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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

Video Vancouver Original: Paint, Planters, People

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Note: if the “HD” button hasn’t defaulted to orange, you’ll need to click to turn it on. It’s worth it.


In 2010, Vancouver took a leap forward in cycling by constructing the now-permanent Dunsmuir and Hornby separated bike lanes, riding out media bias and a few disgruntled business owners. After a first effort in 2011, Spacing Vancouver has taken the opportunity to hit the lanes once again, this time picking up on some differences that time has brought us.

At the beginning, the lanes and their vegetated traffic buffers served the existing ridership – those decked-out in “cycling” gear, the middle-aged commuters, the road racers. But as the months passed, Vancouverites have discovered downtown has become more friendly and the ridership has diversified remarkably. The slow and steady are taking to the streets as more and more riders use the lanes and wear whatever clothing they please during their outings.

As the ridership has evolved, so too have the lanes: 2012’s freshly laid green paint at intersections and areas of conflict is in turn helping attract those women (and children) riders. The bright green extends beyond downtown, showing up by Stanley Park and along the Central Valley Greenway. It re-appears on the other side of the Burrard Bridge at Cornwall, but the lanes drop quickly at Cypress. People travelling by bike to Kits Beach and beyond are left to fend for themselves among fast moving traffic; however, in time riders hope for more green paint to guide them to the next protected refuge. This site here has tons of info around different kinds of paints.

The success can be largely attributed to three simple ingredients to designing for an all ages bicycle route: once you lay down the paint colors and planters, the people will come. It starts with the bright greens of the grasses, thermoplast, and goretex – but builds quickly into a rainbow of colours.


Kathleen Corey likes tiny apartments over shops, hikes with panoramic city views, and flowing urban landscapes. While in the San Francisco Bay Area, she led design processes for the India Basin community farm and Wilkie Creek outdoor classroom. Kathleen completed the Urban Design certificate at SFU’s City Program and is working toward her Master of Landscape Architecture at the University of Guelph.



  1. Love the video. I actually represent the company who provided all of the planters along side of the Bike Lanes. (Did you know that they are self-watering with a built in water reservoir??) Thanks for the promo. I have been forwarding the video to other like minded Bike cities in North America. Thanks again for that. BUT, I just reviewed the video again and I cannot get the sound to function. That catchy little tunes has been muted. Is there a problem or have I just missed something on the set up.
    Would love to hear from you

    Craig MacPherson
    (604) 544-3839

  2. Craig again.
    Disregard my previous sound related email. Dumb Craig. The site that I am on has the sound permanently muted………..Craig