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Vancouver International Airport’s Bike Paths Rank in World’s Top 5

VYR_CNN_NewsCNN.com recently featured an article on the world’s top five airport bike paths, and Vancouver International Airport’s bike paths—designed with the help of Urban Systems—rank up there with the very best in the world.

Two years ago, as part of their mandate to revitalize the airport’s surroundings, the Vancouver International Airport’s Design and Construction group had a goal to make the airport more accessible by bike. Project Manager Darren Lee says Urban Systems were his first choice to work with on the project because of their excellent reputation.

Urban Systems’ involvement with the YVR bike paths dates back to 2012 when Brian Patterson, and a group of other talented individuals, prepared YVR’s Sea Island Cycling Implementation Plan. Since that time, the design and construction of the cycling projects has been led by Marc Winer.

Marc explains that the move to create better bike paths is just part of the airport’s larger goal to enhance the greater community and build knowledge and sense of pride in their airport. The trend for airports today is to serve as much more than arrival and departure points, but as true destinations in and of themselves.

“Those at YVR are working hard to make our airport one of the best in the world – and along with that is to make it an attractive and interesting place to visit,” says Marc. “Our goal is for people to see the airport as a fun place to spend the day, a learning place, a place to shop, picnic on a sunny day, plane spot and just generally enjoy themselves. Creating friendly bike infrastructure is a big part of that.”

The Russ Baker Way Multiuse Path.

When some airport workers saw about 40 school kids struggling to bike along a grassy, bumpy fence line one day, the idea for the Russ Baker Way Multiuse Path to become a key travel route was born.

The Urban Systems team took on this project from planning and design all the way through construction. “I know that sounds logical,” Marc says with a laugh “but in a lot of the work we do things don’t come together so seamlessly.” Today the approximately 1 kilometer path (completed in 2013) enjoys regular active use.

What’s Next?

That first successful project with the airport was just the tip of the iceberg, and over the last year and a half Urban Systems have been working on up to ten other projects for the airport at any given time, all the while nurturing a great relationship with this ever-evolving client.

“We’re making good friends and relationships at the airport, and it’s a client we love working with,” says Marc. “There are some very bright minds there and so many interesting projects going on. There are miles of dykes to improve around the island, roads needing to be ripped up and replaced, pipes to replace, work on stormwater pump stations to be done, and a whole variety of other things on the horizon. This will be a very busy year to say the least.”

YVR Project Manager Darren Lee says that he’s thrilled with the collaboration with Urban Systems.

“Working with Urban was a pleasure, I have actually never received better customer service from any other consulting firm. The level of care and concern, the quality of drawings—it’s excellent and we hope to see this relationship continue to grow.”

Curious about planning your cycling route on Sea Island? Download the 2013 YVR BikeMap here.

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