Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

South West Marine Drive bike lane

with 4 comments

Posted to YouTube by my social media contact Anthony Floyd.

All summer long this stretch of road has been closed to traffic to allow for the reconstruction of an important water main (he says – I thought it was sewers). This has resulted in much frustration, as traffic diverted to 41st and King Edward avenues while the work went on. And my favourite route to get away from traffic on Granville Street (Arbutus/West Boulevard/Angus Dr) was closed so it took a lot longer to get to the Airport.

There isn’t any reason for me to use that bike lane, but I am glad it’s there. The video illustrates really well how a bike lane makes it faster for a bike over driving. Compared to other things I have seen I note that the amount of physical protection (New Jersey barriers) is minimal. I also note that there is no-one parked in the bike lane!

I also note that there is always someone who wants to ride faster than you, in any circumstance.


Written by Stephen Rees

September 7, 2017 at 8:50 pm

4 Responses

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  1. I used to ride on that bicycle lane for several years while I was working, and there were two problems with it. One was that building contractors working on the multi-decade building projects which are common on Marine Drive used to park in the bicycle lane, and the other was that film set vehicles used to park there too, with police protection even. Now when I drive down there I notice that nobody parks in the bicycle lane any more, not even the film set people. This is a good thing.

    The other problem was that heavy trucks working on said multi-decade building projects would leave mud in the bicycle lane, even in fine weather. But from the car I can’t tell whether that’s still a problem. I really liked the heavy trucks, though, because riding in the wake of a large vehicle gives you a considerable speed boost!

    Paul Clapham

    September 8, 2017 at 8:52 pm

  2. I’d really like to see some research on whether bike lanes with physical barriers accumulate more or less debris. My limited observations suggest that “crap” accumulates behind the barriers making riding a bike more and more unpleasant as time goes by. The barriers also prevent street cleaning equipment from dealing with the situation. I could be mistaken. I mostly take public transit these days so I rarely see bike lanes from either a saddle or driver’s seat.


    September 13, 2017 at 9:45 pm

  3. I’ve taken it now from 49th to 41st and it’s a big improvement. There is still one element that is difficult to deal with, and that’s proceeding south from 41st when there is a backup from Dunbar. Cars turn left against unconstrained bike traffic but don’t see oncoming bikes because of the backup. Now, it would help a lot if they would put up a protected bike lane from 41st to UBC, instead of the 1 m lane and shoulder that accumulates tons of gravel and debris brushed off the vehicle lanes. There are really no pleasant ways to get into UBC’s besides going through the forest with an off-road bike. Each entrance requires 2-3 km of biking next to late, speeding students on roads where all too much space is devoted to high speed car traffic and aesthetic medians.

    Alex Mandel

    December 30, 2017 at 10:03 pm

  4. The western section of SW Marine Drive (from Camosun) in the UEL is a provincial responsibility.

    Stephen Rees

    December 31, 2017 at 10:40 am

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