 14th. Come on down and support this amazing volunteer-run space.

The next Streets For Everyone meeting will be on Monday, November 16th from 7:00pm-9:00pm in the back of Kickstand community bike shop on the corner of Commercial Drive and Venables at 1739 Venables in the basement. If you want to get involved, come on down!

Upcoming Volunteer Opportunity – March 24, 2015

Our next volunteer opportunity is next Tuesday, March 24th where we will be talking with passers-by on the Adanac bike route and collecting petition signatures.

People are usually really friendly with us and very supportive of our proposal and collecting signatures is a piece of cake.

IMG_0175_rescaleWhen: Tuesday, March 24th 4:00pm-5:30pm.

Where: The Southwest corner of Adanac and Commercial Drive

Details: Friendly street conversations throughout last spring and summer are a big reason we have many of our supporters. This upcoming Tuesday, we’re getting a group together on the Adanac bike route to hand out Streets For Everyone stickers, talk about the Commercial Drive Proposal, and collect petition signatures. We’re going to start doing outreach like this on a regular basis all over east van. It’s a pretty fun time. Sometimes we bring music, lemonade to give out, and do other fun stuff to get the community talking. We’ll give you all of the information and materials you’ll need to speak confidently about what we’re up to.


If you’re interested but aren’t sure if you feel comfortable talking to strangers but want to see what it’s like, drop by and and say hi or hang out!

Sign up to our volunteer Google Group to hear about future opportunities to help out. You can control how often you receive emails and unsubscribe at any time.

Please let us know if you’re coming to volunteer by posting a message in the Google Group.

Newsletter – March 2015 – Plenty of Good News!

The Streets For Everyone Commercial Drive proposal made some very exciting steps forward this weekend!

This past Saturday, March 7th, the City of Vancouver hosted a workshop on the future of Commercial Drive as part of the Grandview-Woodland community planning process. This event is one of the key inputs that will shape the City of Vancouver’s plans for Commercial Drive. We could not be more satisfied and excited by the results of the workshop.

IMG_2626Over 100 community members volunteered their time on the sunny Saturday to discuss a variety of Commercial Drive-related topics of their choice in tables seating approximately ten people. At the end of the day, when each table presented their key discussion points, ALL FOUR of the Transportation and Public Realm tables recommended an improved pedestrian realm and bicycle lanes on Commercial Drive. A couple of the tables went as far as recommending that the city implement bus bulges (as featured in our design) and encouraged the city to take the bike lane south until 14th or 15th ave. The tone of the meeting was generally pretty positive toward pedestrian, cycling, and transit improvements.

Other successes:

December 2014 – Streets For Everyone’s proposal for Commercial Drive wins the Active Transportation Survivor event hosted by the City of Vancouver.
City of Vancouver Transportation Survivor Event

City of Vancouver Active Transportation Survivor Event

A couple of months ago, the Active Transportation Branch at the City of Vancouver hosted a game of Survivor in which city engineers, planners, advocates, members of the Active Transportation Policy Council and other individuals working on transportation projects in Vancouver each advocated for one specific project as the next priority for the city. After a couple of hours of intense discussion, creative presentations, and competitive voting, Streets For Everyone’s proposal for Commercial Drive as presented by Sarah FioRito won the game as the last project standing.

Jerry Dobrovolny, Vancouver’s Director of Transportation, Heather Deal, Vancouver City Councillor, and many key members of the city’s engineering and planning staff were there to witness the win. Having a room full of several dozen key people vote to keep Commercial Drive as a priority project was a concrete testament to Commercial Drive’s importance as a priority project for Vancouver.

February 2015 – Streets For Everyone coordinators meet with the Commercial Drive Business Society Board of Directors.

IMG_2178
Key messages we spoke about at the meeting included:

  • A large and growing contingent of Commercial Drive businesses support the Streets For Everyone proposal for Commercial Drive
    • They see the proposed improvements as a way for current and prospective customers to easily and safely access their businesses.
    • Many business owners strongly disagree with the Business Society taking an anti-bike lane stance in the past and do not feel that their needs are being well-represented by the business society.
  • A plethora of research from cities around the world demonstrates that making streets accessible to all transportation modes has a positive impact on business sales.
  • Updating Commercial Drive’s design to align with evolving transportation trends in the neighbourhood and city makes sound business sense
  • The Streets For Everyone Commercial Drive proposal will result in no net-loss in on-street parking on Commercial Drive-what’s not to like?
February 2015 – The Streets For Everyone coordinators meet with members of the City of Vancouver’s transportation and engineering department to discuss the technical details of our plan.

IMG_2493Last month, in order to prepare for their comprehensive data collection and analysis work around the big transportation questions in Grandview Woodland, Lisa Leblanc, the lead transportation planner/engineer for all of the community plans at the City of Vancouver, invited some members of the Streets For Everyone team to their Transportation office to talk about the specifics of our Commercial Drive Proposal with a team of planners and engineers from the city. We applaud the City of Vancouver for taking our proposal quite seriously and for taking the necessary time to go through each component of our proposal step by step with us. Among other things, we discussed how our proposal will speed up the #20 bus, improve pedestrian flow, and enable people on bicycles to access Clark Park and Trout Lake. No formal promises were made in the meeting (we’ll be working on that) but there was certainly a lot of nodding and general agreement.

SFE stickers are here.

IMG_2665Shoot us an email if you want some!

 

 

 

 

Event – Designing Streets for Livability, Inclusivity, Sustainability, and the Local Economy Forum

A community forum you don’t want to miss.

Come join a community-wide discussion on the future of street design in Vancouver hosted by the Grandview Woodland Area Council (GWAC)

Monday, November 3at 7:00pm – 9:00pm @ Astorinos Hall 1739 Venables St

Presentations will be given by:

Kay Teschke

Professor and Lead Investigator, Cycling in Cities Research Program
UBC School of Population and Public Health

Sarah FioRito

Streets For Everyone Campaign Coordinator

Topics to be covered include:

  • Recent transportation trends in Vancouver
  • The local business and economic benefits of a multi-modal transportation network
  • Research on how street design influences transportation behaviour
  • How street designs relate to social justice, health, and sustainability
  • Specific design proposals for Commercial Drive

 

 

Quality Bike Infrastructure Key to Happy Customers – An Interview with Cycle City Tours

Streets For Everyone recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Josh Bloomfield, owner and founder of Cycle City Tours to discuss operating a bicycle-based business in Vancouver. This interview kicks off Streets For Everyone’s series on people-friendly street designs and the individuals, businesses,  and organizations who embrace them.

Streets For Everyone (SFE): So Josh, what is the general idea behind Cycle City Tours?

Josh Bloomfield: The general idea of Cycle City Tours is to take small groups of people around the city with a knowledgeable local guide and to tell them stories that are relevant to the history, culture, and environment in Vancouver.

Josh speaking to a Cycle City Tours tour group on the Sea Wall

Josh speaking to a Cycle City Tours tour group on the Sea Wall

SFE: Tourism is a very large industry in Vancouver. Why do you think that people are choosing Cycle City Tours over other potential ways to see Vancouver?

Josh: There’s definitely a big rise in the active style of touring that people are interested in doing these days, and I wouldn’t limit that just to biking. If you look, for example, on a website like TripAdvisor where people give reviews, the top five companies on there are all small independent companies like mine. Small-group, intimate experiences that are active have become a lot more popular, and I think in some way that has to do with the spontaneity that guests can experience in a small group either by walking or biking. You can stop if you want to or if you see something interesting.  There’s no limitation on where you can go, which direction you can go, or where you can start and end, so it’s a little bit of a different style than if you are stuck in a vehicle in traffic. Even if a bus wanted to, a lot of the times it couldn’t stop to let you see something.

SFE: You’ve spoken about sustainable transportation in various forums. What does that mean to you and how can cities with large tourism industries, like Vancouver, support and foster sustainable tourism?

Josh: It really just comes down to having infrastructure for it. If the city was to build the infrastructure, everything would automatically build-up around that. If there are great bike paths, for example, like the Seawall, then small businesses like rental bike shops will inevitably pop up. When people call or email to ask about tours, they often want to know about safety. They want to know about whether we’ll ride in traffic, and the nice thing that I can say is that 90 to 95 percent of our riding is on separated, safe infrastructure.

Cycle City Tours on the way to English Bay

A tour group on their way to English Bay

SFE: Cycling for transportation is growing very rapidly in cities all over North America and around the world. Do you think that that has impacted the growth of your company?

Josh: A lot of the people who come on our tours do ride bicycles. It’s amazing to see the demographics of the people who come on tours, because if it was ten years ago we wouldn’t get all the seniors that we get, and we probably wouldn’t get all the young families who are putting their kids in bike trailers or trail-a-bikes or on kids bikes and coming on decent rides with us.

We’re also benefiting from this trend in that there are similar experiences like ours to be had in a lot of major cities. A lot of our guests will say that they’ve done bike tours in Paris, or Barcelona, or Amsterdam, or New York. And I think that once you do this kind of activity in your travels, you kind of get hooked and realize that it’s a really fun way to see a place, it’s a great way to work off all that food that you’re eating on holiday, and that it makes you feel good at the end of the day. It’s definitely a trend that’s helping us.

 

SFE: If the Cycle City Tour routes weren’t on high-quality bicycle infrastructure do you think you would have less people interested in taking your tours?

Josh: Absolutely. The bottom line is that people aren’t comfortable biking with traffic.  When I talk to guests on our tour, they’ll tell me that in their city, whether its Houston, Texas or Miami, Florida, that it’s not that safe to bike in their city, and they’re so happy when they come here. They feel so relaxed and safe exploring our city by bicycle. In a lot of ways, I think it affects their point of view of what is possible for their city. But, if we didn’t have safe infrastructure we wouldn’t get the families, we wouldn’t get the people who aren’t comfortable on roads with traffic.

Cycle City Tours using the separated bike lane on Union Street

Tour routes are designed to maximize use of quality cycling infrastructure, like the separated bike lane on Union Street, because many customers do not feel comfortable riding in traffic

 

Are there places you would like to take your tour groups but don’t at present because there isn’t currently quality cycling infrastructure?

Yes. Gastown and Chinatown! Especially Water and Cordova Streets.

 

SFE: There’s a lot of small innovative companies popping up around Vancouver that are using bicycles as a core component of their business model. Why do you think that is and what can the city do to encourage this trend?

Josh: The investment in a bicycle tour company is far less than the investment in a bus tour company. The investment in a bicycle delivery service is equally affordable. Biking is affordable.

Bicycle-based businesses are largely more affordable than their alternatives, and this makes it easier for small business to find the minimal amount of capital that they need to get started. In terms of the city, again, good infrastructure definitely helps. Also, if there was any seed capital for bike-based businesses that would be great. Tax credits or any kind of credits obviously make a difference.

Cycle City Tours

Cycle City Tours group with a view of downtown.

Cycle City Tours in the woods

Cycle City Tours in the woods

Cycle City Tours with the North Shore mountains in the background

A tour group takes a break with the North Shore mountains in the background


Stay tuned for more articles about people-friendly street designs and the people, businesses,  and organizations who embrace them

Car Free Day

Car Free Day - Streets For Everyone

Young riders will feel safe riding their bikes on Commercial Drive once they have a protected bike lane to do it in

After months of behind the scenes work we officially launched our Commercial Drive Campaign during June 15th’s Car Free Day. Thanks to the organizers of Car Free Day on Commercial Drive, we were able to build a 50 meter installation which demonstrated some key design improvements that will make Commercial Drive a more vibrant, inclusive, and environmentally sustainable street.

The main improvements we are advocating for include:

  • widened side walks
  • all-ages-and-abilities bike lanes
  • better transit and transit shelters
  • better pedestrian crossings and more marked or signalized crosswalks
  • more benches and other street furniture
  • improved landscaping

We had expected our campaign would be well-received, but we were blown away by how supportive, excited, and happy hundreds of community members were that we are doing this work.

Despite the rain, we had about 900 people sign our petition on Car Free Day. In total, we now have about 1200 official supporters of a better Commercial Drive. Not bad for a campaign that was officially launched less than a week ago! 😉

Throughout the day we had people rushing up to our installation exclaiming,”where’s your petition, let me sign it!” It was truly gratifying and exciting to know that our work is so appreciated by our community and that people are already telling their friends about it.

One of the reasons we founded this organization was to shine a spotlight on how much support there is for better, more inclusive, and more environmentally sustainable streets in Vancouver.

Our launch at Car Free Day was a huge success and clearly demonstrated that there is a is a big desire from people of all ages, incomes, and backgrounds for streets that are designed for all users.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date on the campaign and to hear about all of the other exciting things we have planned for the summer and beyond.

We would like to thank Kickstand, Greenscape, Modo, and the Vancouver Foundation for donations and funding and our volunteers for their hard work and dedication.

Streets For Everyone Car Free Day Installation

A few of Streets For Everyone’s Volunteers

Streets For Everyone Car Free Day Installation

Hundreds of people signed out petition!