The provincial government has announced that construction on the widening of the Stanley Park Causeway will begin this Sunday, September 13.
The $4.37-million project along the 2.2-kilometre, three-lane route through Stanley Park will improve pedestrian and cyclist safety. This includes new dedicated bike lanes, widened pedestrian pathways, roadside cable fencing and improved signage on both sides of the road from Lost Lagoon to the south end of the Lions Gate Bridge
Fencing along the Causeway is intended to prevent cyclists and pedestrians from falling into the roadway while new signage will restrict cyclist traffic direction.
Vehicle road space and capacity will not be reduced for the project. Approximately one acre of Stanley Park’s forested green space will be permanently affected, resulting in the loss of 14 trees between the ages of 30 to 60 years and the protection of 122 trees through aeration, soil removal and backfill measures.
Earlier this year, the Vancouver Park Board approved the provincial government’s safety improvements plan, which was triggered by a high profile fatality on the Causeway in May 2013. A cyclist fell off the walkway and was killed instantly after being struck by a transit bus.
“The ministry’s improvements to the Stanley Park Causeway will provide a safer and more comfortable cycling and walking route for the thousands of people who use it each day, and will encourage many more to use active transportation along this important connector,” said HUB Cycling executive director Erin O’Melinn in a statement.
“Improvements such as safety barriers, path widening and improved signage are important steps to making Stanley Park Causeway suitable for all ages and abilities.”
Langley’s MRC Total Build has been contracted by the provincial government to complete the project. Vehicle traffic, pedestrians and cyclists should expect disruptions over the next several months as crews undertake the construction work. Improvements will begin with the east walkway (northbound) before work moves on to the west walkway (southbound).
Over 2,200 cyclists and 200 pedestrians use the Causeway’s pathways everyday during the summer months while 60,000 to 70,000 vehicles travel on the three counterflow-controlled lanes of roadway on a daily basis throughout the year.
In the late 1990s, the provincial government considered removing trees along the Causeway to build a new four-lane bridge deck for the Lions Gate Bridge.
However, opposition from local groups over the suggestion of removing any trees forced the government to backdown on the extra lane plan and proceed with a bridge deck replacement consisting of just three lanes.