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Burrard Bridge bike trial not likely til late June, July

April 3rd, 2009 · 55 Comments

Lots of speculation about what is happening with the Burrard Bridge bike trial, which will involve closing two lanes of traffic. Councillor Geoff Meggs has a brief update on his blog here, but to add a few more details that I’ve heard from the inside.

City doesn’t want to start any trials until construction is finished on Granville and Cambie, since have all three major routes impeded in some way is sure to cause gaskets to blow all over town — and not in the cars. The thinking is also that that’s a good time to start, with both university and school traffic out of the way, downtown-worker vacations starting and traffic generally lighter. It’s also when cycling is likely to hit its peak. That way there’s maximum success on the bike end, minimum disruption on the traffic end, and everyone has two months to prepare for alternative routes into the downtown when the normal rush hours resume in September.

Another factor playing in is that council wants to make sure that there is an aggressive communications plan. Many people still blame the failure back in 96 on the poor communications by those running the bike trial back then, which resulted in drivers trying to pile onto the bridge instead of trying alternative times or routes.

Of course, all of this is leading to some scuttlebutt that Vision councillors are scared of a backlash and so are dithering. Impossible for me to verify this and I haven’t heard anything from them to indicate that’s so, but perhaps my citizen-journalist-readers out there know more.

Categories: City Hall Talk

  • And by September, the Canada Line will be up and running reducing traffic on all three bridges and downtown.

  • Don Buchanan

    Just want to encourage in addition to
    “drivers trying to pile onto the bridge instead of trying alternative times or routes”
    let us hope that some of them would try switching modes of transportation!

  • Len B

    What people fail to realize over the summer is that everyone and their dog(s), literally, heads downtown and into Kitsilano from all over the city.

    For anyone that lives in the west side, specifically Kits where I live, it’s absolute mayhem from 11am – 7pm at night, to get down Cornwall, most days of the week and especially on the weekends.

    To suggest that most people travelling into the city to spend their time and money here, switch modes of transport is unfortunately not likely. The people that hope for this to happen are being nieve at best.

    As for hoping people switch routes for the September’s back to school/work mode, again not likely. They’re only hoping they can disperse the anger.

    All the communications work in the world will not help the city and VV sell this terrible band-aid to the majority. Even some in the cycling community are advocates for other solutions to this issue.

  • Len B

    Oh and I forgot to mention that with 4th avenue already impossible to drive on, as Cornwall becomes more congested, traffic is pushed into the side streets making it far more noisy and dangerous for kids, and family pets on these streets.

    So more polution and more possibility for accidents in neighborhoods. What great vision they have!

  • SV

    I guess that’s why it’s a trial. I’d imagine if it doesn’t work, it’ll be scrapped. I mean people seemed to have been able to adapt to finding different ways to get around during the last transit strike, so why don’t we see how they do when two lanes of one bridge are taken away.

  • The problem is Cornwall, not Burrard Bridge. Reallocating lanes on the bridge will reduce traffic on Cornwall reducing the congestion.

    There are already a lot of people who cycle to Kits Beach instead of driving. With good bike lanes on the bridge, the number of people cycling will increase dramatically. After all, when it is nice enough to go to the beach, it is great weather for cycling.

    As far as people spending money, they will have more to spend if they are not wasting money on gas.

    Lastly, Len it is a trial. Neither of us knows the future. It is time to end the debate that has raged for the last 15 years and cost the city several million dollars.

    Lets give it a shot before spending money on other options that would cost tens of millions of dollars and cause worse congestion during construction.

  • Otis Krayola

    I’d like to respond to the contributers above

    – Richard, clearly the Cambie bridge will improve, but can you cite any study or other authority (other than TransLink) that states that bringing RAV online will in any way reduce traffic on the Granville or the Burrard bridge?

    – Don, hoping that people switch to alternative transportation modes seems, to me, naive. But wait for $2/l gasoline. Or $3. Then you’ll see some switching.

    – Len, not to pit one part of the city (or region) against another, but (in my part of the city), 11 AM to 7 PM doesn’t sound like mayhem at all. Next time it’s mayhem, time yourself from, say, MacDonald to the green light onto the bridge. Be honest. No points if it’s under fifteen minutes.

    And, what’s ‘impossible’ about 4th Avenue? Again, how long between Burrard and MacDonald (where all the commerce is centered)?


    You want ‘mayhem’? Try imagining that you live in Langley or Abbotsford and you need to commute.

    Or you lived closer in, like in Hastings, where you’d ‘host’:
    1) Much of the North Shore traffic coming over the Ironworkers Second Narrows bridge or,
    2) Auto traffic from the Northeast sector (Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Maple Ridge, Port Moody) from the Barnett Hwy. onto Hastings St.
    3) First Avenue/Hastings traffic off Hwy. #1 from points east.

    Sorry, Kits’ers, losing a lane of the Burrard bridge doesn’t sound like much of a sacrifice from where I write.

    You’ll make do. Like the rest of us.

    And welcome, too!

  • Otis Krayola

    What’s more, what about the volume on Georgia Street, funneling huge amounts of traffic to/from West Van, Horseshoe Bay, Lions Bay, Squamish ferGod’ssake, not to mention roughly half of North Van?

    Or, (mercy!) the Cambie/Oak/Granville (Marpole) system that deals, twice a working day, with RichmondDeltaLadnerTsawwassenSouthSurreyWhite Rock?

    Mayhem? Impossible?


  • Otis Krayola

    Going to bed, I re-read and realized that I’d forgotton SV…

    I might be wrong, but my understanding was that it was to be one (1) lane of the six currently devoted to internal-combustion vehicular traffic on the Burrard bridge. Surely we’re not considering a lane in each direction? Thirty-three percent?


  • SV

    Otis- I think you’re right.

  • Scott

    However well meaning the idea is, it will result in traffic mayhem from the beginning and thereafter.

    Traffic across the Burrard St. Bridge already backs up right across the bridge into downtown during afternoon rush hour.

    Just watch the 5 pm news traffic reports. It’s the busiest crossing in the city.

    Another problem is that vehicular/bus traffic attempting to by-pass the Burrard St. Bridge by heading eastbound cannot access the Granville St. Bridge easily any more.

    The eastbound/northbound Granville St. Bridge loop ramp was eliminated by the city years back and turned into parkland with the redevelopment of the old Pacific Press Building site.

    With higher traffic counts across the Burrard St. Bridge now compared to the last “experiment” around ten years ago, this social experiment will undoubtedly end up backfiring.

    That would be the result of decreasing capacity by 33% in each direction.

    And I’m an avid cyclist.

  • coldwater

    Why is change so threatening? Is it a sign of age? Mayhem is an absurd adjective to use. Inconvenient maybe, but adding a few minutes to your commute is not mayhem, nor is reducing carbon emissions. Get a grip folks. Try living on/near 1st ave anywhere east from the Terminal viaduct, or in Marpole or even SE Marine Dr. at rush hour. The fact is there are too many cars (especially single occupancy ones) and we have to start to do things in a new way. The ‘but that’s the way I’ve always done it’ attitude doesn’t work anymore. Don’t fear change. Embrace it.

  • Len B


    With respect to your choice of living in the burbs and wasting your time and money on your commute, there are many of us who choose to live in the city to limit our commute. Really this isn’t about comparing a Port Moody to downtown commute, this is about whether this makes sense or not.

    Commute times to downtown from the west side over the past 14 years have tripled or quadrupled. To someone who lives in the burbs and commutes 45 minutes that would be completely unacceptable, but because it turns my 10 minute commute into a 30 minute one I’m a crybaby.

    This isn’t because of the increased density in the westside, we all know there hasn’t been that much here. What has caused this is bad traffic management and development. Scott’s point regarding the Granville Bridge onramp is correct. It made traffic dramatically worse and they are now planning to do the same on the north side of the Granville Bridge.

    If you have some statistics that display how it makes sense to convert a lane of the Burrard Bridge, versus the Granville Bridge or versus the Cambie Bridge I would love to see them. This city is littered with cycling lanes that are not well used by cyclists because they are not convenient for their commute.

    As for the trial, it is both a one-lane and a two lane experiment – so for those who don’t think they’d be silly enough to try a 33% reduction, think again.

  • Len B


    You’re being nieve to put it nicely. This so-called trial I’ll add, is not a ‘trial’ that will end with a cyclist mayor backpeddling (pun intended) to the status quo.

    Strategically, they’re doing this in summer when they’ll have the highest success to flaunt, not in the winter when it’s pouring buckets and only the hardcore bikers are still out. Their hidden hope is that those people who used their bikes in the summer will use transit in the rain, thereby still reducing car traffic in the city.

    Further, all bridges are fed by feeder streets and Cornwall is one of those feeder streets. You cannot reduce capacity on the bridge and not have it affect the feeder streets. Cornwall is only one, other affected will be Pacific, Burrard itself both on the north and south sides of the bridge. As well traffic will increase down 4th avenue for those trying to divert to the Granville bridge.

    This trial has been strategically orchestrated to provide team gregor with the best possible results imaginable, instead of proper research and evaluation to determine if this will work for the entire 12 months of the year. Further the city has set aside up to $11 million for the trial and subsequent changes (according to one previous poster on this site) that will be wasted should it not be well used 12 months each year.

    I don’t know what your definition of wasted money is, but this is mine.

  • Len B


    This isn’t about fear of change, this is about bad policy on faulty ideology. Band-aids will cost us more in the long-term. Everytime we put off doing what’s right for the long-term, in favour of saving dollars now – it always comes back to bite us in the ass.

    What amazes from all of you though is how you live elsewhere (not downtown and not Kits), complain about traffic in other areas of the city, your commute, and then chastise me for my opposition to this.

    All of you seem to be missing from my objection to this ‘trial’, that I am not against change or cyclists or for altering modes of transportation in the city to reduce pollution. Rather I just don’t see or agree that the Burrard Bridge fits into ANY bigger plan that makes sense for this city in the long term and I’m not willing just to just throw up my arms and say “well lets just get on with it, because heaven forbid it’s taken us so long to get here.”

    That’s complete horse manure and all of us should know better by now.

  • Rodger

    I am looking forward to the trial to see what happens with car traffic. I am also looking forward to being able to bike across that bridge safely and realtively comfortably.

    Any ideas on how long the trial will last? 3 months? 1 year? After a while drivers will adjust their behaviour, and congestion will stabilize… thats my guess.

  • Len

    Agreed Pacific is a problem. For northbound traffic, it is the lack capacity of intersection of Pacific and Hornby that causes a good portion of the backup over the bridge. Hopefully the trial will encourage some people to go over Granville or Cambie instead as they are going eastbound anyway. If this happens, the travel times over Burrard could even decrease. For people heading westbound on Pacific then over Burrard, the Graville on-ramp is a very convenient option and probably faster than going over Burrard. I’m surprised that more people don’t do this instead of waiting in the congestion to get on to Burrard.

    Regarding drivers going eastbound Pacific to Burrard, this is currently quite a risky maneuverer with the two left and two right turn lanes. The road here is constantly littered with debris from collisions. The outside right turn lane conflicts with the outside left hand turns from Pacific while the view of traffic for the inside right turn lane is blocked by vehicles in the outside lane. There is only about 10 seconds per traffic cycle when traffic can move freely in this turn except that often they have to stop for pedestrians. All and all a mess. The city is proposing eliminating one of the left hand turn and one of the right hand turn lanes from Pacific onto Burrard which will make the turning a lot safer and might actually increase the number of people that can turn right from Pacific onto Burrard. At any rate, it will decrease collisions and the associated delays so it will be a net positive for motorists.

    Another factor to consider is that the city needs to make $30 million dollars in repairs to the railings on the bridge. This will require a year, maybe two of construction and the closure of one or more lanes of traffic. Drivers will have to get used to fewer lanes on the bridge anyway. With the construction on Cambie, 17,000 vehicles per day switched to Granville and 6,600 switched to Burrard.

    Have faith that people are smart and resourceful enough to adapted changing traffic conditions. It happens all the time. People are not just going to sit in traffic. It could be a bit chaotic for a few days but people will figure out other routes or travel at a different time or switch to cycling or walking.

    Regarding your framing of people supporting the trial with:
    “well lets just get on with it, because heaven forbid it’s taken us so long to get here.”

    This is not the case. The reality is that all other options have been examined and reexamined and rereexamined. The bottom line is that all other options are either really expensive or make the bridge worse for cyclists and pedestrians. Even people that have been initially against the trial have come around once they familiarize themselves with all the work that has been done on this issue. The reallocation, while not perfect, is the most practical and affordable option.

    Regarding the money for the trial, I have heard that it is around $2 million as opposed to $30 million for the sidewalk widening or $50 to $100 million for a new bridge.

    The city is planning on spending more money on the bridge to repair the railings but as I said above, that has be be done anyway.

    Oh, if you thing the trial is a problem, just wait until the Olympics.

  • Otis Krayola

    Len B,

    Not sure where you got the impression that I was commuting from the ‘burbs. Wrong on both counts. I live in the city and am retired, so don’t commute. When I did work, it was within five minutes of my home. That was intentional – what you call ‘limiting my commute’.

    You point out that commute times over the past 14 years from the west side have tripled or quadrupled. You go on to say you’re concerned that your 10-minute commute will increase to thirty. You telling us you used to get to work (or home) in two and one-half to three minutes in 1995?

    When I lived in Kits (admittedly some time ago) parking wasn’t the trouble it now is, so maybe density’s snuck up on you. What about Cornwall can be blamed on bad traffic managment (and not increased density)? How has it changed at all?

    You tell us that the city’s ‘littered’ with under-used cycling routes due to them being ‘inconvenient’. Do you know this first-hand? Are you an avid cyclist, without any input into new, convenient routes?

    I think I’d be much more receptive to your arguments if it weren’t for the whiff of hyperbole throughout.

  • Paul

    I’m looking forward to being able to cycle across the bridge safely. It will be good for the environment too. I hope they put more cycle paths in the city as well. Go Gregor, there are a lot of people behind you – I hope you achieve your vision of Vancouver becoming the greenest city.

  • JCobb

    This remonds me of the old days in Vancouver with the loopy left Cope council:

    Definition of traffic improvement:

    Kill a lane or two to create bicycle lanes.

    Only a group of morons would reduce the capacity of a Vancouver bridge to preference bicycle traffic, even as an experiment.

    Praise Allah, I’m not a Vancouver taxpayer.

  • JCobb

    When you resort to name calling, that is a sure sign you don’t have much of an argument. How doing some research? It is not that difficult on the Internet. Once you really understand the issue, I expect you might think the trial is worth a shot.

    To give you a bit of background, a few years ago a woman cycling over the bridge was accidently knocked off the sidewalk by a pedestrian. She was then hit by a van serious injured. Even if you don’t care about other people’s safety, you might care that she sued the city and settled out of court for a few hundred thousand dollars. The city is both concerned about people’s safety and the fact that the taxpayers could be on the hook if more people get injured on the bridge.

  • Len B


    Please re-read my comment. The 10 minute commute downtown is now 30 minutes. Not 2.5 to 10.

    It will be 40 minutes with the lane closures on good days.

    As for my “hyperbole” on the unused cycling lanes, I’m an avid runner whose average run is 15-20k most days, more on some others. This takes me across quite a bit of terrain and being out for 90 minutes+ each day I have a lot of time to see what routes people use and which they don’t.

    I see far more bikes on main streets, then I do on any of the cycling routes and I run along both. If it wasn’t a pain in the ass I’d take along a counter in each hand to prove my point although something tells me you wouldn’t listen anyway.

  • Len B


    Although this issue has been studied to death, what I would argue is that other options were discounted based on current policy and former ideology and is now being driven by the current council’s ‘everything green’ ideology.

    For example, many people at the open houses in the past wanted the city to add crossings over False Creek for pedestrian and bike use.

    These were discounted on 3 fronts; the first being cost, the second being an unwritten council policy against further crossing over False Creek, the third being an inconvenience to boat traffic.

    Cost for low-level crossings were never properly factored, the council policy was primarily intended to prevent further car crossings, and an inconvenience to boat traffic – come on now. Apparently no one here has been to Amsterdam or Copenhagen to see any of their move-able bridges?

    I could get into a further debate/explanation on each of these but will save that for another time.

    The point I wish to make by bring this up is that as much as it was studied to death, it was also steered in this direction and that never makes for good public policy.

    As well, getting back to one of my original points, the conversion of the Burrard Bridge does not fit in with an overall long-term traffic plan for the area. It’s a band-aid, period.

    An example of that I’ll make again is the on-ramp from Pacific to the Granville Bridge you suggest people use, has long been planned to be removed just as the south ramp has been. This has caused much of the current issue with the Burrard bridge and the increased traffic into downtown.

    City planners have recommended against the Burrard Bridge capacity being reduced and this council has not listened. That is bad policy based on ideology – plain and simple.

  • Len B


    You’ll see that from my reply to Otis that I am an avid runner. Many of my routes involve running over the Burrard Bridge.

    Although I cannot disagree that there is a problem, I find the city could have done more with signage and rules to educate pedestrians and cyclists how they can reduce the risk of accident and injury while crossing.

    Frankly the same type of instructions dividing up the seawall should not be acceptable over a bridge.

    If you are with the city, or if someone out there is and would like to meet me out there one day, I’d be happy to offer my suggestions on how it could be improved.

  • Len B


    I didn’t answer your questions, “…What about Cornwall can be blamed on bad traffic managment (and not increased density)? How has it changed at all?…”

    Some of the explanation for this has been the removal of the ramp from 4th northbound to the granville bridge. Much of the people who used this ramp now take the Burrard Bridge and it has made a very negative impact on traffic flow on both sides of the water.

    Please keep in mind that now from UBC to at least Granville street, the entire west side has had to re-route and lose capacity twice. The on-ramp removal, and now because of 1 or 2 bike lanes on the Burrard Bridge. I’m not even considering the people who commute in from elsewhere which are a huge problem (obviously).

  • gmgw

    “And by September, the Canada Line will be up and running reducing traffic on all three bridges and downtown.”

    Two responses:

    1) So what’s it like, Richard, working as a PR flack on Kevin Falcon’s staff?

    2) If this was in fact an attempt at humour, some advice: Some types of jokes work better when they’re believable.


  • Len

    The problem with low level crossings is that it has to get approval from Transport Canada, which could take years. When the bridge widening was estimated to be $12 million, the lowlevel crossing was estimated to be $15 million. Since the widening is now $30 million, a low level crossing would be closer to $40 million. It would also have ongoing operating and maintenance costs.

    While it would be a useful connection to the Seawall, with the steep hills and likely convoluted connection up to Pacific and downtown, many cyclists would continue to use the bridge deck so it is not really apparent that after spending tens of millions of dollars that you would actually solve the problem on the bridge.

    Your following suggestion is just not realistic:
    “Although I cannot disagree that there is a problem, I find the city could have done more with signage and rules to educate pedestrians and cyclists how they can reduce the risk of accident and injury while crossing.”

    This does not work with motorists so I’m not sure why you would expect this to work for cyclists and pedestrians. The province just spent $700 million dollars upgrading the Sea to Sky Highway which only has 12,000 vehicles per day because motorists don’t follow signs or the rules of the road. Anyway, the largest problems on the bridge are on the weekends and evenings when people who do not use the bridge that often are using it. What would you to? Station people on the bridge to educate users? There are signs and people don’t follow them. The sidewalks on the bridge are way below standard for the volumes of people that walk and cycle over the bridge per day.

    Remember, education is expensive if you want to reach enough people to make a difference and still, only the brave will cycle over the bridge. It is not fair that the bridge is not suitable for people of all ages and abilities. It is unacceptable that families do not feel comfortable cycling over the bridge with their children.

    Thanks for mentioning that you are a running bring up another reason to improve the sidewalks. With three types of users travelling at different speeds, the only solution is to provide more space. The worse time of the year is now with the packs of people training for the Sun Run running over the bridge.

    My advice is to enjoy running over the sidewalks during the trial. You will be further away from the noise and pollution and won’t have to worry about accidentally killing a cyclist when passing pedestrians. It will be a much more pleasant experiences. I expect in the end, you will be encouraging the city to make the trial permanent.

    I’m not sure why you think the absolute priority in the city is to accommodate motorists. The fact that the city rejected the freeways back in the 70’s is the reason why Vancouver is such a liveable city. To keep our lead, it is time we rediscovered the bold leadership that in the seventies laid the foundation for everything we take for granted today. If we don’t, other cities who have more courage will leave us in the dust.

    I’m not with the city but if you want discuss how we can ensure the trial is a success, I’d be happy to met with you.

  • gmgw

    “So what’s it like, Richard, working as a PR flack on Kevin Falcon’s staff?”

    So do you really think a PR flack for Falcon would be pushing for lane reduction on Burrard Bridge? I suspect if I was, it would not be a good career move.

    Even if you don’t believe the Canada Line won’t decrease traffic downtown, what is not debatable is that the traffic from Cambie that moved to Graville and Burrard is likely to go back to Cambie after the construction is over. With the construction on Cambie, 17,000 vehicles per day switched to Granville and 6,600 switched to Burrard.

    What is not debatable as well is that there will be fewer buses on Granville and none on Howe and Seymour once the Canada Line is open making more space for traffic downtown and providing people with an alternative to Burrard.

    It is also reasonable to believe that at least a few people will ditch their cars for the Canada Line. I expect that it won’t be the 200,000 per day that Campbell claims. Not sure where that came from. Probably the project for 2020 or something like that.

    Oh by the way, if you were trying to be funny, better luck next time.

  • Len B

    If you think your commute will be 40 minutes and you run every day, why not just run to work.

  • Paul

    As a cyclist and a car driver who lives in Kits- I believe that most of the anti-bike-lanes-trial writers are over reacting to the proposal.

    Compared to other streets, Burrard Bridge does not get backed up that often. City of Vancouver street engineers will divert traffic to other bridges in the peek times (surely it is less than one hour a day). Going by the comments from some people here it wouldn’t surprise me if they actually caused traffic problems!

    People can be encouraged to leave the car at home when going into the city. How about a new bus route from Arbutus Street to Burrard? If Vancouver wants to think of itself as a world-class city like London and New York, that is surely the next step: more transit, less single-occupancy vehicles.

  • Darcy McGee

    Business as usual. Cars screw bikes…again.

  • Don Buchanan

    Len B,

    Can you let me know what the closest bus stop is to your house (intersection of x and y streets) and whether you live northeast, southwest, etc. of that stop. I’d like to provide some insight into the transit perspective.

    I’ve just moved from 4th and Blanca to Alberni and Broughton and will also provide an overview of my own transit experience.


  • Len B


    Your following comment is completely ridiculous:

    “You will be further away from the noise and pollution and won’t have to worry about accidentally killing a cyclist when passing pedestrians. It will be a much more pleasant experiences. I expect in the end, you will be encouraging the city to make the trial permanent.”

    It is more likely a cyclist would harm or injure me, than the other way around. As I mentioned, I have some great ideas for improving safety on the bridge, so perhaps that means I practice what I preach.

    For you to suggest my ideas are not practical without even knowing them suggests you may well be the person responsible for the terrible signage on the bridge in the first place and are insulted that a mere runner may have some solutions that did not occur to you.

    I will add that people walking and biking across the bridge have considerable more time to read rules/laws on signage, versus cars speeding down the highway and negotiating hair-pin curves as on the Sea-to-Sky.

    Lastly, what I do in my car and when I run are not related. To suggest that I would be able to run to work instead of commuting is presuming that would be possible. Not everyone has a 9-5 job and can take transit everywhere they go.

    This isn’t a one-model fits all society, it’s one that needs to have a traffic plan that makes sense for all modes of transportation. Continuing to reduce capacity out of the west-side does not make sense for the majority of the population.

  • Len B


    Not sure I get where you’re coming from.

    Care to explain?

  • Len B


    I’m actually not interested in cars screwing bikes….again. Personally I’d things to be done properly for a change and for the long-term future.

    The Burrard Bridge trials are a band-aid and if you feel screwed now, how will you feel when future councils undo this terrible idea.

  • Darcy McGee

    Even more screwed.

    I want my damn separate bridge for pedestrians and bikes. I’ve been saying so since before Gregor got elected. We need it, it will_dramatically_ improve the safety of cycling in the city, and that’s been reliably shown to be the best way to increase bike ridership. Safety is the #1 reason people cite for not riding their bikes…not the weather.

  • Len

    Between dodging cars, pedestrians and runners on the narrow sidewalks, cyclists really don’t have an opportunity to read signage.

    Sure getting hit by a cyclist hurts but as cyclists tend to get knocked in to traffic and get hit by cars.

    The Bridge has been studied to death for the last 15 years. Everybody thinks they have a “new” solution but if you review what has been studied over the last 15 years, you will come to the conclusion that the trial is the best option. Even Ladner and Anton agreed the trial was worth a shot three and a half years ago before Sam forced them to change their minds when he made a political issue out of it.

    Regarding traffic, we have to decrease it anyway to fight global warming.

  • Not running for Mayor

    $40Million for a low level crossing?? Are you kidding me. Try $4Million and it could up and running in less then two months. Buy a single hull ship, they are being phased out across the planet and can be had for scrap metal values. Place it sideways in the water and drop anchors. Intall a wide metal ramp (same used at marinas and the seaplane terminal) on each end connecting to the seawall, problem solved. If you need to move it for some reason, the ramps slide onto the hull and a tugboat spins it out of the way and back in less then an hour. As a bonus in good weather you could hang out on the hull and enjoy the views and activities taking place in False Creek.

    Note I can’t take credit for this idea, I’ve heard it passed around the halls on more then one occassion, but unfortunately never seriously.

  • There is a time for studying and planning and a time for action. After fifteen years and several millions of studying many options, it is time for action. Endless studying is not responsible government and it ends up being an excuse to do nothing. It is very encouraging that this council is willing to show real leadership and resist the temptation to study every idea that anyone comes up with.

    We need to be a city that shows it can get things done. Instead of suggesting “new” ideas, we would all be better off if we all work together to ensure the trial is a success.

  • Len B


    Just because something has been studied to death and debated for 15 years, doesn’t mean this “chosen” solution is the correct one for the future.

    As I have repeatedly stated, city staff are against this trial for many reasons. Your call for action using the various arguments you have presented is irresponsible.

    I’m curious Richard, since you stated you don’t work for the city, do you at least live in the west side and use the Burrard Bridge on a regular basis?

  • Len B


    Jokes of low-level crossings aside, engineering and technology are changing constantly and there are options which are available at reasonable costs.

    My beef here is a lack of a comprehensive plan for the future that makes sense for all modes of transportation as the city grows.

    Band-aids are band-aids are band-aids, and this is a band-aid. Enough already. (So is your ship idea, lol though).

  • Sarah

    I’m a everyday all year round cyclist. I bike everywhere. Living in West Point Grey, I use the Bridge from time to time and I’m really hope that the city is going forward with the trial as something should be done. Now, a trial mean that we going to try something and come out with a permanent solution (if a trial need to be done, it’s because there is a problem). Certainly, drivers will not be happy; like everyone, they don’t like when we take something back that they took for granted. And if we want to push the discussion farther, I think we need to revise why most people think they need a car in the city. A city is made for a group living and cars are the opposite, sending people in their bubble, being individualist and creating a lot of frustration. City should be more livable, more European like (like Quebec city or Montreal). You still have lots of car, but in the heart of the city, you can see thousand of people walking in the streets. Burrard Bridge is just one little step in Vancourites accepting a Car Free city in the future. A nice enjoyable trek in the city. Hey, why not charge people that take their car in the city and give that money for free translink!

  • Scott

    Burrard Street Bridge Statistics:

    Persons cross per hour: 8,000 – 9,000 (peak times)
    Lone drivers: 49%
    Car poolers: 21%
    Transit riders: 21%
    Cyclists: 5%
    Walkers: 4%

    So a 33% reduction each way for vehicles/buses to make room for 5% of Burrard St. traffic comprising of cylcists makes sense?

    Just wait until the rainy season. Traffic congestion will be backed up much further than today with likely a virtually empty bike lane.

    Regarding the 1996 experiment an old adage comes to mind: “Those cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

  • Chris

    Can’t wait for the Burrard Bridge trial. I hope it’s a huge success.

  • L

    Scott – you’re forgeting about the latent demand …. for example: me. I would like to cycle over the bridge (I live in the West End) but currently don’t because it’s a deathtrap.

    I come from a City (Halifax/Dartmouth) with far fewer bridge lanes (7)… so I have a hard time believing that Vancouver will implode with congestion because it reduces the number of lanes across False Creek from 20 to 18….. especially since there’s a land connection as well. Seriously.

  • Darcy McGee

    > So a 33% reduction each way for
    > vehicles/buses to make room for 5% of
    > Burrard St. traffic comprising of cylcists
    > makes sense?

    Yes. Yes it does.

    On the the other hand I though the previously suggested two lane trial was one lane too many.

  • MB

    We lived one block from the south end of the Burrard Bridge for 10 years. I worked at two firms, one downtown and one on Granville Island during that time. My wife was a UBC student then. We shopped and recreated in Kits and South Granville regularly.

    During that entire time we walked, rode a bike or took a small ferry or bus. We did not own a car except during our final three years there.

    We found that we could get everywhere we needed to go within a reasonable timeframe and in all weather conditions, including 4th Ave and Cornwall, without using a car. Only very occasionally did we need to drive to the suburbs.

    Considering our largely positive car-free experience, and the fact that the Burrard Bridge (with 6 lanes) carries less overall traffic than the Lion’s Gate Bridge (at 3 lanes), and also that the downtown peninsula has experienced a net reduction in traffic over the past dozen years, I’m completely in favour of the bike lane trial.

    Let’s ensure the statistics at the end of the trial outweigh the political bollocks when influencing the final decision on keeping, altering or scrapping the bike lanes.

    Finally, L has an excellent point regarding latent demand.

  • Not running for Mayor

    Kinda ironic isn’t it, we get the Burrard st bridge trial the same year that the burnaby race and now the gastown race is cancelled. I know they are unrelated, but you can’t help but smile at the irony.

  • A “band aid” is it, Len B? Council has been building a downtown bike route for years – it’s not complete but there is a plan. The waterfront rides are fantastic – especially in spring before the pedestrian/cyclist/rollerblade traffic gets heavy. Depending on where you are going you can also make use of the fairly new on-road lanes and never leave a bike route as you cross the city from East Vancouver to the West End, for example. This city has potential to be a first class city for cycling.

    I highly recommend any new cyclists try some of the bike network out and, yes, take the new Burrard Bridge bike lanes, if and when the council start the trial.

  • Mary

    Until a parent with a bunch of little kids and their friends, can cycle over the bridge for swimming lessons at the Aquatic Centre, or a beach birthday party – without fear, then the current facilities are woefully inadequate. I personally know of MANY cyclists who will not ride over the Burrard Bridge because of unadulterated terror. It is absurd to talk of small numbers of cyclists using the bridge, until we have a safe facility and thereby, genuine numbers. Until we have this trial, we will never know the effects. We’ve been debating this for 15 years – come on Vancouver, let’s try it!