From Painted to Protected

This post charts the progress almost to completion of our (ISL Engineering) recent protected bike lane project in North Vancouver. This video shows a side by side of the original 2nd and 1st Street corridor in North Vancouver featuring painted bike lanes often in the door zone of the parking lane, and the almost complete protected bike lane upgrade featuring precast concrete curbs, planters, green paint and painted buffers at conflict areas. Take a second to appreciate the change in level of comfort riding in the before condition and the after. If you don’t cycle, perhaps imagine someone you care about riding in the before and the after condition, and if you drive, think about the reduced chance that a person is going to be knocked into the path of your vehicle from someone in the parking lane opening their door without paying attention. Read on to see the transformation stage by stage from very stressful door zone bike lanes to the low stress wide protected mobility lanes.

We started looking at this corridor a while ago, examining different cross-sections and their pros and cons. Upon selection of a preferred cross-section and development of the initial concept for the corridor, our detailed design team took on the design refinement and implementation. The project was taken from that initial concept through detailed design, tender, and construction in a very short space of time.

Not living too far away, I’ve been able to capture some video riding the corridor at various stages of construction which provides an interesting insight into the change to the corridor and level of comfort in using it. The videos below feature both the westbound direction and the eastbound direction.

Starting with the existing, or I should say, previous condition, where painted bike lanes were squeezed between travel lanes and parking lanes, placing the cyclist directly in the door zone and potential threats from both sides as you ride along the corridor.

The initial space reallocation was pretty nice even with just painted buffers and a wide mobility lane, not being in the door zone and having a buffer from traffic, while not being protected is much more comfortable than the previous condition.

Part 3 sees the start of the barrier install, and again, we up the level of comfort for people riding their bikes, scooters, one wheels, etc.

Part 4 adds planters to the north side of the street improving aesthetics and adding a little more protection and physical separation. Something about the addition of landscaping just make it much more pleasant to ride along here.

I will do a final video once everything is complete and in place, parking is restored and everything functioning as normal. More to come in the new year…

Thoughts on how we move around, whether by walking or cycling, transit or automobile, and how urban design influences that.