Stanley Park changes: Temporary bike lane removed, cyclists back on seawall
VANCOUVER -- Traffic cones are no longer set up along the road through Stanley Park, now that the Vancouver Park Board has removed the temporary bike lane put in place back in June.
Saturday morning, cyclists were also allowed back onto the seawall after being moved off at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to allow for greater physical distancing between pedestrians.
The changes came with mixed reaction Saturday. Businesses inside the park are welcoming the return of cars and the use of more parking spaces.
Gerry O’Neil has run the park’s horse-drawn tours for 39 years. He said it’s been a tough summer without customers being able to park.
“Our revenues were about 95 per cent down,” O’Neil said. “A fair amount of our clientele are people with mobility challenges and a lot of them were worried about where they’re going to park.”
That same worry was present at The Teahouse. Almost all parking spaces around the restaurant became part of the bike lane when the changes were put in place. General manager Jason Kelly said it affected business “big time” because 90 per cent of the restaurant’s customers come by car.
“It was a frustrating summer,” Kelly said. “We’re pretty happy the cars are back.”
But some cycling advocates say they’re still concerned about overcrowding on the seawall and the safety of bike-riders in the park.
Lucy Maloney says removal of the temporary bike lane is “unnecessary and disappointing.”
“It would have been great to try out having both the cycle lane on Park Drive and the seawall open for a couple of months,” Maloney said. “If you’re riding on Stanley Park Drive, it’s dangerous.”
The Vancouver Park Board is waiting on the results of a survey asking members of the public how they feel about the traffic changes in the park before making any permanent changes to the traffic pattern. https://bc.ctvnews.ca/stanley-park-survey-staff-admit-multiple-entries-being-submitted-by-individuals-online-1.5106994
Both O’Neil and Kelly say they were not consulted the first time the park was closed to traffic and hope to be part of the conversation this time around.
Park Board commissioner John Irwin says the board plans to speak with everyone.
“We’re going to consult not only with businesses, but all users of the park, in a process that I’m really hopeful will happen in the spring,” Irwin said. “That’ll give us a chance to look at this survey data and to consider all voices when it comes to the use of the park by vehicles.”