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Cars to be allowed through Stanley Park at reduced capacity after emergency meeting

Last Updated Jun 19, 2020 at 7:01 am PDT

Downtown Vancouver and Stanley Park are seen here from the NEWS 1130 Air Patrol in the summer of 2019. (Riley Phillips for NEWS 1130)

One lane of traffic will soon reopen to vehicles in Stanley Park

The park has been closed to vehicle traffic since April due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Commissioner says she had hoped to restore Stanley Park to full traffic access

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Stanley Park will soon reopen to vehicle traffic, but it won’t look the same as it did before the COVID-19 pandemic took hold.

The decision to allow for partial vehicle access was made at a contentious emergency meeting on Thursday.

Commissioner Tricia Barker says a motion she and commissioner John Coupar brought forward was changed and voted on.

“The gist of it is there is going to be one lane of vehicle traffic in Stanley Park when they open,” she tells NEWS 1130. “The motion just to go back to pre-pandemic Stanley Park along the roadways failed.”

Changes also include a “much more pronounced bike lane” along the roadways in Stanley Park.

Related article: Emergency meeting on future of traffic in Stanley Park set for Thursday

Barker believes the park could reopen to cars by Monday, but she notes a lot of work has to be done before that can happen.

“If there are a lot of barriers along the roads, I think it’s eight kilometres, it’s quite extensive the work that has to be done,” she explains, adding she and Coupar are “really sad” they couldn’t restore the “ease of getting into the park.”

“There were over 120 people, I think, signed up to speak to this [Thursday] night,” Barker says.

She estimates about 75 per cent of the people who had called in during the meeting were in favour of reopening two lanes of traffic through Stanley Park.

Accessibility and parking have been the biggest concerns for those against traffic restrictions.

There have also been worries from the business community, with those operating in and around Stanley Park saying reduced vehicle traffic could impact how many customers they see.

The emergency meeting lasted well past midnight.