Public consultations on changes to the Granville Street Bridge have entered the home stretch as the third and final feedback phase commenced Saturday.
Through the earlier phases, staff narrowed down the options for making the eight-lane bridge more attractive to those who cycle, walk and roll from six redesign options to a preferred plan called West Side Plus.
At open house events on Friday and Saturday, the public was asked to share thoughts on the plan, which would see a wide pedestrian-friendly path on the west side of the bridge with room for benches, as well as a wide two-way bike path with a protective barrier between bikes and cars.
The “plus” part of the plan would also see improvements made to the east side of the bridge, where there would be a wide sidewalk and a protective barrier.
In addition, the Fir ramp cycling connection would see a relatively-flat two-way connection with the 10th Avenue bike route, while there would be safe, accessible crossings at the Howe, Fir, Hemlock and Seymour Street ramps.
The project would also be “future-proofed” for a potential Granville Island elevator and staircase.
The bridge improvements are being considered as Vancouver looks at ways to boost the number of trips made by transit, bicycle and on foot as part of its 20-year transportation plan for the city.
“(The bridge is) a big barrier to people connecting across False Creek now,” Paul Storer, Vancouver’s manager of transportation design, told Postmedia News in a previous interview.
That’s because of pedestrian crossings that make people feel unsafe, narrow sidewalks, confusing and awkward connections at bridge ends and a lack of bike lanes.
After an initial round of public consultation, the city put forward six redesign options in the fall of 2019 — two focused on the west side of the bridge, two focused on the east side, one with a raised centre, and one that would see improvements to both sides.
After the second phase of consultation ended, the West Side Plus option emerged as the preferred option by the public and a range of stakeholders, according to a city press release. Staff are recommending a refined version, with changes based on public feedback.
The West Side Plus option was originally estimated to cost $30 million to $40 million.
Another open house is planned for Jan. 28, with two “deep dive workshops” happening Feb. 1 and Feb. 4. Details and registration information can be found on the city’s website.
It’s expected the proposed design will be presented to council for review later this year, with detailed design work to follow. Construction could begin in 2021.
— With Postmedia News files