Burrard Bridge - Trial Lane Reallocation
Official Opening: Monday, July 13, 2009
Today, Monday, marks the official “opening” of the Burrard Bridge trial bike lane reallocation. Under a plan approved by Council earlier this year, a single lane (out of six) is being handed over to cyclists heading southbound, while the easterly sidewalk will be reserved for cyclists heading north. Pedestrians going either direction will be routed exclusively onto west sidewalk. Cars, which once had exclusive use of three lanes in either direction will now only have two southbound lanes to draw on. The trial is set to last for three months, when it will be evaluated to determine next steps.
By noon this past Saturday, the concrete barriers were in place while traffic cones sealed off a lane on the east side. Cars and pedestrians and cyclists were making their way over the bridge with the aid of a traffic cop. Despite some initial (and trying) slowdowns caused by the installation, by mid-afternoon traffic in both directions was back to its normal weekend pace. The “nightmare” was over.
So far, the commute patterns on the bridge today appear on par for the course. By 9:15am the usual pace of rush-hour traffic (not to mention the bulge of cyclists participating in the opening) had subsided. The full nature of the ‘experiment’ is really just beginning and it will take proper data (traffic counts, crossing studies times, etc) to formulate an accurate assessment of the project (naysayers, please take note of this point!)
But… so far so good. Just like Y2K, we seem to have made it through okay.
The Burrard Bridge lane reallocation is controversial. Please add your voice (and your feet) to the debate.
It’s expected that the bike lane trial will be every bit as noisy an issue as it was a few years ago. It’s very important for people to voice their concerns around the project. The VPSN’s position is that the Burrard Trial – while not a perfect experiment – is a very good step forward. We would like to see the reallocation experiment expanded to a lane on either side of the bridge because we feel this would offer a more coherent strategy for all modes of transportation – including the substantial number of pedestrians who use the bridge and who, under the current trial, are given short shrift.
What You Can Do to Participate in the Lane Reallocation Initiative
(1) Use the Bridge! This is key – because support in principle is good, but support in practice is essential. Be sure to walk or ride over the bridge as often as you can as pedestrian and bike traffic will be counted by the City engineers and used as part of their rationale to extend (or not) the experiment. For those who support the trial allocation, it’s important to make use of the bike lane as much as possible. The first day events are fun and will be a big draw, but what will be most helpful will be to demonstrate a steady volume of usage for the duration of the trial.
(2) Encourage your friends, colleagues and loved ones to use the bridge too.
(3) Write or call the City of Vancouver and let them know what you think of the lane reallocation trial. Did you make use of the bridge – as a cyclist, pedestrian or car driver? What was your experience? Would you like to see the project turned into a permanent feature of the bridge? Would you like to see the project expanded? Be sure to let them know your thoughts on these questions. We’ve included a link to a template letter that you can use if you want. You can email the counsellors at the following addresses:
firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.orgOr call them, their numbers are here:
Or you can dial the handy new 311 number and pass on your comments to the City that way. (It’s as simple as it sounds – just dial “311”)Or, you can write Gregor on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/gregorrobertson
(3) Visit gregorsgridlock.ca, regardingplace.ca and other media and blog sites that are following the issue – add your comments on their posts and let them know your thoughts and ideas around the project.
(4) Follow the event on Twitter. The VPSN has set up the hash tag #burrardtrial (details at twitter.com/burrardtrial). We’ll be using this to promote dialogue and discussion on the merits of the trial and other transportation alternatives that allow us to prioritize the safe and comfortable travel of cyclists and pedestrians.
(5) Join the Burrard Bridge Facebook Group as the folks behind this have been producing some excellent bulletins on the reallocation trial. You can find it at http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=44613493519
(6) Come to one of the cycling events that is being set up. In addition to the several opening morning activities – including several breakfast rides – there’s also a 5:00pm ride-over starting at St. Paul’s Hospital, a 6:00pm picnic at David Lam Park lead by Momentum Magazine, and 9:00pm outdoor screening of the Triplets of Belleville at the Museum of Vancouver.
(7) Hand out a flyer or two.Local cycling advocate Richard Campbell has produced some useful flyers and is asking for help distributing them. You can download them at http://www.everyoneforever.org/pdf/burrard_flyer.pdf. And if you have some time to help distribute materials, please contact him at: email@example.com or call him at: 604-733-1764.
(8) Volunteer to talk to folks on the bridge! Volunteer on or around the Bridge to help get folks to sign letters to Council, or give them a template letter to take home and mail themselves. Again, it's crucial that folks send feedback about the trial to council, and you can help make this happen.
(9) Support local businesses that may be affected by the change. At least one newspaper article suggested that some local businesses in the immediate vicinity of the bridge are concerned that they will be “significantly hurt” by the plan. Let’s not take a chance with the local economic aspects of the project!
(10) Get in on some Burrard Bridge Community Based Public Art Action! The boring concrete leaves much to the imagination. Join VPSN crews as they add a splash of (washable) colour to things. Stay tuned for more details on when and where. Email karen [at] vancouverpublicspace.ca if you're interested in helping out with any of the VPSN activites – letter and flyer distribution, public art work or more.
Further Information:: Read the City of Vancouver Burrard Bridge webpage
:: View the City of Vancouver Burrard and Pacific Webcam
:: Visit the Katkam webcam for a view of the north end of the bridge