...but when I do, I prefer the 600 block of West 10th Avenue.
It is... the Most Dangerous Block In The World.
Here's an annotated map of my immediate surroundings. The compass points are where you'd expect them to be.
I cycle in from the East on the 10th Ave bike route, and turn right on Heather Street (another bike route) to get into my building (marked A). My commute is a total of about 6km, and I have a massively disproportionate number of my near misses with cars in the last block and a half of it . It is a very, very busy area in the mornings, especially now the Canada Line section of the SkyTrain is up and running. People are coming and going to work, the gym, the supermarket (access to the latter two sites is at the North-West corner of the green rectangle), trying to park before heading to the airport or downtown on the SkyTrain... and City Hall is just off the map to the East (I didn't include it because the image was already too wide).
More importantly, there's not enough off-street parking for patients coming to our clinical building over the road, and many of them use the metered parking on the surrounding streets. They might be coming in for a diagnosis, or for chemo, or radiation, and they're understandably anxious and distracted. This adds up to an awful lot of people pulling in and out of parking spots without checking for bikes. Add in the overflow of Vancouver General Hospital patients and visitors (including extremely anxious and distracted people who just got a call telling them to come to Emergency RIGHT NOW), plus ambulances coming and going from VGH and our clinical building, and you have a recipe for disaster. The only thing I could possibly do that is more dangerous than cycling my current route would be to turn right one block earlier and try to make a left turn from Ash Street, on a steep downhill slope, into the back alley where the door that leads to the bike room and showers is located.
Oh well, when I (almost inevitably) get hit, like several of my colleagues (cyclists and pedestrians) before me, at least there'll be lots of doctors around to help me. Which reminds me to be nice to my clinical colleagues, even though they're the last ones to get their CVs to me before a grant deadline again.
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