VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Calling last year’s temporary bike lane through Stanley Park “chaos,” a coalition of businesses is urging the Vancouver Park Board not to bring it back.
The Park Board is set to vote on a motion on Monday that would see one lane of Park Drive turned back into a dedicated lane for cyclists in order to facilitate physical distancing.
“Those who use the park, operate attractions and businesses, or organize sports and other activities are urging Vancouverites to join them in voicing opposition to the lane closure and removal of 666 parking spots. Last year’s chaos, gridlock, and reduced access to the park should make it easy for anyone, particularly Park Board commissioners, to see that Stanley Park should remain open and accessible to all,” reads a statement signed by a number of restaurants, clubs, and tourist destinations.
The motion to reinstate the bike lane is being brought by Commissioner Camil DuMont, and says a survey “showed that the majority of the respondents supported the temporary changes that had been implemented in 2020.”
However, the coalition says their views have not been considered.
“The lane closure plan comes without any real consultation with park users, residents, or other stakeholders. It would severely limit access to the park, dramatically reduce parking and hurt park businesses and their workers who are hoping for better days post-pandemic,” the statement reads.
Sue Kafka speaks for the Capilano Group, which runs the Prospect Point Bar & Grill and Trading Post.
“Instead of rallying around the businesses and the stakeholders, the parks board seem to think that Stanley Park needs fixing. Well we don’t need fixing. Stanley Park isn’t broken, we are in the middle of a pandemic, and we are fighting to survive,” she says.
“Faced with another summer like last year, the parks board decision to restrict car traffic one lane again is devastating. It sends a clear message that they don’t care and they’re not listening.
Another concern being raised is how limiting parking may limit access to the park for seniors, and people who have mobility issues.
Gerry O’Neil with Stanley Park Horse-Drawn Tours explains.
“The two lanes in Stanley Park ensure access for everyone. When you take one of those lanes and simply turn it over to bikes at a considerable cost to taxpayers, you are telling thousands of other park users that they are not welcome in their own park,” he says.
“This totally unfair, not only to all of us, but to the people with disabilities, the people that I was taught by my mom and dad that you have an obligation to open the doors for.”
The motion asks staff to consult with the City of Vancouver’s Seniors Advisory Committee and the Persons with Disabilities Advisory Committee, but does not call for that consultation to happen before the change is implemented.MOTION-StanleyParkTemporaryBikeLaneParkDrive2021-20210308