There appears to be no easy fix to the unforeseen problem on the High Level Bridge that was created with the erection of suicide barriers. A safety audit, heading to city councillors next Wednesday, seems to be saying what cyclists have known all along. The shared use path is too narrow, and should become directional with cyclists allowed to go only one way.
“In contrast, the resulting width of the east side pathway does not meet…guidelines for two-way operations, either in shared use, or in exclusive operation,” the report said. “However the east side pathway does mee…guidelines for one-way shared use or exclusive operations.”
Coun. Scott McKeen will go to Wednesday’s meeting with a lot of questions. “Could we have it one-way in the morning and the other way in the evening?” he relayed to reporters. “I didn’t dig enough down into the data there to see if we sort of have a rush of cyclists from the south going to the downtown in the morning and back. We’ve done that with roads and maybe we can do that there.”
“I think we have to make some changes. The report indicates that, that there are legitimate safety issues at play. It wasn’t just a hue and cry from locals. So I think we have to look at that.”
It is known that some time in the next ten years the High Level Bridge will need rehab work, after the last go-around in the 1990s. Coun. Scott McKeen wondered if that can be accelerated to widen the paths, even though it’ll cost hundreds of millions of dollars.
“I think it would be a huge dollar project to widen those shared use paths,” he said. “I’m not kidding myself. It’s probably big dollars. But again if the numbers justify it and we would actually increase those numbers, more people would cycle and walk between those two high population areas, then it might be worth while.”
“Long term it might make sense. We have a fund that builds every year for transportation safety projects. That might be a fund that we could use that would not affect tax dollars. I’m not being coy here. That’s the fund that’s built from photo radar.”
In the meantime McKeen said incremental steps could be taken to ease the problem, like installing deflectors at the entrances so bicycle handle bars don’t get caught up with the suicide barriers.
You can click here, and go to item 7.1 to read the report