University Blvd

The part of University Boulevard maintained by the Ministry of Transportation runs between Blanca St. in Vancouver to Wesbrook Mall at UBC.


University Boulevard has two travel lanes separated by a large median, each travel lane also has a standard-width cycling lane for their whole length. There is regularly-spaced lighting, but it is less lit than a typical city street. Express #99 extended-length buses and #4, #9, and #14 trolley buses use the entirety of the length.

University Boulevard serves as the primary access to UBC for transit riders and cyclists. From the road one can access the University Golf Course, three churches, the most populous areas of the UEL, UBC's residential neighborhood of Acadia, the University Village commercial area, and UBC itself.

The speed limit is 50 km/hr along the entire length. On the Vancouver side, Blanca St. and 10th Avenue in Vancouver are also 50 km/hr. On the UBC side, University Boulevard west of Wesbrook Mall is 30 km/hr and Wesbrook Mall is 50 km/hr. The connecting streets in the UEL are nearly all 30 km/hr.

Speeding along University Blvd is a major safety concern. There are few comprehensive speed measurements available, in Fall 2013 the 85 percentile speed near Toronto Rd in the UEL section was 58.7km/h westbound and 77.5km/h eastbound.

Source: UBC Planning

While there are sidewalks on both sides and along the whole length of University Boulevard, the long sections between Blanca St. and the UEL streets are severely damaged. These sections have large cracks and mounds because of the roots of nearby trees. These sidewalks are not usable by wheelchair users, and can be dangerous when slippery with leaves. The sidewalks in the UEL area are much better maintained, with the exception of the south-east corner of the intersection with Wesbrook Mall, which is also broken and cracked by roots. A few Pacific Spirit Park trails connect to University Boulevard between the golf course and the UEL, including Salish Trail which is part of the Great Blue Heron Way project.


There are two pedestrian-activated red light crossings between Wesbrook Mall and Blanca St, one at Alison Rd and one at Acadia Road. These crossings are on the western side of the respective roads only. Additionally there are marked crosswalks at at Western Parkway and near the west end of the University Golf Club.

There is a standard-width lane along the entire length of University Boulevard. This however is not enough to make users feel safe, as the adjacent travel lane is narrow. Large and fast buses and commuter cars pass with sometimes small margins. Drainage is a problem: during heavy rains, water collects most often in the bike lane, so riders are either to ride through huge puddles or swerve into the travel lane. The puddles are often big enough that the splashing from passing motor vehicles creates a hazard for cyclists and even pedestrians. After heavy rains and winds, the bike lanes accumulate debris, and the lanes are again not wide enough to allow cyclists to avoid them without swerving into the travel lane.

The bus stops for the #99, 4, 9, and 14 all overlap with the bike lanes. This is less of a problem in the eastern part of the route where these stops are sparse (and the large #99 does not stop), but in the UEL area this is a source of frequent conflicts between bus drivers, cyclists, and motorists. Buses and cars frequently encroach on the bike lanes in order to avoid bumps in the pavement.

The intersection of University Boulevard with Wesbrook Mall is currently difficult to navigate for cyclists. While an attempt has been made to put sharrows on the ground to indicate suggested lane positions, these positions are more dangerous than simply taking the lane for the short section leading up to the intersection. The intersection is shared between the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and UBC, but it seems the two halves are not coherent.


There are two pedestrian actuated red light crossings between Wesbrook Mall and Blanca St, one at Allison Rd and one at Acadia Road. The Acadia road crossing is used by many children to cycle to school. Unfortunately the crossings are on the western side of the respective roads only, which forces northbound cyclists on Acadia to first cross Acadia Rd to gain access to the pedestrian light, then cross University Blvd and then cross Acadia Rd again to continue cycling. The lack of proper crossing infrastructure leads many cyclists to cross in an unsafe diagonal manner at some point.

Traffic volumes have been decreasing over the years, dropping fairly consistently by about 140 cars per year (about 1% per year), with the drop being most pronounced during peak hours.

Source: UBC Planning

What do you want University Blvd to look like?