Vancouver council okays $2 million for Burrard Bridge upgrades, permanent bike lanes
Vancouver city council has voted unanimously to approve spending $2 million for the design of upgrades to the Burrard Bridge that include permanent cycling barriers.
Vision Vancouver councillor Heather Deal moved the motion, claiming in chambers today (July 8) that upgrading and making permanent the infrastructure put in place for the lane-reallocation trial will be good for motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists.
“The world won’t end and everyone will get to work and play safely,” Deal told council.
All councillors present, including NPA councillor Suzanne Anton, voted in favour. Vision councillors Geoff Meggs and Tim Stevenson were absent for the vote.
“What this configuration has shown is that all three forms of transportation can be served,” Deal said earlier on in chambers.
However, Anton stated that the plan is a “real loss for pedestrians”, as they have not had use of the east sidewalk on the span since July 13 of last year, when the trial began. One southbound vehicle lane has been allocated to cyclists, while all pedestrians have to use the west sidewalk, which can mean extra traffic light crossings for them.
Council adopted Anton’s friendly amendment to the motion, leaving open the possibility that the sidewalk will be given back to pedestrians.
This jibed with a united message from Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition president Arno Schortinghuis and Friends of Burrard Bridge member Ned Jacobs.
Jacobs commended council’s political courage for getting the trial off the ground, but added “you’ve only done half the job, and now we need to do the rest”.
“Return the eastbound sidewalk to pedestrians and dedicate a lane northbound to cyclists,” Jacobs said in chambers. “Bicycle use is only going to grow and grow rapidly these next few years.”
Assistant city engineer Jerry Dobrovolny confirmed that 6,000 cyclists are using Burrard Bridge per day, with rush hour traffic showing counts of between 500 and 800 bikes per hour across the span.