Bike share approved at heated city council meeting 0
Nearly 200 people signed up to address city council Tuesday at a heated meeting discussing the future of cycling infrastructure in Vancouver. Politicians eventually voted to put $6 million towards a public bike share system. An Alta Bicycle share spokesman demonstrates a prototype last year. (CARMINE MARINELLI/ 24 HOURS FILE PHOTO)
Cheers, hollers and angry outbursts filled Vancouver city council chambers Tuesday as residents packed a meeting to address divisive plans for cycling infrastructure.
Nearly 200 people signed up to speak to councillors about proposals for a public bike-share program (PBS) allowing riders to pick up and drop off bicycles at designated stations, and proposed cycling and pedestrian lanes along Cornwall Avenue and Point Grey Road in Kitsilano.
Council voted to give the PBS a subsidy of $6 million before a vendor assumes all liability.
Meanwhile, first phase of construction for the west side bike lanes still needs approval for $6 million in funding from city hall. That vote was delayed until at least Thursday due to all the citizens who signed up to speak.
Glen Chernen, leader of the Vancouver Cedar Party, told council the PBS targets too many tourists — the bread and butter of bike rental shops.
“It makes me want to cry when I listen to (shop owners),” Chernen said.
“It’s obvious their businesses will be destroyed if this is a success.”
Tensions remained high throughout the meeting, as the cycling proposals have proven to be a divisive issue for Vancouverites.
Mayor Gregor Robertson recused himself from voting on the bike lanes after he decided to move to a home near the proposed lanes.
Coun. Raymond Louie asked people inside the gallery to refrain from clapping and shouting as speakers addressed council. One gentleman replied by hollering at the city councillor.
Another man was later escorted from the chambers after yelling about how long councillors spent questioning a speaker.