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Richmond road popular with cyclists to get upgrades this year

Ferguson Road will be realigned with designated bike paths to improve safety for users.
The proposed realignment for Ferguson Road.

The road leading up to Iona Beach Regional Park is a popular cycling destination, but even experienced cyclists are worried about their safety when they take this route, which is why news of significant improvements is welcome. 

“Last year, I would ride on Ferguson Road about five days a week, but I would always turn around at the Canada Post facility,” said cyclist Geordie McGillivray, who has been riding road bikes for the past 10 years. 

The two-lane road is narrow with no shoulders and is bordered by deep drainage ditches. As well, there are significant cracks and potholes. ICBC recorded three crashes involving cyclists between 2016 and 2020 on this popular cycling route, and there was even a fatal accident back in 2015. 

This Friday, Metro Vancouver will be considering a cost sharing agreement with the Vancouver Airport Authority to upgrade and realign Ferguson Road.  

If approved, the existing western portion of the road starting west of the Canada Post sorting facility will be shifted and redesigned to include the following: a multi-use path for recreational cyclists and pedestrians, a boulevard to separate the multi-use path from traffic, bike lanes on either side of the road, and two travel lanes as well as a turn lane. 

The road is the only way for vehicles to get to Iona Island and the Iona Island Wastewater Treatment Plant, and according to a report to the Board of the Greater Vancouver Sewerage and Drainage District, the “poor road conditions and separation of pedestrians and cyclists” mean that it can't sustain the heavy construction traffic that will be necessary for the upgrades to the treatment plant expected to start in 2024. 

The City of Richmond, Vancouver Airport Authority, and Metro Vancouver had previously tried to address the safety issue by implementing a slower speed limit of 30 km/h, but this interim measure will be not be applied to the newly realigned portion of Ferguson Road. 

The Vancouver Airport Authority has enlisted the help of a cyclist in designing the improved Ferguson Road, according to director of planning Peta Wolmarans. They are also planning to consult the cycling community before finalizing the design once the cost sharing agreement has been approved. 

The upgrades are expected to start this year and finish by 2024, and the estimated cost is around $26 million, which will be shared by Metro Vancouver and the Vancouver Airport Authority if it gets approved this Friday.