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Following heated debate, Vancouver Park Board votes to open Stanley Park to one lane of traffic

Click to play video 'No agreement on Vancouver Park Board decision on cars in Stanley Park' No agreement on Vancouver Park Board decision on cars in Stanley Park
No agreement on Vancouver Park Board decision on cars in Stanley Park

Vancouver Park Board commissioners voted 5-2 in favour of allowing modified access to vehicle traffic in Stanley Park.

The motion asks for the enactment of a detailed plan, shared at a June 18 board briefing and developed in collaboration with park partners, to allow vehicle access to all park facilities as soon as possible.

Motor vehicles will use the left-hand lane of Stanley Park Drive while cyclists will use the right-hand lane. Lanes will be demarcated with a series of cones and traffic delineators.

The plan, which the park board anticipates will be in place through the summer and possibly longer, will keep cyclists on the roadways and away from the seawall, which will continue to be reserved for pedestrians.

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The park has been closed to cars since April amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Some local business owners, like Hub Recycling’s Jeff Leigh, questioned the vote as commissioners approved a motion earlier this month that asked staff to study how traffic in the park could be reduced on a long-term basis.

Click to play video 'Future of traffic in Stanley Park up for debate' Future of traffic in Stanley Park up for debate
Future of traffic in Stanley Park up for debate

“This has come out of left field, I think,” said Leigh. “To say, ‘Let’s not wait for that plan, let’s just go back to pre-COVID times.'”

Leigh says the decision to wait for a staff report seems to have been overshadowed by politics.

READ MORE: Vancouver Park Board moves closer to vehicle limits in Stanley Park

The board had been facing the possibility of a lawsuit, with Stanley Park businesses threatening legal action.

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Tourism Vancouver, Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, the Aquarium, Horse Drawn Carriages and Stanley Park Pavillion had all called for the park’s reopening and consultation.