“We strongly support a two-lane trial and want everyone to have an opportunity to hear all sides of the debate,” said FBB spokesperson Rob Wynen. “Until we try reallocation, demonstrating how this safe, progressive solution can accommodate all bridge users is impossible. We’re confident we can address objections to the plan and show how the two lane trial is the most cost-effective way for the city to adhere to its policy of encouraging sustainable transportation on the Burrard Bridge.”
ICBC and Vancouver police statistics demonstrate the dangers to pedestrians and cyclists currently using the bridge. From 1996 to 2006, 25 pedestrians and 80 cyclists were injured in accidents, with Pacific Avenue at the north end of the Burrard Bridge a particularly risky area for cyclists (38 injuries). More recent numbers show the problem is only getting worse. 2006 statistics document 50 casualties at this dangerous intersection.
Currently, pedestrians, cyclists, and inline-skaters must all share the sidewalks on the Burrard Bridge. Motorized vehicles have six lanes available. Supporters of the trial point out the Granville Street Bridge is under capacity and offers a more direct route to the downtown core. Calls for a new pedestrian bridge or widening the existing bridge are rejected by the citizen’s group, as either solution is years away from implementation and likely to cost tens of millions of dollars. They assert lane re-allocation will cost far less and can be implemented right away.
According to another Friends spokesperson, Richard Campbell, the trial delivers immediate safety and liability benefits:
“The two-lane trial delivers immediate improvements to safety on the bridge. The current situation does not meet the nationally recommended standard for a shared sidewalk. This failure to meet minimum requirements leaves the city wide open to potential lawsuits. We need to address the issue before more people are hurt or someone is killed.”