March 20, 2017

Recent Developments 1 – Burrard Bridge, West Side

Sun on a Sunday, warmth in the air, a new project to explore – the finally finished sidewalk, bike lane and railings on the west side of the Burrard Bridge:
Burrard Bridge March 19 (4)
Burrard Bridge March 19 (1)
We got our money’s worth, judging by the quality of materials and workmanship: gorgeous lighting hardware, the craft of the cement work, new railings that respect the deco heritage of this 1930s bridge – even down to the jersey barriers that echo the openings of the original balustrade.
Burrard Bridge March 19 (8)
Burrard Bridge March 19 (9)
Burrard Bridge March 19 (6)
Of course the whole point of the project was to provide safe, separated spaces for walkers and cyclists.
Burrard Bridge March 19 (7)
Burrard Bridge March 19 (5)
And they’ve even provided bike runnels on the staircase leading to Beach Avenue below:
Burrard Bridge March 19 (3)
The augmented Burrard Bridge has been treated with respect, in the style of the City Beautiful – a time when art and good design were not seen as frills but as a reflection of  a citizenry that was prepared to pay for quality in its public works.
Burrard Bridge March 19 (2)
And saw a bridge as an opportunity for a Sunday stroll, not just as a vehicle-dominated, utilitarian piece of infrastructure.
Burrard Bridge March 19 (10)

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  1. Thanks for mentioning the staircase with new runnel for bikes. I will give it a try. I hope the city will build a good connection from Stanley Park/West End to the bridge next.

  2. Rode the bridge yesterday in the sunshine, and when I saw this post this morning decided to detour over the Burrard Bridge and ride it again on today’s ride. You know infrastructure is good when simply using it puts a smile on one’s face. There were a lot of smiles from people walking and people riding. It is an amazing project. And great photos.

  3. The second line isn’t quite accurate. According the Vancouver city website, the project is for these reasons:
    >To reduce collisions and conflicts at the Burrard-Pacific intersection, we propose >to:
    >Replace slip lanes with dedicated turn lanes
    >Create protected signal phases for different road users and turn movements
    >Increase separation between people walking, cycling, and driving
    This tells me that driving is a big reason for this project. I think we have to remember that. This isn’t primarily an active transportation project and would have happened anyway even if active transportation wasn’t something now included.

  4. There was necessary water and sewer system rehab work to do, along Burrard and up to 16th. After the road was dug up it could have been put back the same as it was, which was the original plan. There was the intersection at Pacific, with the second highest number of vehicle crashes in the City (after Knight and SE Marine). There were crumbling railings with spalling concrete falling off onto the paths below. All of that could have been fixed and replaced with what was there previously. What was done was to take the opportunity presented, when major maintenance was required, to upgrade the route to better consider all modes of transportation. Cars are a big part of the bridge, and remain so, and they got the improvements to avoid crashes at Pacific, but the part that caused me to smile wasn’t the vehicle lanes across the bridge, it was the rest of it, the improvements over what was there before. Bike lanes that connect better. Pedestrian walkways on both sides of the bridge, as they should be. Architectural details that matter.

  5. Never noticed the recesses on the Jersey barrier facing the bike lane (to mimic the balustrade) – probably because I haven’t jogged over the bridge yet.
    The side facing the cars don’t have the recesses.

  6. Looks great. But I’m disappointed they didn’t come up with a better, more asthetically pleasing separation between the bike and the car lanes. Those ugly concrete dividers went in with the “trial” and never went away. And they’re still there after the rebuild. Couldn’t something nicer and possibly which takes less space have been used?

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