Among a series of cycling advocate profiles at VanBikes, author and interviewer Colin Stein has interviewed Gordon Price.


Photo by Jennifer Friesen

For all his leadership and accomplishments over six terms on Vancouver City Council, Gordon Price may be forever known for helping break the debate about cycling wide open, purely through his efforts to get a bike lane to stick on this one bridge. [Ed:  Burrard]

. . .  After all these years, nothing expresses the contentiousness, political footballing and see-sawing of cycling advocacy in the city like the struggles over the Burrard Bridge. Not the staggered, multi-decade implementation of the now-iconic seawall, not the will-they-or-won’t-they pre-Olympic drama of the Cambie Canada Line Bikeway, not even the angst surrounding the Hornby and Dunsmuir separated bike lanes.

The Burrard Bridge story was the boogeyman cycling project, and for a long time.

Today, as we prepare for a grand opening of two-way separated lanes on both sides of the bridge (plus separated walking and suicide barriers, lest they be forgotten), it can be broadly recognized as a triumph. Of planning, of engineering, and of political fortitude and patience.

[Says Price]:

“The NPA still can’t bring themselves to support it, to be passionate advocates. The most they’ll say is, well we could have handled it better, or….bullshit.

The blowback that initially occurs towards change is something a politician wants to be seen to be leading, if they’re in opposition.

So when Point Grey Road happened it was natural that the NPA would oppose it, because the blowback was so intense. Or Burrard Bridge.”

. . . .   today we celebrate Gordon Price for his double role as instigator of the city’s first bike lane controversy, and patron of the newest jewel in Vancouver’s all ages and abilities cycling network – the Burrard Bridge.

[Says Price]:

Making these commitments incrementally over time, as the network effects come into play, produces a cultural change. And that becomes a reflection of who we are.

I just can’t believe anyone who goes over the Burrard Bridge driving or on transit, and doesn’t see the flow of people and who they are. 

That’s who we are.