And So It Begins–Realignment of Burrard/Cornwall Intersection Starts Monday, August 26

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Burrard Bridge Work BeginsYou might have missed it, but on July 29 the Vancouver City Council approved the recommendations of city staff to proceed with the Seaside Greenway and York Street Bikeway. Council approved the complete staff report, with a few additions. The best overview of the staff report is the slideshow by city staff themselves (pdf).

The first step of the project is realigning the intersection at the south end of the Burrard St. Bridge. The original intersection was apparently designed in the 1930s and is a confusing assortment of sweeping curves and merges managed by an array of traffic lights. Currently, it can take as many as 5 separate crossings for a pedestrian to make it from one side of the intersection to the other.

The planned changes to the intersection will result in a more typical T-intersection. Both Cornwall and Burrard will be straightened somewhat to make this happen, with the biggest changes occurring on the north side Cornwall and the east side of Burrard. The maximum number of pedestrian crossings will be reduced to two.

Burrard St/Cornwall Ave Realignment Details

Both pedestrian and bike usage of the intersection will be improved. The plans indicate either marked or separated bike lanes on all roads, including a shortcut through Seaforth Peace Park for southbound bicyclists to transition on to the new York Ave bikeway. There will still be right-hook traffic coming off the bridge and turning north on Chestnut, however.

The realignment work will begin on Monday, 26 August 2013. In fact, as I was coming through the intersection on Sunday evening, there were city crews already working there, removing signs, placing traffic cones, and so on. The city has indicated this work will continue through Spring 2014. As you can imagine, traffic flows will be affected, but the city has committed to the following:

During the first phase, there will be two lanes on Burrard Street in each direction during rush hour and two eastbound lanes and one westbound lane open on Cornwall Avenue. During other times of the day, intermittent closures down to one lane each way may be necessary.

Other, temporary, short term traffic changes may occur through the duration of the project. Please plan for some delays in this area and travel carefully through the work zone.

Unfortunately the traffic management plan only refers to motor traffic and makes no mention of pedestrians or cyclists. I can only assume that cyclists trying to get on and off the bridge will be accommodated in some manner, but based on other road work that occurs around Vancouver, I fear this is optimistic and any consideration will be almost an afterthought.

No timeline has been provided for the other tasks that will be undertaken as part of Phase 1 of this project. Expect to see modifications to 4th Ave and Macdonald St (left turn bays, additional/modified traffic circles) to accommodate the expected increase in traffic before the closure of Pt. Grey Road at Macdonald and any other major shifts. The staff report indicates this work will occur through 2013/2014 so I wouldn’t be surprised to see this work start in the coming weeks.

Last modified: August 26, 2013

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