Is This the Busiest Bike Lane in North America?

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CC BY 2.0. Burrard Street Bike Lane/ Maxpixel

Ten years after Vancouver's Burrard Street Bridge bike lanes opened, it is no longer controversial.

It's a nice bike lane. I have ridden across it and the views are terrific, and the deco touches on the bridge are lovely. Last year it was declared the busiest bike lane in North America.

Gregor Robertson photo with Monte Paulsen

Gregor Robertson also likes passive tiny houses, here with Monte Paulsen/ Lloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0It was very controversial when it was put in, called "Gregor's Gridlock" after the progressive then-mayor Gregor Robertson. According to the CBC, everybody hated it. The CBC titles its post 'They were saying no one would ride it': 10 years on, Burrard bike lane is N. America's busiest, officials say.

Now of course, it is totally accepted and unremarkable. I never even took a photo of it, and I take a lot of bike lane photos. As one former opponent admits, "None of us had a crystal ball back then," he said. "We couldn't have predicted how popular cycling would become if you made it safer for people."

But is it the busiest bike lane in North America? I do not believe it for a second. It turns out that it is the busiest bike lane in North America with an Eco-counter, one company's device that is put on significant routes, where it clocked an average of 3,100 per day or 1.3 million per year in 2017. The #2 was Tikkum Crossing in Portland, Oregon, with an average 2,783 counts a day, and #3 Fremont Bridge in Seattle with an average of 2,639 counts a day.

Copenhagen counter

Mikael Colville-Andersen with Copenhagen counter/ Lloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

The only time I ever saw one of these counters in action, Mikael Colville-Andersen pointed out that this route averages 22,833 per day. Vancouver has a long way to go.

The Manhattan Bridge gets a Bike Counter! from STREETFILMS on Vimeo.

On this Streetfilm of a counter at the Manhattan Bridge in New York, the counter is showing 3,920, but that's one day, not even at the end of the day, and not the annual average. Bahij Chancey did a count by hand, and got 5,800. I have ridden across the Manhattan Bridge and there is just no comparing the volume to the Burrard Street Bridge; it might be bigger by an order of magnitude now.

So it's great that the Burrard Street Bridge is a success and is now accepted and getting used. But is it the most popular bike path in North America? Fuggedaboutit.