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Vancouver Looking at Bike Bridge Over False Creek

Council considering a bike bridge over False Creek

Project could depend on federal funding

Artist's rendition of the bridge (Courtesy Henriquez Partners Architects)
Artist's rendition of the bridge (Courtesy Henriquez Partners Architects)
VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) - It may be a decision that finally pleases bike riders and drivers... City hall is considering a cyclist and pedestrian bridge over False Creek. The $45 million dollar project would link Vanier Park to Sunset Beach.

Mayor Gregor Robertson says council received plans from the man behind the design of the Woodward's development, "A really interesting proposal just came forward from a local architect and engineer that we're going to take a look at. I think it's worth pursuing. It could end up being a great solution to a problem that's been hard to solve for several years."

Robertson believes it could be a long term alternative to the bike lane on the Burrard Street Bridge, "It would be years in the making, we have to get approval from taxpayers to spend the money on it as a capital project and that would be on a referendum in an election in the future and there's a lot of work to be do on the details and seeing what it will cost and what the best design and way to build this is. There's lots of work to do yet but it's great to have an idea on the table."

He adds the bike lane trial starting July 13th is still necessary as an interim solution. The cost could be covered by sources outside the city as Robertson pushes for federal and provincial infrastructure funding.False Creek Bike Bridge

According to the mayor, the bridge would be the first of its kind in North America and similar to London's Millenium bridge, "It has great sweeping curves to it but it's quite light and doesn't take up anywhere near the bulk of a big car bridge, so it's very elegant. I think it would be a great tourism boost."

If council decides to go ahead with the plan, it would open the process to all interested firms, not just Gregory Henriquez, the architect behind this idea.

"This is a nice idea but it's very expensive," says lone NPA councillor Suzanne Anton. She thinks the mayor is simply bending under the pressure to make things better, "We're much better off going with the proposal that's been around which is to widen the bridge and allow enough room for bikes, people, and cars and be done with it."

She thinks retrofitting the Burrard Bridge will be cheaper because the span already needs a $30 million dollar upgrade. She says the widening of the sidewalks would only add another 25 million.

News1130 wanted to know what you think - so we talked with cyclists riding around Vanier park about the idea to build a dedicated bike bridge. Many, like Jen, support the idea, "I'm a biker, I don't really want to own a car ever, I have never owned a car. I'm 25 and I probably could afford one but I'm all about the biking so I would say yes, go for it!  But is that going to mean an increase in taxes?"

Even more people we talked to don't like the price tag, "I think they can take the money and use it for something more worthwhile, it's a hell of a lot of money for just bicycles."

Another person who didn't support the idea felt that the bridge would only be used in the summer and not in the winter.
Courtesy of Erin Loxam VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) 2009-07-03 05:15
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