One southbound vehicle lane will be replaced to make room for the separated cyclist route
On January 17, Vancouver city council approved a motion to build a separated bike lane on the Cambie Bridge. The construction will reportedly be completed this summer and cost taxpayers $600,000.
The money will come from approved portion of the city’s current budget, under a section entitled “Active Transportation Corridors and Spot Improvements.”
Currently, pedestrians and cyclists share the same lane spanning the bridge. Last July the lane saw more than 80,000 bike trips, according to the city, which also says that June cycling volumes have risen by 86 per cent since 2010.
As they presented their report making a case for the new lane, city staff repeatedly brought up the increase in trips to Vancouver General Hospital that have resulted from accidents involving cyclists and pedestrians.
The city showed a graph to support its claims, noting that minor injuries along the bridge shot up in 2016-17.
City of Vancouver
Not all councillors were in agreement, though: the vote was split 6–3, with Vision Vancouver councillors and lone Green Party member Adrienne Carr teaming up to support the motion and Non-Partisan Association (NPA) members opposing it.
There was some lively debate, too, as NPA councillor George Affleck tabled an amendment to the report, proposing a moratorium on any changes to the bridge, “especially at the cost of $600,000.”
Instead, Affleck recommended that staff look into building an “innovative cycling cross for bikes in the city for False Creek,” a structure that Vision members estimated would cost near $100 million.
Mayor Gregor Robertson dismissed the idea that the NPA was doing anything other than trying to carve out a spot for itself in this October’s municipal election. “I’m stunned and disappointed to hear the NPA choosing to make this issue a political hot potato,” Robertson said. “I can’t believe that some councillors don’t believe the facts here, that they don’t believe safety is worth an investment.”