British Columbia

'Golden Mile' residents in Kits angry road about to become even more bike friendly

It's been called the 'Golden Mile,' but residents along Kitsilano's exclusive Point Grey Road are unhappy even more bike-and-pedestrian friendly changes are coming.

Drivers and cyclists still having a hard time sharing Point Grey Road despite controversial traffic calming

Cyclist love the traffic-calmed Point Grey Road. Local drivers, not so much. (Doug Trent/CBC)

It's been called the Golden Mile, the Road for the Rich, and even Vancouver's Most Exclusive Driveway.

But now some residents along the eight-block stretch of Kitsilano's Point Grey Road who once supported radical traffic calming measures are angry the city intends to go ahead with Phase 2 of the project.

"We have now gone from an unsafe car freeway to an unsafe bike speedway," Ron Chunick told Vancouver city council.

The $6.4 million Phase 2 construction of the Seaside Greenway along Point Grey Road includes a three-metre-wide sidewalk on the north side of the street. (City of Vancouver)

​Nevertheless, council approved $6.4 million for Phase 2 of the Seaside Greenway Wednesday night, meaning even more changes are coming to the route, including a three-metre-wide sidewalk and narrower roadway.

Phase 1 of the Seaside Greenway project launched amid controversy Jan. 2014, with a price tag of $6 million. Point Grey Road between Alma Street and Macdonald Street was closed permanently to all but local traffic, removing 10,000 cars per day from the street in order to make it safer for cyclists and pedestrians.

Sure enough, the vehicle-snarled road soon turned to cyclist Shangri-La, but now it appears the project is falling victim to its own success.

Road rage and rock throwing

Point Grey Road resident Mary Lavin supported the initial project but says the route has descended into "chaos", with a growing number of conflicts between drivers and cyclists many of whom ignore the rules of the road, sometimes riding five or six abreast blocking the entire street.

Point Grey Road resident Mary Lavin says low, unmarked traffic barriers are hazardous and have caused accidents. (Doug Trent/CBC)

"Road rage is a minute-by-minute norm with cyclists," she said. "Cyclist and local drivers giving each other the finger, honking, screeching to sudden stops, yelling expletives ... throwing rocks," she said.

"And cars are striking or driving over insufficiently or utterly unmarked concrete medians meant to block them."

Lavin and Chunick both believe Phase 2 construction will make the problems even worse. 

"There is a potential huge safety risk here and they're going ahead with it anyway," said Lavin.

Not the seawall

"Point Grey Road is a local residential street with cars, not an inland seawall or a park, said Chunick.

City of Vancouver workers closed Point Grey Road at MacDonald Street in 2014 to begin construction on traffic calming measures.

"Proposed designs will accelerate and complicate ongoing safety concerns."

Phase 2 construction of the Seaside Greenway is set to begin in the fall.

NPA city councillors George Affleck, Elizabeth Ball and Melissa De Genova all voted against the project.