New separated bike lane for downtown Vancouver on the table

An conceptual rendering of a proposed separated bike lane for Richards Street. City of Vancouver

Does downtown Vancouver need another separated bike lane?

The city put that question to the public on Thursday, at an open house to discuss a proposed separated lane on Richards Street.

The city argues the proposed lane will close gaps in the city’s bike route network, connect Gastown and False Creek and create safer, protected intersections.

The new lane would be rated AAA, which refers to cycling facilities that are accessible to “all ages and abilities.” Richards Street was identified as a priority street for AAA infrastructure in the city’s Transportation 2040 plan adopted in 2012.

An illustration showing the proposed separated lane and the existing separated lanes on Hornby Street and Beatty Street. City of Vancouver

Richards Street, which runs one-way from North to South, is already home to a southbound painted bike lane that runs from Robson Street to Drake Street, which was added in 2013.

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The city said users have complained about the lane being too narrow, the lack of a northbound lane and conflict with parked cars, driveways, transit vehicles and turning drivers.

As a result, the city is proposing a two-directional separated lane on the east side of Richards Street.

The proposal would result in the loss of 20 per cent of on-street parking spaces to create right-turn lanes at intersections, and add boarding islands at bus tops.

Proposed Richards Street separated bike lane, before and after

It would also result in a Richards Street with one full-time lane for traffic, and two parking lanes which would be closed to parking during afternoon peak periods between Dunsmuir and Nelson.

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The city said the plan would also create a raised cycling path and row of trees meant to create a “seawall”-like experience.

Members of the public who want to weigh in on the project can participate at Thursday’s open house, happening at the Vancouver Public Library central branch at 350 West Georgia Street from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Public feedback is also being collected online.

You can learn more about the proposal here, and see the recommended transportation design here.

After consultations on the proposal wrap up, city staff will produce a report in 2019, with implementation of the lane possible by 2020.

WATCH: Vancouver mayoral candidates on the removal of bike lanes

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Vancouver mayoral candidates on the removal of bike lanes

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