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Stanley Park going car-free to encourage physical distancing

Citynews 1130 Vancouver

Last Updated Apr 7, 2020 at 11:06 pm PDT

Summary

The order does not include the causeway to the Lions Gate Bridge

The decision is meant to reduce traffic in the park, and respect health and safety measures related to COVID-19

Park rangers have now handed out more than 1,600 warnings to people not following the rules

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — The Vancouver Park Board has announced that, as of noon Wednesday, Stanley Park will be car-free to encourage physical distancing.

Physical barriers and signage will be placed at key access points to the park. Digital traffic signs on Georgia Street, English Bay, and the Stanley Park Causeway will alert motorists to the closure.

The order does not include the causeway.

The decision to close the park to vehicles is meant to reduce traffic in the park, and respect health and safety measures related to COVID-19, as visitors have been driving to the park despite the closure of all parking lots more than a week ago.

“We’re doing to reduce congestion in the park, to provide space on the roads within the park, and to relieve congestion on the adjacent seawalls to cyclists and to pedestrians,” said park board general manager Malcolm Bromley.

But the main priority is public health safety, he added.

“Social and physical distancing is working,” Bromley said. “Our job is to prevent people from getting sick and requiring medical attention.”

All city parks remain open.

“But we must keep working on our two-metre rule,” Bromley said.

On Saturday, the park board unveiled a new program. The aim of the program, “The Park Board Champions,” is to make residents aware of the physical distancing directives and to provide education about public etiquette and the courteous use of shared outdoor spaces.”

Park rangers have now handed out more than 1,600 warnings to people not following the rules, Bromley said.

“And they are finding people have to be reminded,” he added.

“We are finding compliance, but we need to do more.”

Bromley also encouraged joggers and cyclists to be respectful of others with regards to physical distancing, and if possible to stagger times they use the park.

“If you are coming up upon a group of pedestrians, please go around them. Give them a wide berth and we’ll all be able to enjoy the seawall and the parks together.”

Cyclists are asked to move off the seawall and using the adjacent Stanley Park Drive, which will be free of traffic.

Emergency services, the No. 19 bus, as well as park bard and city service vehicles will still be able to access the park.