News / Vancouver

Eight new bike lanes proposed for downtown Vancouver

The City of Vancouver’s updated plan for its cycling network includes building a dozen new bike lanes over the next five years.

A cyclist pedals along the Dunsmuir separated bike lane in January 2015.

Jennifer Gauthier/Metro

A cyclist pedals along the Dunsmuir separated bike lane in January 2015.

Vancouver is planning to go on a bike lane bender.

A new city report recommends building a dozen new bike lanes across the city over the next five years, including eight on the downtown peninsula. The report, which will go before council this week, also pitches upgrades to more than a dozen existing routes.

The proposed additions to Vancouver’s cycling network come after a record year for cycling levels. Data from permanent bike counters shows a 16 per cent increase in bike trips in 2015, with 1.4 million trips across the Burrard Bridge alone, according to the report.

The city states its priority is to build bike lanes suitable for all ages and abilities – ideally that means separated or on calmed streets – in areas with high demand or critical gaps in the network, according to the report.

The City of Vancouver's proposed new bike routes (thick purple lines) and upgrades to existing bike routes (dashed purple lines) from 2016 to 2020.

City of Vancouver

The City of Vancouver's proposed new bike routes (thick purple lines) and upgrades to existing bike routes (dashed purple lines) from 2016 to 2020.

Downtown streets poised to get new bike lanes include Park Lane in Stanley Park, Bute Street, Burnaby-Drake, Smithe-Nelson, Cambie Street, West Waterfront Road, Water-Alexander-Powell and the Granville Bridge. Outside the downtown core, routes are proposed on Gore, Commercial Drive, Kent and Hudson.

As always, parking spots will be the top casualty of bike lane construction. Spots will be lost on Beatty (one side of the street), Cambie (a quarter of on-street parking), Richards (20 per cent of on-street parking) and Smithe/Nelson (20 spots).

It’s not clear what exactly the city envisions for Water Street, but the city says it will be home to the “Portside Greenway.” The new plan also includes upgrades to the seaside greenway on Point Grey Road and completion of the Helmcken section of the Comox-Helmcken greenway.

But the report was careful to point out the proposed routes aren’t necessarily a done deal, as council’s approval is required for major changes. The city promises to gather feedback and consider the impact on all road users, businesses and residents before construction begins.