Fewer cyclists, pedestrians, and drivers use Burrard Bridge

The Straight

By Charlie Smith

The numbers of vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists using the Burard Bridge in the week of August 17 to August 23 were are all down significantly from the first week of a lane reallocation trial in mid-July.

On July 13, the city set aside one lane of vehicular traffic for bicycles on the west side of the six-lane bridge.

The east sidewalk was reserved at that time for northbound cyclists, which means that all pedestrians must use the west sidewalk.

According to city statistics, the number of cyclists using the bridge between August 17 and August 23 was down 22.7 percent from the first week of the trial.

Between July 13 and July 19, 41,580 cyclists crossed the bridge; that fell to 32,214 in the week of August 17 to August 23.

City statistics for the week of August 17 to August 23 indicate that 59,246 drivers made the crossing per day.

According to the city, that’s a five-percent decrease since the first week of the trial between July 13 and 19.

Slightly more vehicles–59,609–used the Granville Street Bridge on a daily basis over the same week. That’s up seven percent since the first week of the trial.

The city’s summary on its Web page pointed out how much vehicular traffic had fallen from the first to the sixth weeks of the trial.

However, the city didn’t draw a similar comparison with bicycle crossings. Instead, it compared the August 17 to August 23 cyclist numbers with the previous week, which was particularly rainy.

During the 19 days of the trial in July, 108,524 cyclists went over the Burrard Bridge. In the first 23 days of August, 96,130 cyclists made the crossing.

That’s an 11.4-percent reduction in the number of cyclists during August, which, according to the latest statistics, includes four more days.

The weather hasn’t been as sunny in August as in July, which could be a contributing factor behind the decline.

Meanwhile, the number of pedestrians using the Burrard Bridge fell 16.8 percent in the week of August 17 to August 23 compared with the first week of the trial.

Between July 13 and July 19, an average of 2,829 people walked across the bridge each day.

That dropped to 2,353 daily pedestrians in the week of August 17 to August 23.

Shortly before the trial began, pedestrian advocate Bev Ballantyne wrote an opinion piece on Straight.com saying the trial would benefit drivers and reduce pedestrian access.

“To deny walkers use of the east sidewalk during the trial adds insult to injury after years of negotiating the trek beside equally impositioned bike riders,” Ballantyne wrote at the time. “Will pedestrians forever be banned from the sidewalk if the experiment becomes permanent?”

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