Biking and walking across the Lions Gate Bridge just got a whole lot easier.
This week, crews officially finished work on new $7-million cycling and pedestrian lanes along the Stanley Park Causeway, which leads through the park and to the bridge. The lanes give bikers and pedestrians significantly more space to navigate the busy 2.2-kilometre-long causeway.
The project widened sidewalks on both sides of the road, which is used by some 70,000 cars every day. The east sidewalk has been expanded to 3.6 metres and now includes a two-way walking lane and a separate cycling lane for northbound bike traffic climbing up to the bridge. The west sidewalk was also widened and is now designated for southbound cyclists heading down into the city, with two separate lanes to allow for passing.
In addition, sturdy green safety fencing now separates the sidewalks from vehicle traffic on both sides of the road.
Safety improvements have long been a priority along the highly traveled causeway. Each day, some 2,200 cyclists and 200 pedestrians traverse the route, which climbs through the heart of Stanley Park and leads to the Lions Gate Bridge. In the past, bikers and walkers had to vie for space on the same narrow strip of sidewalk, with heavy vehicle traffic rumbling by. The situation reached a crisis point in 2013, with a tragic cyclist fatality along the route.
The widening of the sidewalks, which began in September, was accomplished with minimal environmental impact on the sensitive area. In total only 14 trees, none older than 60 years, were removed to make space for the expanded walkway. Designers found creative ways to weave the pathways around existing trees and light and utility posts, reducing the amount of forest area affected.