Opinion: Vancouver driving becoming increasingly difficult

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bike lane traffic congestion vancouver

It is becoming increasingly difficult for drivers to get around the city. Vancouver driving is the second most congested city in North America, a hell on wheels work commute and it doesn’t look like it’s getting better anytime soon.

Pedestrians

Density in the downtown core has been both a gift and a curse. The gift is a vibrant and safe downtown to live, work and play. The curse has been the plethora of pedestrians walking around with the obliviousness of a Grand Theft Auto video game. Wait, that’s too much credit – Vancouver pedestrians seem to love the thrill of darting across the street through traffic, sometimes with a smirk especially while jaywalking. You’ll get the entitled ones, the macho guy with his chest out, the daddy money princess, or the hobo claiming his territory. Drivers are at fault in their eyes. I think a greater use of the horn is in order for these pedestrians.

Cyclists / bike lanes

This has been debated fiercely by both sides. Cyclists face major danger at spots, such as Harwood or Chestnut, where they’re zipping down and even a small clip by a car will send them flying. Bike lane infrastructure makes cycling safer and, in theory, the green impact sounds terrific. However, the reality is that it increases congestion and pollution, and has a negative economic impact due to less mobility. The Metro Vancouver population is increasing by one million over the next 30 years – I hope “build it and they will come” holds true, but really, think about it, one million more people.

Construction

We are blessed beyond belief, compared to U.S. counterparts, to have so much regular maintenance on our roads. However, doesn’t it seem sometimes that you kind of never get to use new or improved roads because some sort of new construction pops up? Sometimes it seems the timing of these construction efforts, especially during leisure times, produces more traffic congestion than rush hour.

TransLink

Translink can either be the Michael Jordan or the Bill Buckner of the Vancouver commute problem. Roads are used by every citizen and costs of TransLink should not solely be borne by drivers. Pedestrians, cyclists and the transportation of goods we consume all use our public roadways. The $23 billion to improve Metro Vancouver transit should be sourced from every citizen in Vancouver, not drivers through tolls and carbon taxes.

Bad drivers

This is on the drivers. Go to driving school.

Parking meters

Visiting downtown Vancouver costs more for parking than any other city in North America (besides Chicago). This affects the downtown economy as less money trickles to bars, restaurants and retailers, from visitors’ wallets. It is just another high cost in Vancouver driving.

Drivers are feeling unwelcome in their own city. Cars are not going extinct – the future calls for green cars that drive themselves. But will Vancouver driving ever be quicker and safer?

 

Image: Dylan Passmore

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Manny Bahia is the Co-Founder of Vancity Buzz.
@mannyvancity

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