Neglect of Burrard Bridge means it continues to crumble apart

Post by Daniel Fontaine in

68 comments


Recent images of 'crumbling' Burrard Bridge neglect – see slideshow

If you’ve been enjoying some beautiful sunsets in Vancouver this last week, undoubtedly one of your preferred vantage points would include the iconic Burrard Street Bridge. Not only is it an attractive piece of public infrastructure, it has also become an iconic symbol of our beautiful west coast city.

Unfortunately, although the Burrard Bridge may help to frame a beautiful English Bay sunset, the majestic old lady is literally crumbling apart.

Last week a concerned resident called me to say how upset she was with the condition of the bridge. She snapped a series of photographs which clearly demonstrate exposed rebar and crumbling concrete. The photos reveal the bridge remains in desperate need of repair.

If you recall, the previous NPA council originally wanted to spend about $60M to repair the bridge along with construct a new dedicated bicycle lane. When Vision Vancouver took office in 2008 these plans were shelved to make way for the temporary bike lane trial.

As it stands, despite the fact the bridge is clearly falling apart, plans to upgrade and bring it back to its former glory remain on hold. Mayor Gregor and his caucus have decided they don’t want to do any major upgrades to the bridge until the “trial” bike lane experiment is over. That won’t be for some time yet.

Meanwhile, tourists visiting one of Vancouver’s most famous landmarks must be wondering why we have let it fall into such disrepair. Can you imagine the Sydney Opera House or the Golden Gate Bridge being allowed to age and weather as badly as the Burrard Bridge? Quite unlikely.

Vancouver council obviously had enough money build new bike lanes on Dunsmuir, Hornby and Burrard Bridge, so why not begin work as soon as possible on repairing Burrard Bridge?

Back in April 2010 GlobalTV's Rumina Daya reported on the poor condition of the bridge, yet it would appear that almost nothing has happened since then. At the time, big chunks of concrete were falling off the bridge down below to the sidewalk. The City responded by quickly installing nets to catch the concrete before it could accidentally injure someone.

According to the City’s website, any work on upgrading the Burrard Bridge will have to wait for a little while yet. That means we could go through yet another tourist season with one of the world’s most beautiful art deco style bridges looking more than a bit worse for wear.

What do you think? Should Vancouver council be putting a higher priority on fixing the Burrard Bridge? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

Post by Daniel. You can follow us on Twitter @CityCaucus. Or you can "like" us at Facebook.com/CityCaucus.

68 Comments

@Daniel

At least get your facts straight. The $63 million was too pricey for last NPA majority council so they only included $33 million to repair the bridge in the Capital Plan but not widen the sidewalks. The plan was to narrow the substandard sidewalks even further by placing a barrier on the traffic side of the sidewalk.

This was pretty much panned by everyone.

http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/story.html?id=acb59450-e318-421a-b4a2-32991ea9e64a

Bernie Magnan, chief economist with the Vancouver Board of Trade, said he doesn't like Ladner's plan either.

"It's a half-way measure," he said. "They're not necessarily addressing the liability issue of the pedestrian and a cyclist having a crash."

If Sam had not turned the last trial approved by council 6 years ago into a political issue, the bridge would likely have already been fixed. Too bad you did not show concern for the state of the bridge back then and try and talk Sam out of cancelling the trial.

Richard is nothing but a former paid lobbyist for the cycling community and apologist for the mayor.

Stop pointing fingers Richard and get on with governing this city. You and your party have had 3 years to get things right. When will you stop blaming Sam Sullivan and the NPA for everything?

Ignoring the political baiting, I would say yes, keeping the Burrard Bridge and other infrastructure properly maintained needs to be a spending priority. We would prefer to avoid the experiences and deaths that other cities have endured when they did not properly maintain infrastructure. What other key pieces of infrastructure are in need of upgrades? To what extent are we reliant on financing from other levels of government for maintenance and upgrades. These are nice gritty policy and management issues.

A plan that would actually reduce the ability of people to get around the city safely on bicycles would, in my opinion anyway, be pretty dumb and a reason to vote against a party.

All politicians have a very short planning priority. Anything beyond the next election is ignored. That is why government owned infrastructures are too often in a state of disrepair. The Burrard Bridge is the responsibility of the City taxpayers. It is time for these taxpayers to demand that the politicians protect their investment and do the necessary repairs. And then get on with renewing the state of the sewers and water distribution system. Delayed maintenance is not money saved.

@Tim

More misinformation by CityCaucus although they did attempt a rather weak correction. I am not paid lobbyist. It is all volunteer efforts.

I support this mayor and council because they are actually getting things done. The NPA wasted 15 years and countless taxpayer dollars on endless studies on Burrard Bridge and still they didn't have a workable solution.

If they would have grown a spine back in 1996, Burrard Bridge would have been fixed up long ago.

These photos clearly illustrate the misplaced priorities of this Vision Council. The other part of the story they do not show, however, is the equally important spalling on the underside of the Bridge.

It's time the City of Vancouver gets back to the basics of a municipalities responsibilities, and one of those is looking after our infrastructure.

Vision's un-costed 'Green Plan' is their priority. Another priority for Mayor Greg and Co. has been their "trial" bike lanes across the Burrard Bridge. It appears that part of the cause of this damage was the added weight of the concrete bike lane barriers. This has increased the stress on the almost 80 year old bridge spans. Old concrete gets brittle and added stress causes it to spall off.

As an architect, knowing what the implications of this neglect are, I shudder at the irresponsibility of this Mayor and Council. The adequacy of the added bike barriers loading needs to be reassessed immediately, and further delay in the repair of this iconic, historic structure must not be delayed any longer.

This Vision Council has demonstrated over and over it has no common sense. Instead they continue to push their un-costed ideologically driven agendas, and their shell game accounting together with their 6 1/2 page $1 billion dollar budget document are clearly intended to hide what they're really doing with City of Vancouver taxpayers' dollars.

@Bill

The NPA proved for 15 years proved incapable of resolving the safety issues on the Burrard Bridge delaying badly needed repairs in the process. This council has shown real leadership by quickly resolving the issue.

You should be really shuttering at the neglect of previous NPA councils that not only ignored repairs to the bridge but also resulted in people getting seriously injured on the bridge. The settlement in one of these cases cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Ummmmmmm Richard, you're attacking the municipal government. Fact is, Vision Vancouver IS the municipal government right now. They had 3 years to get on this and they have decided to ignore it. Instead using wedge issues like separated bike lanes and wheat fields to muddy the waters. Meantime our infrastructure is either falling down or (if Geoff Meggs has anything to say about it) will be torn down.

Common sense has flown the coop at city hall. On November 19th it will be judgment day for Gregor and his band of "green" councillors. Their track record has not proven they are fit to lead a world class city like Vancouver.

Neighbourhoods are being ignored. The prosperity of the city is being in jeopardy and worst of all (as we've seen with all the finger-pointing after the riot reviews) the mayor does not understand what accountability is.

They did it, no they did it, no they did it.

Well be better vote out those who didn't do it most recently so we can vote back in those that didn't do it before that.

Yeah, that'll work!

Ummmmmmmmmm how many NPA councillors from 15 years ago are running for office this time around boo?

I'm sure you're aware, the NPA is not a typical political party like Vision Vancouver, there is no manifesto that is always followed. It's a coalition of people from all political stripes who agree on a direction.

Unlike Vision Vancouver who take their marching orders from un-elected organizers.

Here is a question:

What happened to the $33 million set aside for the repairs?

I walk that bridge everyday and it has gotten substantially worse since last summer.

And you do have to love how they have taken paint to cover up the obvious.

As well, when you pass through the centre of the bridge (walking), there had been a garbage bin which was finally thankfully empties as the over flow was sacattered on the ground, only to be replaced by a green garbage bag doing pretty much the same.

The bike lane is part in parcel cause of the decay - the combined weight from the barriers. Hence the issues with concrete falling from the underside. It is truly attractive to have netting along with beware of falling debris signs along a very well travelled tourist pathway, connecting from Kits Beach through Vanier Park and over to Granville Island.

Now, I thought those repairs were to be done this past summer - after the one year 'trial' of the bike lane?

It is ridiculous that issues ike this have not been dealt with. The decay continues and the one thing you can count on, the cost (to the tax payers) to fix the issues increasing with time.

Richard:

I saw your total Vision ass-kissing (sorry folks, but read on, and I think you will agree)'Letter' in the Georgia Straight.

For those that missed it:

Cycling advocate won’t challenge Visionistas

September 1, 2011

I am flattered by Charlie Smith’s recent kind comments regarding my potential as a city council candidate [“Is Adriane Carr the best the Greens can offer up for Vancouver city council?”, web-only]. However, I have no intention of running for council this fall and will continue to support candidates that have demonstrated their commitment to improving the environment and the livability of Vancouver.

On environmental issues in general and cycling in particular, I am really impressed with the bold leadership that Mayor Gregor Robertson and the Vision and COPE councillors have shown over the last three years. They had the courage to follow through on their campaign promises to improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians on Burrard Bridge and create separated bicycle lanes downtown in the face of very vocal opposition. They were able to successful implement these challenging initiatives proving the benefits of separated bike lanes.

Now, the majority of Vancouver residents support these safe cycling facilities and are voting with their wheels. It is fantastic to see people cycling through downtown on Hornby and Dunsmuir with their children.

Richard Campbell / Vancouver

@Bill McCreery:

"It appears that part of the cause of this damage was the added weight of the concrete bike lane barriers. This has increased the stress on the almost 80 year old bridge spans. Old concrete gets brittle and added stress causes it to spall off."

Your architect's opinion does not appear to align with the opinions of the Professional Engineers who are responsible for the bridge. They have stated more than once that the added weight of the barriers has nothing to do with the spalling concrete. That was reported in several media outlets last year, with attributed quotes.

The barriers are placed over the bridge support structure. While there certainly may be spalling happening under the deck, it is obviously happening all along the railing, as shown in the photos accompanying this post. There are no barriers there. No structural components to worry about either. But there is salt air, which is what the spalling has been attributed to. So it is hard to see how you can link the obvious need for maintenance due to spalling, with the bike lanes. It just comes across as political gamesmanship.

By all means, let's maintain our assets. Let's hope council (this one, or the next one) does so. Certainly the last several councils haven't made it a priority.

I also don't think that either council decided not to maintain the bridge. I think that a lot of time was spent arguing about bike lanes, and trying to find a path forward that satisfied everyone. Won't happen, but hopefully that debate is past now, as studies seem to show that the trial has been a success. If that means we can stop arguing about whether we should have bike lanes or not, and focus on important things like maintaining assets, then I think that would be a good step forward.

Sydney Opera House has been falling apart for years.
Cracking and loose tiles, poor design of rooms etc. from the 1980s on.
It was closed in parts by 2000.
Even now the forecourt is closed for reconstruction.

Not the best example.

(one of many stories on its construction troubles. http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/sydney-nsw/crumbling-opera-house-could-close/story-e6freuzi-1225873188856

And I refer you to this, written by Alex Tsakumis in August of last year: (I guess this is kind of like there is no 'significant' moentary loss to business along the hornby Bike Lane 'trial')

BREAKING NEWS: Burrard Bridge Deterioration Accelerated Since Bike Trial Commencement…Sing Along to Vision Vancouver’s New Theme Song: “Burrard Bridge is Falling Down, Falling Down, Falling Down…”

From the article:

There are 635 full barriers on the Burrard Bridge (excluding the half or slanted barriers off either side).

635 of the 27″ barriers = 1,714,500 lbs or 1,714.5 imperial tons, or 779.32 metric tonnes for the actual barriers on the bridge at all times, since the bike trial began.

To put it into perspective for you, comparing the 27″ barrier with a semi-trailer loaded full at 48,000 lbs, or 48 imperial tons, would be a kin to parking 36 full trailers 24/7 on the bridge for a year and hoping there would be no structural damage.

Now, even to a non-engineer this would seem extremely troublesome–but why take my word for it? I called the city and after a three-day run around, I finally got someone who would go on the record after FOUR different city staff all cited the same excuse; as one frankly put it, “Mr. Tsakumis, we all know who you are around here. We read your blog all the time. But we also all know what Dr. Ballem thinks of you so there is no way anyone will be making any official comment. You want us to lose our jobs? By the way, nice work on the story about Ark, he really did get fucked over, but there is no way we’re going to talk”

So then I contacted the “responsible engineer” for the Burrard Bridge. An exceedingly nice man named Dane Doleman, P. Eng, who has been employed with the city for 6 years.

Here’s how part of our conversation went:

AGT: So you’re aware of the Burrard Bridge issues are you?

DD: Yes, I know there are issues with the Burrard Bridge.

AGT: What kinds of issues?

DD: Well, I know that there are expansion joint issues that we are looking into but also, we’ve been monitoring, as we always do, the underside of the bridge for any deterioration issues.

AGT: Would you say, then, that you’ve seen an increase of problems since the Burrard Bridge Bike Trial?

DD: Um, I don’t know if I would say that for sure, but I certainly couldn’t discount it. The barriers are a very heavy load, but the bridge was designed and upgraded to withstand constant pressure from loads exceeding what the bridge is currently carrying, although I cannot rule out that there has been an accelerated deterioration because of it (the bike trial). I’m now going to look into that. If what you’re hearing from staff is true, we might have a real problem. I had a conversation before the bike trial with quite a few people around here.

AGT: Are you telling me that you actually pointed out to the city that the load, due to the weight of the barriers, might create a problem and they ignored you?

DD: (Laughs) I just can’t divulge my internal communications, I’m sorry, that’s all. I’m sure you can appreciate that.

Perhaps Bill McCleery since he lives next door to the Burrard bridge can tell us just what his fix is - I am sure that since he lives next door to it that he must have ridden it before the change and rides it now and can give us an expert opinion on whether is is safer now or before.

One thing that Bill should know from his previous NPA stints that while it is okay to critize it is much better to offer solutions.

I love how when visionistas don't like the message they always try to deflect attention away.

@Bill, I think Daniel was simply trying to make the point that we need to invest in our public infrastructure. Especially if it as important to us as the Burrard bridge. Do you disagree????

Thanks for the link about the Syndey Opera House, but it still doesn't take away from the basic premise of what we're debating. Do we really want Burrard bridge to become the next opera house? I don't think so.

@Paul T.

Please get your history right. The NPA has been playing politics with Burrard Bridge for years ignoring the safety of people walking and cycling over the bridge. Mike Klassen and gang at CityCausus callously tried to use the trial for political advantage through through his GregorsGridlock site. Well, fortunately, his efforts failed with comments on the site mostly supporting the trial. Playing politics with safety issues is pretty low.

The success of the trial will also save taxpayers around $30 million dollars by avoiding the costly widening Daniel says the NPA supported. Which they did before it became to pricy after spending another $2 million dollars on design work.

"I'm sure you're aware, the NPA is not a typical political party..."

lol best laugh I've had in awhile!

@politics 101:

You might want to check the ICBC driver stats.

Accidents and accidents with injury have increased for vehicle driver's at the south entrance to the bridge.

My "previous NPA stints" were actually with TEAM. I do have solutions, but am not publicly discussing them now. BTW, one of my solutions back then, the "Ferry For Burrard Inlet Report" became today's Seabus.

I will say there are lighter barriers which could have and should have been used in my professional opinion.

I believe, thanks to Max, that Alex T. has answered your question.

These failures are complex. The railings problems may or may not be related to the added weight of the concrete barriers. The concrete mix used for the railings would have been different from that of the beams and deck below, as would the care and attention as well as the design safety factors. Just looking at the photos it is obvious that the steel reinforcing in the railings would not meet todays design standards.

To add:

Agreed Jeff, "... a lot of time was spent arguing about bike lanes, ... and focus on important things like maintaining assets". It's time for Vancouver City Hall and Park Board to get their priorities right. That is, look after the basics 1st, including infrastructure, and then pursue other priorities as they are affordable.

Bill M: The post by Alex T, which I read last year, certainly didn't answer my questions. Look at the headline he used,something to the effect that "Bicycle lanes accelerate deterioration". That after the engineer he spoke to and quoted said something that didn't support that conclusion, namely that he can't point to any accelerated deterioration. Look also to the quotes at the time from the other city engineers, who similarly to DD, said that the current static loads are not an issue for the bridge in terms of load bearing capacity.

This is all silly. We have a cosmetic problem with spalling concrete. It is now a safety issue, due to pedestrian access under the bridge. And somehow the bike lanes are being blamed as a cause of the spalling.

Max continues to claim that the bike lanes are "part and parcel" of the decay due to the weight of the barriers. So prove it. We've got multiple PEngs saying something else. If Max has an engineering degree, with structural expertise, and is a member of APEGBC, great. Alex T at least comes out and says he doesn't understand this all, as a non-engineer. Too bad he then tried to draw conclusions.

Bill, you posted again that the problem on the railings, which was the subject of this original post, may be due to the barriers. In what way? Do you have a failure mode in mind? How does a barrier several meters away cause spalling?

I see the connection here simply as both issues being related to a single bridge. To draw conclusions about cause and effect, as Max is doing, is sensationalistic.

Now a few questions: Does your platform for focusing on maintaining infrastructure include maintaining bicycling infrastructure? I suggested that the debate on whether or not there should be bike lanes should be over, and we should just get on with both building them, and maintaining all of our assets. Do you agree? Or do you consider bike lanes to be luxuries that we can't afford?

Jeff;

Okee-dokee.

Not sure if you read all the posts or chose to by-pass them prior to adding your input.

Question: If you have a balanced board and you put heavier weights on one side without equal balance on the other....what do you think happens? Where would the stressers be?

Alex's engineer did not, as you suggest, out rightly deny the issue of weight of the barriers vs deterioration on the bridge. For that matter, neither has the city.

And I am going to give you a little 'heads-up', AGT never posts anything without having proof - legal issues, you know.

So the stats, the numbers, the tonnage and stress caused by the barriers, will be pretty bang on.

Sensationalistic, hardly. Factual documentation has been included in this blog post.

I need to look back at my pics as I am pretty sure I brought this topic to light on this sight (CC) last year. And, I may have the pics to back them up, provided I did not delete them.

I did however today, snap pics of the garbage on bridge and will send them thru to CC for posting.

Jeff, for you and the other bike enthusiasts that seem to take issue with this topic - it is not about the 'bike lanes' but about preserving this bridge - for all of us.

It is falling apart and City Council doesn't seem to be blinking an eye.

You say definitively: "...the engineer he spoke to... can't point to any accelerated deterioration."

But, DD said: "The barriers are a very heavy load, but the bridge was designed and upgraded to withstand constant pressure from loads exceeding what the bridge is currently carrying, although I cannot rule out that there has been an accelerated deterioration because of it (the bike trial). I’m now going to look into that. If what you’re hearing from staff is true, we might have a real problem."

And also significantly: "I had a conversation before the bike trial with quite a few people around here."

That was 13 months ago. Is DD's report out yet?

On the other hand, there has been a lot of anecdotal evidence that the spalling has increased since the bike lanes were installed. The nets under the bridge are 1 example as well as the above photos and many individuals' observations.

The concerns below are not just pedestrian safety by the way, the Burrard Civic Marina happens to be there as well. A colleague had his boat there and had his concerns about the timing / cause relationship confirmed by 1 of the marina staff.

And, by the way, I did not just say: "the problem on the railings ...may be due to the barriers".

I did say: "These failures are complex. The railings problems may or may not be related to the added weight of the concrete barriers."

So, I await DD's report.

My position with respect to supporting bike lanes has been documented here and on Frances Bula's Blog several time over the past year or so. I remind you that when a Park Commissioner, we installed Vancouver's 1st separated bike lane on the Stanley Park Seawall in 1974.

Perhaps we could reduce the load on Burrard Bridge by closing it to cars and limiting use to pedestrians, busses and bicycles?

You must be joking. The NPA IS a typical municipal party and it is closely affiliated with its funders, or at least it was in the Sam Sullivan days and I have seen nothing to suggest anything has changed. The NPA remains the party of big development. Vision also has ties to big development. None of this is surprizing as Vancouver's economy has become dependent on real estate development (maybe was always dependent).

Back to infrastructure - it is silly to attribute the decay of Burrard Bridge to bike lanes. The bridge is in a well advanced state of decay and the less heavy traffic (causes vibrations) on the bridge the longer it will last. This is part of the cost of having a car-based transit system. The real issue is what is the state of key infrastructure assets, how and when will they need to be renewed, what are the design guidelines that will be applied to their renewal, and how will all this get funded.

Bill, provision for safe cycling is a core part of urban infrastructure and one that has been under invested in in Vancouver. There is too much investment in car and parking infrastructure. Let's begin by cutting back on these massive costs and putting the money to work where it will have a positive impact on long-term growth, health and livability. If you are actually concerned about the Burrard Street Bridge you would advocate reducing heavy traffic.

"Bill, provision for safe cycling is a core part of urban infrastructure..."

The other night Global ran a piece about how perhaps the increase in the number of cyclists using the Burrard Bridge may not be as rosy as previously portrayed. A spokesperson for the bicycling lobby stressed how it is really a matter of safety.

Could it be that the cycling lobby is now willing to concede what anyone who drives downtown suspected - the segregated bicycle lanes can't be justified by usage so let's fall back on the safety argument. Who would be willing to campaign on making the city less safe for cyclists by taking out the segregated bicycle lanes?

Back to this question:

Where did the $33 million go that was set aside for ugrades to the bridge?

Sorry CC, I was going to send you pics of the garbage on the bridge (and again look to see if I kept the ones I took last year of the deterioration of the railings - you wll see it has worseded) but am working on another battle:

The abuse homeless have been facing at Yukon Shelter. (and other shelters for that matter)

Recently a young homeless guy in my neighborhood got into housing at Cambie & 8th. He had been out on the streets for about 3 years and was very excited.

I see him last night and he is panhandling in front of Darby's at MacDonald and W 4th. So I ask, what happened???

He said there was a plumbing/leak issue at the Cambie place so a bunch of them got moved into various shelters. He and his buddy are at Yukon.

He alledges that the staff is stealing from the participants.

Sadly, this is not the first time I've heard of various abuses, this being just one of the many. And, if they speak out, they are threatened with being kicked out. He knows this and is prepared to take the consequences in order to bring light to the situation.

There is a meeting this Friday, the 9th - 11:30 am at Carnegie Centre. There will be (homeless) people from the various shelters speaking to the issues they face at the hands of those that are supposed to be helping them.

This guy had a mild (very mild) drink problem. They had him go into detox for 1 week prior to housing - part of the overall 'program'. He is far from stupid and now, afer working on finding a job and trying to get his life back on track, he is angry.

I understand that are in the process of contacting the local news outlets in hopes of gaining soem media attention.

Thank you - this PSA is now over!

A big dump of KK Steven...
If NPA was the friend of big developers then Vision is the friend of big money investment/charities launderers... and big developers! So, please sit down.
Like the other acolyte here, Richard you too try to deflect from the fact that Vision have done nothing in the past three years then to serve their 'chosen ones' classmates, one by one, Hollyhock friends and relatives. Burrard Bridge bike lane was from the very beginning their 'pain experiment' on the Vancouver citizens... see how they take it, for bigger things to come...tearing down the Viaducts... more bike lanes, empty lanes I may add. What's next? A Security Wall around the downtown , all the beaches and cut us from the mountain views so they could charge for it? A family of four + cannot possibly afford anymore to have a birthday party #Stanley Park before they have to pay the Vision 'protection' fees up front, the Ballem, Sadhu and the rest of the city mobsters need to be paid their inflated salaries first... say it ain't so LOL!

KK?

Bill, indeed, would you be willing to make the city less safe for cyclists by removing bike lanes? Do you think you can find an economic justificaiton for that? I look forward to hearing the NPA's position on this.

But back to infrastructure, I suspect that the Burrard Bridge is not the only piece of critical infrastructure that is not being properly maintained. And I agree with Bobh that delaying infrastructure maintenance is generally the most expensive option. Of course it is not just governments that do this. Companies do it all the time. I have even done it with my house, to my cost.

Apologies to CC for responding off topic.
This is a response to Max...

I have been silent on the blog scene for some time now. I felt the political message was being lost by the angry sniping…this situation has opened a great wound for me.

@Max if you remember I have been discussing the abuses in non profits for a very long time..from personal experience.
There are many abuses that are heaped on the poor, the biggest is the use of the marginalized for political gain.
Every politician that has ever used one of us to garner a pity vote should be running to assist this man,, if only to appear less hypocritical.

It is usually the high functioning folks that are beat down the hardest, they are intelligent and see what is really going on… from experience I will enlighten you all to what will happen to this man…the powers that be, Coastal Health included, because they are one government branch that provides funding, staff will circle the wagons… they will do everything in their power to discredit this man… He will be pushed till he does get angry… mission accomplished, they have proven your friend to be unstable.

The next step will be to say…see what we hard working staff must deal with, Sadly there is never such a thing as a mild drinking problem…if you have a problem that renders you homeless ..that is a problem.. that is where the staff of all poverty organizations have a responsibility to help … who do they help?

Just look at the list of people in line for the Order of BC…

Is this the same man you wrote about before Max? Didn’t I read your friend was supposed to get housing from Coast Mental Health Housing?….Where is your friends “case manager”, and why was he put into a shelter rather than another unit.
Someone needs to look at funding for these non profits…because only a selected few of these homeless actually get assistance, and only if they are willing to do feel good fluff media pieces, and say nice things to the media.

I fear for your friend Max…I was such a threat to an organization that I was physically assaulted by several staff (documented ) once in a room with a hundred people..and several of those folks were highly paid politicians..

My life will never be the same…PTSD..

I wish your friend all the best Max, but I fear he has a huge target on his back now..I fear for him..

I sat at City Council yesterday, there were 3 speakers .. all marginalized.. they were scoffed by many/most sitting in the audience.. oddly they made the most sense of anyone in Council yesterday…their message was not about the riots, but the abuses of the marginalized, by politicians that don’t listen to those that have the answers..their style might be different when explaining the issue, but that is their disability..and the audience mocked them.

I was sitting next to a young man that kept rolling his eyes and laughing at them with a holier than than attitude.. and in the next breath told me what a great man Gregor was, because he was a farmer and an amazing business man.. HUH..

Thanks for bringing this forward Max..I think our addiction/housing specialist Kerry Jang needs to step up to the plate. while he’s at it my homeless friend is still homeless….

Max:

Yes, I read all the posts thanks.

Your question about balanced loads is not relevant. Do you not think the bridge can handle inbound traffic in the morning and outbound traffic in the afternoon? Those are unbalanced loads twice a day. But it has nothing to do with the surface damage shown in the photos at the start of this post.

You are correct about Alex's engineer's denial. But that doesn't mean that there is accelerated deterioration, which is the point I made. You are taking a non-conclusion and posting it as a conclusion to the opposing position. Now add in the other statements by CoV PEngs. I am sure you have read them.

Alex T's blog postings are not to be accepted as fact. Nature of the beast. He is not a journalist, he is a political blogger.

That said, I am not challenging the number of barriers, or his calculated weight of them, despite his pointing out that he is not an engineer. I am pointing out that his speculation that the weight of the barriers has anything to do with the surface damage to the handrailings is a big stretch.

I am not a member of the Vision party. I am not a bike commuter, I have driven over the Burrard Bridge about as many times as I have cycled over it recreationally in the past few years. I take far more issue with you slandering engineers and the engineering profession. Alex T tried to suggest that PEngs at the city were not acting according to the Engineering Act, respecting either their profession or their own oaths to protect the public interest over that of their employer. You have jumped on that train, in an effort to discredit an opposing political party. It is slanderous. The fact that I own a bicycle has very little to do with that opinion.

I agree that the bridge needs to be preserved as long as economially feasible. But as I already pointed out, I don't think that either of the recent parties in power purposely didn't maintain it. Rather, the bike lanes became a political hot potato and maintenance was deferred, by both parties, while they tried to work through those issues. Every time someone stirs up the bike lanes as a political issue, they contribute to deferring necessary maintenance on the bridge. Congratulations, it's working.

Jeff L:

You may want to acquaint yourself with Alex's background - including the time spent at 24 hours as a columnist and his current work as host on the Money & Wealth Show.....just to name, two.

If we relied solely on the MSM for all of our information, much of what has become very relevent , such as this current topic, would never see the light of day.

The bridge would fall down before the MSM would catch on to the issue of its decay.

Both CC and Alex have contributed great knowledge to the inside workings of city hall - again, something we would never get a whiff of if we only had the MSM to rely on.

Perhaps you and I are reading the content of Alex's post differently. What I pull from it - the bridge had issues which seem to be growing from the added stress from the weight of the barriers.

Now also remember, Alex posted on this topic in August of 2010 - 1 year ago and the decay has increased since that time.

Again, wodnering where the $33 M set aside for this project, went to.

And for the Love of God, quit taking ugly grey or white paint and tyring to hide the obvious. It looks ghetto!

Bill:

You say you are awaiting DD's report. But you have seen the city engineer's subsequent report on required rehabilitation to the Burrard Bridge (my conclusion since you commented on it in at least one blog when it came out last year).

For those that haven't, here it is:

http://vancouver.ca/ctyclerk/cclerk/20100708/documents/penv2.pdf

You posted "My position with respect to supporting bike lanes has been documented here and on Frances Bula's Blog several time over the past year or so. I remind you that when a Park Commissioner, we installed Vancouver's 1st separated bike lane on the Stanley Park Seawall in 1974"

Thank you for your long service. I have enjoyed the Stanley Park seawall cycle track. Perhaps we shouldn't have waited 35 years to build more dedicated space for cycling, but it is what it is.

I only became concerned about your support when I saw you speculate about the barriers speeding the deterioration of the bridge, and then make reference to doing the basics 1st, including infrastructure, and then to pursue other priorities as they are affordable. I just wanted to know if you put dedicated cycle tracks in the infrastructure category, or the luxury category. I recall your objections to the Hornby cycle track (which I will paraphrase as as "I don't mind bike lanes, but not how these were done" - please correct me if I am wrong). Since that came across as primarily a poke at Vision instead of a solution, I went to both the NPA site and your own web site to find out your position. I couldn't see it. Please let us know when your platform is posted in the course of time, so that we can evaluate it.

Yes, I am familiar with Alex T's background, thanks. My parents taught me that if you didn't have anything nice to say....so I will reserve comment.

As to the ugly grey and white paint (which I haven't seen myself), it wouldn't occur to me to consider it decorative. It is more likely something to do with slowing down the corrosion of the rebar, thus slowing the spalling, until the railings can be removed and replaced as per the engineer's recommendations. Which might have been acted up on by now if it wasn't all being so politicized.


Stephen, the maintenance of infrastructure and the installation of things like bike lanes (about 160 km of the 177 km total were installed by TEAM and the NPA) come from 2 different City budgets, operating and capital. One does not threaten the other.

I continue to marvel at the insecurity of the bike bloggers with respect to protecting their bike turf. The NPA has a far better record than Vision for supporting and delivering on the installation of the bike infrastructure in Vancouver. Gordon Price, Peter Ladner, Suzanne Anton, myself all have actually delivered in that regard, and others are on record of supporting biking as well.

Jeff L
is it the message or the messenger you seem to want to discredit... bottom Line Alex got the damning brown envelope and you cherry pick to make it about your dislike of the way the message is delivered and by who delivered it...

isn't that position a bit naive? you dislike the person so therefore the information is incorrect....that is why this city is in so much trouble...

everyone loves Gregor because of his looks...how shallow is that logic..really?

the fact remains...the bridge is in disrepair..Alex brought it up one year ago what has changed? oh I forgot because you don't like Alex's delivery method it must be not of value..that is what is wrong with this city today..we condemn the people that have the guts to tell it like it really is...how screwed up is that!! in the meantime the bridge is still falling apart..

Funny people condemned Lenny Bruce and George Carlin because they didn't like their delivery...did it make their truth any less relevant? No..it just proved that the gentile masses couldn't handle the raw truth without sugar coating..

after rereading your post I'd like to add something.
You state this issue is being politicized...is it, or has a private citizen AGT brought something to the attention of the city residents...

Alex is not a politician, and last time I checked he doesn't support either party that is currently running, so where exactly is the politics...or has this just been made personal? You've made a very hateful comment about the author...guess that puts you in the same league as Mr. Tsakumis by your standards...funny that..

By your disparaging comments you try to discredit and slander a report, based on the fact that you don't like the author.....you see my friend when you make comments such as this you put yourself in the mud pit slinging it with the best of them...just something to ponder.

If we didn't have people willing to take the heat for exposing the wrongs what kind of city/society would we have....one sided at best..but is it the right side?

@Bill

Well, if you count traffic clogged bike routes and suicide lanes lanes between moving buses and trucks where cycling is more of an extreme sport for the brave few than a daily mode of transportation for the average person, that is true. If, on the other hand, you want to create bicycle routes that everyone, including children, can be safe and feel comfortable cycle on, this council has a much better record than previous NPA councils.

I see children cycling all the time on Hornby, Dunsmuir and Burrard Bridge. That certainly was not the case before the separated lanes.

Richard,

Answer me this:

Why is it that cyclists still insist on traveling north on Burrard St, when the Hornby bike lane is 1 block over.

During rush traffic, the only thing they manage is to slow things down.

$3M bike lane - one block over.....

The short sightedness and self entitlement of the cycling lobbysts - all else can go to hell in a handbasket as long as they get what we want.

How about this, prove that the issues with the bridge have zero to do with the weight of the bike lane barriers.

George,

Like you I've been avoiding commenting recently, it's proved surprisingly easy! However, this is just to say thank you for a comment based on personal knowledge, made from the heart, on an important subject, and also to Max for bringing it up.

Regarding the bridge, I recently read a description of municipal government as a pension plan that occasionally repairs the roads. In Vancouver it seems we don't even get that done!

I doubt if the Burrard Bridge was built to particularly high standards when new, now it's not just the concrete that's in poor shape but the steelwork also appears pretty rough in parts. Though not a city responsibility the Second Narrows is another bridge that looks like it has a corrosion problem.

Here's an older and much bigger bridge that, having had continuous maintenance, has been brought to as new condition for about $200 million;

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/sep/05/forth-road-bridge-longlasting-paint

I assume that we will continue to squabble and put off the problem until either costs become stratospheric or a disaster ensues. We will then have an enquiry which will decide that, while lessons have been learned, no one should be blamed and everyone involved richly deserved their million dollar severance pay / Order of Canada / government sinecure (delete as appropriate).

I don't hate Alex T. I don't even know him. I am focused on his article here. I only know him by his words.

Since you believe Alex T delivers it like it really is, please let him know that there are not 1000 lbs in a ton, as he wrote in his article. He has overstated his case by a factor of 2 or so.

Also let him know that semi trailers are closer to 80,000 lbs or more. So he is out by a another factor of just under 2 there. But I guess it sounds so much better to exagerate the case.

This is all nitpicking though. The real issue is that he tries to suggest political interference, coverup, and dereliction of duties by a registered professional engineer. If he has proof of that great, let's see it. Alex T was careful to not write that there was wrongdoing, just to leave it as a suggestion. That appears to be his style. And then some of his readers grab on to the idea, on cue. And now people believe that the dividers on the bridge are contributing to the decay of the handrails (which is what this whole thread was about).

I certainly don't think that Alex T is solely responsible for politicizing this. He is just one of those perpetuating it. And, as you say, the longer we have these debates around whether or not there should be bicycle lanes, or any one of many similar issue (because this has very little to do with bike lanes, and a lot to do with attacking opponents) the less time we spend doing basic stuff like maintaining infrastructure properly.

And sorry, I didn't realize it was so hateful to refer to someone as a political blogger.

Do decaying bridges make a city more or less livable?

Jeff
shame on you for twisting my comments, that is politicizing my friend...I NEVER said I took offense to your referring to him as a political blogger, I agree he is he blogs about politics, he is a political blogger with a TV program Saturday nights on Chek TV....he blogs about all parties...I took offense to your character assassination...that being said if your intent is to set the record straight for any misinformation I suggest you email him at alexgtsakumis@shaw.ca. since you seem to have so much information...unsubstantiated I might add as well as not with your name...as he has posted his entire name and email address...I find his work more credible... do you have an engineering degree?
But that would be a direct manly way to deal with a situation...instead you have chosen to character assassinate....and that isn't political... no that my friend is hypocritical.

david hadaway,
so lovely to hear from you again... I must admit I've missed some of my online friends, and you are definitely one of them :-)

George:

Alex T's politicizing started in his headline, and continued with the many references to Vision.

It was Bill M who introduced the idea in this thread that somehow the cycling lanes were contributing to the deterioration of the concrete railing.

And you think I am politicizing it?

Yes to the engineering degree. It is partly why I am offended by the slandering of the profession.

You'll have to clarify for me exactly what my hateful comments were. I figured you meant the reference to being a political blogger. Guess not.

@Max

What a silly question. It is like asking drivers why they go down a certain street but not another. For once, try assuming that people on bicycles are just like all other people. They like to take routes that are quick and direct. For one, the cycling connections from Hornby to the West End are very poor. Why on earth would someone who is wanting to go to the West End cycle over to Hornby for a couple of blocks just to go back the other way on a street with lots of traffic like Davie.

Please, for once, try putting yourself in other peoples shoes.

Jeff stop playing games I never used the word hateful and if indeed AGT made a typo that has your knickers in such a knot man up and email him instead of whining about him as a person behind his back.. be a man about it.
Offer constructive information instead of character assignation.

I gave you the email...

George at 11:28 pm: "Jeff stop playing games I never used the word hateful..."

George at 3:44 pm: "You've made a very hateful comment about the author..."

You are not the same George?

If you are not the same George, I apologize. If you are, it isn't me who is playing games.

And Alex T's blog entry was a typo?

Richard,its nice to see that youve seen the light,cyclists are like everyone else and will take the shortest route,so spending millions on separated bike lanes such as hornby only serve those that work on hornby.Im sure you would agree its not practical to put such lanes on every street in town now is it?As far as the bridge is concerned it is a wonderful piece of architecture and must be saved.The bridge was designed to have a rail bridge under for BC electic and I think that is where a bike lane should be.The present lane is not practical as it takes away from the looks and use of the structure and seems to have increased accidents at the approaches. http://www.vancouverhistory.ca/archives_burrard.htm

Using the pier openings originally intended for a rail bridge was an interesting idea, but it would require a swing span for taller boats. Not very practical to open it up every time a party boat or sailboat goes through, and cyclists are likely unwilling to wait each time. I used to have to wait to take a sailboat out past the old railway swing span alongside the Burrard Bridge, and it took awhile. I suspect cyclists would be on the main span, in traffic, even if the harbour authorities approved a swing span.

And in the meantime, debating alternate solutions for a bicycle crossing could mean further delays to necessary maintenance. Those delays are the current problem.

Jeff L,the old wooden rail bridge was very low and required a swingspan but a cyclebridge would not have to be designed for such heavy traffic and could be elevated much higher,maybe a suspension style,I would think it would allow a 50 footer and I dont see many larger craft in the creek due to draft restrictions.I would also like to say as far as AGT is concerned I respect the man for asking hard questions,something the MSM in this province seem incapable of doing,he went to the man who should have had the answers and didnt get a clear answer.I understand you defending your profession but mistakes have been made before and will sadly be made again.

This thread is starting to look/sound like a sandbox brawl.

gman:

It would be great if it was all that simple. Looking at a shot of the bridge, however, and given that the rail bridge openings are already set in the piers, it appears a new cycle track built in the space of the originally planned rail span would block many boats. There are fireboats, tugs, and pleasurecraft that use the creek regularly. It would appear that a 30 foot sailboat would barely make it through at low tide, as in this shot, and not at all at high tide. That suggests to me that many commercial craft couldn't pass freely.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c0/Burrard_Street_Bridge_as_gateway.jpg

Not answering my question Richard

Why do cyclists insist on traveling north from Pacific to Nelson, Robson and past using Burrard rather than moving one block over to the bike lane?

That or many ride on the sidewalk just the same.

"Bill, indeed, would you be willing to make the city less safe for cyclists by removing bike lanes?"

That is assuming that segregated bike lanes on the bridge are necessary for safety. If some cyclists slowed down instead of using the bridge to live out their Tour de France fantasies, cyclists and pedestrians could safely share the wide walkways as before.

Sorry Jeff I stand corrected...my point is instead of complaining why not take your expertise to the author, I read AGT's work and I've noticed and he has stated he is a speed typist that doesn't proof read.. if you are so offended I just think it makes sense to contact the author rather than complain on another web site...you feel he has discredited your profession. It confuses me why you didn't clarify with the author rather than let it fester in your mind to the point you are so critical of him...doesn't make any sense to me...

I'm very supportive of Alex, he is a very dear friend..he saved my life, perhaps that is why I feel a more upfront approach is in order.Sorry if your comments hit me the wrong way, and I overreacted...but isn't that what friends are for?

I seriously ask you, if it is that big a problem contact him I'm sure he will update and give you credit. Then you don't need to write autonomous blogs and discredit. It makes no sense whatsoever to me.

With the amount of time we have spent on this issue you could have dealt with the problem...I thought engineers were good at solving problems...

George:

Based on Alex T.'s past response to constructive criticism, I will pass thanks.

"With the amount of time we have spent on this issue you could have dealt with the problem...I thought engineers were good at solving problems..."

This is exactly my point. The problem we should have dealt with IMO is the required maintenance to the bridge. And the amount of time we have spent debating bicycle lanes is absurd, again in my opinion.

The city voted in July 2010 to proceed with design work for rehabilitation of the railings, expansion joints, lighting, spalling concrete, and almost as an afterthought, to replace the somewhat unattractive Jersey barriers with permanent dividers. It is a year later, and council is not proceeding with the repairs. I think that has a lot to do with the ongoing debate around bike lanes, and the political capital they would spend. The multiple bridge repair projects are linked since the design work was paid for by funds set aside for cycling improvements (even though the railings, lighting, spalling, etc, had nothing to do with the bicycle lanes. When they approved the funds for the design work, all the headlines read "CoV spends $$ on bike lanes again" or words to that effect. Even though they were diverting funds from cycling to needed repairs.

So even if the project was now ready to go, I think they just decided to wait it out until after the election. And, as Daniel wrote in the original article, the repairs are required. This is our bridge that is deteriorating. We should just all recognize our own role in creating a political climate where what is right isn't done, due to the rancour. Sometimes we just have to move on. The lanes aren't my preferred solution, as I think pedestrians deserve to be able to walk on both sides of the bridge. But I want to put that aside to just get something done. Same with the Hornby cycle track. My preferred solution would have not had a two way cycle track, it would have had two one way cycle tracks. But although I don't support Vision on a lot of their initiatives, I supported them on the Hornby cycle track because they got something done. I hear the same comments from a lot of the cycling advocates that get called Visionistas, or whatever the term is now. Many of them are not supporters of Vision, but do note that Vision got something done about an issue they cared about.

So if I came across harshly on Alex T, I apologize. I don't hate him. I just hate that we continue to find reasons not to do things that need to get done.

Max:

Off topic.

But I tend to agree with Richard on this one, cyclists will use whatever route they choose to use, same as drivers and pedestrians. Personally I would use Hornby, unless I was going only a few blocks further down Burrard. I don't often ride into the West End from Burrard, but it would be counterintuitive to head east in order to go north down Hornby only to head back west when I got far enough north. What we need is a network. There have been huge advances with the construction in the past few years, but there will be more requirements at some point in the future as the network is built out, and that includes routes into the West End from Hornby, assuming that lane is still there.

It would be problematic to ask all drivers and cyclists where they are going and instruct them as to which route they must use, IMO.

Riding on sidewalks is a completely different issue to me. Ticket them all, unless there are signs directing cyclists to use those sidewalks (and those are usually last choice options). Same with cyclists who run read lights, and motorists who run red lights or don't stop at red lights before turning right. Ticket them all.

I wonder about this too. I always use Hornby now when I am going north, even when I will need to go further west (I have a grandchild in the west end). We should encourage people to use Hornby, maybe by having closing access to Burrard from the cycling lane. We have a lot to learn about cycling lanes in Vancouver and cyclists have a lot of behaviours we need to change. On ticketing, I will support ticketing cyclists for making a safe cross on a red light when we start ticketing cars for going 5 km over the speed limit.

There you go.Another stand up comedian.
Steven you can walk hand in hand with one Bobbie Bees @Fabula who suggests charging people trying to enter DT by car... Punks!

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