Today at 10 a.m., City of Vancouver officials are expected to reveal plans for enhancing pedestrian, cyclist safety, and motor-vehicle safety at the north end of the Burrard Bridge.
The work on the 82-year-old bridge will occur in 2016 and 2017.
An artist's rendering (see above) on the city website reveals the existence of a new pedestrian lane on the east side of the bridge.
Currently, only cyclists are allowed on the east sidewalk. However, pedestrians sometimes choose this route rather than crossing over to the west side sidewalk, which is reserved for foot traffic.
There are five lanes for vehicle traffic on the bridge—two on the west side and three on the east side. The artist's rendering suggests that one of those eastbound lanes will be switched to a cycling-only area.
Before the 2008 election, Vision Vancouver politicians promised to convert only one lane of traffic on the bridge for cycling. The Coalition of Progressive Electors, on the other hand, wanted two lanes set aside—one on the east side and one on the west side.
In 2009, pedestrian activist Bev Ballantyne wrote a commentary on Straight.com condemning the city for denying walkers access to the east sidewalk of the bridge.
"Pedestrians are second-class citizens," she wrote at the time. "Their mission is less important than that of drivers. They can wait a little longer or walk little farther. The bully syndrome applies."
The city has already completed a $6-million transformation of the south end of the Burrard Bridge to enhance safety for Kitsilano-bound cyclists. This involved adding a left-turn bay for vehicles travelling northbound on Burrard and new signalling for southbound vehicles turning onto Cornwall Avenue.