'It's really a drag': Vancouver downs cherry trees for bike lane
A stretch of the False Creek seawall won't be as scenic this spring after a line of cherry trees were removed to make way for a new bike lane.
Area residents told CTV News they're dismayed at the decision, which has left a row of stumps along Alder Bay Walk, near Granville Island.
"I love those trees. It's really a drag," said Patrick Hemingway. "They could have dealt with it a different way. They could've just levelled them out. They didn't have to do that."
The stretch won't be bare forever, though; the seawall upgrade plan, which approved by both city council and the park board, promises to replace the trees, many of which were in poor condition because of the way they were originally planted.
The park board said the upgraded design will allow the replacement trees to properly flourish.
"By adding in structural soil beneath the pavement and replacing these trees with varieties better suited to Vancouver weather, the strip will have larger, healthier trees once the project is complete," spokesman Godfrey Tait said in an email.
Apart from being unhealthy, with issues ranging from bacterial blights to cherry bark tortrix, the previous trees' roots were upending bricks on the walkway, according to an arborists' report.
Not everyone is unhappy with the upgrade; cycling advocates argue it will benefit everyone from pedestrians to people with disabilities.
The current design of that stretch of seawall has a 1.8-metre-wide path for pedestrians and another 5.3-metre-wide path that's shared by pedestrians and cyclists.
After the upgrade there will be two dedicated paths, both three metres across, to separate cyclists from people on foot.
"The seawall's a great route for pedestrians and cyclsits, so anything that can be done to make it a safer route for those people is a great thing," said Ellie Lambert of HUB Cycling.
The primary goal of the project is safety, according to the city. To read more, visit Vancouver's South False Creek Seawall upgrade website.
With files from CTV Vancouver's Sarah MacDonald