Changes to Burrard Bridge & Pacific Street intersection proposed. Open Houses June 6th and 16th

Burrard Bridge construction June 2014

Burrard Bridge construction June 2014

On June 1, 2015, the City of Vancouver announced plans to make changes to the Burrard Bridge and to the Pacific Street and Burrard Street intersection. The changes recommended by staff will be shown at two Open Houses; these events are scheduled for June 6th (10am – 2pm) and June 16th, 2015 (7-9pm) at the Roundhouse Community Centre. An online survey is also live on the City’s website until June 23rd (link here).

The Burrard Bridge is over 80 years old. While the bridge recently underwent a number of structural improvements, further work is required. The changes to the intersection at the south of the Bridge (at Cornwall) were completed last year; the new safety improvements are slated for the north end of the bridge (Pacific Street). The City specifically seeks to:

  • restore the pedestrian crossing on the east side of the bridge (currently cyclists only) by allocating space from one of the northbound lanes
  • change the configuration to two lanes of traffic in both directions in central part of the bridge (down from 5 lanes) while widening the bridge to 6 lanes before the Pacific Street intersection (in final 100m have 4 lanes northbound)
  • include two protected bike lanes, separated from pedestrian sidewalks
  • replace concrete handrails and lighting fixtures
  • rehabilitate sidewalks, curbs and gutters
  • complete a number of nearby infrastructure improvements (sewer and waterworks)
Burrard Bridge concept

Four lanes of traffic are proposed in new Burrard Bridge configuration (down from current five lanes)

The City intends to start construction on the Burrard Bridge and Pacific Street intersection upgrades in early 2016. The upgrades will cost in the neighbourhood of $30 million (further details are in the City’s 2015-2018 Capital Plan). An open question is how much money will the City have left over for other transportation upgrades after $30 million is spent on the Burrard Bridge. Additional details on the project are available on the City’s website ( vancouver.ca/burrardbridgenorth ).

One of the options that the City could consider is a shared pathway for cyclists and pedestrians (the current proposal is for fully separated pedestrian and cyclist routes). There is a shared pathway on the Clark Drive bridge (shown below); we also have a series of examples of shared pathways from other cities in a previous post.

Clark and 6th Shared Pathway
[Update 11pm June 1, 2015] Additional details of the City’s proposal are available here (plans and sections). While the detailing is not clear, it appears that the City intends to make the northbound lanes a mirror image of the southbound lanes. Would this simply entail moving the concrete barrier from the current northbound bike path over to the left lane of traffic (illustrated below)? If this is the case, then is the concrete barrier the best solution?
Burrard BridgeBurrard Bridge barrier

One thought on “Changes to Burrard Bridge & Pacific Street intersection proposed. Open Houses June 6th and 16th

  1. Take a close look at the diagram they show looking north from the south end (https://cityhallwatch.files.wordpress.com/2015/06/burrard_bridge_mods.jpg) against the proposed cross section 1.

    They intend to tack on to the outside of the existing structure a new walkway path (wings) ON BOTH SIDES which extends along at least one half of the length to the arch structure! note how in both directions, it is the cyclist which has the classic railing to the outside and the pedestrians are to the OUTSIDE of that; beyond the existing bridge structure.

    This IS NOT identified in any of the supporting material as part of the modifications. It will affect the look of the bridge. The railing style does not even match the existing concrete railings.

    Maybe they are suggesting this significant alteration is covered under the key point:
    – rehabilitate sidewalks, curbs and gutters

    Page 2 of the open house material says:
    1. Make Critical Repairs
    This round includes replacement of the crumbling railings (Figure A) and more.
    3. Improve Connections
    The proposed design would allow walking on both sides of the bridge by making the east side (Figure E) more like the west side (Figure F).

    Neither statement adequately describes the modifications in the drawing.

    Page 3 of the material says:
    6. People will again be able to walk on both sides of the bridge. This will be achieved by converting a northbound
    travel lane on the centre portion of the bridge and by widening the bridge at the Pacific intersection

    Again, this does not accurately reflect the scope of the change.

    The distinctly different style also fails to meet:
    7. All changes will respect the heritage value of the bridge

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