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Cyclists and pedestrians will be able to use a special walkway under the Canada Line's North Arm Bridge. ((David Stuart/Canada Line Project) )

A new $10-million bike and pedestrian route linking Richmond and Vancouver will open Friday, three days ahead of the grand opening of the Canada Line, Metro Vancouver's new rapid-transit route.

The one-kilometre route hangs beneath the Canada Line's North Arm Bridge, which connects the Bridgeport and Marine Drive stations across the Fraser River south of Vancouver.

Arno Schortinghuis, president of the Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition, said he's pleased to see the new bridge will keep cyclists away from traffic and out of the rain.

'You can actually get out of the rain, which is excellent.' —Arno Schortinghuis, Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition

"It will be a great experience," he said. "There won't be the traffic roaring by. There won't be the fumes. I think it will be an idyllic ride across the river.

"It's partially covered, so if there's wind from the east in the wintertime — and that's the typical direction of the wind — and it rains, you can actually get out of the rain, which is excellent. You're underneath and to one side of the guideway, so the trains will sort of rumble overhead."

For those who want to take their bikes on the train, the Canada Line trains are also designed to be very bicycle friendly, said TransLink spokesman Drew Snider.

"We'll be able to take bicycles on any direction any time of day — a slight deviation from the SkyTrain system, where they're not allowed during the peak periods and the peak direction," said Snider.

Metro Vancouver's newest addition to its rapid transit system, the Canada Line, will officially begin service on Aug. 17, more than three months earlier than originally scheduled. Passengers will be able to ride for free, but bikes will not be allowed on board on the first day of operations.

The new route connects Vancouver and Richmond and includes a stop at the Vancouver airport. It uses similar technology to the two existing SkyTrain routes.

Corrections

  • The Canada Line is opening 3 1/2 months earlier than planned, not two months earlier as originally stated in this story.
    Aug 11, 2009 10:45 PM PT