Vision Vancouver’s Chow reopens Burrard Bridge debate

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The Georgia Straight’s Matthew Burrows writes this week about how George Chow – Vision Vancouver’s resident mechanical engineer – has not ruled out a two-lane traffic-reallocation trial on the Burrard Bridge next spring. Coun. George Chow told The Straight it is “a possibility” that Vancouverites will see two traffic lanes on the art deco span reallocated to other modes of transportation such as cycling and in-line skating.

This is despite the fact that Chow’s party campaigned last month on a reversible one-lane trial, in which half a lane in each direction would be given over to cyclists and traffic signalling would be installed to allow one reversible traffic lane in the centre. (In addition, the previous NPA-led council had already nixed a two-lane plan devised by former COPE councillor Fred Bass in 2005.)

“For a trial, I think it’s a possibility, a very strong possibility, for two reasons,” Chow explained in a Kitsilano coffee shop. “Firstly, in terms of cost, if you do a half-lane trial in each direction, you need to re-mark all the lanes.…There are a lot of costs involved if you want to do a half-lane trial each way, plus lane-switching. So it would seem to me, in order to get the data we want—the traffic volume and the bicycle volume—and [in order] to attract more cyclists you may like to have one lane in each direction.”

Chow introduced a motion at today’s council planning and environment committee meeting asking staff to prepare a report and implementation plan by February 16th. The report is to include options for lane reallocation trials on the Burrard Bridge including cost estimates, schedule, and duration of trials, as well as a recommendation for a midtrial evaluation.

Does anybody else out there remember the trial that happened a couple years ago??  The research has been done. For this article, the Straight talked to pedestrian advocate Bev Ballantyne and she seemed to agree adding that the issue “has been studied to death” & that “everyone on council should go back and read everything that’s been written about the Burrard Bridge this last 20 years.”  Agreed.

Last modified: December 18, 2008

3 Responses to " Vision Vancouver’s Chow reopens Burrard Bridge debate "

  1. Tz99 says:

    I don’t understand the point of this. The ratio of car lanes to bike lanes is as good as it can get. (Assuming we can not add car lanes).

    There are no bike-jams on the Burrard Bridge. I cross it twice a day during rush hour and if there were, I would notice.

  2. vancityguy says:

    I haven’t been in Kits long enough to know how the last trial went, but I can’t see the logic behind an entire lane entirely for bikes.

  3. Bill Barilko says:

    Agree with Tz99 while there’s heavy bike traffic on the bridge there is absolutely no need to close car lanes, that is idiocy, note that I too regularly commute downtown by bike.

    As bike traffic grows the easiest solution would be to sling cages made of carbon fiber on the outside of the bridge as dedicated bike only lanes.