Bike Lanes Coming to Granville Street Bridge?

Gregor Robertson on a bike

The City of Vancouver is considering alternatives to make both Granville Street and Cambie Street bridges more pedestrian and cycling friendly. In its current state the Granville Street Bridge is a vastly underutilized route for pedestrians. As vehicle traffic continues to decline in the city core, proposals such as this make more sense. 

Granville Bridge with two lanes reallocated for pedestrians and cyclists

As the graph above indicates car travel on the crossings has been declining. The most notable decline can be seen on the Cambie Street bridge. The reason, the introduction of rapid transit along the corridor. Before the Canada line, Cambie Street was routinely clogged during the morning and afternoon rush hours. Now it’s a breeze to cross that bridge and get from one end of the city to the other. Adding a bike line, similar to how it was done for the Burrard bride would not create major traffic concerns.

The Granville Street bridge has always been vastly under utilized and taking away two lanes would not impede traffic as much as it has on the Burrard Bridge. Furthermore, with the addition of more residents planned near the north end of the Granville bridge (See removal of Granville Loops and BIG Tower at Beach and Howe),  a great pedestrian connection to Granville Island would be welcomed by the new residents/neighbourhood. I also think that Granville Island should get rid of cars from the public market, but that is another story for another day.

False Creek pedestrian and cycling only crossing

Remember the proposed cycling and pedestrian only bridge over False Creek?

The above was proposed in 2009 and thankfully never saw the light of day. It would have been an expensive and unnecessary additional crossing over False Creek. Adding bike/pedestrian lanes to existing, underutilized infrastructure makes more fiscal sense.


The city’s recent push to become more bicycle and pedestrian friendly is one out of necessity. The shift will infuriate a few drivers, however, those that live in the city, realize the need for alternative options. The addition of bike/pedestrian lanes on Granville and Cambie bridges are great steps. All this is part of the city’s attempt to become the most bicycle friendly city in North America.

However, the city needs to do more than just adding walking/cycling paths. It needs more rapid transit. The region as a whole needs more light rail. Personally, I’d love for the Vancouver Street Car to be built soon and finally link Granville Island to the rest of downtown Vancouver.

photo: ItzaFineDay

See Also:

Vancouver Viaduct Removal Concept Plans

Vancouver Bike Share Program Coming in Spring of 2013 

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Vancity Buzz Staff Your inside source for Vancouver happenings. Established 2008.

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  • Vanurbanista

    I agree the Granville Bridge could be much better for pedestrians on foot and for those on bikes.  I believe though the concept drawing misses a key opportunity.  By putting people in the middle and not on the outside, where wide loops or lanes should be added for both people on foot and bike to drop down to the seawall on both sides of the bridge.  The Granville Bridge would be excellent for many more car free safe pedestrian options on and off the bridge downtown and on the false creek side as well.   

  • Ron

    Remember as well that there was once a plan to run an elevator up from Granville Island to the deck of the Granville st. bridge.  Would make strolling from the north end of the bridge to the island a much more practical proposition.  And would be a much shorter route for cyclists, assuming that the elevator cab was big enough

  • Real

    It be great to see some tangible proof that adding in bike lanes in all future proposed area’s are actually fulfilling “biker demand”.  The build it now and they will come mentality seems a little reckless considering that I’m sure funds could be allocated to areas that need them more near term.  A cost benefit analysis made available to the public would fit the bill instead of this air fairy approach that ignores the major realities of our city – one being 6 mos + a year rain.

  • Guest

    Um has anyone tried to drive downtown during peak week day hours? It’s a disaster, having to wait 4-5 lights before you can make a right turn b/c of the added bike lanes, having to drive 2-3 blocks past your destination and then loop around to drive the 3 blocks back, b/c there are limited streets you can make right turns.. a 15 minute trip now takes 2x as long. And now taking away driving lanes for bike lanes on our ONE bridge into the city which does not get backed up with traffic? This is ridiculous. As more ppl move into our beautiful city we should make it more, not less accessible for everyone, drivers included. Not everyone can bIke to work. Enough with the damn bike lanes already. Sheesh.

  • Lindsay

    Isn’t that the point. If you go downtown in rush hour you should take transit, bike or walk. There are way to many people going into one area to all be entitled to drive. If it takes that long to get somewhere and you have no other options you should plan for the appropriate time.

  • Lindsay

    That elevator would smell like pee sooooooo bad.

  • Matt Foulger

    You say:
    “It be great to see some tangible proof that adding in bike lanes in all future proposed area’s are actually fulfilling “biker demand”.”
    “The build it now and they will come mentality seems a little reckless considering that I’m sure funds could be allocated to areas that need them more near term.”
    Unfortunately, “tangible proof” of future demand is not possible – the future is by definition not tangible. Here are statistics for bike lane usage in the recently added bike lanes on the Burrard bridge and downtown: More data that shows declining car usage and increasing cycling is readily available. Transit ridership is also clearly rising.

    All infrastructure is built based on projections of future demand. This includes roads, highways, and bridges that municipalities, state/provincial and federal governments continue to build in North America. As you point out, its crucial to base projections on reasonable data and not bad assumptions. In fact most of our automobile infrastructure is now being built based on “airy fairy” projections of INCREASING car usage when in fact car usage is dropping across North America. Vancouver is out ahead of the curve on this trend, making it especially unwise to build the Gateway project which will lock people south of the Fraser into car dependency. This is social engineering – just as the publicly financed creation of a highway-ribbed suburbia since the 50’s has been social engineering, not a free market outcome. Highways were built before demand materialized, in a “build it and they will come mentality.” In fairness, it was not unwise for governments to do create suburbia, at least at first, but continuing this course of action is lunacy given what we know now.

    Building bike and pedestrian infrastructure is also social engineering, but it is based on an informed view of the global trends in energy, demography and the environment that we can broadly discern. Vancouver enjoys one of the most bike friendly (temperate) climates possible, and rain will not inhibit cycling in a future of high energy costs and an overburdened environment.

    A major caveat is that cycling and pedestrian infrastructure is only part of the solution. It’s vital for us to expand our public transportation network, as the author of this vancitybuzz article makes clear. 

  • Matt Foulger

    Why would you drive downtown in rush hour for a 15 minute trip? Transit or a bike are clearly faster alternatives. It’s also impossible to make downtown “more accessible for more drivers”. The more road space and parking you add, the less downtown there is. Instead, we should make downtown more accessible for necessary driving trips by reducing congestion, which is not achieved by adding road lanes, but by removing them. Adding more road capacity actually induces more traffic and congestion, and reducing road capacity decreases traffic and congestion. Even better: reducing road capacity while increasing transit capacity not only relieves traffic congestion but also increases total trips and therefore business activity. If we want to improve our economy we should not be choking our city with more automobiles. Road use for 15 minute trips downtown should be discouraged in order to free up roads for goods delivery and other things that cars and trucks can do but buses and bicycles can’t.

    Here is a study that suggests that building more roads increases car trips (traffic inducement) and makes even more roads necessary:

    Cars are super useful tools but if we stepped out of them every once in a while, we’d find them even more useful on the occasions we truly needed them.

  • Real

    Look, like I said, it comes down to being able to quantify the demand for such infrastructure.  With other transportation infrastructure projects being considered or underway, i’d bet that they had to come with tangible data to gain access to funding.  I would hazard that that this for the most part is measurable, be it via traffic volumes or bus utilization etc and easily modeled for future growth based off reasonable estimates.  All i’m saying is unless the proposal for such lanes can see legitimate quantification (in the same manner) that they will be both used and reduce strain on other vehicle routes (be it bike and motor vehicle ) then there’s little you’re going to be able to do to convince me of the need to do so.

    I don’t debate the merits of improved public transportation networks, I just think that those proved to be more widely used/needed should be prioritized.  So ideological views aside lets see the facts and see what the appropriate decision is.  

  • Mushu

    If they want to make Vancouver more bike friendly, they should put a roof on it. Otherwise it’s too rainy for all but the hardcore bikers.

  • Guest

    my job requires me to drive as I transport heavy samples to clients. As said in my comment above, not everyone is able to bike or walk to work

  • Guest

    My job requires me to drive as I transport heavy samples to clients. In reality, Business owners along bike lane routes in the city are actually suffering from decreased business. I agree transit and alt. means of transportation are great but in reality the majority of ppl must still use their cars wether for work, or disabilities, or families with kids and lots off “stuff”, ppl who travel with pets, etc.

  • guest

    the congestion downtown is getting worse, there are more cars, not fewer. there’s nowhere to park downtown and do business. if you have a number of different downtown business appointments you need your car to get from one to the other in a timely manner. mr moonbeam is ruining our city forever. it is a known fact that he puts out bogus surveys with the results he wants. bikes for recreation are one thing, bikes as a mode of transportation is ridiculous. it doesnt meet the needs of the majority of people. i say NO to any more bike leaves. leave granville street bridge alone.

  • Mainlander

    “Entitled” to drive? “You should blah, blah, blah”. You are NEVER going to win anyone over with this kind of language and telling people what they should do. Unless they pass a law that outlaws private vehicles, it’s none of your concern how other people get around in the city. 

  • Guest 2

     If you live in DT and work in DT, then you probably don’t need to drive to work and if you do (and are a fit healthy individual) then you are just a lazy person! If you don’t own a place in DT and live in a low density suburban single detached house in a place like Surrey or Maple Ridge, then you already don’t pay a dime in taxes to support the infrastructure in DT, and as such, you don’t have to have subsidized private street for your car provided by owners and renters in DT! I own both a car and an automobile, and I drive when I have to, but I use the bike too. You can too, unless you are just a healthy lazy individual. Maybe you can travel to some other cities outside of your comfort zone a.k.a Vancouver, and learn how other cities have built in bike lanes and integrated public transit systems (Berlin, Paris, NY, to name a few).

  • Asdfs

    Then those bikers will use cars and take even more road space. Can’t have it both ways.