In the report “Fall 2022 Update on Cycling,” City of North Vancouver staff provided information to council regarding recent projects and future plans. While “cycling” is in the title, staff pointed out that mobility lanes are also for e-scooters, e-bikes and any number of other rolling devices.
The idea is to make it easier for people to choose different forms of transportation to get where they are going—especially locally, where most trips take place.
The city is making space on our roads to ensure that people rolling are not exposed to traffic. Removing rolling devices from sidewalks and placing them into dedicated mobility lanes also reduces pedestrian risk.
According to the report, dedicated mobility lanes work best when protected by barriers, curbs or parked cars. West 1st Street, Brooksbank Road, and, soon to be complete, Esplanade are all examples. These lanes are “All Ages and Abilities or AAA” because they are comfortable for people of all ages and abilities. With mobility lanes in place, usage has increased by 117% on West 1st Street. A peak day saw nearly 1,200 users.
Transportation is the most significant contributor to overall emissions in CNV, accounting for 57% of our total. Making space for non-gas-powered rolling transport helps us address the climate threat we now face. Mobility lanes are the beginning of a crucial shift to support the city’s goals to promote health and reduce emissions.
Based on data from other towns, mobility lanes also encourage local business. Esplanade will be our first “complete street”—a street with space for all road users that provides a direct connection to shops. We’ll see whether or not the new lanes support local businesses. We know that in Vancouver, the Downtown Business Improvement Association—that once railed against the bike path expansion—now funds HUB Cycling, a non-profit advocate for safer and complete streets.
The report made clear that more mobility lanes are on the way. Staff expect the Casano-Loutet overpass across Highway 1 to get underway soon. The bridge will link the city to Lynn Valley and to a new Upper Levels Greenway. The new greenway will extend along the north side of Highway 1 from Lynn Valley Road to Westview. These two new pieces of the mobility network will help even more people choose walking and rolling to get around.
While we have made progress on mobility lanes, I recognize that, for many, new uses for roads represent change. For many people in the City, however, we need to do more. Some residents have requested improvements so they can safely reach their destinations by walking or rolling.
The real benefits will come when we have a complete mobility network and families can safely roll with their smallest members to school, shop and play. For now, we have a few AAA sections that demonstrate our investments do result in growing “rollership” and a fundamental change in how people move around.
Let’s keep moving forward and roll on.