Temporary bike path on Park Drive in Stanley Park to be created

VANCOUVER Board of Parks and Recreation staff have been directed to implement a temporary bike path on Park Drive in Stanley Park for 2021.

The direction came from the Park Board on Wednesday night after it approved a Motion on Notice to implement the temporary bike path.

“The main driver of this is a realization that we need to de-centre the automobile, culturally and from our way of life, and that’s a very difficult thing to do and it comes with a lot of challenges. We need to reduce our dependency on cars and encourage cleaner modes of transportation,” said Camil Dumont, Park Board Chair.

“Staff will work on a timeline for implementation that allows for stakeholder engagement, coordination with operational and emergency services, and full design and proper implementation.”

The temporary bike path will not be the same as last year’s bike path in Stanley Park. Lessons learned from last year on accessibility, parking improvements, route configurations and barrier options will all be studied and staff will work with stakeholders, fire and rescue services and traffic management experts to make adjustments and improvements accordingly.

On April 8, 2020, the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation temporarily closed Stanley Park to vehicles to encourage physical distancing, reduce crowds, and provide more space for cycling and walking. The park was closed to vehicles until June 22. After that date and until September 25, one lane was reopened to vehicles, while the other was designated for cyclists as bikes were not allowed on the Stanley Park seawall.

The temporary traffic management plan provided the Park Board with a unique opportunity to study changes that might not have been possible otherwise. A survey was conducted during August and September with data analyzed by Qualitas Research Inc. Results were verified with data cleaning.

The survey drew just over 11,000 responses, the most ever to a Park Board survey, with the majority saying they enjoyed the changes and, in the future, would like to see road space dedicated to cyclists and car-free days.

When asked about future changes to the park, 66 per cent of survey respondents said they would like to see some sections of road space dedicated to cyclists, 57 per cent said they would like to see car-free days.

On January 17, 2019, the City of Vancouver declared a climate emergency and on November 17, 2020, Vancouver City Council approved the Climate Emergency Action Plan, which sets targets for 2030 including two-thirds of trips in Vancouver to be by active transportation and transit and to encourage more walking, biking and transit use.

Staff will report back to the Board with a summary of data, outcomes, and observations of the 2021 temporary bike path.