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Burrard Bridge Renewal and Transportation Improvement Project

Burrard Bridge is one of three City-owned bridges that cross False Creek, a body of
water separating the high-density downtown core and medium-density
neighbourhoods to the south. The bridge was opened in 1932 as a six-lane vehicular
bridge with sidewalks on both sides. The bridge was built in the Art Deco style and
City Council included it on the City's Heritage Register in 1986. Over the years, the
City has completed a series of rehabilitation projects and upgrades to keep the bridge
safe and functional.

The role of the bridge has evolved over the years, primarily in response to
accommodating a growing number of cyclists using the bridge. Prior to 2009, people
walking and cycling shared the sidewalks on both sides of the bridge. As the number
of people crossing the bridge using active transportation grew, the shared sidewalk
became increasingly hazardous for pedestrians and cyclists. Safety was a particular
issue for people cycling, as they were directed to ride in a narrow area adjacent to
motor vehicle traffic and a minor error (or conflict with a pedestrian) could cause
them to fall off the sidewalk onto the roadway. In 2009, the City reallocated a
southbound travel lane from general purpose traffic and prohibited pedestrians from
using the east sidewalk in order to create a protected bicycle lane in each direction
(refer to Appendix). Since then, walking and cycling volumes have increased
significantly with cycling growing by over 30%.

The Transportation 2040 Plan, adopted by Council in 2012, includes a zero
transportation related fatality goal and identifies the False Creek Bridges as an area
of focus for active transportation improvements to address gaps in the pedestrian and
cycling networks. Burrard Bridge is one of the busiest active transportation corridors
in the city, with 10,000 walking and cycling trips on a busy summer day. It also carries
approximately 55,000 motor vehicles, 13,000 transit passengers, and 500 trucks on a
typical day.

Author

Ross Kenny
Alex Liaw

Session title

2018 TAC Road Safety Engineering Award

Organizers

Road Safety Standing Committee

Category

Road Safety

Year

2018

Format

Paper

File