NORTH VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — As the province looks at whether creating a rapid transit link between the North Shore and Vancouver is possible, the Mayor of North Vancouver says she would like the study to look at a bike tunnel.
Linda Buchanan thinks it would be safer and hopes the province includes the idea in its current feasibility study on rapid transit between the two areas.
Her comments come after transportation planning manager Dale Bracewell posted his support for the idea on Twitter, along with a video of a similar, albeit shorter, cyclist tunnel in Amsterdam.
“My response (to the tweet) was I love it, “Buchanan said. “I don’t know if that would add any scope to the (feasibility study), but certainly if we’re looking at the feasibility of a fixed link to rapidly move people, I think any time we do that if we can be looking at other modes of active transportation within that, then I think we should be looking at that.”
While I love my waterfront views from Lion’s Gate Bridge, I welcome this for our rainy days. #Transport2050
— Dale Bracewell (@Dale_Bracewell) May 28, 2019
Vancouver learned from cities like Amsterdam to maintain safe bike routes during construction.
Now, by opening a tunnel to bikes during a transit strike (closing it to cars), Amsterdam has raised the bar for temporary bike infra again.
More city competition like this, please! pic.twitter.com/FTiqiXtKN5
— Mitchell Reardon (@MitchellReardon) May 29, 2019
Bracewell declined to comment and the City of Vancouver says it is not currently pursuing any plans for a cyclist tunnel to the North Shore.
The province’s feasibility study, which has no frame of reference, was launched last week and a formal report is expected in early 2020.
Gordon Lovegrove, an associate professor in the UBC Okanagan School of Engineering, expects any rapid transit plan would include pedestrians and vehicles, but a cyclist tunnel would be much cheaper than one for vehicles.
“It’s going to be $50 to $100 million, but a new bridge you’re probably approaching $1 billion,” he said, adding a tunnel would increase safety by separating light cyclists from heavier vehicles. “It’s a radical idea, but so is getting zero emissions trains and vehicles.”
He points to a similar tunnel in Rotterdam, Netherlands which runs 1.3 kilometres under the Nieuwe Maas and was completed in 1942 and is still in use today.
“If we’re going to solve climate change we have to go out there, and being an avid cyclists myself, I’m 100 per cent behind this,” he said.