VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — A push to cut vehicle traffic in Stanley Park long-term will be put to a vote Monday during a meeting of the Vancouver Park Board.
Commissioners Stuart Mackinnon and John Irwin argue many people have been enjoying the traffic restrictions, put in to support physical distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, and they want to make some of those changes permanent.
That would include reducing Stanley Park Drive to a single lane.
“The reduction in motor vehicle traffic in Stanley Park increased active transportation and has been well-received by many, with comments that fewer vehicles made visiting a more park-like experience,” says the park board motion.
“The reallocation of the eastbound lane along Beach Avenue to cyclists and pedestrians greatly reduced congestion on the seawall and increased access for active transportation to Stanley Park.”
The motion also says the reduction in motor vehicle traffic in Stanley Park was well-received by many, with comments that fewer vehicles made visiting a more park-like experience.
If the motion passes, it would still take several months for staff to study the issue, and consult with local First Nations.
The park board initially decided to make Stanley Park car-free in April.
The decision was meant to reduce traffic in the park, and respect health and safety measures related to COVID-19, as visitors were driving to the park despite the closure of all parking lots at the time. The closure did not include the causeway.
Jeff Leigh with HUB Cycling, suggested last month to keep the traffic restrictions for Stanley Park in place. He also proposed making one vehicle lane on Stanley Park Drive a passing lane to create a protected bicycle lane.
Park Board Commissioner John Coupar, however, said then that Stanley Park should be accessible to all.