City to Test Lane Closures on Burrard Bridge


Burrard BridgeThe City wasted no time following last Saturday’s open house in making a decision about a lane closure pilot study.

Up to two lanes will be temporarily closed for cars this spring and opened up to cyclists. The City will use this time to study the effects on pedestrian and cyclist safety and the effects on traffic flows. From the Sun article:

“We pretty much know the status quo isn’t good enough,” Vision Vancouver Coun. George Chow said at an open house Saturday.

“This trial will give us volume data to see how we accommodate the cyclists and traffic. We really need to have the data to make an intelligent decision.”

Photo from the City of Vancouver

Last modified: February 3, 2009

5 Responses to " City to Test Lane Closures on Burrard Bridge "

  1. nic meyer says:

    i cycle daily, never had an issue with the bridge. i have reported this to the city including the bike committee several times. the bridge is NOT the problem for cyclists…the streets on either side are!!! cornwall 1800-2000 block is so dangerous. why not get rid of cars and put a bike lane there? my partner got doored on last saturday. if you think cornwall is bad try the pacific boulevard side!!! three of the most scary and desperately dangerous parts of the bike system are there…underneath granville bridge as one comes off the burrard bridge by kettle of fish and the trail evaporates!! and last but not least on pac blvd by the cambie steet off ramp going east bound. i dare you to try these routes!! lets spend money on bike routes please but stop the nonsensical political grandstanding and trying to alienate drivers by making everyones commute longer. why not turn commercial drive into a bike only thoroughfare that is where visions and copes vote base is…i think they just have sour grapes and are making a statemnt against west side tax payers! heaven knows we pay enough!

  2. Shane says:

    @ nic meyer I agree completely! I cycle daily over the Burrard Bridge and haven’t had a problem.

    Here’s my observations from the past nine years:

    I’ve seen three cyclists act like idiots trying to pass other cyclists at 30kph+ knocking pedestrians without any care.

    I’ve seen ten pedestrians step out randomly in front of cyclists.

    I’ve seen countless pedestrians (daily) walk in the bike lane, two or three people across. Or joggers coming in opposite direction passing pedestrians by running in bike lane. But I’m usually ready for this and always slow down when I pass these guys.

    For the most part the I’ve felt safe riding across the Burrard Bridge. Although never liked the thought of going off the 1 foot drop into traffic. I would be happy with a short barrier (lower than handlebars) between the traffic and the sidewalk.

    I agree with you, Burrard Bridge is not the part that scares me. It is the routes North and South of the bridge that are scary!

    The intersection of Burrard and Pacific Boulevard is a death zone both cycling North and South. I’ve seen three cyclists hit in the cross walk going North and countless close calls. I’ve had many cars cut out in front of me as I’m coming South on Burrard trying to get up onto the Burrard Bridge sidewalk.

    Agree, Pacific Boulevard going West is narrow and lined with parked cars. I try to avoid this street and take the longer route by taking the bike path along the shoreline.

    Again agree, Cornwall is nuts after work with people trying to get home and cars blocking left lane turning left causing more cars to try to take up your spot in the right lane.

    Also want to comment that the “bike lane” on Burrard north of the bridge are also death traps with Buses and cars wanting to turn right sharing the commuter lane. I’ve had countless number of cars using this lane as the “passing lane”. Although I have to admit that I’ve noticed fewer of these in the last six months.

    I think the closure of lanes on Burrard will cause nothing but grief and conflict between cyclists and vehicles as the bridge is going to get backlogged. They’ve closed it before in 1996 and it caused nothing but gridlock (I wasn’t there but got that info from Wikipedia).

  3. Erik V. says:

    Sorry to copy and paste my own comments, but this is what I wrote in response to “Bill Barilko’s” comment here:

    I don\’t doubt that the situation is fine for you BB [and nic and Shane], it\’s fine for me too. Most experienced and dedicated cyclists are not deterred by the current situation. The real problem is that the current situation can be a big deterrent for new and less experienced cyclists. And what about families who would like to bike across the bridge to visit, say, Stanley Park?

    I would love to be able to ride to Stanley Park with my son on the back, but right now the only way I’d do that is by taking the False Creek ferry or taking a huge detour via the Cambie Bridge. So we drive…

    And as for the 1996 trial, that one was abandoned “due to public ‘outrage’ or discontent” (see this wikipedia article). The – probably somewhat coloured – version I heard suggests that the ‘outrage’ didn’t happen at city hall but on the bridge itself in the form of drivers intimidating cyclists.

    I agree that there are other areas that need attention, but I don’t think this should be an either-or thing.

  4. J. Richmond says:

    This letter is a plea to reason and rationality.
    Please, do not allow the trial lane closure on Burrard St. bridge to occur. The vocal minority made up of zealous cyclists cannot be allowed to trump common sense (need proof they’re a minority? A city report proves all cyclists AND pedestrians account for a mere 10% of traffic on the bridge).
    I witnessed the two-wheeled terrorists’ actions today, Friday June 26 at approximately 8:30pm, as, in their overreaching arrogance, they thought it reasonable to prevent all east-bound traffic on Cornwall St. from crossing onto the Burrard St. bridge. Traffic quickly backed up as far as the eye could see, as citizens were illegally prevented from reaching their destinations by misguided militants. All as the police looked on.

    Cyclists once had my sympathy; they have now earned my enmity.

    A blind man can see that closing one lane is doomed to failure, just as it failed in 1996. City experts state: “Lane re-allocation can meet objectives for walking and cycling, but not without increasing traffic congestion, slowing goods movement and degrading transit service across the bridge.” Pollution is guaranteed to increase as cars will have to travel further, and idle much more. Citizens will spend more time in their cars, and less with their families. How on earth will this make our great city more “livable?” Short answer: it will not.
    I’m 34 years old, and have never been moved to take political action until now. Nobody has yet had the political courage to vote against this doomed experiment; the first politician who does will earn my vote. I will do everything I can to ensure that those who support this ridiculous waste of $1.5M of taxpayer dollars are NEVER again reelected. This type of waste should never be allowed to happen.

  5. Erik says:

    The solution to the majority of your concerns is simple: more people need to get out of their car.

    This trial is not just simply trying to placate a vocal minority. You’re reasoning as if both bicycle and car traffic are static things, i.e. 90% of all traffic will always be car traffic. Part of the point for this trial is to make the bridge more accessible to more cyclists, not just the ones that have learned to live with the dangers of the current situation.