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More Burrard Bridge stats: Slower going south; faster going north

September 4th, 2009 · 10 Comments

The latest on our most absorbing civic issue

Burrard Bridge commute times down going north;

Slight increase going south during bike lane trial

Vehicle commute times during the Burrard Bridge bike lane trial have decreased for northbound trips and slightly increased for southbound trips, statistics released today from the City show.

“The first wave of travel-time statistics for the Burrard Bridge are very encouraging,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “With minimal changes to commuter times in both directions, it is clear that people are adjusting.”

Each Tuesday and Thursday during July and most of August, City staff recorded their north and southbound vehicle travel times on Burrard between Georgia Street and 12th Avenue during key traffic periods.

Compared to statistics prior to the bike-lane trial, there is almost no change in travel times for northbound motorists between 8 and 11 a.m. and 4 to 7 p.m. The southbound vehicle commute in the morning shows it takes about five to six minutes longer to travel between Georgia and 12th between 8 and 11 a.m. Southbound vehicle travel times between 4 and 7 p.m. out of the downtown core were largely unchanged.

Mayor Robertson said it will take commuters more time to get around the city on Tuesday including the time it will take to cross the Burrard Bridge.  He again cautioned motorists to consider the Granville Bridge to cross False Creek.

“We are heading into a very busy traffic period after Labour Day,” the Mayor said.  “With students returning to school and workers returning from vacation, we know the commute on Tuesday morning will be much busier for all of our roads and bridges.

“As we look at the vehicle travel times along Burrard Street and over the bridge during the bike lane trial, we know it’s going to take a bit longer to travel this route on Tuesday morning, particularly for southbound traffic.”

Motorists travelling from the North Shore over False Creek are reminded to watch for banners on the overpass on the Stanley Park causeway as well as large message boards before Denman and Thurlow.  All of the signs encourage motorists to consider alternate routes, particularly the Granville Bridge.

“Historically, the day after Labour Day is a very busy day on city streets,” Mayor Robertson said.  “If it’s a nice day, students will ride their bikes to school, there are many more people on transit and more vehicles on our roads dropping off students and commuting to work after a summer break.

“Please plan extra time on Tuesday to get to your destination, think about alternate routes, travel in off-peak periods if you can, and consider all of the options including walking, cycling, transit and ride shares. Most of all, obey the rules of the road and be patient.”

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  • Interesting to see that only the morning southbound traffic is impacted – which means that the people most affected are likely to be those who commute from the North Shore to the west side (hence the focus on signage directed at traffic coming across the Lion’s Gate.)

    Of course, the thing about that traffic is that none of those people vote in Vancouver civic elections 🙂

  • Darcy McGee

    > Of course, the thing about that traffic is
    > that none of those people vote in
    > Vancouver civic elections

    or pay property taxes that are used to maintain Vancouver’s roadways (including any possible cycling route developments.)

  • Byron

    Yeah. Slap a toll on the Lion’s Gate. We could get some initiatives going with the revenues.

  • Bill Lee

    What! UBC students from West Van take transit to school! Unheard of. The privileged little darlings drive their cars over the Lions Gate and Burrard bridges to the Point Grey Academy.
    Though some may have heard there is fewer lanes for their souped Hondas and take the Granville Bridge instead.

    It’ll take a week and steady rain to sort out the initial patterns. I’d watch for chaos from White Rock and South Surrey as they have to join the peasants standing on the private(somewhat public) Canada-line.

  • IanS

    IMO, those new statistics seem to be both good news and bad news.

    As to the former, the lack of any apparent additional congestion going south in the afternoon is a pleasant surprise. I would have expected the afternoon rush hour to be a problem.

    As to the latter, I’m surprised to see such a delay in the morning in the summer months. Six minutes doesn’t seem a lot until you realize the its six minutes added to an eight minute trip. If those are the figures in the summer, when the university isn’t in session, I’m not optimistic about the numbers in the fall.

    Does anyone know if there will be any statistics relating to delays down Thurlow and along Pacific?

  • I tend to think of these timings in terms of missing a traffic light or two and having to wait an extra couple of minutes at each one. The distance from 12th to Georgia is (I’m assuming) just one leg of a longer trip in most cases.

  • IanS


    Good point. I hadn’t thought of it like that.

  • Darcy McGee

    Well, it’s the first day of the fall rain today. Quite a bit of it as it turns out.

    I can’t wait for A.G. Tsakumis to point out how few people are using the Burrard Bridge today, and that the trial should be terminated on that basis alone.

    Seriously, I’m hoping somebody will provide feedback–anecdotal though it may be. I’d actually like to hear from cyclists if possible: I know that on my ride in to work today (Burnaby) I saw the usual suspects…all of them.

    I expect numbers will be reduced though. Days like today are what separate the samurai from the rest.

  • IanS

    Well, as anecdotal evidence, I didn’t see any evidence of traffic delays when walking to work yesterday morning. In fact, there seemed to be a good deal less traffic than normal. Perhaps the mayor scared everyone away?

    My wife said that Pacific was backed up quite a bit at around 10:30 am though, going on to the bridge.

    Today (Wed) the traffic seems heavier downtown. No idea if that’s related to the bike lane, though.


  • Darcy McGee

    You know, I haven’t _ridden_ the Burrard Bridge that much. It’s not been on my radar since I’ve been swimming at Kits Pool, but that will change next week when I move back to the Aquatic Centre.

    EVERY damn time I’ve been on the northbound sign there’s been pedestrians on it. No amount of “sidewalk closed” or “education” signs will keep pedestrians off what is (for now) a dedicated, marked bike lane.

    The same is true in Stanley Park, which I peddled around last night.

    It’s not just cars that don’t give bicycles respect.