Urge the Province to Upgrade the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge

The Ironworkers Memorial Bridge (IWMB) is a critical regional commuter, recreational and touring cycling and pedestrian link connecting the North Shore with Burnaby and Vancouver via routes including the Trans Canada Trail, North Shore Spirit Trail, Portside Bikeway, Cassiar Bikeway, Dollarton Highway Bike Lanes and the Inter River and Bridgman Park trail system.

Photo: Alex Pope

Upon the completion of the new Port Mann Bridge, the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge will likely be the worst bridge for cycling and walking in the region. The narrow sidewalks are barely wide enough to cycle on. Several people have suffered injuries due to their handlebars getting caught on the railings. It is also not possible to pass other cyclists or pedestrians without dismounting. In addition to creating problems for current users, the poor quality of both the on-bridge and access facilities and the related safety issues likely discourage many potential users from walking, wheeling, cycling or skating over the bridge.

BCCC and Hub representatives met with Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure MoTI staff in 2011 regarding options for improving the bridge and the access to the bridge. At this meeting, we were informed of the Sidewalk Railing Concept Study, Hatch Mott MacDonald, July 2009 commissioned by MoTI evaluating improvements to the IWMB including wider sidewalks and suicide prevention barriers.

The previous Minister  of Transportation and Infrastructure announced that the province will be adding suicide prevention barriers to the bridge. The BCCC and HUB met with MoTI staff in August. They confirmed that they are evaluating wider sidewalks but so far, a commitment has not been make to widen them.

Now is the Time to Widen the Sidewalks
We believe the cost of the suicide prevention barriers is at least $5 million dollars and the widened sidewalks and improved access will be at least an additional $10 million or so if both are done at the same time. It would cost much more to widen the sidewalks after the suicide prevention barriers are installed and there would be additional traffic disruption.

Take Action
Please write the Hon. Mary Polak – Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, [email protected]  to encourage the province to widen the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge sidewalks and improve the access to the bridge now.

Tell her about your challenges on the bridge and what an improved bridge would mean to you, your family and community.

Please cc your MLA. Here are the ones near the Bridge:
Richard T. Lee – MLA, Burnaby North, [email protected]
Jane Thornthwaite – MLA, North Vancouver-Seymour, [email protected]
Hon. Naomi Yamamoto – MLA, North Vancouver-Lonsdale, [email protected]
Jenny Wai Ching Kwan – MLA, Vancouver-Mount Pleasant, [email protected]
Shane Simpson – MLA, Vancouver-Hastings, [email protected]

You can find others at at: http://www.leg.bc.ca/mla/3-1-1.htm

As well, cc:
[email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected],[email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]

The Federal Government could also help fund these improvements so it never hurts to copy or send a quick message to your MP.

Here are the ones near the Bridge:
Andrew Saxton - MP North Vancouver[email protected]

Libby Davies - MP Vancouver East, [email protected]
Kennedy Stewart - MP Burnaby—Douglas, [email protected]

Other MPs can be found at:

This entry was posted in Campaigns, Iron Workers Memorial Bridge.


  1. Posted May 22, 2012 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    There are many better places to spend the required upgrade funds. There's nothing whatsoever wrong with the bridge sidewalk as is. I ride it all the time and it's quite safe. People who can't endure its present mild inconveiences and very minor safety issues shouldn't be riding it.

  2. Posted May 22, 2012 at 9:49 am | Permalink


    Simply not true. The width of the sidewalk is way below the minimum standard for cycling facilities. A one-way path should be a minimum of 2.0m plus a .5 metre shy distance from the railing. A two-way path, as the sidewalks function as due to poor access at both ends, should be 3m + .5m shy distance from the railing. If a road was as substandard as the sidewalks on the bridge are, there would be a huge cry for improvements. It is time cyclists stop accepting substandard facilities and demand improvements.

    The sidewalks are also not wide enough for trailers, personal mobility devices and wheelchairs to pass each other. I can't imagine what two people on personal mobility devices would do if they met on the sidewalk going in the opposite direction. I guess one would just have to back up. Not acceptable.

    Compared to the billions being spent on roads in the region, the $10 million for wider sidewalks on the bridge is a really small amount and would be money well spent.

  3. Posted May 23, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    Hilarious, always the one hardcore roadie to insist the status quo is fine.

  4. Posted May 23, 2012 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

    Many cyclists get so used to really bad cycling conditions they often don't even realize how bad the facilities are. If there was a road as relatively bad as the Bridge sidewalks, you can bet there would be people demanding the government improve it.

  5. Posted May 25, 2012 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    I'm glad to see the complacent are the minority on this issue. I commute to work everday and must travel some fairly high auto traffic areas; however, by far, the most dangerous part of my commute is the Second Narrows Bridge. And now with the onset of much wider, motorized scooters using the bridge in the opposite direction to standard traffic flow, it is virtually impassable at times. Can't wait for upgrades to the sidewalks on this bridge.

  6. Posted May 26, 2012 at 7:45 pm | Permalink


    Great point about the motorized scooters. Good idea to mention that in letters to Minister Lekstrom.

  7. Posted December 5, 2012 at 1:47 am | Permalink

    The Iron Workers Bridge is by far the most dangerous part of my commute, and I am riding in rush hour traffic on Hastings, Boundary and other busy thoroughfares. With the narrow sidewalks, increased numbers of cyclists ignoring proper traffic flow (riding on the left side of the bridge), and very poor access points, it's only a matter of time before a cyclist is seriously injured or worse.

  8. Posted December 5, 2012 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    Back during the last transit strike, a friend of mine, who has some health issues that disallow him to have a drivers license, had an appointment in the east part of North Van. Because of the strike he couldn't take transit like he normally would have so we had to bike over the bridge. After getting on the bridge, his health issues started kicking in, he got vertigo from the heights and the cars going so quickly close to him ,he was loosing his balance so we had to go back.

    My point is that having a drivers license isn't something that we all can attain so we need options. Driving is a difficult thing to do and some people just cannot ever do it.
    Having a wider safer sidewalk and bike path on the bridge would have meant he could have got to where he wanted to go.
    Since they're spending a bunch of money on the bridge anyway for the rare event of a suicide inconveniencing those driving over it, a wealthy province like this can cough up a bit more to make it useful for many more people. We know we're going to want it anyway eventually and it will only cost more later than if we included it in the presently planned upgrades.

  9. Posted December 19, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    In response to our crankyoldguy naysayer…the whole point is to promote accessibility to many who want to cycle(or wheel, skate, walk) across the bridge in a safe manner, and to support their own personal health, as well as the health of our community and indirectly our planet. I have cycled on roads and bridges between here and Portland Oregon, and this is by far the most dangerous crossing anywhere. The sidewalks are too narrow, the fences too low, the signeage outlineing the flow of traffic nonexistent…etc etc etc. Come on, we need to put pressure on those who make decisions and hold the purse strings and all stick together on this!

  10. Posted December 19, 2012 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

    Many people don't ride the bridge. This is the whole point. If it is only usable by about 2% of cyclists then it is pretty well unusable. We need to make cycling facilities which are attractive and save for all ages and abilities.

  11. Posted January 4, 2013 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    I ride over this bridge six days a week all year round. It is self evidently by far the SAFEST part of my commute. No cars so no problem. Basic bike handling skills, common sense and courtesy are all that are required to cross this bridge with acceptable safety. The way some of you talk one would think the bridge was strewn with bodies on a daily basis, has there aver been a serious injury on this bridge? Really I think exaggerating supposed safety issues in this way is counter productive to getting people on bikes. Cycling is not that dangerous and driving a car is not as safe as people like to think.
    For the record direction priority is signposted quite clearly at the “wrong” end of each walkway. The barriers are plenty high enough to stop all but the suicidal going over, and why would you “dismount” to pass one another? That would make it much harder. One rider needs to slow down to walking pace the other needs to stop, no big deal. The vast majority of people who actually use this bridge don't seem to have a problem with that. Even if made “safe” this bridge is a long stiff climb (south) that will dissuade many, and as for pedestrians, it will always be a long, smelly, noisy, tedious plod. In a perfect cycling world the walkways should be widened, in the mean time $10M could be so much better spent.
    By the way HUB guys it's ironic that you paste your flyers over the existing signage.