City engineers want to take advantage of extra capacity on the Granville Street Bridge by installing a two-lane greenway for cyclists and pedestrians in the middle of it as early as 2015.
The proposal is subject to further study and consultation as part of the city’s draft Transportation 2040 plan, which will be presented to council for approval in October. So far the greenway is just a concept, but transportation director Jerry Dobrovolny said repurposing the centre of the bridge at some point in the next few years would be an efficient move.
“It’s actually quite a practical approach, because the bridge has off-ramps on either side, so doing something on either Howe or Seymour would result in a significant reduction in capacity,” he told Metro.
“Because the centre of the bridge leads into Granville Street downtown, which has no through-traffic for vehicles and also has a very high pedestrian component, it’s actually a good fit.”
Speaking at a briefing on the 2040 plan Monday, Dobrovolny said car traffic into downtown has been steadily decreasing over the past two decades, while transit trips rose 50 per cent in the last decade. Planners are envisioning two-thirds of trips in the city being made on foot, transit and bicycle by 2040 — up from 40 per cent in 2008.
The transportation plan makes no mention of building any more roads, instead focusing on promoting a walking and cycling culture as a way of dealing with congestion and a booming population.
Dobrovolny said Broadway is the city’s top priority for rapid transit, and the city will continue to work with TransLink to get a system in place as soon as possible.
“We know that today, during peak times, over 2,000 people are being left, passed up, at Commercial Drive, wanting to take transit along the Broadway corridor, and that’s just not simply acceptable in terms of the kind of growth that we want to see moving forward,” he said.
Staff received 8,000 submissions from the public during consultations last year, as well as input from 50 stakeholder groups.