The Ironworkers Memorial Bridge (IWMB) is a critical regional commuter, recreational and touring cycling and pedestrian link connecting the North Shore with Burnaby and Vancouver via routes including the Trans Canada Trail, North Shore Spirit Trail, Portside Bikeway, Cassiar Bikeway, Dollarton Highway Bike Lanes and the Inter River and Bridgman Park trail system.
|Photo: Alex Pope
Upon the completion of the new Port Mann Bridge, the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge will likely be the worst bridge for cycling and walking in the region. The narrow sidewalks are barely wide enough to cycle on. Several people have suffered injuries due to their handlebars getting caught on the railings. It is also not possible to pass other cyclists or pedestrians without dismounting. In addition to creating problems for current users, the poor quality of both the on-bridge and access facilities and the related safety issues likely discourage many potential users from walking, wheeling, cycling or skating over the bridge.
BCCC and Hub representatives met with Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure MoTI staff in 2011 regarding options for improving the bridge and the access to the bridge. At this meeting, we were informed of the Sidewalk Railing Concept Study, Hatch Mott MacDonald, July 2009 commissioned by MoTI evaluating improvements to the IWMB including wider sidewalks and suicide prevention barriers.
The previous Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure announced that the province will be adding suicide prevention barriers to the bridge. The BCCC and HUB met with MoTI staff in August. They confirmed that they are evaluating wider sidewalks but so far, a commitment has not been make to widen them.
Now is the Time to Widen the Sidewalks
We believe the cost of the suicide prevention barriers is at least $5 million dollars and the widened sidewalks and improved access will be at least an additional $10 million or so if both are done at the same time. It would cost much more to widen the sidewalks after the suicide prevention barriers are installed and there would be additional traffic disruption.
Please write the Hon. Mary Polak – Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, email@example.com to encourage the province to widen the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge sidewalks and improve the access to the bridge now.
Tell her about your challenges on the bridge and what an improved bridge would mean to you, your family and community.
Please cc your MLA. Here are the ones near the Bridge:
Richard T. Lee – MLA, Burnaby North, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jane Thornthwaite – MLA, North Vancouver-Seymour, email@example.com
Hon. Naomi Yamamoto – MLA, North Vancouver-Lonsdale, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jenny Wai Ching Kwan – MLA, Vancouver-Mount Pleasant, email@example.com
Shane Simpson – MLA, Vancouver-Hastings, firstname.lastname@example.org
You can find others at at: http://www.leg.bc.ca/mla/3-1-1.htm
As well, cc:
Premier@gov.bc.ca, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org,email@example.com, adrian.dix.MLA@leg.bc.ca, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Federal Government could also help fund these improvements so it never hurts to copy or send a quick message to your MP.
Here are the ones near the Bridge:
Andrew Saxton - MP North Vancouver, email@example.com
Libby Davies - MP Vancouver East, firstname.lastname@example.org
Kennedy Stewart - MP Burnaby—Douglas, Kennedy.Stewart@parl.gc.ca
Other MPs can be found at:
From John Rowlandson of Island Pathways:
Will BC Ferries continue its practice of securing public roadbed for motor vehicle traffic without considering cycling and pedestrian access and egress to its terminals? Unfortunately yes. After almost two years of consultation with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI), BC Ferries has ignored the solutions presented by local and provincial bodies and opted to do nothing to enhance the safety of cyclists, pedestrians and transit users on Salt Spring.
On May 8th, the local Ferry Advisory Committee heard that BCF would be asking MOTI to transfer its public road resource to the ferry corporation so that BCF can widen its existing holding lane. Although MOTI earlier had indicated that sufficient room was available for a bike land/sidewalk, BCF has ignored this option and will move forward with lane widening.
The Fulford terminal is the busiest minor BC Ferries route on the coast. Last year 640,000 passengers moved through the village. Local NGOs such as Island Pathways and the Salt Spring Island Transportation Commission proposed a multi-modal approach to the terminal enhancement, insisting that all modes of travel including cyclists must be addressed in the upgrade. They are urging MoTI to support bike lanes in the Fulford ferry terminal upgrade project.
Fulford is the launch point for the CRD Regional Trail on Salt Spring which will be confirmed in the soon-to-be-published CRD Regional Pedestrian and Cycling Masterplan. Those concerned with BCFerries actions should contact Hon. Blair Lekstrom - Minister of Transporation and Infrastructure ( email@example.com), Harry Bains – Critic for Transportation and Infrastructure (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Salt Spring MLA Murray Coell (Murray.Coell.MLA@leg.bc.ca), Sannich South MLA Lana Popham(email@example.com) and Capital Regional District Director for Salt Spring, Wayne McIntyre (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Some good information in http://www.gulfislandsdriftwood.com/news/149933965.html
Unfortunately, it looks like Premier Clark may be getting cold feet regarding funding for transit and cycling. The Metro Vancouver mayors have requested that the province give the region the authority to implement funding measures for transit and cycling including a vehicle levy, road pricing or a carbon tax. This is in spite of promises to work with the region’s mayors to fund funding solutions.
With by-elections just announced and the provincial election just a year away, it seems like Premier Clark may be greatly overestimating the political risk of supporting funding for transit. Sure, there is a very vocal anti-tax minority who clog the airways and Internet but it certainly appears as if the average voter supports transit. The large majority of mayors who championed funding for transit
just before the elections won by landslides.
The last Premier who rejected a vehicle levy approved by regional politicians, Ujjal Dosanjh, faired very poorly, losing by a landslide. Rejecting transit funding certainly appears to be a bad political move.
Giving people transportation choices by improving transit and cycling is good for everyone. Reductions in motor vehicle traffic reduces collisions and the associated health care and insurance costs. The economic cost of motor vehicle collisions is around 3% of GDP costing the regional economy billions of dollars a year. Congestion is also reduced meaning drivers can get where they need to go faster. For only $30 dollars a year, it seems a bargain.
Cycling and transit are also affordable transportation options that help cushion the high cost of housing in the region.
In addition to increasing the funding for cycling from $3 to $6 million a year, according to TransLink this funding will significantly improve transit around the region. “By 2014, annual bus and SeaBus service will increase by 415,000 hours, or 7%, providing more service around the region toimprove reliability, reduce crowding and serve new demand frompopulation growth and the expanded U-Pass BC program.”
British Columbia looks to be the centre of the cycling universe this June. In addition to Velo-city Global 2012 in Vancouver from the 26-29, Salt Spring Island will be hosting Velo Village.
Island Pathways organizers today announced that registration for all Velo Village activities is now open. “Velo Village celebrates rural cycling,” said Island Pathways President, Brenda Guiled, “Between June 21st and 23rd, Salt Spring Island will be bicycle-heaven-on-earth – the most welcoming place on this planet to be on a bike.”
Guiled noted that “there will be fun, games and knowledge exchange – all at an affordable price.” In addition to bicycle-themed performances, art exhibits and workshops, Velo Village will demonstrate the joy, wonder, and value of rural cycling in British Columbia. In development for almost a year, festival highlights include:
· June 18th to 25th – Bike photography, sculpture, paintings, mixed media and working bike exhibits will be on display at Art Spring
· Thursday, June 21st – a solstice themed Film-at-the-Farm. Cyclists enjoy the longest evening of the year powering the sound and projection systems for acoustic acts and a feature film presentation at this zero-footprint event.
· Friday, June 22nd – more than 200 delegates attend the Cycling and Rural Mobility Conference – a think tank and networking event for bringing the interests of city cyclists and their country cousins closer together. That evening, Islanders join delegates for an Art auction supporting World Bicycle Relief and the Spoke ‘N Song Gala, featuring human-powered adventurers Colin & Julie Angus.
·Saturday, June 23rd – At 10:00 am BC’s first cyclist-only ferry leaves Swartz Bay for Fulford Harbour. Carrying 400 cyclists, the BIKE FERRY will be the point-of-departure for a day of family-oriented events: rides, workshops, musical acts and more.
Jean Gelwicks, a Velo Village organizer, describes the festival as a transformational event. “As beautiful as our Island home already is,” said Gelwicks, “Velo Village will reveal an entirely new dimension. Nearly a hundred beautifully painted bikes will line the cycle routes, Islanders will wave to and welcome visiting cyclists, and merchants will make special offers available to cyclists during the three days of the event.”