Vancouver cyclists are expressing worries regarding their safety while crossing the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge. This unease stems from ongoing construction that has created a temporary arrangement where cyclists and pedestrians share a single lane.
Throughout a significant portion of August, the eastern walkway on the bridge that links Vancouver to the North Shore will be inaccessible due to maintenance work on storm sewers, which is part of the Phibbs Exchange project. As a result, the available pathway will be the only route for individuals traveling in either direction, according to a report in Global News.
Cyclist Tirso Almonte described the signage instructing cyclists as “perplexing.” He has voiced skepticism about the wisdom of having bicycles and pedestrians coexist in such a narrow area, deeming it unsafe.
Reminder that, starting today until August 25th, the East sidewalk of the Ironworkers bridge will be closed and, for the next 5-9 days, Exit 23B will be closed, with traffic diverted through 23A. Please plan your trip accordingly pic.twitter.com/DDDgNE03g7
— Susie Chant (@SusieChant_nvs) July 31, 2023
Efren Carryllo told Global that it’s not a good set-up. “I think it’s dangerous because it can get a little bit of a crowd and if you have a crowd on both sides, maybe that’s too dangerous,” he said. “I think this is an issue.”
City can do more
Joel Zanatta, a lawyer with the The Biking Lawyer practice, said more needs to be done.
“The reality is that when major infrastructure projects are considered, a great deal of thought in advance has to be put in place both for rerouting motor vehicles and cyclists, because oftentimes cyclists are ignored. Then what happens is they’re put in very unsafe situations,” he said. “They’re vulnerable road users and so are pedestrians, and each individual road user has to be contemplated before the construction is commenced.”
Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Rob Fleming provided a brief statement about the matter.
“There is signage at both ends warning users that the pathway is bi-directional. People using this detour should travel with caution and cyclists should dismount when necessary,” the statement read. “Safety is our top priority, and the ministry will raise the issue of conflicts on the west sidewalk with its contractor to see if additional signage could be added to improve awareness.”