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.