City to make interim safety and design upgrades to Beach Avenue
I'd like to thank everyone who gave us feedback on how the interim design along Beach Avenue could be improved, particularly for street crossings and transit access.
Lon LaClaire, General Manager, Engineering Services
In response to COVID-19, we are continuing to provide additional space across Vancouver for people to safely exercise and access services. As part of this effort, we will be making interim upgrades to Beach Avenue, which saw the introduction of a two-way protected bike path in the spring at the outset of the pandemic. This reallocation of space supported increased space for walking along the seawall and record numbers of people cycling.
New features to Beach Ave
Starting next week, we will begin work on new features along Beach Avenue to improve access for people walking, taking transit, and driving while maintaining the two-way protected bike path and increased walking space. The changes will include the return of transit and eastbound travel between Denman and Jervis streets. These interim changes are based on feedback from more than 2,500 residents during the fall on the current street design.
Upgrades to be included
The upgrades include:
- Improved pedestrian crossings at key locations, which may include:
- Painting crosswalks to better prioritize pedestrians crossing the street
- Adding median islands to shorten the crossing distance for people walking
- Incorporating accessible design features like tactile walking surface indicators, level bus boarding islands, and modified traffic signals
- Eastbound travel restored for vehicles and transit between Denman Street and Jervis Street following completion of other project elements
- Replacing traffic cones with sturdier and harder-to-move concrete barriers
- Working with the Park Board to provide accessible parking in the waterfront parking lot near Bute Street
- Retention of the two-way protected bike path
“I’d like to thank everyone who gave us feedback on how the interim design along Beach Avenue could be improved, particularly for street crossings and transit access,” said Lon LaClaire, General Manager, Engineering Services. “Given the increase in COVID-19 rates and the limits on social gatherings, it’s important that residents continue to be able to get out and exercise safely.”
Construction crews will work as quickly as possible to minimize local impacts, but changes such as restoring eastbound motor vehicle and transit access (between Denman and Jervis streets) may be delayed as they rely on other project elements to be in place before they can be implemented. Some of the work requiring dry days (painting zebra crossings) will be done in phases.
Staff will continue to monitor and adjust the interim design. Additional opportunities to share feedback about the longer-term vision for these spaces and whether to make these changes permanent will be available through the West End Waterfront Master Plan engagement and design process that will start in 2021.
On April 9, 2020, the City repurposed the eastbound lanes of Beach Avenue between Hornby Street and Park Lane for residents to be able to walk, bike, and roll while keeping physically distanced as part of our Room to Move initiative.
Since it opened, this initiative has provided relief along the busy West End waterfront park paths and, this past summer, Beach Avenue became the busiest cycling route in Vancouver, regularly exceeding the 10,000 cycling trips per day milestone that other routes occasionally see.
In September, we launched an online survey to gather public input on the current configuration of Beach Avenue and the Seawall path. From the survey, which drew more than 2,500 responses, we heard concerns about the one-way traffic and the transit re-route. This feedback has been incorporated into our upcoming interim upgrades for Beach Avenue that also reduce the maintenance effort and improve access for walking, transit and driving.