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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Preferred design for Granville Street Bridge bike lane selected

Enhancements to bridge also include wider sidewalks, new street network and signalled intersections

The City of Vancouver is recommending a two-way bike lane on the west side of the Granville Street Bridge, plus additional enhancements including lighting and a suicide prevention fence.

The bridge is considered unsafe for pedestrians and cyclists, with 52 per cent of pedestrians in a city survey saying they are uncomfortable walking across the bridge on their own. Seventy-eight per cent of cyclists say they are uncomfortable using the route.

Key issues include the lack of a barrier between the traffic and sidewalk, high-speed vehicle traffic and steps in the sidewalk at crossings.

The city’s recommended plan, which was based on public consultation, will go before council this spring, with construction on the upgrades expected to begin in 2021. The cost is expected to be between $30-$40 million and take several years to complete.

Highlights include:

  • Eliminating two of the eight traffic lanes in order to expand the sidewalks on either side, and creation of a two-way bike lane on the west side of the bridge.
Granville Street Bridge lanes reduced
Cross-section of new pedestrian, bike lanes and reduced traffic lanes on the Granville Street bridge.
  • Signalized intersections (traffic lights) at on- and off-ramps (Seymour, Howe, Hemlock, Fir)
Granville Street Bridge traffic signals
Drawing showing signalized intersections at on- and off-ramps to Granville Street Bridge.
  • Addition of suicide prevention fencing in collaboration with Vancouver Coastal Health, and similar to Burrard Street Bridge, at a cost estimated to be between $8-$15 million, on top of the $30-$40 million overall project cost. The city says that since the suicide prevention fence was installed on the Burrard Street Bridge, no one has jumped from the crossing.
Suicide prevention fencing Granville Street Bridge
Possibilities for suicide prevention fencing on Granville Street Bridge. Estimated cost? $8-$15 million.
  • Addition of a new, two-way bike lane from Fir Street ramp to 10th Avenue bike route.
  • Reduction of vehicle speeds on Granville Street Bridge from 60 km/h to 50 km/h.

Project also encompasses removal of Granville Street Bridge loops

The Granville Street Bridge upgrade project also ties in with the removal of the Granville Street loops at the north end of the bridge as it enters downtown Vancouver.

New street network
New street network at north end of bridge.

The removal of the loops will allow the city to extend Continental Street and Rolston Street south to Pacific Blvd., as well as the creation of a new street called Neon Street, which would run east-west between Continental and Rolston and include a new signalized intersection at Granville and Neon Street.

The new roads will improve access to the area, and also open up future development opportunities. In 2018, the city marketed the lands as a 99-year lease. They include the existing Black Top Cabs headquarters building, expected to move out sometime this year.

The lease plan called for the development of 725,000 square feet of market and non-market housing and commercial space, with building heights up to 33 storeys. 

New downtown Vancouver streets
New street network between Drake Street and Pacific Street in downtown Vancouver.

The city says the upgrades will also be compatible with a proposed elevator from the bridge down to Granville Island, something that has been in the works for several years.

To view the proposal and share your feedback with the City of Vancouver, visit: vancouver.ca/granvilleconnector 

Granville Street Bridge cycling connections
Overview of improvements and changes to the Granville Street Bridge, including connections to bike routes.

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Peter Meiszner
Peter Meiszner
Peter Meiszner is an experienced journalist and media relations professional, based in Vancouver. As founder of urbanYVR.com, he has been reporting on urban development across the Lower Mainland since 2016, and has also served as vice-chair of the Gastown Historic Area Planning Committee. In October 2022, he was elected to Vancouver city council and is no longer actively reporting for urbanYVR.

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