Thursday, June 16, 2011

Victoria, Old Women, and Traffic Calming

I visited Victoria, B.C. today. I have visited a few times before, but it's an interesting city that keeps getting more interesting each time I visit. There were two things that I noticed that really surprised me about the city that I hadn't noticed before. One was the large percentage (maybe even half) of the cyclists were in Lycra. There was even a guy in Lycra shorts and a dress shirt. There were definitely some citizen cyclists out there,but vehicular cycling seemed to be much more predominant than in Grand Rapids. Victoria has the highest mode share for bikes in Canada, 4.8% in 2003, while Grand Rapids has a mode share of only 2.1%. In Grand Rapids, most cyclists that I see seem to be more along the lines of citizen cyclists than vehicular. Maybe this is because Victoria is more affluent, so there are more cyclists who do so out of choice rather than necessity? I don't know.

The other thing that I noticed that really struck me was that while riding the bus, it seemed that there was a disproportionate number of middle aged or older women. If mother and Grandmothers are any indication, that population group has a very low tolerance for uncertainty and the impression of danger. BC Transit must be doing something right if they convey safety and reliability that well. I was also impressed by how high ridership levels were.

To close, I also saw my favorite example of traffic calming I have ever come across. It was a residential road with cement planters stuck in the middle of the travel lane; staggered so that cars had to move through single file.

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