Vancouver's assistant city engineer recommends no widening of Burrard Bridge

Vancouver's assistant city engineer, Jerry Dobrovolny, has recommended to city council that staff come back after the 2010 Winter Games with options for permanent configurations for the Burrard Bridge.

Dobrovolny's report, which goes to the transportation and traffic committee on Tuesday (November 3), also recommends that none of these options include widening the six-lane  bridge.

In 2008, the Straight reported that it would cost $57 million to widen the bridge, citing estimates presented to city council by staff.

As a result of a lane-reallocation trial that began on July 13, the western road lane and the eastern  sidewalk  are reserved for cyclists. The western sidewalk has been set aside for pedestrians.

Dobrovolny wrote that most feedback from pedestrians has been "positive" and that feedback from cyclists has been "overwhelmingly positive".

He stated that between July 13 and September 30, there were 70,000 more cycling trips over the bridge than would have occurred had there been no lane-reallocation trial.

There has been no appreciable change in vehicle traffic over either the Burrard Bridge or the Granville Bridge, he added.  Dobrovolny  noted that transit has appeared to have been unaffected, and downtown businesses don't appear to have noticed any difference as a result of the trial.

The report stated that there  have been two unnamed  local businesses on Hornby Street  that saw a loss of business. Appleton Galleries and Art Knapp Urban Garden have both publicly complained about the lack of a right-hand turn for eastbound  Pacific Street traffic  onto Hornby Street.

These two businesses  have asked for right-hand turns to be allowed, but Dobrovolny wrote that the current  ban offers the "safest possible" arrangement.

He also pointed out in his report that traffic is moving more slowly along Pacific and Thurlow streets since the trial began.



Eric Chris

Nov 1, 2009 at 2:04pm

I cycle across the Burrard Street Bridge daily and from my perspective, the bike trial has been a success as far as improving safety and has resulted in more cyclists. If Jerry can do something about the soot blowing crappy, cancer and asthma causing, diesel buses on our zero emission hydro-electric trolley bus routes, instead of targeting lawn mowers and leaf blowers to supposedly improve the air quality in Vancouver, he'll finally earn his pay.

I have never heard of anything more ridiculous than targeting leaf blowers and lawn mowers to reduce air pollution in Vancouver and have lost all respect for the bozos masquerading as green action members on GCAT when they purposely avoid taking on TransLink over its obscene use of diesel buses on our trolley bus routes. GCAT you are a disgrace!

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Nov 2, 2009 at 12:29am

Take a look at the report. Dig through the figures. Even using the most conservative estimates, the end result of this plan is tacking on no less than half a million hours of commuter time for motor vehicle users annually. Aside from inconveniencing 50,000+ drivers daily, that doesn't sound too good as far as C02 emissions go. I'm all for going green, but somehow I'm not too enthused about accommodating an additional 700-800 bikers daily (*during July and August) at that expense.

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casual observer

Nov 3, 2009 at 12:20pm

According to the COV, vehicle travel times have increased by 3 minutes or around 10% for someone in Kits. Haven't GHG emissions increased by 10% as a result, too, notwithstanding the minuscule number of drivers who may have abandoned their cars to cycle?

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Eric Doherty

Nov 4, 2009 at 10:58am

Studies on the subject show that shifting road space to low-carbon modes such as bicycles reduces GHG emissions regionally. If we want to reduce emissions, we need to improve the cycling routes network downtown and throughout the region. That is what is needed to get major mode shifts to cycling.

The idea that minor increases in travel times for cars in one location results in increased emissions overall is not supported by the evidence. It may seem like 'common sense' at first glance but the evidence supports road space re-allocation.

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Eric Chris

Nov 4, 2009 at 12:38pm

Mr. Doherty, can you direct me to the study showing that the bike trial has reduced GHG emissions? I'd like to review the calculations.

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