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Mayor considers pedestrian-cyclist crossing parallel to Burrard Bridge

By David Karp, Vancouver Sun
July 2, 2009 8:01 PM

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson said Thursday he is mulling over plans to build a $45-million pedestrian-and-cyclist bridge across the entrance to False Creek.

The suspension bridge would connect Vanier Park with Sunset Beach and run parallel to the Burrard Bridge.

Robertson said in an interview he spoke several months ago with architect Gregory Henriquez, who designed the new Woodward’s development on Cordova Street, about a possible car-less bridge next to the Burrard Bridge.

“I said, ‘Let me look into it. I’ll take a run at it just for fun,’” Henriquez said Thursday.

Along with engineer C.C. Yao, Henriquez came up with plans for a 15-metre wide suspension bridge.

Henriquez’s design would have a zig-zag bridge deck supported by suspension cables coming from the side, rather than directly above the bridge deck. The bridge would be tall enough for boats to sail underneath, and would be slightly steeper than the Burrard Bridge.

“The [curved] design allows for a longer bridge and ramp access, and a more graceful one,” Henriquez said. “It’s meant to be a poetic interpretation of a traditional suspension bridge. It’s modern and simple like the sail of a boat, and is meant to contrast the existing heritage Burrard Bridge, which is neoclassical.”

Henriquez noted the bridge would provide an excellent viewpoint for the annual Celebration of Light fireworks festival in English Bay.

“It would be the best spot to watch the fireworks. You’d be looking out with no cables, so it would feel like you’re suspended in air,” he said.

If funding could be secured, Henriquez said the bridge could be designed, tested and built in under two years. Robertson said it’s possible such a bridge could open within five years.

“If there is a ton of support, and the capital plan passed with a bridge included, it’s possible,” he said. “People have talked about it for years, but no one has had a real proposal on the table. This should accelerate the dialogue.”

The city would not be committed to Henriquez’s design, and would likely open the process to competition from other designers and builders.

The proposal comes as the city is set to open a bike-only lane on the Burrard Bridge as a trial starting July 13. According to City of Vancouver documents, the Burrard Bridge is in need of $30 million in general maintenance. Widening the bridge to allow for an expanded sidewalk would cost an additional $35 million.

This option provides an alternative for the long term, Robertson said.

“This would be a big signature piece for Vancouver, and create tourism revenue and economic opportunity,” he said. “Timing wise, it’s not a near-term reality. But if we can get lots of people interested, then it will happen.”

Robertson said funding for the bridge could come from multiple levels of government, and said it’s possible funding for a bridge could be put to a referendum.

According to 2006 census data, only 15.9 per cent of City of Vancouver residents and eight per cent of Metro Vancouver residents bike or walk to work. That’s up from 14 per cent and 7.5 per cent respectively in 1996. Still, Robertson suggested there are reasons for the majority of commuters to support the project.

“This bridge would alleviate the concerns about lanes on other bridges being dedicated for safe cycling and walking,” he said. “The numbers of walkers and cyclists are rising rapidly. We’re seeing a big shift in how people commute.

“It’s intriguing, and it will definitely spark some good discussion about what we should do for the future.”

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© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun
Source: News 1130

2,317 Posts
Just saw this on the news, pretty interesting design. Not sure about the location though. Anyways, I don't bike much and I wouldn't use this bridge even if I did.

"The Ignorant Fool"
2,576 Posts
I love the idea, the design and the location.

Reminds me of the pedestrian bridge in Bilbao, Spain by Calatrava:


8,920 Posts
cool,so it save me a lot of money for little ferry crossing the inlet.:applause:

"The Ignorant Fool"
2,576 Posts
Another perspective regarding the pedestrian bridge.
Article also has link where you can vote to show support.

OUR VIEW: City Needs a Car-free Crossing
Posted July 14th, 2009 in Think City Minute
By Kera McArthur

A recent Vancouver Sun article focuses on how a stand-alone bridge for False Creek will (or, more accurately, how it won't) address the Burrard Bridge traffic issue (too expensive, it won't affect traffic loads, etc.).

As the debate descends into minute detail, Vancouver is proving once again that it's a good city, not a great one. How boring.

Around the world, pedestrian bridges are becoming popular features of the urban landscape, and are frequently hailed as signature architectural landmarks in cities with the vision and wisdom to make these kinds of investments - London's Millennium Bridge, or the Pont des Arts in Paris, or the amazing Henderson Wave Bridge in Singapore. Closer to home we have the Liberty Bridge in Greenville, SC, the dramatic Sundial Bridge in Redding, CA and the Esplanade Riel in Winnipeg. Each of these bridges has helped transform its community.

These cities have plotted a bold course. They are saying pedestrians matter. And confirming urban activist Jane Jacobs's view, that to understand your city you have to get out and walk. Vancouver claims to have the best quality of life in the world. Yet we quibble about peak-time loads.

Development on both sides of False Creek means pedestrian and bicycle traffic will continue to grow as adjacent neighbourhoods become more densely populated. And so will the need for facilities that help make it easier to get around the city on foot - an essential but often forgotten piece of what makes for a great city.

Vancouver architect Gregory Henriquez recently made an interesting contribution to the debate with his design for a pedestrian bridge linking Vanier Park and Sunset Beach, also raising the broader question of future transportation links across False Creek. It has already stimulated discussion around the design and form, as well as the best location, for such a crossing.

But what has been lacking from the public debate about crossings for False Creek is the public.

Think City wants to open up the discussion to Vancouver's citizens. We are proposing a design competition that invites all members of the public to bring forward their ideas for a car-free crossing to connect downtown with the south shore of False Creek.

And we don't believe that bridges are the only solutions. That's why it's a car-free crossing. What other options are there? Where should it go? Do we need a new seabus service for False Creek? Could former city councillor Jim Green's gondolas be the answer? Let the best idea win.

At Think City, we believe citizens, not politicians or bureaucrats, know what's best for their community. So instead of a discussion by elites in a backroom, we need to open up the conversation about a car-free crossing to the public. We just might get something unexpected and visionary.

The car-free crossing is an idea whose time has come. It will help take our city from good to great.

Kera McArthur is a Think City board member and chair of car-free crossing propject.

7,931 Posts
I oppose the location, it ruins Vanier Park and the beach opposite of it. Build it between Burrard and Granville, and that's also a location that will for sure get more usage.
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