"Reconstructing the sidewalks of the Burrard Bridge to accommodate dedicated bike paths and pedestrians could cost Vancouver taxpayers up to $63 million," said COPE Cllr David Cadman. "And the reason is because the NPA abandoned the original experiment to simply use a single lane of the bridge as a dedicated bike way."

In a briefing to Vancouver city councillors yesterday, engineering staff outlined two scenarios that are impacted by the region’s spiralling construction costs; spending $57 to widen the sidewalks by 2009, or spending up to $63 to get the job done by 2010.

Staff indicated that allocating one lane from the six-lane bridge, at a fraction of the cost of rebuilding the sidewalks, could impede traffic. They also reported that during the 18 months it would take to refigure the sidewalks, commuters would be diverted to the nearby Granville Bridge which has excess capacity that can easily carry all the cars that would otherwise use Burrard to get downtown.

"Let’s be clear about what is at issue," said Cadman. "The NPA simply do not want to take away even one single-occupancy vehicle lane from Burrard. The engineers are clear that the Granville Bridge, only two blocks east of Burrard, can easily carry a lot more traffic. And putting in one bike-only lane – at far less cost in time and tax dollars – would not impede buses or multi-occupancy vehicles."

"When this crop of NPA councillors were elected they brought their ideological bias to city hall and squashed the short-term experiment to use one lane of Burrard for cyclists.

"Now we are seeing that the price of their short sightedness could cost all of us between $57 and $63 million and could disrupt commuters for almost two years before the dust settles."

Cadman is urging the city to reconsider the 2006 decision to abandon the single lane allocation experiment before committing to a $63 million expenditure.

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Information: Cllr David Cadman 604-512-1039

NPA stiffs taxpayers for Burrard Bridge bike paths

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