The new bike lanes over the Burrard Street bridge are up and running and from what I saw today at noon, they’re a pretty clear success. That’s a cyclist’s two thumbs up of course.
I’ve avoided the bridge by car since the lanes opened, but all the same, traffic seemed to be moving smoothly according to plan today: three lanes north into the downtown, and two lanes south out of it.
That’s not to say there aren’t some problems with the temporary lanes. According to the traffic cop I talked with on the south side of the bridge, there have been a few instances of frustrated taxi drivers and clients rolling down their windows to yell at all the usurping cyclists. Still, the benefits are huge. Cyclists no longer have to ride with the extreme trepidation of either clipping passengers on the sidewalk as they go by (see photo) or fall off the two foot drop to their left into traffic just an arm’s length away. That’s been the worst fear about the Burrard Bridge for me in the past, and ironically, that makes the ugly new concrete barriers separating cars and cyclists about the best thing to happen to this Art Deco-inspired bridge in decades. The safety factor just went up a thousand fold for cyclists in the downtown area.