The provincial government’s Ministry of Transportation has announced plans to construct a $7 million bike path and improved pedestrian walkway along the 2.2 kilometre long Stanley Park Causeway.
There is no timeline for the plan, but it will include the widening of the pathways on both sides of the road and the installation of safety fencing to prevent people from falling into the path of vehicle traffic.
The project is being proposed as a safety measure following a high profile fatality on the Causeway in May 2013, when a cyclist fell off the walkway and died instantly after being struck by a transit bus. Since then, avid local cyclists have advocated for modifications to the pathway given that both cyclists and pedestrians are forced to share the same narrow path.
“With this investment in infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians, we will be improving safety for all users on the causeway, and are helping to promote alternative modes of transportation on a very busy corridor,” reads a statement by Todd Stone, B.C. Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure.
These upgrades are part of the government’s 10-year road transportation plan, but the plans and designs will require a consultation process involving the Vancouver Park Board, City of Vancouver, other stakeholders and the public.
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.
It is unclear what kind of construction activity can be expected and how the widening of the pathways could affect Stanley Park’s environment – whether construction will cause lane closures for periods of time and require the removal of trees and vegetation along the Causeway.
In the late 1990s, the provincial government considered removing trees along the Causeway to build a new four lane wide 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.