British Columbia

Vancouver Park Board to vote on divisive Stanley Park bike lane

The Vancouver Park Board is scheduled to vote Monday night on whether to reinstate a temporary bike lane in Stanley Park this summer. 

Critics say temporary closure last summer led to traffic chaos through park

The number of cyclists soared in Stanley Park last summer when the Vancouver park board restricted vehicles along Park Drive. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

The Vancouver Park Board is scheduled to vote Monday night on whether to reinstate a temporary bike lane in Stanley Park this summer. 

A motion put forward by Commissioner Camil Dumont proposes creating the temporary lane on Park Drive, which circles the park, as soon as possible and leaving it in place until Oct. 31.

The park board first created a lane for cyclists in the park last summer to make more space on the seawall, which was crowded with high numbers of people due to the pandemic.

The decision was lauded by some and reviled by others. 

According to the motion, cycling volume increased 180 per cent while the park was closed to all vehicles between April 8 and June 22. Bike traffic remained high even after the park board opened one lane of traffic to vehicles

Cars were first banned entirely in Stanley Park at the beginning of the pandemic, but the park board reopened one lane to vehicles. (Karin Larsen/CBC)

But businesses operating in the area were quick to complain about the one-lane closure, with some saying it led to tangled traffic as cars, bikes and horse-drawn carriages were forced to share the road.

Restaurants, shops and attractions said the closure kept customers away. And some advocates for people with mobility restrictions said the closure was unfair. 

Critics said the lane closure in Stanley Park led to traffic chaos as vehicles and horse-drawn carriages jockeyed for space. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

The park board motion says part of the push behind the temporary bike lane is to decrease car pollution and mitigate climate change. The city's planning and sustainability department says almost 40 per cent of Vancouver's carbon pollution comes from gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles. 

A study is currently underway to examine the long-term feasibility of reducing vehicle traffic in Stanley Park permanently. It will take place over the next two years. 

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