VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Work is underway with the aim of improving cyclist and pedestrian safety on the Cambie Street Bridge.
While bike lanes have been a contentious issue for some around Vancouver in the past, at least one group says it’s supportive of the upgrades.
“We’re convinced, based on the numbers we’ve been provided and looking at past experiences that we don’t anticipate that this is going to add to travel times in any significant way and as a result of that, we’re supportive,” says Charles Gauthier, president of the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association.
The upgrades — which are part of Vancouver’s Transportation 2040 Plan — were approved earlier this year. When it was presented to the DVBIA, Gauthier says members did have a number of questions.
A timeline of the Cambie Bridge improvements
However, after its own analysis, he says the group found the impacts weren’t going to be too signficant.
“We felt that we weren’t going to stand in the way of dealing with the congestion that’s occurring on the Cambie Street Bridge, on the west side, that we saw that it was needed to provide a cycling infrastructure on the west side of that bridge.”
He adds the group wants the downtown core to be accessible to everyone. “In the end, we’re supportive of the change, we want downtown to be accessible by all modes of transportation.”
Gauthier admits there will be a period of adjustment for drivers, but adds this work won’t come with the same kind of potential issues that upgrades to the Burrard street brought.
“It doesn’t have, from our prospective, the same kind of potential issues that the Burrard Street Bridge back in the day did, you know, by removing the lane… We’re not going to see huge queuing of vehicles heading into the downtown with the Cambie Street Bridge as a result of the construction that was happening on Smithe Street, but construction’s all been completed now.
“We feel the need is there to improve the infrastructure for cycling and pedestrians on the bridge.”
The upgrades are expected to be completed by the end of this month. The city plans to install a protected bike lane on the southbound side of the bridge, and will be painting lines to separate walking and cycling paths on the northbound walkway.
The Cambie Street Bridge was identified as a priority to improve cyclist and pedestrian safety in the city’s transportation plan. Staff estimate more than 70,000 cyclists took to the bridge in July of last year, which the city says “provides a critical link between BC’s two larges economic centres and high density neighbourhoods.”
To plan your route ahead of time, you can head to the city’s website or use the VanConnect app.
The work is expected to wrap up at the end of June.