A Metrotown pedestrian bridge leading to nowhere since 2016 could be demolished as soon as next year.
The bridge, which once connected Metrotown SkyTrain station to the mall, was severed when TransLink upgraded the station in 2016.
Like a vestigial organ with no purpose, the city-owned walkway has remained spanning Central Boulevard for seven years. Pigeons enjoy it as a roost, but pedestrians must funnel down from the station or the mall and cross Central Boulevard at street level.
In 2019, the city budgeted a total of $17.25 million for the bridge’s replacement.
Coun. James Wang recently reminded staff nothing had come of it.
The project was put on pause during the pandemic, along with related work on the Metrotown master plan with the mall’s owner and developer Ivanhoé Cambridge.
But the pedestrian bridge’s demolition is back on the menu, according to city staff.
During budget meetings in October, the City of Burnaby’s engineering department asked for $500,000 to knock down the bridge.
The money wasn’t included in the budget, but the city is tentatively anticipating demolition of the bridge next year, according to Johannes Schumann, the city’s director of neighbourhood planning and urban design.
The city has renewed conversations with Ivanhoé Cambridge to advance the demolition of the bridge and its replacement, Schumann told the NOW.
“It will be demolished in the near future,” Schumann said.
The pedestrian bridge replacement is planned to be built west of the current bridge, above the entrance to the Metrotown bus loop. Plans for the bus loop are under discussion as part of the Metrotown master plan.
Part of the funding for the replacement will come from a specific pool of money Burnaby has set aside for above-ground pedestrian crossings in Metrotown.
The pool of money comes from development cost charges, or DCCs, which are levied on developers in a specific geographic area to reduce the cost of providing new infrastructure, such as roads, sidewalks, cycle paths or bridges, that are needed because of development.
Metrotown was the second busiest SkyTrain station in the system last year, with almost 6.65 million boardings. Metropolis at Metrotown is B.C.’s largest mall with almost 350 retailers.