Canadian Armed Forces cry foul over new bike lane near armoury in downtown Vancouver

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A new bike lane in downtown Vancouver is generating concerns for the military.

The separate bike lane runs past the Beatty Street Drill Hall, an 115-year-old armoury that is home to B.C.’s oldest military regiment.

Critics say the lane was installed without consultation and blocks parking spaces for essential military vehicles in front of the armoury.

Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel Scott Shepherd said that they “love bike lanes” but have concerns about safety.

“We don’t want to have a situation where a biker can be hurt while we’re trying to load and we sure don’t want a situation where any of our soldiers could be hurt while they’re trying to load where a bicyclist comes flying down,” Shepherd said.

“[Cyclists] should be on the outside. Our equipment should be on the inside and we need adequate parking.”
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“This is the only active military unit in downtown Vancouver,” NPA City Councillor Melissa De Genova added. “If something were to happen, we would be relying on these people.”

Shepherd is asking the city to consider moving the bike lane to the other side of the road.

With a bike lane going in at the north end of the Cambie Bridge, and ongoing sewer work along Burrard, two of the three bridges spanning False Creek are clogged by construction.

But the city offers no apologies for the timing.

“We’ve been planning this work in this sequence for years in advance,” says Lon LeClaire, the City of Vancouver’s Director of Transportation.

Construction on the Nelson Street bike lane wraps up next week, but this weekend Burrard and Pacific will be closed to all vehicles for paving.

– With files from Jordan Armstrong

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