bc-090311-transit2

Some taxi drivers say busy Dunsmuir Street in downtown Vancouver could become a bigger traffic headache if city council approves a two-way bike lane. ((CBC))

Vancouver taxi drivers say a city plan to install another separated bicycle lane through the downtown core could make their lives more difficult.

City council will vote Thursday on a staff proposal to create the separated lane on Dunsmuir Street, a busy, one-way route for people heading across the Dunsmuir Viaduct and into downtown.

Dunsmuir Street is the site of frequent traffic bottlenecks. The congestion could worsen if city hall takes one of the street's four lanes away from vehicle drivers to create a two-way lane for bicyclists, according to an ad hoc taxi drivers group.

"It will impact our customers, too, because they will end up paying more for the taxi fare," said Amrik Mahil of the Vancouver-based Association of Pacific Taxi Owners.

The bike lanes would continue for about eight blocks to Howe Street.

Such bike routes already run across the Burrard Bridge and the Dunsmuir Viaduct, with concrete barriers separating motorists from cyclists.

More bike lanes planned

If the Dunsmuir bike lanes are approved, the next step would be to decide on a north-south route along Hornby Street, Burrard Street or Thurlow Street.

City staff believe the community needs to provide safe bike routes if it wants people to get out of their cars.

"It's the perception of safety that's a major concern that is preventing people from cycling," assistant city engineer Jerry Dobrovolny told CBC News. "Separated bike routes are one of the most popular types of bike routes."

The Dunsmuir project is expected to cost about $800,000 and if approved, would be put in place in June.

With files from CBC's Ben Hadaway