Burrard Street Bridge a flashpoint for Vancouver mayoral battle


The Burrard Street Bridge is once again a flashpoint in Vancouver politics, with the city’s two potential mayors expressing different solutions to the problem of getting bikers over the crumbling structure.

NPA mayoral candidate Peter Ladner this morning announced his intention to erect barriers between sidewalks and the roadway to prevent cyclists from falling into traffic. Ladner’s plan also includes improvements to the heritage bridge and would likely cost $33 million, his executive assistant Michael Meneer said. Construction wouldn’t begin until after 2010.

Gregor Robertson, who is running with Vision Vancouver, has said he’d try a pilot project to reserve one of the six vehicle lanes for cyclists, operating the centre lane of traffic on a reversible system like on the Stanley Park causeway. Robertson said he also wants to explore building a new bridge across False Creek just for cyclists and pedestrians.

What do our thoughtful Kitsilano.ca readers think? We ran a poll back in May but the results weren’t conclusive. With an election fast-approaching, I have a feeling that opinions may be a little stronger.

Last modified: November 3, 2008

16 Responses to " Burrard Street Bridge a flashpoint for Vancouver mayoral battle "

  1. BikerBob says:

    Ladner has got my vote – mixing bike and cars is a bad idea. Keep ’em seperated.

  2. Len says:

    Although Robertson looked like a good candidate, his true stripes are now showing. First he had some off-hand remarks of creating an income tax on city businesses based on their revenue, and now he wants to close a lane on the Burrard bridge for cyclists.

    (You know the ones that slow traffic on Cornwall instead of using the designated street for cyclists one block over.)

    This man has little experience and wants to experiment with our livlihoods. It appears his VISION is run by IGNORANCE and INCOMPETANCE. I guess that means he really has no vision.

    People, PLEASE BOYCOTT [ALL] Vision Vancouver candidates in the civic election November 15th, to stop this lunacy from taking place.

  3. Boris Wertz says:

    I am all for a new bridge for pedestrians and bikers over False Creek – that is the only thing that makes senses to me!

  4. Shawn says:

    Good point Len. What’s up with those bikers that choose busy Cornwall instead of the much faster and safer alternative a street over. Do you they a “Death by Bus” deathwish??

  5. Bill Barilko says:

    Is the Burrard St Bridge really ‘crumbling’?

    I thought it was the Granville St Bridge that needed work.

    As someone who uses the BSB to go downtown I’d rather see cycling dedicated carbon fibre cages slung onto the outside of the bridge and hang the heritage look.

  6. It seems silly to continue to argue about using the same bridge in either format noted above.

    Solution is to build a bike/walk bridge and charge a toll to use it. BTW when built bikers/walkers can’t use the BSB. Before you start shouting think that this is no different than what car owners do on many new bridges and highways.

    Problem solved!
    Yes, the luxery of riding a bike or walking does costs somebody money and it should be the user.
    Now for the screaming!

  7. Len says:

    We talk about any option you want, my point is still the most important of all…….DO NOT VOTE VISION in the civic election.

    And make sure you all vote, the special interest groups are out in full force as they were 6 years ago when Larry Campbell and COPE gained control of city hall.


  8. sidelines says:

    A toll for cyclist and pedestrians?? Jeez, isn’t the point to encourage people to use their cars less? How about a London-style fee for cars that go into town. Let that decongest traffic – and pay for whatever improvements (new bridge, or whatever) are deemed desirable.

  9. Ken says:

    Every day that I bike across this bridge, I thank god for living in this beautiful city, with this beautiful bay and mountains. I thank god for having a home and family to bike from and a work to bike to.
    Few kilometers to the east there are people with no home, no family and one of the worse urban views of the downtown eastside. Are we really about to spend millions on that bridge while there are people like that in our backyard? What does it say about us?
    Yes, the bridge is not ideal and we would all want to have better solution but is that our first priority? Is that the main issue of the elections? I would like to hear more about the candidates plans for our schools, public transit and parks. And yes, also about what can be done for our city homeless residents.

  10. Len says:


    This post is about the bridge – period.

    Yes there are other issues. That being said, a leader and party (VISION) that wants to increase pollution by clogging up traffic on a main roadway, clearly does not have the experience, skills, or foresight to solve homelessness (as they claim they will).

    As a biker that uses the bridge everyday, I do hope (Ken) you as well are using the streets designated for cyclists and not clogging up traffic on the main streets as so many cyclists do.

    As for sidelines comment on the ‘London-style fee’, the best way to implement that would be for people that do not live within Vancouver city limits to pay a fee to park or drive downtown.

    Why penalize people who already pay higher taxes and higher costs of living within our Vancouver city limits, with another fee. If the folks from Burnaby on-out want to live somewhere else and pay their property taxes to another municipality, while clogging our bridges and roads, then they can pay a fee to come downtown.

    Lets be realistic here, more often than not, it’s people driving their cars from other cities that are the problem, not the other way around.

  11. Sidelines says:

    “As for sidelines comment on the ‘London-style fee\’, the best way to implement that would be for people that do not live within Vancouver city limits to pay a fee to park or drive downtown.”

    Hmm… I guess I should have been clearer? That’s exactly what I was getting at! 😉

  12. Brit in Kits says:

    Widen the sidewalks as orginally planned, would be much cheaper and easier than building a new bridge. It would not ruin the heritage of the bridge as it is not that old.

  13. Allan says:

    Another blog entry mentions this discussion; I agree with Len, that — as proven in Salt Lake City and Beijing Olympics — adding bridges or roadways simply increases traffic, resulting in a 35-minute commute being a 35-minute commute with more people joining you. Encouraging people to use transit and bicycles cause a difference.

    Some of NYC’s bridges are pedestrian-only, or have an upper pedestrian level. Chew on that.

    NYC Subway moves 2 million people DAILY. 1/4 of our 8.2M population. It’s 100% reliable, outside of the Saturday Night 1AM construction (100 years old subway needs constant work). We have the luxury of high ridership, so the city can afford to maintain the lines, and is laying in a new subway line for 2015.

  14. Shane says:

    @Ken – Well put, the bridge is not ideal for cyclists and pedestrians, but there are other places where this money could have a better effect.

    @Len – you are in dangerous territory with the comment “not clogging up traffic on the main streets as so many cyclists do”. I cycle every day and do try to use the bike lanes as much as possible but there are areas where the bike lanes are non existent or put on streets with stop signs every block. I’ll ride along Cornwall, but I keep up with traffic. And I don’t pass on the right.