A new bike lane on the Cambie Street Bridge is being considered by the City of Vancouver in its latest plan to increase cycling trips.
The proposal calls for converting one of the southbound vehicle lanes into a dedicated protected bike lane with “removable” barriers on a “temporary” basis as part of a pilot project. This will reduce the number of vehicle lanes on most of the six-lane bridge span to five lanes.
On the north end of the Cambie Bridge, at the downtown side, the eastbound protected bike lane on Nelson Street will be extended to the new protected bike lane on the bridge. There will also be a connection between the protected bike lanes on Nelson Street and Beatty Street to the bridge’s new protected bike lanes.
The bridge’s protected bike lane will end at the exit ramp onto West 2nd Avenue’s westbound direction on the south end of the bridge. To accommodate the space needed for the protected bike lane on the exit ramp, the vehicle lane will be narrowed.
During a presentation to Vancouver City Council this morning, Transportation Director Lon LaClaire claimed travel times will only increase by 10 seconds and there will be “no impact” to the bridge’s vehicle capacity.
He says the protected bike lane is needed as the bridge’s east sidewalk, which is a wide protected path shared between cyclists and pedestrians, is seeing rising use and conflicts. In June 2017, there were 71,000 pedestrian and cyclists recorded on the bridge – up from 38,000 in 2010 – and it is projected this existing shared path will “reach capacity” by 2020.
But NPA Vancouver City Councillor Hector Bremner warns “the lanes are never temporary,” adding that “the Hornby lanes were called ‘temporary’ at the time as well.”
“That said, I support any move to improve the way we move people outside of a car, and the best way to do that is start building a truly urban Vancouver that builds more multi-residential housing options closer to our economic centres so people can choose to get out of their car, like me,” Bremner told Daily Hive.
“Housing and transportation are not separate issues, we must build communities that facilitate better transportation choices for everyone.”
If approved by City Council following an upcoming public consultation process, the latest bike lane project is expected to cost $400,000.
Burrard Street Bridge also saw a vehicle lane reduction from six lanes to four lanes over the past decade to accommodate new protected bike lanes and wider pedestrian sidewalks. There are also similar plans to turn two lanes of the eight-lane Granville Street Bridge into cycling and pedestrian paths.
Vehicle traffic volumes on the Cambie Street Bridge are projected to rise following the demolition of the Dunmuir and Georgia viaducts, with motorists using 2nd Avenue and the bridge as an alternate route in and out of the downtown peninsula.