Armageddon is scheduled to arrive Monday, just in time for rush hour.
That’s when the Burrard Bridge bike lane will go into effect. In case you’ve spent the last few months on some Happy Planet (along with Mayor Gregor the Good) and missed the memo, here’s what’s going down:
• The west curb lane of the bridge to Kitsilano becomes a bike lane;
• The west sidewalk of the bridge will be for pedestrians only;
• The east sidewalk becomes a bike path into downtown.
Who will fire the first shot?
Some deranged motorist, incensed that one of the bridge’s six lanes will now be reserved for 1.9 per cent of its traffic?
A pedestrian used to walking over the bridge on the east side required to cross over to the other side of the rat maze — and then back again?
A bicyclist who’s not sure why there’s a big fat bike lane going south but only a sidewalk going north?
Some poor confused sap who wanders in circles in the middle of rush hour traffic?
This living lab experiment is brought to you by Gregor the Good, Vancouver’s mad social engineer, the same guy who brought those notorious homeless shelters to the seawall. You have to admit, he’s not afraid to do stuff, even if it is weird stuff.
I’ve logged many miles as a runner, a cyclist and a motorist over that bridge and like every other citizen over the age of four, I have my own solution: Why not put up a rail or a fence?
It would prevent people from falling into traffic — what everyone is afraid of — but the maze masters are worried a fence or rail will take up too much space, making an already tight squeeze even tighter. Guess they’ve never cycled across the Second Narrows — talk about tight.
The scheme set to unfold Monday is disruptive and complex and will inconvenience thousands of commuters. If all hell doesn’t break loose on the first day, the experiment is scheduled to last at least three months, plenty of time for tempers to fry as people stuck in traffic watch a few cyclists whiz over the bridge while they sit and stew and think about the next time they get to vote for mayor.
If you think this is weird, Gregor the Good’s ultimate solution is to spend $45 million on a new pedestrian/cycle bridge, or $56,000 per cyclist.
And if that’s not enough to induce road rage, you’re just not part of the human, uh, race.