Posted by: VPSN | October 24, 2013

VPSN’s take on the Seaside Greenway Bike Route controversy

If you want to get people talking in Vancouver, just propose a new bike lane. Once again, residents are buzzing over a proposal for a Seaside Greenway to complete missing links in the Seawall, providing public access to the waterfront from Coal Harbour around Stanley Park and out to Spanish Banks.

Currently, these missing sections mean that cyclists share a space that is often crowded with park visitors on sunny weekends or, they ride on sections of the road with vehicles.

The Parks Board recently proposed to construct a series of bike paths through local parks to continue the practice of separating pedestrians from bikes, rollerblades or other park visitors who choose to move themselves in modes other than walking or running. The controversy surrounds a section of the proposed path for the busy Hadden and Kitsilano Beach parks in the Kits Point neighbourhood.

The VPSN supports the development of the seawall and Seaside Greenway so that it can continue to be the most popular tourist attraction and high quality local hang out. However, the report outlining the proposed Seaside Greenway did not provide a detailed design or layout of the proposed path and the preliminary routing was explained in a manner that emphasized that there will be more detailed study and design work to determine the final routing and address the issues of public concern. As a result, people have filled the gaps in the report with their own ideas or worst nightmares.

The Vancouver Parks Board has recently announced that it will form an advisory committee on the project. The VPSN supports this move and the possibility for the project to be enhanced when the Parks Board and locals get together to learn from each other.

After reviewing the proposal, the VPSN supports the larger concept of a completed seawall and Seaside Greenway, as it was first proposed back in 1928 by Harland Bartholemew and more recently, a few decades ago by the Parks Board.

Connecting the missing sections of the seaside greenway is important for a livable and comfortable city where people of all ages and abilities can feel safe and welcome to walk, or run, walk their dog or bike, roller blade or skateboard for a considerable distance along some very scenic and well-loved Vancouver waterfront.

The key to developing any of the proposed sections of the greenway network through parkland will be to limit impacts on existing conditions like mature trees and amenities for park visitors. The next few months are important to get it right for all Vancouverites. We look forward to hearing more on the details of the proposal.

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Responses

  1. “he report outlining the proposed Seaside Greenway did not provide a detailed design or layout of the proposed path and the preliminary routing was explained in a manner that emphasized that there will be more detailed study and design work to determine the final routing and address the issues of public concern.”

    Really, which report you are talking about?

    Unless you have access to information withhelded to the public, the report approved by the council: set a “final” route for which detailled engineering had been lay down at the time the park board chair Blythe was unshamed to pretend otherwise:

    see all link to relevant materials:
    http://voony.wordpress.com/2013/10/30/the-kitsilano-bike-freeway/

    • Voony,

      You note a good point – we forgot to mention that our post is referencing the Parks Board report dated October 1, 2013 “Seaside Greenway Improvements” (PDF). In this report you find “Appendix A” which contains an illustration at a large scale showing a “potential route” for bike improvements and another for pedestrian improvements.

      This illustration doesn’t provide much in terms of the detailed layout people want to see. For example, it’s impossible to determine with any degree of specificity how far the “proposed” trail is from the existing trail, trees or other existing elements, or what design and landscaping elements might be introduced to mitigate any impacts associated with the bike route.

      The comments from the public that have been reported in the media have stated concern about this level of detail. People want to know the exact location and potential impacts – and yet, because things are at a preliminary stage, these are not well documented in the report. Instead, the level of detail – a concept with more generalities than specifics – left informational gaps. Some of these, in turn, were filled in with unhelpful speculation and conjecture. This didn’t help the controversy!

      - Adam

  2. UPDATE (18 February, 2014)

    Last night, the Park Board issued a statment noting that staff “will not be pursuing a new separated path along Hadden Park or at Kits Beach”. According to the statement from the Park Board the decision was in response to a detailed application filed with the BC Supreme Court to stop the proposed route through Hadden Park.

    In the statement it also mentioned that the Park Board “directed staff to explore ways to improve safety on the existing route through Hadden Park and Kitsilano Beach Park. …also reallocating funds to other pedestrian and cycling safety priorities for the Parks Board around the city”.

    As mentioned in our October post, the VPSN supports the larger concept of a completed seawall and Seaside Greenway. Connecting the missing sections of the seaside greenway is important for a livable and comfortable city where people of all ages and abilities can feel safe and welcome to walk, or run, walk their dog or bike, roller blade or skateboard for a considerable distance along some very scenic and well-loved Vancouver waterfront.

    The section of greenway along Kits Point is very popular and can get very busy on any sunny weekend summer or winter. The VPSN is keen to learn more about any improvements to the existing path – and about alternative means to achieve the goals of a continuous, connected, all-ages bike route in this area.

    In the short-term, if the Park Board is unable to spend their allotted budget for improvements at Kits Beach, then perhaps there are some alternatives. How about improving the 40 year old section of the seawall east of Granvillie Island? This section has some very old, uneven paving with narrow sections that can be difficult to navigate. The seawall is interrupted at Moberly Road where people are thrown into a mix of delivery vehicles and people looking for a parking spot for the local pub and restaurants. The larger restaurant at this location is currently undergoing a major renovation – and this is a great time to take action and find a solution to this puzzling section of seawall and road. We are aware of local resident groups who consider this outdated section of seawall to be a safety concern and cannot accommodate the numbers of people on any busy day.


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