After three weeks of construction, a new dedicated southbound bike lane on the Cambie Street Bridge is about to see its first riders.
According to the municipal government, the new $600,000 bike lane – intended to be a “pilot project” – will open later this week ahead of the busy Canada Day weekend. At the moment, crews are in the process of finalizing new signage on the bridge.
The new bike lane spans the entire width of the bridge deck’s westernmost traffic lane, reducing the southbound direction capacity for vehicles from three lanes to two lanes.
Temporary concrete barriers, similar to the previous concrete barriers on the Burrard Street Bridge, have been placed to create a barrier between the cars and the cyclists.
Cyclists can access the bridge’s southbound bike lane from the intersection of Nelson Street and Beatty Street as a continuation of the Nelson Street bike lane.
Towards the southern end of the bridge, instead of concrete barriers, white plastic bollards have been installed in the approach area where the bike lane narrows into the single-lane off-ramp onto West 2nd Avenue.
New bike lanes have also been painted on the southern end of the bridge on West 2nd Avenue, with the intersection repainted and a new bike lane painted on the wide sidewalk west of the bridge – passing directly in front of the entrance into Olympic Village Station and continuing westward to Ash Street on the City-owned parking lot.
The City previously stated there could be further upgrades to the cycling connections at where the bridge ramps meet West 2nd Avenue, based on monitoring travel behaviour before and after construction.
The municipal government claims the new bike lane is needed as the existing pedestrian-cyclist shared path on the east side of the bridge is seeing rising conflicts from greater use, which necessitates the separation of the pedestrian and cycling uses.
During the warm, sunny month of July, according to the City, cyclist volumes on the bridge have been recorded at an average of 1,900 per weekday in July 2010, 2,700 per weekday in July 2014, and 3,200 per weekday in July 2017. Increases in cyclist ridership are correlated with the completion of the new protected bike lanes on the north end of the bridge in downtown on Smithe, Nelson, and Beatty streets.
Burrard Street Bridge also saw a vehicle lane reduction from six lanes to four lanes over the past decade to accommodate new protected bike lanes and wider pedestrian sidewalks. There are also long-term plans to turn two lanes of the eight-lane Granville Street Bridge into cycling and pedestrian paths.