Separated bike lanes on Broadway pushed by Vancouver councillor amid subway plan

There’s a push to include bike lanes in the Broadway redevelopment plans, a city councillor wants staff to redesign the roads. Crystal Laderas reports.

The overhaul of the Vancouver Broadway corridor as part of the construction of that new subway promises to transform the major road. But one city councillor is pushing for the addition of separated bike lanes.

As the plan exists, Broadway would drop to a total of four lanes — two in each direction.

While there’s no plan to add bike lanes, councillor Christine Boyle wants to change that — and plans to propose an amendment.

“I’ve been advocating for more space for people and movement on Broadway overall, which means wider sidewalks, more benches and places to rest and gather as well as safe separated active transportation lanes for bikes as well as for micro-mobility users so that folks accessing services, doing deliveries on scooters, aren’t on the sidewalk, and they’re not dangerously in traffic. So they’re safe places for people to move in all of those ways,” she explained.

Vancouver Councillor Christine Boyle

Vancouver Councillor Christine Boyle (CityNews Photo)

Boyle says during the construction period of the Broadway Plan, traffic in the area has reduced, so continuing to reduce the vehicle lanes will leave for more space to allow “more people to move around more safely.”

“What I hear regularly from folks is that when they’re accessing the services or supporting stores along Broadway, they need a safe space to do that,” she told CityNews. “We already see people cycling in traffic, or are using scooters on the sidewalk because they’re on that street accessing those services.”

contruction at broadway

Broadway Plan construction (CityNews photo)

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The city councillor says it does not make sense for folks to reroute every time they want to visit businesses along Broadway. This would also have the intention to ensure people accessing a medical appointment or service can do so safely.

Staff have answered a council question on this — and have said if a bike lane was introduced — there could be significant congestion, impacting trucks, buses, emergency vehicles, and general traffic and result in single-lane traffic in both ways.

“There is not additional motor vehicle capacity on alternate corridors, so this would rely on mode shift to accommodate trips,” staff added.

In that memo shared with CityNews by the city, staff say under a different approach, there would be issues because of the existing vent design.

Jeff Leigh from HUB Cycling says he supports councillor Boyle and she “is on the right track.” But he does not agree with how much more this would reduce traffic lanes.

Jeff Leigh HUB Cycling

Jeff Leigh from HUB Cycling (CityNews photo)


“What that’s going to do is just cause too many other problems,” he said. “The opportunity on Broadway is to use the curb lights, the decision has already been made to take the curb lanes away from parking and provide them for other uses … If we don’t provide the place for people to ride bikes, what’s going to happen is we’re going to see bikes on the sidewalks and that’s not good for anybody. So this is the time when we can create the space, put the stake down, put a spot for bikes, and we can still have wider sidewalks.”

The memo from the City says implementing bike lanes along the Broadway Subway could range anywhere from 20 to 80 million dollars….but Leigh says this document was a quick response to council questions…and the real cost after rebuilding is far lower.

“They’re going to spend  $63 million to build a Great Street for the full length of broadway. And when they do that, adding bike lanes will add to that. It’s anywhere from 2 to 5 million if they do the treatment that was done along Beach Avenue. Up to $17 million over 30 years if they built protected lanes the full length of broadway. We think there’s a lot of room there to find a way to do this and manage budgets responsibly,” Leigh said.

Boyle says she is hopeful the rest of the council will support this move because it fits the City’s goals around micro-mobility and the climate.

“I am cautiously optimistic that we will move forward and move into some design options that allow us to look at how we best continue to maximize space for pedestrians and people in gathering as well as active transportation,” she said.

contruction at broadway

Broadway Plan construction (CityNews photo)

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