Why a complete street?

What effect will bike lanes and more pedestrian space have on Commercial Drive?

41% of people in Metro Vancouver don’t bicycle more because they feel unsafe riding with vehicular traffic (TransLink, 2011).

Creating Separated Bike lanes is about:

  • Enabling people to access affordable transportation options by providing them with comfortable, car-free space to ride a bicycle or bicycle alternative
  • Allowing people who bicycle – from the community and visitors from other neighbourhoods, to safely access goods and services on the Drive*. This is especially important in Grandview Woodland which has some of the highest rates of cycling in Vancouver **
  • Separating drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians so that each can go at their own speed at peace with one another.
  • Creating new business opportunities all while ensuring everyone is safe*
  • Enabling people in and around the Grandview-Woodland neighbourhood to choose  healthy, environmentally-friendly transportation options; helping Vancouver lower its emissions, have cleaner air, and healthier lifestyles.

Bike routes on Woodland, Lakewood, and Victoria enable through-traffic for cycling commuters and people going long distances, but they don’t encourage people on bikes to stop and spend time (and money) in the neighbourhood. Bike lanes on commercial high streets enable people on bikes to safely run errands on the street and to patronize local businesses.  **Translink Trip Diaries, 2011

In Vancouver, a study on the Hornby and Dunsmuir bike lanes showed that the bike lanes were associated with a reduction in ground floor commercial vacancies (Stantec, 2011).


It is less expensive to construct and maintain cycling lanes and sidewalks compared to vehicular lanes. Bicycles and pedestrians take up less space and weigh less, meaning reduced wear and tear and therefore reduced construction and maintenance costs for taxpayers. By dedicating more infrastructure to these less burdensome modes of transportation, we all save. In fact, currently property tax-paying cyclists, transit users pedestrians are subsidising car drivers because their infrastructure costs so much more. (US PIRG 2011; Calgary 2013; Victoria Transit Policy Institute 2013; Conference Board of Canada 2013)

More people walking, cycling, and using transit can move per hour than driving and with less pollution, in addition to increasing capacity without expanding existing infrastructure. (Hickman & Banister 2014; Globe and Mail 2011; Vancouver 2012)

We can maintain the number of parking spots on Commercial by spacing bus stops every 3 blocks instead of every 2 blocks and by reducing the length of each parking spot to the current city-wide.

On average, only 82% of parking on Commercial Drive is occupied according to a report published by Slow Streets in 2015. This highlights that there is an opportunity to make that space more efficient; 10 bikes can fit in one parking stall.


Facts from other cities

Surveys conducted in 5 major American cities (Portland, San Francisco, Chicago, Washington, Austin) found that once a new bike lane was implemented, 10% of people had shifted from driving to cycling (NITC, 2014).


A review of 460 lane removals found: total crashes could be expected to decline by an average of 29% by converting four automobile lanes three (plus other uses such as adding separated bike lanes). (Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center, 2013).


Approximately 20% of residents who bicycled on a street stated that how often they stop at shops increased after the installation of the protected bike lanes. (NITC, 2014, p.13)


12% of residents stated they were more likely to visit a business since the installation of a protected bike lane. (NITC, 2014, p.13)


In Saskatoon, the City found in 2015 that 46% of people say they want to cycle more often. (Saskatoon, 2015)


In July 2011, Ottawa installed Ontario’s first segregated bike lane downtown on Laurier Avenue. The 1.5 kilometer project was highly controversial. Businesses feared a loss of parking, although a net parking gain (from 122 to 144 spaces) was realized. Car drivers assumed that there would be no demand. Now cited as one of Canada’s most successful recent infrastructure projects, the Laurier Avenue lanes are winning awards. According to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (2015): “Cycle mode share in the downtown area increased from 4% to 7%”; “Cycling trips along the street quadrupled from 700 to 2,800 per day”; and “Fewer cars on Laurier with no increase in traffic volume on adjacent streets”.


In New York City, travel speeds in the Central Business District remained steady after protected cycling lanes were created while retail sales increased and injuries dropped by 20% (bike, automobile, pedestrian). Cyclist injuries dropped despite a “dramatic” increase in cycling. Travel times on Columbus Avenue and 8th Avenue improved by up to 14% (NYC DOT, 2014)
In Portland it’s been demonstrated that people walking and cycling will spend more overall per month than people driving at restaurants, bars and convenience stores. (Kelly Clifton, 2012)