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Council votes in favour of $600K Cambie bridge bike lane
Published Wednesday, January 17, 2018 4:46PM PST Last Updated Wednesday, January 17, 2018 6:11PM PST
Vancouver City Council has decided turn a lane of the Cambie Street Bridge into a bike path, in a bid to improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians who currently share a sidewalk.
"It's a nice, wide bridge. There's lots of capacity. We just need to separate those cyclists from those pedestrians," Coun. Heather Deal said Wednesday, citing "a huge uptick in interactions between the two that cause people to go to the emergency for stitches, for instance."
Councillors votes 6-3 in favour of the $600,000 project Wednesday afternoon. Those against the project were all part of the Non-Partisan Association.
Two councillors were not present for the vote.
According to a report from city staff, the bike lane will be achieved by reallocating part of one of the bridge's southbound lanes and a portion of the extra width on the south-to-west vehicle ramp on the south end of the bridge.
The changes will first be made using temporary barriers, so that officials can monitor the impact the new lane would have on traffic.
Since the motor vehicle capacity is regulated by traffic signals at either end of the bridge, the new lane is unlikely to have a significant impact on traffic, the report said.
The plan will redirect southbound cyclists to the new lane. It's unclear if the city will divide or add signs to the shared northbound path to try to keep cyclists and pedestrians separate.
Deal said the city has been exploring the idea of a bike lane on the bridge "for decades."
"We did the Burrard Street Bridge and it's beautiful and extremely successful and popular," he said. "The next one in line was the Cambie Street Bridge because it's an easy fix, in fact."
The temporary bike lane will be in place in the first half of 2018, according to the proposal.
Some Vancouverites using the bridge welcomed the announcement, saying it would likely help reduce congestion in the downtown core as a whole.
"I think it will help encourage fewer cars going into downtown," said Emily Holmes, who was walking on the bridge Wednesday.
Others, however, said the money could have been put to better use.
"I think this (lane) is pretty decent as it is," said cyclist Anthony Hempell, even though things can "get a little hairy" when the shared path gets busy in the summer.
Several drivers agreed, saying the bike lane should not be a top priority for the city.
"I think our tax dollars can be put to better use," a driver named Judy told CTV News.
"There's too many bike lanes there anyhow. Where are you going to go with the cars?" said another driver.
In late October, the nearby Burrard bridge reopened after two years and nearly $50 million in upgrades that included structural improvements, new sidewalks, restored lighting and a bike lane.
With files from CTV Vancouver's David Molko