Cyclists head south in the Burrard Bridge's new bike lanes. (CBC) (CBC)

Bike traffic is rising on the Burrard Bridge as riders take advantage of the new bike lanes installed this summer, but southbound vehicles are facing delays of up to six minutes each morning.

But according to the latest figures released by Vancouver city hall on Friday, travel in the northbound vehicle lanes was as much as two minutes faster, and the southbound delay virtually disappeared during the afternoon rush.

The study also found the number of bikes crossing the bridge surged from 3,775 a day before the lane was installed to 4,718 a day afterwards.

'Please plan extra time on Tuesday to get to your destination, think about alternate routes' —Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson

To conduct the study, each Tuesday and Thursday during July and most of August, city staff recorded north and southbound vehicle travel times on Burrard Street between West Georgia Street and 12th Avenue during key traffic periods.

"The first wave of travel-time statistics for the Burrard Bridge are very encouraging. With minimal changes to commuter times in both directions, it is clear that people are adjusting," Mayor Gregor Robertson said in a statement released on Friday. 

Post-Labour Day jams expected

But the southbound delays are raising concerns of morning traffic jams as thousands of commuters prepare to head back to work and school after Labour Day. .

Robertson said it will take commuters more time to get around the city on Tuesday and cautioned motorists to consider using the Granville Bridge to cross False Creek.

"We are heading into a very busy traffic period after Labour Day," said Robertson.


Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, an avid cyclist, tests the northbound bike lane on the Burrard Bridge in July.

"With students returning to school and workers returning from vacation, we know the commute on Tuesday morning will be much busier for all of our roads and bridges."

Banners on the Stanley Park causeway and large message boards before Denman and Thurlow streets will remind motorists travelling from the North Shore to consider alternate routes over False Creek.

"Please plan extra time on Tuesday to get to your destination, think about alternate routes, travel in off-peak periods if you can, and consider all of the options including walking, cycling, transit and ride shares," the mayor said.

The bike lanes on the bridge were created because of safety concerns about bike riders sharing the elevated sidewalk with pedestrians.

The pilot project converted one of three southbound lanes into a southbound bike lane in mid-July, but left three vehicle lanes heading northbound.

The project also shifted pedestrians to one sidewalk and turned the other into a northbound bike lane, and changed traffic patterns around the on-ramps to both the Burrard and Granville bridges.