Thursday, April 30, 2009

It Takes Two

by Richard Campbell

Well, finally, after 16 years the decision is near. See below for more information on speaking to council at the meeting on May 5.

It is critical that you e-mail mayor and council or speak at the meeting on May 5 in support of the two lane trial which is by far the best solution for almost 6,000 people per day that walk, cycle and run over Burrard Bridge.

There are three options being considered:
- A two lane trial with bike lanes separated from traffic by barriers
- A one lane trial with a bike lane separated from traffic by barriers on the west side of the bridge with cyclists and pedestrians sharing the sidewalk on the east side
- A one lane trial with a bike lane separated from traffic by barriers on the west side of the bridge with cyclists only on the east sidewalk. Pedestrians would be banned from the east sidewalk

Two Lane Trial
The two lane trial will enables people of all ages to safely walk, cycle and run over the bridge. Faster cyclists will have room to safely pass slower cyclists. The traffic noise and pollution will be further away from the sidewalk, making the bridge much more pleasant to walk over. People will be able to enjoy walking over the bridge without worrying about cyclists whizzing by.

By creating a great walking and cycling experience in both directi ons, the two lane trial will provide many people with a real options to driving over the bridge. This will maximize the number of people walking and cycling while decreasing traffic on the bridge thus ensuring the success of the trial. Granville Bridge is only a short drive away for motorists and will even be quicker for many trips and with the Canada Line opening this fall, traffic downtown will decrease.

Mayor Robertson unveiled this week, the Greenest City Action Team's Quick Start Recommendations which included the Burrard Bridge Trial. The two lane trial is the type of bold measure that will be required if Vancouver is to become the Greenest City in the world. Ot her cities such as Portland, New York, Paris, London and Copenhagen are already reallocating lanes of traffic on major roads and bridges for cyclists and pedestrians. In these cities there is the predicable reaction from some motorists who think there will be traffic chaos. In spite of the dire predictions, people are resourceful enough to adapt to these changes and the any traffic issues are minor.

One Lane Trials
Regarding the one lane options. First of all, pedestrians are the city's transportation priority. It is no acceptable to ban pedestrian s from the east sidewalk nor would it likely be effective unless the city posts guards on the bridge. At both ends of the bridge, the connections to the other side of the bridge are not very convenient, requiring people to wait for several signals.

Neither of the one lane option provides a barrier to prevent cyclists from falling off the sidewalk into the traffic. Assuming the trial is successful, more people will be walking and cyclist over the sidewalk increasing the chance of conflicts and cyclists getting knocked off the sidewalk by either pedestrians or other cyclists. It just does not make sense to provide a safe bicycle route in only one direction over the bridge.

Speaking to Mayor and Council
Tuesday, May 5th, 9:30 AM
Council Chamber, Third Floor, City Hall 
To address council, please call Denise Salmon at 604.873.7269, by 1:00 p.m. on Monday, May 4, 2009.  Please limit comments five minutes.

Contact Mayor and Council
Please e-mail mayor and council:
It can be a brief message or your experiences and close calls on the bridge might help increase the sense of urgency.

If you wish to call them, their numbers can be found here:

More Information
The staff report, which has a lot of good information in it, can be found at:

Greenest City Quick Start Recommendations:
Councillor Megges has a good summary of the history of the Burrard Bridge proccess:

For those of you on Facebook, please join the group:
Invite your friends. Let's show Council a 1000 people and more want a two lane trial.
Finally, here is a flyer you can print and handout to cyclists and pedestrians
encouraging them to contact Mayor and Council.
Thanks Richard

1 comment:

  1. Dear mayor and council member,

    Please allocate two biking lanes on Burrard bridge to make it safer for pedestrians and cyclists who commute over the bridge every day. The current situation is dangerous for everyone specially elderly and those who are not skilled bikers. My wife and I have both witnessed and experienced situations in which cyclists put their own and other commuters' life at risk when taking over pedestrians or slower bikers just because they share the same narrow lane.

    Bicycles do not pollute the air, are affordable, do not consume fossil fuels, don't make as much noise as cars, are safer to ride than drive a car, and offer people a healthier lifestyle. Promoting use of bicycles should be on top of any political party's agenda.

    Saeid Mohadjer