It's been 15 years since Vancouver residents started petitioning for a bike lane on one of the bridges that connects to downtown. In the summer of 2009, the city implemented a test lane on the historic Burrard Bridge and almost immediately cycling was up 30%.
Cycling advocates and wheeled commuters explain the advantages to having a protected bicycle path. Recent reports seem to show most are happy with the implementation and residents favor continuing the trial by a margin of 2 to 1.
[music] </p><p>Chris Keam: [0:10] Vancouver's downtown is on a peninsula that's almost an island. It's bordered by water on three sides so we have bridges to get into downtown pretty much no matter where you come from.</p><p>Kari Hewett: [0:20] So, what happens is the traffic that moves from anywhere south of here, mainly a lot of the living areas and the farming and industrial areas, crosses over the bridge either for commuting purposes often for business or for actually leaving to go out to another job. The very busy bridges are Burrard and then Granville and Cambie.</p><p>Richard Campbell: [0:43] Well, right now the cycling situation on Burrard Bridge is pretty good. About a year ago the City of Vancouver did a trial protected bike lane on the bridge where they reallocated one of the lanes of traffic for a one way bike lane. And then they reallocated one of the sidewalks for cycling traffic the other way. And pedestrians now share the west sidewalk on the bridge. We would rather have seen them allocate lanes on both sides of the bridge so pedestrians could go on on both sides, but this is certainly better than the previous situation.</p><p>[music] </p><p>Kari: [1:21] For a lot of us, the necessity of having segregated or separated bike lanes makes it a lot more safe, both for pedestrians and for cyclists and expedites our journey in and out of the city in a much better fashion.</p><p>Chris: [1:35] Of course, there were some small delays on the first few days, and you had to be here on the first day. There were more television trucks and cameras hovering overhead, and a lot of the local media couldn't quite wrap their heads around it. They really thought there was going to be huge traffic problems.</p><p>Television Reporter: [1:55] That's right, Gloria. With rush hour, it seems the biggest problem for drivers right now is actually getting on the bridge heading southbound. Some drivers who are waiting along Pacific Street say they've waited about 20 minutes to get on the bridge. But once they do, things seem to be moving quite quickly, everybody adjusting well to the new bike lanes.</p><p>[music] </p><p>Dru Venables: [2:21] Now that it's established everyone knows it's the bike lane and there's no question whether or not someone is going to hit you, it's just like your own private lane. And even some bridges on Vancouver now that the bike lane's here, people are just more used to seeing bikes on the bridge and it's not that big of a deal anymore.</p><p>[music] </p><p>Chris: [2:38] What's really important about what's happened with the bridge and the change to it is that more types of people can use it. Before, you're only going to see your dedicated cyclists who are used to riding in traffic, who are OK weaving around pedestrians and stuff like that, and for a lot of beginner cyclists, for young people, it was impossible.</p><p>Richard: [3:03] The city also noticed the percentage of women cycling over the bridge increased, more than the percentage of men. So, that's another great sign that people feel that the bridge is safer.</p><p>[music] </p><p>Kari: [3:20] I hope it's here to stay, and I hope it provides New York and other cities around the world with an amazing example of what you can do with a beautiful heritage bridge. You can take away the space from the vehicles, be positive, productive and looking towards the future, make it available for other modes of traffic and get people out of cars.</p><p>[music] </p><p>[3:41]