What’s this about?
You can find out here at Price Points on SpacingVancouver’s blog.
Hint: it’s on the Stanley Park seawall, where eventually the skateboarders will be given a choice: (1) continue all the way around the seawall to get back to where they started – a distance of about eight kilometres; (2) go back the way they came on the seawall, against the traffic and against the one-way rule; or (3) try to find an unmarked and confusing bike route.
This is just the most apparent indication of how low a priority a proper bike-and-blade network is in Vancouver’s most cherished public space – a problem which has been festering ever since the seawall was finished in the 1970s and only exacerbated by extensions and connections, which continue to deliver self-propelled citizens by the thousands.
Last weekend it became apparent how challenging the problem is becoming when searching for a space to park a bike at Third Beach.
It’s beginning to look a bit like Amsterdam on the Pacific:
Okay, so this is a sunny summer weekend (not an oxymoron) with peak bike traffic. And though the peaks are getting peakier, it’s not possible to accommodate all the demand at once.
The real problem is not just that Stanley Park has been scaled and designed for car traffic (there’s not even an allowance for road bikes on newly paved parts of Park Drive) – but the absence of an integrated bike network, properly signed, for casual recreational users who may be using the park for the first time.
For example, on which side of the yellow line should the bladers be?
The blader on the right doesn’t realize he should be on the left side of the line in order to avoid conflict with pedestrians. And there’s a reason he’s confused. Just seconds before, he was skating on the path through Second Beach where the yellow line was the centre divider – and he should be skating on the right.
The sudden change, not unusual in the park since there’s no consistent standard, is essentially unmarked, save for the tiny (and now faded) symbol in the lower left:
The gap between the stated priority of the Park Board and the on-the-ground reality can be found in the eroded, confusing, make-shift result:
Word has it that there’s a request for proposals out for a proper bike plan. But really, wouldn’t a little paint and asphalt, with some proper signage, do in the interim? If it was a priority.
[Here’s a complete analysis of deficiences along the Seaside Bike Route, from Coal Harbour to Vanier Point. Produced by the City’s Bicycle Advisory Committee as a submission for the Parks Board capital plan, it has to be downloaded from Drop Box. Takes a few minutes. Worth the time.]