Newsletter - 2009 Archive

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Golden Ears Bridge - First Impressions
by Gary Baker

Gary had some interesting and helpful comments about the new bridge in a recent discussion forum posting. Worth reprinting here, I think. [Eric F]

I did the Bridge /Albion ferry loop this morning. Here are some of my impressions.

First the bridge. I was pleasantly surprised by what I experienced. The circular ramps at the south end were much better than the zig zag ramps at the Alex Fraser Bridge. The skate boarders who were riding down them thought they were great fun. The ramps are even tandem friendly.The bridge path was wider than I thought it would be, but rough. Not nearly as smooth as new pavement. I was really concerned that the anti-suicide railing would cause some interesting light and movement patterns as one rode past them. They are approximately 3m high and leaning toward the road way ( over the pathway). I was concerned that they would be mesmerizing ( almost hypnotic) much like I find the vertical railings on the Iron Workers Bridge. They weren't. On the descent to the north side I let the bike coast and was surprised to see that I was doing almost 40kph with complete comfort and confidence. Something I can't do on any of the other bridges in the lower mainland.

I really like the new sidewalks on the Lions Gate Bridge, but overall the G.E.B. is better in my opinion. Much better than I had expected!

Now for the approaches. Unless one is very familiar with the bike routes in Maple Ridge and Pit Meadows to get from the Lougheed Hwy to the bridge is a complete mystery. From the extreme east riders should be directed to use The By-Pass/ River Rd./207th St./ and Maple Circle. This gets them off the Lougheed and onto quieter residential streets. I didn't get to explore the alternative routes from the west, but Hammond Rd/ Airport Rd. looked promising. The trick would be to get off the Lougheed to these streets ASAP.

On the south side I'd want to get off of 96th Ave from either the east or west directions ASAP. Very busy. From the east going up to 98th or 102B by-passed the busy 200/199 St. area with the multiple major intersections to and from the bridge. From the west turning north off 96th onto 192 St. then east onto 98th (which meandered through an industrial area) deposited one directly onto the bridge approach ramps. This route is presently under repair but has promise.

Taking the Albion ferry for the last time brought back so many memories of wonderful crossings on warm sunny days. The bridge will just be another bridge no matter how bike friendly it might be.


June 22, 2009