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$4 million bike path proposed for Richmond city centre

The 1.7-kilometre shared pathway on Gilbert Road will be for pedestrians and cyclists.
A path with cycling and pedestrian access is being proposed for Gilbert Road between Elmbridge Way and Granville Avenue.

A new $4.15-million shared pathway connecting existing cycling infrastructure on Gilbert Road could be completed by 2025.

The City of Richmond is looking into building a 1.7-kilometre cycling path on Gilbert Road between Granville Avenue and Elmbridge Way.

The pathway will be physically separated from the road for pedestrians and cyclists. It is expected to serve as a cycling connection between the Granville Avenue bike route and Dinsmore Bridge by linking up separated bike lanes on Granville Avenue and the existing bike lane on Gilbert Road north of Elmbridge Way.

Local cyclist Geordie McGillivray told the Richmond News the new connection will fill "a huge gap in Richmond's cycling infrastructure."

"The biggest plus for this new cycling connection is that it will encourage more people to ride their bikes to the Olympic Oval," he explained. 

"This will be the only way to get there on a bike using a dedicated lane from car traffic when compared against Lynas Lane and Garden City bike routes."

The existing stretch of road "has always been scary for cyclists" despite having a designated bike lane, said McGillivray.

Not only is it hectic during rush hour, but traffic to and from the Richmond Hospital parking lot also poses additional danger.

"I hope they can get better control of the hospital’s south entrance which enters and exits the parkade as well as serves ambulances."

Although McGillivray is optimistic about the new path, he is not as sure about its function as a shared pathway.

"Shared paths are always a concern for cyclists as you can never get away from pedestrians listening to music or walking their dog, which can always lead to unexpected surprises when you pass them," he said.

When asked about the biggest needs for Richmond cyclists, McGillivray suggested having some traffic lights that would favour cyclists, similar to crosswalk lights near schools.

The lights could hold cars back for a moment and allow cyclists to cross an intersection and get positioned in the lane before cars work around them.

"Cyclists trying to merge in with cars from a stop when cars are zipping past is too dangerous," he said.

The Gilbert Road bike path was one of the projects recommended for city funding in 2024.

Major cost components include lane narrowing and realigning the curb, gutter and sidewalk as well as physical barriers, pavement markings and signage and pedestrian crossing enhancements.

Above-ground infrastructure such as streetlight poles, hydrants and power poles will have to be relocated and private property such as driveways and landscaping will have to be modified as well.

According to a city document, the project has already been approved for funding from the federal government's Active Transportation Fund, which requires the project to be done by the end of 2025.

Funding will also come from the roads development cost charges program, capital reserves and potentially from TransLink and ICBC.

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