VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Traffic has been squeezed on the Burrard Bridge and the downtown viaducts by separated bike lanes, and now Vancouver is looking at making the Granville and Cambie bridges friendlier for walking or cycling. That likely means traffic lanes would be taken away.
A concept diagram shows two lanes on the Granville Bridge replaced with a greenway — a wide promenade fit with trees and benches to take in the view as traffic whizzes by on either side. The city claims there’s extra capacity on False Creek bridges to work with and that it fits with the Transportation 2040 plan.
Director Jerry Dobrovolny says the plan aims to get commuters out of their cars.
“It’s not about penalizing car drivers,” he says. “We always know there will be times when the car is the most viable trip or sometimes the only viable trip, but it’s providing options for people to walk, cycle, or take transit.”
“We have a 75 per cent increase in population and we have 20 per cent fewer cars coming into the downtown now than we did 10, 15 years ago,” Dobrovolny adds.
The greenway idea is only a concept for now and would still leave three northbound lanes and three southbound lanes on the Granville Street Bridge. Further study is needed.
“You’d get on the south side at Sixth Avenue and on the north [side] at Drake,” explains Dobrovolny. “There’s regular intersections at that point so you’d go across the crosswalk and enter the boulevard at what is the centre of the street today.”
He says that would leave the outside lanes for vehicles and those lanes would connect directly to Howe and to Seymour.
“It’s not possible to carry eight lanes of traffic on the bridge because it would essentially need to connect to a freeway at either end to fill that capacity.”
Vancouver updated its transportation vision yesterday. The city has no plan to increase road capacity, despite admitting there is a congestion problem.
The focus will continue to be on making the city safer and accessible for pedestrians, cyclists, and transit users.