Vancouver rally held to ‘restore Stanley Park’; concerns surrounding contentious bike lanes

Click to play video: 'Making access to Stanley Park a civic election issue'
Making access to Stanley Park a civic election issue
Public safety and housing affordability are among the leading issues in municipal elections across B.C. but in Vancouver, some are trying to make access to Stanley Park another frontrunning concern as voters head to the ballot box. Paul Johnson reports – Oct 1, 2022

A group of Vancouver community members, activists, and some city staff gathered Saturday at Devonian Harbour Park.

The group’s goal is to raise awareness about the upcoming municipal election and to highlight park board candidates they think will “return Stanley Park to pre-pandemic status and restore easy access to the park for people.”

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“We’re trying to get the information out that if we don’t do something at the next election, the temporary bike lane will become permanent and access will be restricted for seniors and people with disabilities,” Tricia Barker said, Vancouver Park Board’s vice chair.

“We need to get the roads back to what they were.”

Barker has concerns about the near future of Stanley Park with an upcoming construction project that is projected to last years in the area.

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“Starting next year, we will be having one of the biggest construction jobs going on in Vancouver and it’s going to be in the middle of Stanley Park. We are redoing the pipeline from the North Shore to Vancouver.

Barker continued, “That means for five years, we are going to have dump trucks in and out of the park for six days and week for ten hours a day. There’s no way we can make that happen with only one lane of traffic for vehicles.”

Barker largely believes the temporary bike lane has also hurt businesses that operate within the park.

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There is opposition to transforming the park back to what it was before the access changes were made during the pandemic.

Jeff Leigh with Hub Cycling, a Vancouver non-profit organization, said the park has improved since the new temporary bike lane.

“The change to the configuration of traffic in the park has been largely successful and is in line with the city’s long term strategy on traffic and emissions,” Leigh told Global News.

An initiative launched two years ago named Stanley Park Mobility Study, a study exploring how to reduce vehicle traffic in the park, is ongoing.

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Leigh said the park board and any decisions should wait until the study is completed and reviewed.

The study is expected to conclude early next year.

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