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Group calling for the province to make Stanley Park Causeway safer

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – A local pro-cycling group wants to see the province move faster in making changes to the Stanley Park Causeway.

The Ministry of Transportation is gearing up for an open house where it will reveal potential plans.

That open house is being held on Tuesday, meant to get your feedback on what the province could do to make that stretch safer.

Erin O’Melinn with the cycling groupĀ HUB, is glad the province is moving forward, but points out it’s been more than a year-and-a-half since a woman was killed after falling off the curb into traffic.

That sparked the discussion about how the causeway can be improved.

“I know that there are a number of stakeholders including Park Board also has jurisdiction in some of the considerations here and so they’ve been having to work with them as well as other stakeholders, so I can understand how it takes longer to work with a number of different groups, but we would like to see quicker action here. It’s been over a year-and-a-half since there was a tragic death on the causeway, and we do not want to see that happen again,” O’Melinn says.

She is hoping for some major progress — perhaps one side of the causeway being finished — before the summer cycling season.

She says she has heard from the cycling community about what changes should be made.

“When the incident first happened in 2013, we really connected with the community and they felt very strongly that a barrier was important, the widening so that people can pass safely and interact safely. It’s important because it’s so loud and so dark in the causeway — even more so than regular streets — the causeway has some extra challenges. And I think the last thing that’s important to other constituents and something that we recommended was improved wayfinding and signage so that you know where you can go and some people don’t even intend to be right beside that very busy street if they’re a tourist, for example, but they actually don’t know that there’s other trails in the park that they can take, so that’s another improvement we’d like to see.”

The ministry says there will be some impacts on Stanley Park, but won’t say what those impacts are, until next week.

It says the process is taking longer than expected because there have been lots of stakeholders to work with.

“We want to make sure that everybody’s going to be happy with the improvements. It’s a fairly important piece to the Stanley Park Causeway, we know that corridor is of interest to a lot of different stakeholders, and the other aspect of this is we’re trying to minimize impacts to the park, so any improvements that we’re hoping to achieve, we want to make sure that there is as least impact to the park as possible, and that involves consulting with a host of stakeholders that have an interest there,” says Ashok Bhatti with the Ministry.

Bhatti says after the design is finalized and approved by the Park Board, the call will be put out for a contractor.

Construction will start after that.