Before and after: transforming a 15 lane pedestrian crossing

Vancouver has transformed an intersection that once required people on foot or bike to cross 15 lanes of traffic in five stages. Edmonton can take note: cities aren’t born “bike-friendly” or “car-oriented”. They’re designed by people, and they can be redesigned for people.

Before: Burrard and Cornwall

Burrard and Cornwall - before

Painted on-street bike lanes had existed along both Burrard and Cornwall. But to follow the bike lane, depending on your direction of travel, a person had to merge across multiple lanes of traffic and turning vehicles on a road that carried 57,000 vehicles a day.

The intersection was designed in 1930 when the Burrard Bridge was constructed and remained basically unchanged until last summer, when Vancouver opened the newly redesigned intersection.

After: Burrard and Cornwall

Burrard and Cornwall - after

The new intersection features a much safer, simple design for everyone, including drivers. It features a protected intersection, and the on-street bike lanes have been transformed into fully-protected bike lanes separated from pedestrians and other traffic.

Since opening the new intersection, bike trips across Burrard Bridge increased from 161,000 in July 2013 to to 195,000 bike trips in July 2014. This represents about a 90% growth since 2005, which itself was a growth of about 50-70% from 1996. Over 1.2 million trips across Burrard Bridge are made by bike each year.

Watch this video of the new intersection and Seaside Greenway, with inset video showing how things looked before the City made improvements.


13 comments on “Before and after: transforming a 15 lane pedestrian crossing

  1. Robert Jarman [Likely posting from: Canada]

    I wish Edmonton could have that style of infrastructure based on the bike. And the mild winters, without the rain preferably. I really wish I took my bike along last summer when I visited Vancouver, and spent more time riding around discovering Vancouvers support of these riders. These guys feel so safe that a lot of them do not even wear helmets, just like the Dutch actually.

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  4. David Williams [Likely posting from: Canada]

    Those of us living on the north side on this section of Point Grey Road were told by the City Official that we must sacrifice easy access to our properties for the greater good of providing two oppositely directed bike lanes in front of our driveways (on an arterial route, even!). Then they increased our assessments by 10% to make sure we paid more City taxes to pay for these developments. Seems hypocritical to me.

    1. Robert [Likely posting from: Canada]

      Properties near bike routes are often more valuable because of that. Also, if you are driving, how hard is it exactly yo make a couple of extra turns? Having a pair of one way cycle paths is safer on a road of this style. Copenhagen actually exclusively uses uni-directional tracks next to city roads. Most Dutch cities do too. Most North American cities trying to save space try to use a bi-directional track even though the roads they like to use them on is not as safe as a uni-directional track. Path through a city park or on an independent right of way, like next to power cables, where building houses could not be done, then bi-directional paths are good. 111 St in Edmonton South of 61 Ave? Bi-directional. Jasper Ave? Uni-directional tracks. And no, the cars do NOT need four lanes practically to themselves at 115 St, plus a pair of bus lanes, and buses and bikes really do not mix well.

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