VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — The debate between drivers and cyclists in Stanley Park is about to heat up again as a motion is being handed to the Park Board next week to turn a driving lane into a bike lane.
Park Board Chair Camil Dumont is bringing the motion forward Monday and in a tweet he says he’s looking forward to the discussion and debate to come.
But some people — like Park Board Commissioner John Coupar — are worried. He says the way the motion has been introduced bypasses the opportunity for public consultation.
“This is just coming to a regular meeting. So, I’m concerned it’s going to be a five to two vote by the cope-green majority. Tricia Barker and I both NPA commissioners are opposed to this,” he says.
Last year there were concerns about lost parking as well as maintenance, vehicles, motorcycles, cars and a horse-drawn carriage sharing the same space according to Coupar.
“All together in that one lane … it’s very difficult to pass that horse carriage as it makes it’s way through the park,” he adds.
However Jeff Leigh, HUB Cycling says cyclists are excited to hear the lane may be on its way back.
“The protected lanes through the park was very successful and very well supported,” he says. “We still have a pandemic on, and are looking for a place to get out and exercise … I think a link to the park was a great implementation and it would be good to see together this summer.”
But drivers’ advocates say as we make efforts to share the road, not to forget how big of a role vehicles play in our lives.
“I think there’s a couple of different camps in the world. I think one camp is cars are a necessary part of transportation to get from A to B, which is true,” Chris Tompson with Sense BC adds. “Then there’s another group that may not need cars — that I think have a bit of a limited view on the necessity of cars. And time and time again a lot of decisions are made politically or to try and curry favor or because they think it’s going to be popular when in reality. I think what you should do is let the transportation engineers sort it out.”
Coupar adds the change will restrict accessible spaces for those who have mobility challenges.
Park Board staff are expected to present a report later this year for other long-term options for cyclists in Stanley Park.
CityNews has reached out to Camil Dumont but he was unavailable for an interview.