From Frank Ducote:

While my personal preference of narrowing the causeway lanes from 12′ to 10′ and thus slowing traffic and saving more trees wasn’t studied, I think there is a refinement of the proposed design that could help reduce bike/pedestrian conflicts on the east side. It is pretty simple, as shown below.

Simply lower the bike lane to that of the road surface. But keep the barrier on a raised curb to protect the cyclists.


I’d like to know what your other respondents think of the idea.


  1. Good idea. But unless the combined bike lane/sidewalk space is wider than currently proposed, the bike lane would be too narrow, or the sidewalk would be too narrow.

  2. Really like it, being higher than traffic, even if slightly, can create moments of slight vertigo.

    Definitely would still need slight widening, but would also make it feel (and likely be) much safer.

  3. How do elevation alignments and barriers affect efficacy and cost of clearing debris, or minimizing or preventing it from settling on a path?
    And could a barrier incorporate some gutter/drainage function?

    Rocks, mucky leaves, oily puddles, and miscellaneous other detritus are, as I understand it, a significantly greater safety issue for cyclists than for motorists and pedestrians. Keeping them in their designated lane isn’t just about making it harder to leave it but about making it the optimal place for them to be.
    (I welcome cyclists to use pedestrian paths for segments where they are not or don’t feel safe to ride on the roads — as long as they do so with their feet on the ground!)

    I’m a fan of narrower lanes and slower speeds for active streets. From a ‘pick your battles’ POV this throughfare would be a poor candidate, and I wonder what bus drivers have to say about lane widths for those curves.

    1. I think that’s her point – since the 3.6m space changes from “shared” space to 2 x 1.8m “exclusive” lanes, there’s less flexibility (i.e. less passing room because of the physical constraint of eth curb and fence), so the effective width is reduced from 3.6m to 1.8m.

  4. I agree with Antje. The bikelane would be too narrow, especially when passing another cyclist. As well, the “bike slot” will tend to end up getting cluttered with mud (from vehicle splashing), leaves, etc as well as being a confined space for running water.

  5. There would likely be additional costs to reworking all of the curb drains over the 2.2 km. Not sure how much electrical work would be involved if any.

    I think drainage and debris would be a challenge. Separated lanes with concrete barriers can trap leaves, like on Ontario at 49th.

    It would provide an opportunity to have a new and smoother riding surface than the old concrete with joints.

    It would prevent the borrowing of space when overtaking.

    the biggest issue IMO is that more width would be required.

    Interesting concept.

  6. Also, the cross section shown has the forest ground level lower than the sidewalk. In some places it is higher, and mud flows onto the existing sidewalk now when it rains. Presumably drainage could be built, but that is what comes to mind when I think of a bike path lower than the current sidewalk.

  7. proper surface treatment can go a long way at reducing conflict:

    Sherbourne street in Toronto:

    Note the lampposts in the middle of the pathway (like on the causeway) and “punitive” surface buffer in their alignment and clearly demarking the both territory

    And what they got right is to not extend the “punitive” surface on the pedestrian realm.
    Pedestrians still have a surface as comfortable as the bike lane to walk, while the reverse is not true (due to the concrete joints).

    Too often, that point is forgotten by the designer:

    1. Agreed.

      In the case of the causeway shared path, the proposed differing surface treatments aren’t there to indicate mode, but some users may interpret them that way. And while the cobblers in the photo above provide valuable separation, they aren’t in the current causeway proposal; they would require additional width.

    2. Ageed on the surface. Sidewalks and ped paths must be smooth.

      The convention centre is a great example of how not to build a ped path. The surface is ugly concrete pavers and it is littered with obstacles. Not surprisingly, many people just walk on the smooth bike path.

      1. The other reason is that the city does not paint symbols on the pavers or pavement indicating mode. Pedestrians do not look up at street signs 8 ft high – those are for drivers. Pedestrians look at their feet.

  8. There simply is likely not the space for the most part. The bike path needs to be at least 2.5m to allow for passing. The bike path also should be at least .5m from the fence so handle bars don’t catch on it. The fence also needs to be .3m from the road according to MoTI. Then the sidewalk should be at least 1.8. Add it all up and it totals 5.1m without any buffer between the bikes and peds.

    And @voony

    Looks like that lamp post is way to close to the bike path. On the flat, it should be a metre away.

  9. Not sure why space for bike passing needs to be permitted in such a limited corridor, anymore than it does on streets with bike lanes, or on the bridge deck itself. Protecting the (forgotten) ped space to some degree is what this idea is all about. If people have better ideas about how to do that here, bring it on!

    1. Frank, the causeway is over 2km long and uphill going north. Unlike cars, bikes go at very different speeds on this stretch – probably from about 10km/h to over 30km/h. Cyclists would pass each other in any case, as they do now.

      I am not aware of any bike lanes in Vancouver or the North Shore that don’t allow for passing. Engineering guidance is fairly clear on required bike lane widths, just like for car lanes or sidewalks.

      The Lions Gate Bridge sidewalks are narrower than ideal. But it’s still possible for cyclists to pass on the uphill. Older bridges in general tend to have too narrow sidewalks, and they are difficult to widen sufficiently for structural and cost reasons.

      To separate cyclists and pedestrians along the causeway, either the east side path needs to be widened by an additional ~2m, or the Parks Board could build a parallel walking path in the forest.

    2. That passing be accommodated is a given.

      The cycle path would be for all ages and abilities – which includes slower cyclists.
      Faster cyclists headed to and from the Sea to Sky Highway and Cypress – the fitness buffs – would be going much faster. (i.e. know the users of the corridor)

      Likewise, pedestrians also need flexibility for passing too (or they’ll trample the daffoldils that line the Causeway in Spring).

      Don’t tell me you’ve never passed a slow walker on a sidewalk or a slow group of pedestrians walking 3 or 4 abreast?

  10. Hello Frank since you asked,

    I believe that the transverse section is far more important than the cross section of the Causeway when it comes to pedestrian safety. The rise from Lost Lagoon to the high point on the Causeway is 50 metres. The ped/bikeway is located on the uphill grade (east side) where cycling is challenged by gravity (groan) and where speeds can be reduced to that of walking, or even the pushing of bikes in some cases by some folks.

    The proposed design on the west side seems to accommodate downhill bike racers by the absence of pedestrians. This does make sense, however reliance upon signage to keep pedestrians off of this bikeway is risky especially considering the speeds of bikes than can be expected and the numbers of tourists wandering about in the park. A parallel pedestrian woodland trail with several meters of natural landscape separation from the bikeway would give pedestrians a safe exit from a dangerous environment should they find themselves in the wrong place.

    Good design prevents tragedies. We do no need to wait for bodies before making improvements to poor designs. In this case we need something more than signage and besides another soft trail through the park is another opportunity for nature exploration.

    My suspicion is that good design is being compromised by the width of the right of way, and the location of the boundary between MOT responsibility and Parks Board responsibility.

    If this is the issue I urge all parties to please get it sorted out now at the project proposal stage.

  11. Interesting idea re the bike lanes. If you frequent West 10th Avenue you will know that 10 foot lanes are problematic for buses, which measure about 10′ including their mirrors. As a result, they usually occupy two lanes. Or, if the bus is driving in its lane, timid drivers hold back from driving beside the bus. This turns the road into a one lane affair, which is quite different from just ‘slowing traffic”.

    1. That’s only and issue if you expect a larger speed differential between vehicles, but that’s not what should be encouraged. Buses will typically travel near the speed limit all that a bus taking both lanes means is that all the other drivers can’t speed.
      There are still 2 lanes of traffic, and still the throughput that 2 lanes allow.

  12. The cheapest and easiest solution would be to remove one car lane. Moving towards the 2030 (or 2040?) goal of having only transit, cycling and walking along the causeway and on the bridge. But for that to work we probably need much more and better transit between Vancouver and the North Shore. Could we have light rail across Lions Gate bridge?

    1. This is not really an option. while I cycle to work on the North Shore, most of my co-workers cannot because they work from their vehicles. Like my employer, there are many businesses and customers dependent on services being delivered between the city and the North Shore, and many of these services could never be offered by public transit.

      1. Are you referring to the option of removing one car lane or the option of having only transit/cycling/walking along the causeway? I think removing one car lane would perhaps be feasible if transit was much improved. It doesn’t mean contractors etc. can’t drive. And trucks need to go via Second Narrows in any case. The majority of cars on the causeway at rush hour are single occupancy, nicely dressed people presumably driving to an office job.

        Transit/cycling/walking only on the causeway was a reference to an agreement with the city to remove car traffic from the causeway and the bridge by 2030, if a third Burrard crossing is built. Which may never happen.

        1. You are probably right, I fear the 3rd link will never happen, as today it would cost billions to build. One need just consider the impending battle on our hands to convince voters to pay an extra .5% on PST to fund infrastructure such as a new seabus, the Broadway line, and the Surrey LRT. With all the development on the North Shore, I sometimes wonder why North Shore developers are not forced to charge a levy to finance a future bridge upgrade – isn’t that how the Lion’s Gate Bridge was built in the first place?

  13. Reblogged this on GitanoAfricano and commented:
    Lowering the bike path versus the pedestrian walkway is not ideal; Vancouver is a wet and windy place, which means the bike trough would be constantly clogged with debris, mud, and water. A potential alternative would be to lower the outside pedestrian path and ensure it has good drainage to the drain tile between it and the park.

    1. Drainage and leaf litter is not the only reason for a grade difference. Bike handling safety always requires a raised the cycling portion. A bike which mis-steers its front wheel into a higher, parallel feature will fall and crash. The bike is far more likely to stay upright if it pops off and drops down a few inches.

      Conceptually unclear? Test this yourself; cycle off a curb. Now turn around and cycle into it. Post results, on video, preferably.

      1. I completely agree with your point. I cycle the causeway as part of my commute from Kits to Lonsdale, hence why I suggested it would be better to lower the outer pedestrian slab as opposed to the cyclist slab. This all assuming that the two slabs really need to be at differing heights.

  14. Karen – Inboard parking lanes (next to curb, to the passenger side of parked cars), already are built like this. Not sure why this is so much more unsafe, as you seem to believe.

    1. If I understand what you’re trying to describe, the reason they’re built the way they are is because the bike lane surface is the former asphalt road grade. The City just built up curb, islands, planters, etc. -beside- it. They did not purposely excavate below grade to create a lower cycling surface. It’s cheap & quick that way.

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