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Controversial separated bike lane returning to Stanley Park by mid-May

The City of Vancouver says it will reinstate the bike lane using a phased approach. Vancouver park board

The wheels are in motion for a separated bike lane to be reinstated through Vancouver’s Stanley Park.

The city is aiming to have a temporary version of the lane using cones to separate traffic — akin to what was in place last summer — in place for a large portion of Stanley Park Drive by mid-May.

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Cyclists will also be permitted to use the sea wall this year.

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The Vancouver Park Board voted to reinstate the controversial project in March.

Read more: Vancouver Park Board votes to reinstate bike lane at Stanley Park for summer

Phase one will see the cones placed on the route from Pipeline Road North to Second Beach.

The city says parking lot entrances, Lions Gate Bridge causeway access and intersections will remain unaffected in the first phase.

In mid-June, parks staff will evaluate the eastern section of Stanley Park Drive, running from the roundabout near Lost Lagoon to Pipeline Road North.

Proposed options will then be reviewed with stakeholders ahead of the installation of permanent barriers in July.

In mid-July, the city says the cones from the first phase of the project will be replaced with concrete barriers along the full length of Stanley Park Drive.

“The bike lane will be designed to include gaps and other features to provide access along Stanley Park Drive for Emergency Services, Operational access, and all intersections and crosswalks,” the city says.

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Vancouver Park Board set to debate Stanley Park bike lane – Mar 7, 2021

Designs for intersections to Prospect Point, Ferguson Point, Third Beach and the bridge causeway will be developed in consultation with stakeholders, it said.

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Access to those park features during the 2020 implementation of the bike lane was a hot button issue.

Businesses including the Prospect Point Cafe and the the Teahouse complained that reduced vehicle access was harming their bottom line, while disability advocates said the lane discriminated against people with mobility issues.

Both businesses have launched a legal challenge of the bike lane.

Opponents have also decried what they call a lack of consultation on the project, while the park board says received more than 11,000 responses to a survey on the lane conducted last summer and fall.

Read more: Showdown in the works over proposal to reinstate Stanley Park bike lane

Under the new plan, the city is promising “improved vehicle access to Prospect Point, Third Beach, and Ferguson Point in response to feedback from seniors, disability groups, and businesses within the park.”

Data and feedback from the reinstated bike lane will be integrated into a longer-term initiative the board approved last summer to look reducing overall motor vehicle traffic in the park.

According to park board data, Stanley Park saw a 180 per cent increase in cyclists between April and June, when Park Drive was completely closed to vehicles.

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When a lane was reopened for July and August, cycling volume dropped from a peak of about 180,000 trips per month to about 140,000. That’s about 40,000 trips per month lower than in 2019, a difference the board attributed to a massive drop in tourism.

Vehicle volume in the park was about one-third of its 2019 average for the months of July and August 2020.

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