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And here are the Burrard Bridge bike lane details

June 23rd, 2009 · 26 Comments

This just out from the folks at city hall

Burrard Bridge protected cycling and pedestrian pathways to open on July

Protected pathways for cyclists and pedestrians are scheduled to be in
place on the Burrard Bridge starting Monday, July 13. This trial
addresses three key issues: safety, sustainability and affordability,
and involves the following changes:

*       the west curb lane of the Burrard Bridge towards Kitsilano will
become a bicycle lane
*       the west sidewalk on the English Bay side of the bridge will be
for pedestrians only
*       the east sidewalk becomes an exclusive bicycle path into

Other changes will include protective barriers to separate the bike
lanes from vehicles; traffic signal modifications; and measures to
provide priority access for buses. The bridge will maintain three lanes
northbound into downtown.

Preparations will commence on Monday, July 6. Previously scheduled
paving on Pacific is being incorporated into the reconfiguration of the
bridge entry/exit points. Repaving of Pacific Street will include new
lane markings, signals, signs and protective barriers to allow a cycling
lane between Thurlow and Hornby Streets.

Work will continue until the configuration is complete early in the
morning of July 13 (weather dependent).

A monitoring program will be in place during the trial to assess the
impact of the lane changes and will collect data on pedestrian, bicycle
and vehicle volumes, and travel times. Staff will report back to Council
in 3 months.

A communications program will provide public information on the changes
on the bridge and alternative vehicle routes. The program will feature
print and radio advertising, updated website information and the use of
social media.

Categories: Uncategorized

  • Darcy McGee

    Communications isn’t going to do a thing to reduce driver annoyance, I think. Drivers are an impatient lot.

    I saw city staff on the bridge a couple of days ago who appeared to be counting…something. I’m not sure what, and didn’t stop to ask.

    I hope they stick to their guns on this one. Does the “report back to council in three months” imply that the trial will stay in place for three months? The nice thing about that is it takes us into the fall, with the return to more “normal” traffic patterns which tend to shift a bit in the summertime due to vacations, tourists, etc.

    I know what I’m doing on July 13th…anybody up for a group ride?

  • Before responding, I encourage people to take the time to learn more about the issues and the history so we can have an informed debate. The city has some good information at:

    The 16 year history:

    Some FAQ’s

  • Frothingham

    Well this will be one way to keep motorists from zooming across at >8okm… what a bunch of asshat YVR drivers have become. … no signaling, swerving & weaving, cutting-off lanes etc etc.. all signs of FRUSTRATION. But they can’t get it into their thick skulls that auto movement about the city is going to get more and more difficult. Get used to it. Relax and learn to enjoy your longer and longer commutes. .. c’est la vie

  • Darcy McGee

    Well Richard, I’m apparently in one of those videos….but one question I asked doesn’t get addressed. There’s no firm commitment to the minimum length of the trial that I can see.

    Maybe I’m not seeing it?

  • Darcy

    From what I understand, there will be a report to council 3 months after the trial has started. This will be after the peak traffic period in September. I guess then they will decision on how long the trial will last.

  • A. G. Tsakumis

    And the report will be skewed. Where are all you bike heroes now?

    July, when traffic is easier and most have departed for sunnier climes; limited engagement, which will do nothing for the environment (where are your balls, Mr. Mayor??? ) I thought you were going to go “all the way” towards a ‘Cycle City”…his (campaign) words, not mine.

    Two out of three months will be during the summer when there is less traffic and the report comes out prior to any rainy season to skew the results in their favour.

    If this is such a hot idea, why all the godamned propaganda effort?

    And they also plan social media efforts. Right, what do most cycling-fascists have to do?? Cycle and sit around telling the world how to live less safe lives. They’ll storm the internet and there you will find the “overwhelming support” that Gregor will tout.

    Provided Kevin has written that, Maria has run it through a spell check and Mike has sent it off to the Solomons of the world for approval.

    Step right up folks, all Groegor’s done is locate an old crate of Sam’s snake oil and change the label.

  • Darcy McGee

    Traffic levels during the summer are only marginally lower than the winter. There’s still gridlock.

    The intention of the trial is to encourage cycling and reduce cyclist/pedestrian conflicts. These will be higher in the summer, when fairweather cyclists are out. It’s the natural time to try this.

    Only July 13th, Alex, the “cycling fascists” will make sure the bridge is full.

    Meanwhile the Vancouver Province (as great a bastion of journalism as any that I’ve ever read) starts its article on the topic thusly:
    > The battle over the Burrard Bridge
    > begins July 13.
    So for those who don’t believe this is a war, there you have it…and it wasn’t declared by me, or us. It was declared by a “respected” publication. (I managed to keep a straight face while I wrote that.)

  • My initial impressions from the media briefing (as a cyclist and Friend of the Burrard Bridge) are here if anyone is interested:

    I didn’t notice this piece by Peter Busby on May 13 in the Vanc. Sun. I think it’s still timely.

  • urb anwriter

    Sounds like you have your knickers in a knot AGT.

    Relax. Take a deep breath. And then explain, in words of no more than five syllables each, just what your problem actually is.

    I suspect, AGT, that you lay blame on “cycling fascists” that you should rightly lay at the feet of fear-mongering journalists, automotive journalists, automobile advertisers, and an array of others.

    Perhaps your language will offend some; not me, I consider the source. You, and your language, are actually no different than the more evangelical ‘Critical Mass’ crowd (and their hangers-on) in your posturing, over-heated rhetoric, and infantile argumentation.

    Perhaps you’d like to go for a bicycle ride, we could converse more fully, though I suspect that neither of us will offer an argument that will actually change the others view. Or just take a pill.

  • Jot

    I keep reading complaints from drivers that they only see 10 or 15 people biking across the bridge when they drive over. Well most people I see driving into downtown only have one occupant, 10 to 15 drivers in cars would fill one entire lane. Its bizarre what is now considered ‘normal’ is one person traveling in a 2+ ton mass of steel, glass and rubber taking up 8 feet of space to move a 170 pound person.

  • MB

    Good luck to them. If the lane becomes permanent, then I’ll feel comfortable that urban bike infrastructure has turned a corner. I think I’ll go out and buy a bike again. It’s been 20 years.

  • Darcy McGee

    I hope the lane becomes permanent. Read some comments from someone new to the world of full time cycling over here:

    his notes about bridges are brief, but interesting.

    I personally have a tough relationship with Critical Mass. I admire the spirit, but not the method all the time. Once on a motorcyle when confronted by a traffic jam I took my lane (correct side of the road, my lane) and was confronted by 6 cyclists right towards me…in the wrong lane, going to the wrong way. They pointed out the cops, at which point I suggested they get ticketed (a car would have been.) I continued on my 748cc powered way.

    Critical Mass has a noble goal, but they break too many traffic laws while doing it for me to be comfortable. Alex makes me want to start riding with them, as does Mr. gmgw, as does every close call I’ve ever had with a car.

  • Alex

    Here is some actually research on other such reallocations and road closures that is well worth a read:

  • Darcy McGee

    Richard, that’s a wonderful link. I hope Alex and others arguing for the “pro-car” view read it…completely.

  • Frothingham

    “Here is some actually research on other such reallocations and road closures that is well worth a read:”

    I hope that there will be similar well-researched and well written reports coming from City Hall or others with respect to the new transit patterns on the Burrard bridge.

  • A. G. Tsakumis

    I am not arguing for pro-car or anti-bike.

    I am arguing for sanity not horse shit.

    The closing of the lane will produce problems. I am unmoved by the link, as it has nothing to do with the real issue.

    This is all about forcing people into a position that is unsafe.

    The surrounding areas will suffer.

    But the staff report will be full of lies.

  • Alex

    What do you mean by “This is all about forcing people into a position that is unsafe.”?

    Right now the bridge is not safe for anyone really. The trial will make it safer for cyclists, peds and motorists.

    You will notice that they have removed on of the right turn lanes from Pacific onto Burrard where the traffic on the outside lane was blocking the visibility of the traffic on the inner lane. That area is pretty much constantly littered with all the car parts from the collisions that keep happening there.

  • Darcy McGee

    > The closing of the lane will produce problems. I am unmoved by the link, as it
    > has nothing to do with the real issue.

    There is NO way that you could have read that document and come to that conclusion, unless you believe that your personal knowledge is greater than those that write the document.

    Richard’s comments about safety are bang on.

  • Darcy McGee

    Oh…I suppose another way to come to Alex’s conclusion would be to remain firm in your belief that North American car drivers are actually THAT much more dedicated to remaining in their cars than their European equivalent. Since the evidence in the article is European in origin, one /could/ believe that it would never apply to North America.

    I have more faith (misguided though it may be) in the people I share this city with. Some of them, at least…

  • rf

    Why don’t we scrap the bike lane and turn the lane into a HEAT shelter?

  • MB

    Richard, thanks for that link. The article dovetails with Jeff Kenworthy’s work on sustainable cities.

    The Conclusion section contains this sentence:

    “When pedestrianisation schemes or wider
    pavements or cycle lanes or bus (and other priority vehicle) lanes or road closures are introduced, pre-scheme predictions of what will happen are usually excessively pessimistic.”

    Sound familiar?

  • Kevin

    I’ve used the Burrard Bridge as a driver, cyclist and pedestrian and I can see points of merit on all sides. The present plan seems flawed by the lack of planning and consultation. I think everyone would like to see more opportunities for bicycles/pedestrians to travel safely, but has this trial really been well thought-out?
    A pedestrian travelling from the southeast side of the bridge to south Hornby now may have to cross up to 20 lanes of traffic (depending on your definition of a ‘lane’)…and some of those lights change before you have crossed the intersection. I’m pretty quick, but not everyone is. That doesn’t seem like a very good (or safe) deal for pedestrians! That is also a lot of wasted time waiting for lights to change (for the pedestrian). The Mayor should try walking the route I described every day for a week, and do some serious thinking afterwards. I am surprised that the pedestrians haven’t been more vocal.
    I understand this trial was prompted in part by accidents involving cyclists entering the roadway from the bridge bike/pedestrain pathway and being hit by cars…how about some more info about the causal factors behind how the bikes came to be entering the roadway? My experience is that cyclists don’t respect other cyclists/pedestrians/traffic law on the Burrard Bridge pathway and that the primary cause of them entering the roadway is cyclist error (they don’t slow down/failure to yield/lose control/speeding/ riding in the wrong direction). So let’s not blame the cars for this one. A simple barrier would prevent the cyclists from entering the roadway. Obeying a speed limit and respect for other cyclist/pedestrians would also ensure a reduction in accidents…but such laws aren’t applied to cyclists in this city, only to cars. Then, install an overpass so that it isn’t so inconvenient for a cyclist/ pedestrian caught on the wrong side to transition over…this could be done relatively inexpensively.
    A few thousand extra cyclists may save fuel, but it is a detour of at least several kilometres for most drivers to use the Granville Bridge instead of the Burrard Bridge…and many more cars will be forced to take this detour or idle in traffic congestion, also wasting fuel…multiply that by the number of cars and then check your real savings (as an example, one cyclist may save 1 litre of fuel, but cause several cars to divert or idle in traffic due to the lane denial, wasting far more fuel). The calculation gets far worse on ‘rain’ and ‘snow’ days, when there will presumably be very few cyclists in the dedicated lane. The reality is that we live in an environment in which it often rains severely and sometimes snows, and most people will not commute by bicycle in such weather.
    If the Granville Bridge is so under-utilized (as the city claims), why not convert one of its lanes to cyclists, thus lowering the cyclist’s demands on the Burrard Bridge? Then proceed with the aforementioned improvements to the Burrard Bridge.
    I drive Eastward on Adanac, turning across westbound traffic to go north on Clark. There are stop signs going east and west and a stop light north and south. Every day when the north/south light is red, I stop (as per the law), then make my turn. Nearly every day, I am confronted with oncoming cyclists (going west)that DO NOT STOP and ‘run’ the sign. In actuality, they often accelerate in order to get through the intersection before the north/south light goes green. I have to slam on my brakes, veer to avoid them etc. I have complained to the Vancouver Police and to City Hall, and they agree the cyclists are breaking the law, but are not interested in pursuing it any further. Presumably, when the inevitable catastrophic accident ensues, Adanac will be closed to car traffic!
    As a cyclist, over the years I’ve been hit/nudged a couple of times by cars in traffic, sometimes by negligent drivers and sometimes by plain aggressive drivers, so I can understand the urgent need for space for cyclists. As a cyclist and as a driver, it upsets me to see cyclists run stop lights/signs with regularity and impunity, cyclists riding on the sidewalk with disregard for pedestrian safety and cyclists riding against oncoming traffic. I feel it detracts from the credibility of their arguments. I do agree that cyclists should all be licensed and pay insurance if they are using the roads. I know many of them pay taxes, but so do drivers. You could extend that argument to scooters, but that is another issue! Maybe that will also encourage cyclists to obey traffic laws and avoid accidents, and justify to drivers that they are responsible for their actions and have a right to use the road! Right now I see an an activist group that wants all of the benefits but none of the responsibilities of route-sharing. So on the Great Burrard Bridge Bicycle Lane Trial…back to the drawing board, but do keep trying! A note of encouragement…maybe lessen the animosity and find a way to promote one format without branding the other as evil and punishing them…that will lead to a more harmonious integration. Less congested roads are better for everyone, even the drivers; I just don’t think this strategy achieves that goal.

  • bjh

    Cyclists that come off the bridge should be made to stop at the red lights and slow down , there are a lot of jackass cyclists that think they can just pull out into a car lane along cornwall. Cyclists pose more danger on the roads than cars because of their inability to obey traffic signals and no cyclist can make up their mind ,when they choose to they are on the sidewalk . If cyclists want to ride downtown pay road tax,license bikes so they can be ticketed,keep to your assigned lanes,stop at red lights and stop be an annoyance to car drivers after all most of you only ride bikes because you don’t have the basic road sense to drive a car.

  • barb justason

    I’m a daily cycling commuter who uses the burrard bridge. But I think I am the only cyclist who opposed the bike lane trial. The real problem on the bridge, in my view, was cyclists who seem to believe they have a right to cycle at top speed over the bridge unencumbered by other cyclists and pedestrians. it’s these cyclists who have created the safety hazard. My approach on the bridge had always been steady, not too fast, one thumb ready on the bell and always ready on the breaks.

    Now, having experienced several weeks of the bike-only east sidewalk and a lane all to myself, my views haven’t changed. Every day, I encounter pedestrians on the east side walk. I always politely tell them it’s a bike-only path and most are grateful for the information and apologetic. I can’t blame them. The signage is terribly unclear and a simple “no pedestrians” sign (including the universal diagonal bar across a stick human) is conspicuously absent. I wouldn’t dare suggest the planners behind the confusion wished to ensure the bike lane trial would fail!

  • I love the Burrard Bridge bike lanes and hope they will be retained, enhanced even, once the current test is over. There has been a lot of squawking in the media by a handful of businesses who maintain that the changes have reduced the number of customers frequenting the area. Whether true or just the reflex actions of change-resistant business types is of little interest to me. What they should be doing is embracing the change, mounting bike-friendly events [discounts if you bike in, special delivery services for two-wheeled shoppers who spend over a certain amount, etc. ad nauseum]. Get creative guys. With all this whining going on I certainly can’t see myself patronizing these businesses. I dine at Kettle of Fish once in awhile and I visit Art Knapp’s every spring. This year I’ll hold my nose and buy my plants at one of the big box retailers since the little box retailers can’t seem to see outside of the box itself. In the case of Art Knapp’s, the opening of the Canada Line, Canadian Tire and Home Depot on Cambie Street are probably having a bigger impact on retail sales than any bike lanes could ever have.

    Change is going to happen with or without them on board. What needs to be done is make hard choices and it’s heartening to see that the mayor and council are willing to make those choices rather than bowing to anachronistic interests. Thanks for pioneering a new way forward.

  • James S

    Why don’t the drivers give Critical Mass and the other cycling fanatics a dose of their own medicine? One day each month, maybe two, let’s choose the cycle lanes on the Burrard Bridge for a pedestrian version of “Critical Mass”?

    Let’s plug the cycle lanes in both directions with wall-to-wall pedestrians slowly making their way across the bridge. Since the cyclists love the fresh air so much, this gives them the opportunity to get off their cycles and enjoy a leisurely walk across the bridge. After all, what’s a little inconvenience when it comes to the “greater good”?

    Add more fun? Pressure the VPD to actually do their job and be at each end of the bridge to ticket every cyclist who isn’t wearing a cycle helmet. The additional revenue will help balance the City’s budget.

    In fact, if the City and the VPD enforced the laws against running Stop Signs; Red Lights and No Helmets, they could divert the fines generated into creating even more cycle lanes; which in turn could generate even more revenue from the cyclists – the result being more revenue to creation of even more cycle lanes, and on, and on and on.

    This way everybody wins!