The number of cycling commuters in North Vancouver has tripled in the last three years, evidence that the joint cycling plan for the City and District of North Vancouver, developed with valuable input from cyclists, is working. Now the route priorities are being incorporated into capital planning processes and results are appearing, such as the Spirit Trail. Working together, the two municipalities are making their communities more bicycle friendly and at the same time reducing emissions and improving air quality.
Cyclists living on the North Shore of Metro Vancouver have benefited greatly by the fact that the city and the district of North Vancouver are collaborating on improving bicycle infrastructure, using a jointly-developed bicycle master plan.
“Our staff and our councils have worked together to ensure that we have a master plan that links up all the bicycle routes,” says City of North Vancouver mayor Darrell Mussato. “So if we do a route in the city we want to make sure it hooks up with the District of North Vancouver, and indeed West Vancouver, so that people don’t know that they’re going from one municipality to another. It’s seamless.”
An ambitious feature of the plan is the 35 kilometre Spirit Trail, accommodating walkers and cyclists. When completed, it will run through three municipalities, from Ambleside in West Vancouver, all the way to Deep Cove in the District of North Vancouver. So far, some sections are already in use, but it’s a work in progress according to District Mayor Richard Walton.
“The easy bits are for the most part done so it’s probably going to take another decade by the time we can connect it all the way with clearly marked routes from Deep Cove all the way to the Capilano River.”
Bike lanes have also been included in the planning process for the new Lower Lynn town centre, currently under construction.
“We’re planning for people who are coming and trying to be very careful about adding the infrastructure which involves cycling trails as well as additional investment in transportation and upgrading the road systems and freeway interchanges in those areas,” says Walton.
“We want to make sure that the bike is not in the way of the automobile,” explains Mussato. “We want to make your drive easier and safer and make it safe for cyclists and make it safe for car drivers and then people will start cycling and we get more cycling numbers.”