Disability advocates are speaking out against plans for a protected bike lane that would pass in front of Vancouver General Hospital.

The City of Vancouver is mulling three different proposals to upgrade the 10th Avenue corridor, and each includes at least one separated bike path.

But adding protection for cyclists would require the removal of 74 to 77 metred parking spaces between Oak and Cambie streets, something Disability Alliance B.C. fears will make it more difficult for people to access health care services.

“There are a lot of medical buildings along that stretch of West 10th,” executive director Jane Dyson said.

“If a wheelchair user or somebody who has challenges walking is unable to park close to the building, it would be hard for them to get to their appointment.”

Some who use the B.C. Cancer Agency’s treatment services on 10th Avenue agreed, arguing the idea of removing parking is outrageous, especially for those who drive into Vancouver from neighbouring municipalities for care.

“In our view it would be better to have this bike lane detoured to another street,” Dyson said.

According to city staff, the existing 10th Avenue bikeway, which runs from Victoria Drive to Trafalgar Street, is one of the busiest east-west cycling routes in Vancouver, seeing more than 500,000 people per year.

Dale Bracewell, manager of transportation planning for the city, said it’s also been identified as a prime target for safety improvements.

“10th Avenue during the summertime is already seeing up to 3,000 people biking per day, and that’s actually fairly close to the number of cars that are using 10th Avenue, and they’re all sharing the roadway right now,” Bracewell said.

Planners are working to ensure there’s good access to emergency facilities and other medical buildings, regardless of which plan is chosen, he added. One option being considered is designated patient drop-off zones.

Two of the three proposed plans would see one separated bike lane with cyclists travelling in both directions, while the other involves two one-way bike lanes on either side of 10th Avenue.

The City of Vancouver is giving the public until May 15 to give feedback on the different plans. The final design will be revealed in the fall, with construction expected to begin in 2017.

With a report from CTV Vancouver’s Nafeesa Karim