A Pedestrian Mall on Granville Bridge? You make the call!

Ever notice how wide the Granville Bridge is?  No fewer than eight lanes – four in each direction – span False Creek.  That size might make sense if the bridge were linking up with a major highway, but otherwise it kind of seems like overkill.

So why not turn two of those lanes into a tree-lined pedestrian mall – a foot-friendly, cycle-friendly pathway right down the middle of the bridge?  That’s one question that city planners are asking as part of Vancouver’s Transportation 2040 report.  In total 187 proposals are on the table – everything from widening sidewalks to scramble intersections – in a bid to convert two-thirds of all trips in the city to cycling, walking and public transit by the year 2040.

Right now the proposal isn’t going to council.  For the moment, it’s just a concept.  But I’d like to hear from you:

What do you think?  Should two lanes of Granville Bridge be set aside for a pedestrian mall?  Would it make Vancouver a more walkable city? 

The Vancouver Sun published an artist’s sketch last week of the theoretical mall over the Granville Bridge.  Couples and families with little kids stroll down the middle of the lush pathway, while car traffic whizzes by on either side.  Trees and shrubs form a leafy green corridor.  Cyclists zip by under a heavenly blue sky.  Looks pretty darn nice to me.

Granville Bridge currently has eight lanes of traffic.

But would it work? That’s open to debate.  My gut instinct is that it would get plenty of use – from residents and tourists alike.  Strolling down Granville Street itself is a consummate Vancouver experience.  Wouldn’t it be great if you could continue your walk over the bridge, enjoy some great views of False Creek, then hook up with the galleries, boutiques and restaurants of South Granville?

Of course, that’s just one perspective.  Cost and traffic concerns also have to be factored into the equation, plus impact on local businesses.

Do you have an opinion on the Granville Bridge pedestrian mall concept?  Let us know! 

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10 Responses to A Pedestrian Mall on Granville Bridge? You make the call!

  1. Marissa

    I like the idea, BUT, at the VERY LEAST there should be guard rails installed on the bridge to seperate the pedestrians from the traffic, like on the Cambie Bridge. I fee EXTREMELY vulnerable when walking across the bridge, with cars zipping past and nothing protecting me from them.

  2. I agree with Marissa – The artist’s rendition is lovely, but barriers between foot traffic and auto traffic are important. I’d also like to see a separated bike lane, to avoid bike/pedestrian issues. Otherwise, I’m all for it. Making walkable, bikeable, and mobility device accessible throughways from one neighbourhood to another would greatly improve Vancouver’s livability.

  3. Jeff MacLeod

    I really like this idea. I’m sure the barriers in the picture could be worked on and they could make some sort of median between the foot passengers and the cyclists. I would also be interested in having this pathway connected, somehow, to the Vancouver Seawall. I”m not sure about the cost of this next idea but perhaps you could also include an elevator to cut down on the time it takes to get from downtown Vancouver to Granville Island. Also, if this is well used, and with a connection to the Seawall I’m sure it will be, perhaps eventually even include small food carts along the side of the pedestrian section with adjacent bike racks on the biking section.

  4. tripleberry

    This is a lovely idea but I am more worried about the traffic. Since Granville bridge is one of the main connections between Downtown and Vancouver.

    As you may see how heavy the traffic is from morning to evening. If a bridge like this is built on the bridge, that means 2 lanes will be cut out from the traffic. In the next 1o years I can see the traffic is getting heavier, if the lanes are cut down to 6, more traffic jams will be happened.

    Take a look at Burrard bridge, the south bound lanes are reduced from 3 to 2, and the traffic now is obviously affected.

    And the cost is one big problem. If they have the money to build something like this, they should use this budget on something more practical, such as improving the transportation systems to make it more convenient. Vancouver is a lovely city but its notorious part is its transportation system, which is very inconvenient.

  5. Steve

    i can think of a thousand things this city needs more than a pedestrian mall.

    • todd

      Yet you didn’t name a single one!

  6. Tim B

    Great idea as long as the issues of crossing the busy on and off ramps is effectively dealt with.

    A connection via elevator to Granville Island below would be great ( it was planned for the city’s 100th anniversary celebrations in 1986 but no budget for it at the time).

  7. Nikki

    I drive home across this bridge every day.

    At what point on the bridge would this “mall” begin & end?
    When coming up Granville from the south, at the south end there is a bus pull out where traffic has to stop in the right lane to let buses slowly pull out; plus when there are multiple buses, they don’t all fit in that pull out which causes the right lane to become backed-up waiting for these buses to slowly move. What would happen if the left lane was taken out & traffic couldn’t move over to keep flowing? Even if the “mall” didn’t start until after this point, traffic would have to merge from the left into that right lane, slowing down considerably – especially factoring in traffic merging from the other lanes on the right, who need to move all the way left to stay on Granville & not go down Seymour. There is the same general problem at the north end.

    Then how would pedestrians & cyclists get onto the “mall”? Overpasses would either need to be built at each end from either side (which I imagine costs quite a bit as well), or else there would have to be crosswalks with full traffic lights to let people cross safely – which would slow down & congest traffic even more.

    A lovely drawing & idea; but, since the plan is to do this after decreasing downtown traffic by “convert[ing] two-thirds of all trips in the city to cycling, walking and public transit”, it doesn’t make much sense to me. The goal is to have little or no traffic, so by then the entire bridge would have no vehicle traffic anyway, which would make the bridge completely unneeded.

  8. OHM

    Sounded like a great idea initially, but after reading the above arguments from Nikki and tripleberry, I would be inclined to direct the budget for this to a different project that would not cause so many complications for so much money.

  9. Phil

    Obviously no one actually looked at this artist’s rendering as it clearing shows a raised walkway and glass or so clear barriers. As the long term intention of this council is to eliminate vehicle traffic in the downtown core, the two lanes would be adequate. From the drawing it appears that Granville would once again revert to a foot and bicycle mall and traffic would be rerouted up and down Seymour and Howe.