City of Vancouver's recommended Granville Bridge redesign

First look at new bridge

City of Vancouver staff are recommending a design called “West Side Plus” as the preferred option for the redesign of the Granville Street Bridge.

Priced at between $30 million and $40 million, it largely focuses on improvements to the west side of the bridge, with some enhancements to the east side sidewalk.

The recommendation comes about four months after staff went to the public for feedback on six possible options. Among those rejected include a “raised centre” proposal tagged at between $45 and $50 million — the most expensive option. While that scheme was initially the staff favourite for its engineering simplicity and from an urban design point of view, Paul Storer, manager of transportation design, said public reaction heavily skewed in favour of West Side Plus.

“The centre one was, in ways, the good engineering option. It avoided a lot of the complexities around the ramps… but what we ended up hearing from people was that people didn’t think they would feel comfortable between the two directions of moving traffic,” he said.

People also wanted a connection to the water, to be able to look down at False Creek and Granville Island, and they preferred the view afforded from the west side of the bridge compared to the east side.

The redesign project involves re-allocating two of the existing eight vehicle lanes on the bridge to pedestrian, wheelchair, stroller and cycling use.

“West Side Plus” basically doubles the width of the west side sidewalk, makes it accessible, and features places to rest along the way. Next to it, separated by a curb, would be a two-way cycling lane with room for passing. It would be separated from traffic by a barrier.

“The idea behind the cycling connection is that it would be comfortable for everyone, for all ages, abilities. We'd expect to see families and seniors and people uncomfortable riding feeling comfortable in this facility, because it would have that strong separation from traffic,” Storer said.

The east side sidewalk would also be widened and made accessible in this option, and a protective barrier would be installed. As well, this option involves improvements to the Hemlock on-ramp. 

The redesign is one of the city’s “big moves” to meet its target of having two thirds of all trips being made by walking, biking or transit by 2030.

The city’s capital plan for 2019 to 2022 already has $25 million allocated for the redesign.

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