Controversial Stanley Park bike path returns to Vancouver Park Board

Stanley Park’s controversial segregated bike lane will be back in front of the Vancouver Park Board on Monday night – likely for the last time before the municipal election in October.

Park commissioners will receive an update on the Stanley Park Mobility Study, an initiative launched two years ago to explore how to reduce vehicular traffic in the park.

Last fall, commissioners also voted to keep the segregated cycle lane, now in its third year, in place until the conclusion of the mobility study, due early next year.

The idea of ​​reducing vehicular traffic in the park was not universally popular. The nonpartisan association’s park commissioner, Tricia Barker, is among those who have maintained vocal opposition to the plan.

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“There is no reason to do so. Stanley Park was working great before COVID. Everyone was there and having fun, and it wasn’t broken,” she told Global News on Monday.

« So whoever talks about reducing car traffic now, I think they should have come and enjoyed it when it was like before. »

Barker says the current segregated bike lane, which eliminated one of the park’s two vehicular lanes, has been bad for business, increased congestion and left seniors and people with reduced mobility feeling bad welcomed or unable to visit.

Click to play video: 'Park Board seeks public input on mobility access in Stanley Park'

Park Board seeks public input on mobility access in Stanley Park

Park Board seeks public input on mobility access in Stanley Park – May 29, 2022

Vision Vancouver Park Commissioner John Irwin acknowledged that the current bike path is not without its problems and said there is room for improvement in the future – but he hears more support than of opposition.

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“We also heard that the park is much quieter and they can go there and enjoy the ride with their family without worrying about it, and some people write to us and say they used to do around the dike a lot, then they found more and more people were doing it that it was too crowded to ride comfortably, and they came back to ride the bike path,” he said.

But he cited the latest wildfire near Lytton and the record-breaking heat wave currently ravaging Europe as examples of why the town needs to take action to tackle climate change.

« I think it’s incumbent on us to do whatever we can at the local level to help people shift to sustainable modes, » he said.

Irwin said the answer to making the park more accessible and welcoming for people with reduced mobility is not to increase vehicular traffic, but rather to add more disabled parking spaces or to service the park. with electric shuttle service.

The document presented to commissioners on Monday will not ask them to vote for or against the cycleway, but rather asks them to approve seven guiding principles that will form the basis of the mobility study’s recommendations when its final report is released. next year.

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These guiding principles include safety, accessibility, economic vitality, climate action and environmental issues, flexibility and resilience, connection to the transport network and improving the park experience.

The report also provides updated data collected as part of the study.

Using location-based smartphone data, the report found that 51% of trips in the park were made on foot or by wheel, 33% by car, 15% by bicycle and 1% by public transport.

Click to play video: “Long weekend traffic sparks more controversy on Stanley Park bike lanes”

Long weekend traffic causes more controversy on Stanley Park bike lanes

Long weekend traffic sparks more controversy on Stanley Park bike lanes – May 24, 2022

The report revealed that there were 18 million trips to the park in 2021, more than the 17.1 million recorded in 2019, the last year before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nearly half (48%) of trips to the park were made by approximately 160,000 residents who lived within a 10 kilometer radius. However, the majority of the 9.5 million people who visited the park that year were out-of-town tourists, who only visited once, the report said.

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It also found that people accessing the park by high-occupancy vehicles spent more money on businesses than people visiting the park by other modes. However, while people who walked or biked to the park spent less per trip, they were also more likely to visit more often and tended to spend a « moderate » amount over the course of a year.

The study also reports that vehicular traffic to Stanley Park has decreased since 2017, while the share of active modes of transportation has increased.

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Sandy James, independent city planner and editor of Viewpoint Vancouver, said the change reflects similar reductions in vehicle traffic in other major parks around the world, including Central Park in New York, Golden Gate Park in San Francisco and the royal parks in London.

She said the challenge facing the park’s board is how to map out a vision for the future that encompasses the growing interest in active mobility and emerging forms of micro-mobility like e-bikes and electric scooters, while addressing economic and accessibility concerns.

« Change is always hard, but you have to think 30 years from now as we move into a city that’s getting denser, » she told CKNW. The Jill Bennett Show.

« The big question for Stanley Park is how do you manage the number of tourists who want to drop in for a one-on-one tour of the park to see it versus access for locals? »

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She said other global cities have managed to make such changes gradually.

If commissioners vote to accept the update on Monday, staff will move forward with options and evaluation criteria to complete the mobility study and present formal recommendations to the next park board, made up of commissioners elected Oct. 15. .

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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