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Burrard bike lane open; 13 injured in protests, scuffles

July 12th, 2009 · 52 Comments

Just kidding, folks, about the last half of that headline — although I’m almost expecting it tomorrow, given the level of hysteria that has erupted over this short stretch of pavement. Good thing no one tried anything really radical or I can’t imagine what would have happened.

Anyway, as part of my first full day back in Vancouver, I just had to make a tour that took me across the Burrard Bridge where, yes indeed, the bike lane is already set up and in use. Concrete dividers now protect cyclists from the car traffic on both the west bridge lane and the east sidewalk lane.

It certainly makes me as a driver feel safer, knowing I’m not in imminent danger of mowing down any cyclist who happens to fall in front of me. Being as it was a Sunday afternoon, there were no signs of hideous traffic clogs (or “embouteillages,” as we say en France) — nothing like as bad as the line-ups along 12th to get past the car-free day on Main — which also appeared to be relatively pedestrian-free too, or at least in the moment that I passed. As well, all pedestrians seemed to have obediently and without protest moved to the west sidewalk.

I couldn’t quite figure out what is going to happen with the north-bound cyclists at the north end of the bridge, which has always been the worst conflict, as drivers try to swing off to Pacific while pedestrians and cyclists are also trying to use the crossing to continue up Burrard. It looked, from what I saw, as though cyclists are meant to swing onto Pacific also until Hornby — or are the plastic cones on that stretch just part of the paving job also going on at the same time? Can’t tell.

Perhaps cyclists who are test-driving the bridge could post here and let us know what happens at the north end and how it feels.

At any rate, it should be quite the scene tomorrow morning at the bridge, with all media on deck to film/record the anticipated conflict and various interest groups out to show the flag. See you there.

Categories: Uncategorized

  • LisaB

    I am a chicken cyclist who lives in the West End. I cannot express the joy I felt on cycling across the bridge this morning, protected from cars. I feel like I’ve gained access to a whole new part of town (Kits) that had previously been quite a pain to get to despite being within easy cycling distance.

    If we’re serious about getting people to cycle, we need to do what the Danes do – make it attractive to those who are not brave enough to mix with car traffic – since that’s the vast majority of people.

  • I took a walk across the bridge this eve at 6:30 and found all kinds of traffic flowing really nicely. I also noticed that the bottom-feeders at the Province stopped updating their story on the lane trial when the anticipated chaos failed to materialize substantially. Que sera, sera.

    What I did see is a really un-intuitive setup at the south end of the bridge for guiding people to the right part for their crossing. One risk to the trial comes from bikers themselves if they decide that both sides of the bridge belong to them, and there are belligerent Critical Massers who will try it, but as far as traffic at a near-peak time, the trial is off to a good start.