False Creek already has pedestrian-friendly transportation options

Post by Mike Klassen in


Granville Island Ferries are an excellent and affordable service that attracts tourists
False Creek Ferries are an excellent and affordable service that attracts tourists

Owners of False Creek Ferries (aka the Aquabus, as locals call it) must be wondering if Vancouver's Mayor hates them. This small business has thrived over the years moving people to and fro across False Creek harbour.

The ferry which crosses the exact route of Gregor's bridge brainstorm, Vanier Park to the Aquatic Centre at Sunset Beach, runs from 7:30am to 10pm daily, and leaves every five minutes. It is an incredibly reliable service, and a great Vancouver success story.

Isn't it ironic that a Mayor who got elected based upon his reputation built in small business has so much contempt for existing small enterprises here in Vancouver?

Even the city's top bicycle advocate, Arno Schortinghuis of the Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition said the bridge would be a “non-starter” with commuter cyclists:

“If you have to descend all the way to the seawall, it would be ridiculously difficult to get back up to Burrard Street, for instance,” he said. ““That would be unacceptable, I would suggest.”

Meanwhile, people commenting on CBC.ca, Globeandmail.com and Vancouversun.com are all having a field day with Gregor's attempt to "change the channel" from his gridlock plan. Here's a sampling below of some of the comments.

Dear Mayor, dear Mayor, Between translink and the Olympic villiage, politely spoken, cost overruns, where oh where are the taxpayers of Vancouver going to find 45 million for a cycling bridge when we have 3 bridges that make the crossing already and all accept bicycles. - burrard, cambie and granville bridges. I bicycled to work for 10 years everyday, 11K, - except snow - over the Granville Street Bridge. It is an awesome bridge. And Mr. Mayor, didn't you have as an election platform housing for the homeless?. Think about what that 45 million would do for shelters for the homeless.

Greg Robertson can have have the pedestrian bridges he wants even all the way to Victoria. He should look no further than the funding model of the Golden Ears.

$45million sounds kind of steep. Why not build a bike path along the underside of the Granville bridge, on the superstructure that supports it. The is would also provide a rain cover for the cyclists.

Instigate a long overdue bike licensing system (cyclists should have insurance) to pay for the bridge and other bike route improvements. Drivers pay for the road through taxes, so should cyclists.

"Taxpayers could vote on the idea during a referendum in the next civic election, said Robertson, who is also hoping the federal and provincial governments will help with funding."

Then the referendum should be BC wide.

Why would anyone vote for this "pie-in-the-sky scheme ?. Another boondoggle from your left-wing politicians.
Prediction , the darn thing won't even be used in the winter!!!.

And if you think it will be built for the 45 million dollar budget, well ,I have another bridge to sell you ,

It will stand as an example of leftish idiocy come the next election.

What an eyesore.
But of course the cycling militants, who would eschew the existing spectacular view from the sidewalk of the Burrard Bridge in favor of usurping a lane of traffic, probably think it looks really cool.

i hate the idae of bike lanes on the burrad bridge but i really like this idea. i have concerns about the cost, but i dont understand this type of structure will be last for generations in our city, so if we think about the cost split over 75 years its not horrible.

If they can get shovels in the ground this will help make more constuction jobs i the city, and we really need to put those boys back to work

What was it going to cost to convert the burrard st bridge?

I like the idea...but that bridge is UGLY and ruins the beauty of the area, and the views

Of course if it is built it would be toll bridge so that the 45 million could be recouped from users right, and the recuoped funds used to suport infrastucture in small towns (that are inherently more enviro friendly).

I mean you can't add a tax to their fuel or a surcharge to their bike registration fees like auto owners.

Being both a federal and BC provincial taxpayer but not a resident of Vancouver, I take exception to the thought that funding could be given from those sources for this idea. I can think of a lot of ways that our tax dollars can be redirected to the "lesser" communities in the North and Interior Rather taht a handful of bike riding urbanites. But then Vancuover's pet projects payed for using our tax dollars, are rarely delayed because anyone outside the Great City had a need too.

Has Vancouver figured out yet that Gregor Robertson is about the stupidest thing Vancouver has done to itself in a long time,if ever?
This mental midget is totally controlled by the "greenies" and tree-huggers!
A bike and footbridge is about the most ridiculous proposal Roberston has come up with yet!
45 Million?
Brilliant...simply brilliant!
Like there isn't anything more rellevant to spend that kind of dough on?

This may sound stupid, but isn't it conceivable for there to be some kind of foot bridge / cycle bridge added along one side of the Burrard bridge??

Picture this: A bridge that somehow "piggy backs" onto the already existing one! It wouldn't have to go above the cars either, although that might be one option. But what about right along side it?

Seems it would be a lot less obtrusive and perhaps it would cost a lot less to do something like this, instead of constructing an entirely new, free standing bridge.

I'm betting something like this could be done for $10 million, maybe less.

And why not get all those bicycle enthusiasts to help raise the cash, rather than stick it to John and Jane taxpayer?

Might this not be fun? Thanks for considering. :)

I ride my bike downtown almost everyday from march to november. I would NEVER use this bridge. Simply because it's too far away from the majority of Vancouverites. I'm not riding cross down and then into the downtown core. This only helps those in point grey that already use the burrard street bridge. I would much rather ride on the cambie or Granville bridges anyday of the week.

Terrific idea - I have used the Millennium Bridge in London often and it is the best experience imaginable. This will also really put Vancouver on the tourist map because tourists love this kind of thing.

One concern I have is accessibility from the seawall level of the waterfront. The bridge's usefulness to pedestrians will be limited if we have to walk all the way up to Pacific and Burrard to access the bridge, and then have walk all the way to Burrard and Fourth to exit. That's also a very long walk and detour if one is just enjoying the waterfront experience.

This is great!

Put a clip-on attachment to the bridge. In Japan they call it the clip0on nippon


I couldn't even get past the first line in this story without having to comment. False Creek Ferries is not also known as Aquabus. There are two separate passenger ferry companies running in False Creek. One is False Creek Ferries and the other is Aquabus. The False Creek boats are all blue while the Aquabus are the rainbow coloured boats. Aquabus is also a bicycle friendly option running their Cycle bus from Granville Island to Hornby Street.

Paul, thanks for the correction. We've struck that through. However, I call it "Aquabus" when referring it to people, and so do others I know. We'll make the distinction in future.

The Aquabus pontoon-style boat is bike-friendly; the False Creek Ferries pictured in your post, much less so. The Aquabus is $4 per ride across the creek, or $8 per day if you're commuting and don't feel like risking your neck on the Burrard Bridge. That's $40 per week, and in my mind I'd call that a "barrier" to bike commuting.

I still don't understand why they didn't close a lane on the Granville street bridge instead of Burrard.

Granville is underused and connects much closer to the bike route.

And I'm sick of the European city anologies. European cities were built before cars were invented. Of course they are going to be more pedestrian and bike friendly.

Great posts, Mike.

The irony of Robertson's latest hare-brained scheme / bike bridge to nowhere being announced on the day the rest of us poor schleps have to pay our ever-growing property tax bill (memo to self: pay property tax bill today) is *almost* funny.

For the record, Councillor Anton has also supported a new bridge.


"The one that I would like to see is a really beautiful iconic pedestrian cycling bridge across False Creek, she [NPA city councillor Suzanne Anton] says.

Why is this blog so biased and anti-gregor? I am not necessarily a fan of any particular but the blatant bias of this blog is mind numbing. Didn't realize we had our own local fox news type of commentary!

I think we'd all love having beautiful bridges and other infrastructure in Vancouver. It's not the point though, is it? We have a mayor who is simply trying to distract the public from his own political problems created by not consulting the public.

I guess you could say that Gregor accomplished what he set out to do. Get us to stop talking about HEAT shelters and businesses hurt by the Burrard Bridge plan. By floating this idea with so many caveats (i.e. it might have tolls, other governments might kick in, it's not going to happen for years, blah blah) it's clear that he doesn't actually know how to make it happen.

Sorry to say it but the media and the public were flimflammed on this one. As a contrast, could anyone imagine Dianne Watts doing a press conference with an architect for a new City Hall or a new bridge to New West without having consulted her staff or council?

JJ, thanks for your question. We are a political blog with a point of view. We have given the Mayor grudging credit for some initiatives, but for the most part Gregor Robertson has been a complete bumble as the leader of Vancouver. Being tall, dark and electable doesn't mean he's qualified for the job.

I think our comments for the most part have been fair. The Fox News analogy doesn't fit because we're not shilling for a party line. We're equal opportunity critics of the right and left here.

I suggest you start at this post (http://www.citycaucus.com/2009/03/gregors-ninety-days) and dive deeper into the record of this administration in the first seven months in office. Then come back and ask the question again if you'd like.

Ask Gregor, Can he see Russia from his house? Heat Shelters, Bike Lanes, I look forward to the next bright idea.

The CBC news stories have the most uninformed, ignorant comments on local issues of any news outlet or blog. It's a rather pathetic way for you to make a point.

For one thing, taxes. "Drivers pay for the road through taxes - so should cyclists". Yeah, every time you start your car a little electronic device sends money to road crews. Brilliant logic.

Tell me again why putting support systems in place for everyone else besides the automobile driver is so humourous for you?

All Gregor said was it's an interesting proposal worth looking at. Thanks for "looking". Sheep.

Per photo >False Creek Ferries are an excellent and affordable service that attracts tourists Affordable to tourists, yes. But I, a local biker, choose the Burrard Bridge over the ferry, 90% of the time to save the $5 round trip fare. Per meter, the short ferry route across False Creek from Granville Island must be one of the most expensive public transport ferry rides in the world.
If that short route was incorporated into TransLink so I could use my monthly pass and perhaps pay a $1 supplement, I would use it regularly and not the bridge.
And I bet a TransLink inexpensive ferry on that short route would decrease the drivership to Granville Island thus increasing the use of transit during off peak hours when the cost of the extra passenger to the system as a whole is close to zero.

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