British Columbia

2 Stanley Park businesses launch lawsuit over roadway bike lane

The Tea House and Prospect Point are joining forces to dispute a decision by the Vancouver Park Board reserving one lane of Stanley Park Drive for bicycles only.

The Tea House and Prospect Point bring petition against park board decision restricting cars to 1 lane

Park Board commissioners voted in March to temporarily create a dedicated bike lane along Stanley Park Drive. (Karin Larsen/CBC)

Two Stanley Park businesses are joining forces to bring a petition to the B.C. Supreme Court disputing the move to dedicate one lane of Stanley Park Drive to bicycles only.

The Teahouse Restaurant and Prospect Point claim the Vancouver Park Board resolution to restrict vehicles to one lane of the two lane road "is not reasonable, rational or logical."

The lawyer representing the two businesses says the park board decision was "ideological" and not based on a rational evaluation of costs and benefits.

"The only benefit put forward by park commissioners ... was reducing greenhouse gases," said Robert Grant. "There's no reason whatever to believe that closing a lane of traffic in Stanley Park will have the overall effect of reducing greenhouse gases."

Grant said people who are disinclined to drive to businesses in the park because of the bike lane will just take their car and money elsewhere.

The temporary bike lane was approved by the park board by a vote of five to two on March 10.

The motion, brought by Green Party Commissioner Camil Dumont, noted that last year when Stanley Park Drive closed to vehicles to help give more room for pandemic distancing on the seawall, cycling volume went up by 180 per cent in comparison to the same time period in 2019.

A boarded up Prospect Point Bar and Grill. Its lawyer says the park board decision to limit cars on Stanley Park Drive to one lane only is 'idealogical,' has no practical benefit and is causing 'devasting losses.' (submitted by Michelle Lan)

Dedicating road space to bikes has sparked intense debate between cycling enthusiasts, drivers, persons with disabilities and park business owners. 

Grant said The Tea House and Prospect Point have suffered "devastating" losses because of the move but could not quantify the magnitude given the pandemic is also a contributing factor.

In a statement, Tea House owner Brent Davies said the park board ignored the interests of many park users in making its decision. 

"The resolution was passed without sufficient public participation or consultation, is based on unfounded generalizations and will cause numerous and substantial consequences to park visitors and stakeholders," said Davies.

The Vancouver Park Board has not filed a response and none of the allegations have been proven in court.