Granville Bridge pedestrian and cycling pathway final proposed design chosen (RENDERINGS)

Jan 20 2020, 1:22 pm

After revealing to the public six shortlisted design configurations last September, the City of Vancouver has selected a final design for the proposed Granville Connector — a pedestrian and cycling pathway on the Granville Street Bridge deck.

Following a public consultation process that received nearly 8,000 survey responses, city staff revealed today their preferred design of a main pedestrian pathway and two-way cycling pathway located on the west side of the bridge.

“West Side Plus was by far the most popular option with the public during two previous rounds of engagement,” said Paul Storer, manager of transportation design for the City of Vancouver, in a statement.

“People also shared ideas, many of which we’ve been able to incorporate, for improving the design to ensure it offers the best possible experience for users.”

granville connector bridge

January 2020 concept of the final proposed design for the Granville Connector. (City of Vancouver)

granville connector bridge

January 2020 concept of the final proposed design for the Granville Connector. (City of Vancouver)

The pedestrian and cycling pathway will extend along the length of the main bridge deck.

Improvements will also be made to the pedestrian sidewalk on the east side of the bridge, which begins on the Seymour Street off-ramp on the north end and the Hemlock Street off-ramp on the south end.

Traffic light signal-controlled crossings will be installed on the bridge deck at the entrance of each ramp to create a safe on-bridge crossing for pedestrians and cyclists.

The pathways link up to the proposed Drake Street bike lanes on the north end and the Arbutus Greenway and 10th Avenue bike corridor on the south end.

granville connector bridge

January 2020 concept of the final proposed design for the Granville Connector. (City of Vancouver)

granville connector bridge

January 2020 concept of the final proposed design for the Granville Connector. (City of Vancouver)

Like all of the other shortlisted designs, this chosen west side design also retains six vehicle lanes, with three lanes in each direction — a reduction from the existing eight lanes, with four lanes in each direction.

The proposed bridge deck reconfiguration with the west side design reduces the Granville Street’s vehicle capacity from four lanes (two lanes in each direction) to two lanes (one lane in each direction).

Two lanes for vehicles are retained for the ramps on Howe, Seymour, and Fir streets, while a single lane is retained for the Hemlock Street ramp.

“As the City’s population grows and climate-change concerns intensify, the need to offer sustainable travel options has never been more important,” continued Storer.

“This project will give people more travel options to and from downtown that don’t contribute to congestion or pollution.”

granville connector bridge

January 2020 concept of the final proposed design for the Granville Connector. (City of Vancouver)

granville connector bridge

January 2020 concept of the final proposed design for the Granville Connector. (City of Vancouver)

The city previously stated that options that reduced the bridge deck to four lanes — two lanes in each direction — would result in “very significant traffic delays in the northbound direction on Granville Street” and “significant impacts to transit and emergency services.”

City staff acknowledge the new traffic light signals on the Howe Street and Fir Street ramps could “slightly increase southbound travel times” for vehicles, and there is the potential for some delays around Fir Street.

The bridge currently sees an average of 65,000 vehicle crossings and 25,000 bus transit trips per day, with six bus routes running a combined total of nearly 80 buses per hour during peak periods. As an extension of the Highway 99 corridor, the bridge is a vital link for the regional transportation network.

Vehicle lane widths will also be narrowed to help accommodate the new wide pathway and public space uses, including the incorporation of public art and street furniture, allowing the public to take in the views in an optimal way.

This configuration on the west side of the bridge also provides the best views of the waterways, mountains, skyline, and Burrard Bridge.

Granville Bridge path

Vehicle traffic volumes on the Granville Bridge. (City of Vancouver)

Granville Bridge

The existing Granville Street Bridge road deck. (Google Maps)

The municipal government has been targeting improvements on the Granville Bridge for pedestrians and cyclists for some years, given that the existing pedestrian sidewalks are narrow and perceived as unsafe, and there is an absence of dedicated bike lanes.

In addition to active transportation upgrades, suicide-prevention fencing will be installed along the perimeter of both sides of the bridge deck and all four ramps.

The chosen design is expected to cost between $30 million and $40 million, but it will likely be constructed in phases given that the current 2019-2022 capital budget only allocates $25 million for this particular project.

This does not include an additional $8 million to $15 million for the suicide-prevention fencing component, which is separate from the project scope. Suicide-prevention fencing was also installed on the Burrard Street Bridge as part of its recent upgrades.

The reconfigured bridge deck design will retain the potential for a future elevator and staircase tower between the west side of the bridge and Granville Island below. The tower access to Granville Island will be accessible from both sides of the bridge with the installation of a traffic light signal-controlled pedestrian crossing and northbound and southbound bus stops.

City council will decide on the project’s final proposed concept and phased budget this spring, following public consultation by online survey and open houses starting January 24. If approved, construction could begin in 2021.

In 2017, city council also approved an $18-million plan to demolish the ramp loops connecting the bridge deck to Pacific Street and construct a new street grid.

Seismic and structural rehabilitation work currently underway on the 1954-built bridge — at a cost of $34 million — is expected to reach completion in Summer 2021.

granville loops demolition plan granville bridge

January 2020 plan for the Granville Connector, as well as the demolition of the north loop ramps and a new H-shaped street grid. (City of Vancouver)