From Green Party Park Board candidate Stuart Mackinnon in a previous post:

I don’t know why you chose to attack me Gord, rather than calling me and asking me this question directly. I’m not hard to find. Especially as the no net loss policy is City policy. But to answer your question, for the record: I am a recreational cyclist. I love to cycle around the Stanley Park seawall and English Bay bike paths. I love to cycle along the Fraser river foreshore in Riverfront Park, which is in my neighbourhood. I am grateful for the many separated bike paths in Vancouver.

As an elected Commissioner I would look at dedicated cycle paths through parks on a case by case basis. More people on bicycles and fewer people in cars is a goal I support. As far as I’m concerned bike lanes in parks are okay, depending on the location within the park.

My response:

Stuart Mackinnon on the record: “As far as I’m concerned bike lanes in parks are okay…” Thanks, Stuart – that’s all I wanted to hear. No attack, just pushing to get a position. And you’ve stated yours. Hope to hear from others.
[I appreciate Stuart (added a) qualification – “depending on the location ” – and that’s okay. Actually, there can be a lot of qualifications, as I noted in the first post: “… a better job of designing and building them? Hope so. Each case distinct? Sure. Consultation required? It’s essential.”
But a qualification first has to have statement to qualify- and that’s the important thing: “Bikes lanes are okay in parks.”]

That’s one Park Board candidate able to confirm (almost without qualification) that bikes lanes in parks are a good thing.  Will others agree that this is something we need to have more of?




The reason I framed the question was a concern that many candidates hold a presumption of something inherently negative, even illegitimate, about bike lanes in parks. They’re internalizing the Hadden Precedent: a bike lane, unlike a tennis court or outdoor swimming pool, is something separate from the purpose of a park, different than other amenities that involve pavement, even more questionable than a parking lot!

That’s why we need clear statements by candidates that bike lanes are okay in parks.  And so far, only one has said so.


  1. I don’t buy it. Stuart has been trying to use his opposition to the bike path for political gain and actually seems to be one of the leaders against it. His piece in the Province is full of political rhetoric and attacks.
    And so he is perfectly willing to attack others over the bike path but complains when others question his position or try and make sense of it. Come on.
    I also haven’t heard any explanation that makes any sense at all of why no bike path at Kits and why similar bike paths are fine in other parks.
    I was down at Kits today. As is the case much of the year, the path is well used but no one is using the grass or north parking lot. And the other paved surfaces like the tennis court (with lots of bikes parked there) and the basketball courts are well used. People obviously like using hard surfaces especially in cooler whether while the grass remains empty.
    Now as far as a solution goes, Stuart, would you support a path near the water if a similar amount of greenspace is reclaimed from the parking lots?

    1. I second this question from Richard. Stuart, please reply to it definitively, yes or no. Thank you.

  2. I hope all are noting that it is only Green candidates who have been willing to engage here. Perhaps Vision candidates have too many forms to fill out to get clearance to express an opinion on an web forum.

    1. Bob, Green candidates have likely responded here because (1) questions were put to individual candidates directly and (2) they want/need votes. Try asking a clear question directly to a Vision candidate to see if you can get a Vision response.

      1. Gordon put it out to all candidates. Personally I’m inclined to vote to candidates who pay attention to one of the city’s leading urbanism blogs. You?

        1. Bob, Stuart MacKinnon was responding to a Tweet made directly to him on Twitter. See above. Why don’t you try the same method if you want a response from Vision, specifically.

  3. Bikes are generally OK in parks, but not OK in all park places, especially where it is very busy or on shared surfaces like some Stanley Park routes, many Pacific Spirit Park routes, some False Creek routes or some beach parks, for example at Kits Beach. As such it makes sense there to move the bikelane to the nearby street 50 m further east. Ditto along False Creek just west off the entrance of Granville Island where it is often very busy.
    Bikes often go at high speed, not in line with the leisurely pace of pedestrians or children. While not as dangerous as cars, they are dangerous at high speed in crowded spaces.
    A common sense approach is required.
    Common sense is not so common.

    1. Sure, bikes can go fast but the vast majority of people cycling along the water are there to enjoy the view. They cycle slowly. I was just down at Kits today. All the people cycling there were going slowly.
      Those going fast are using the street and will continue to use the street.
      Please go down and look for yourself.
      It is really unfair to ban everyone from cycling along the water just because a few go fast.
      Enforcement and fines are the answer to dealing with those who are not responsible.

      1. yes it is fair as space is limited. Children, seniors and walkers have priority. Kits beach is a prime example of conflict between bikers and pedestrians. There are a few others.
        Solution: dedicated bike lanes or road markings where traffic is heavy and where there is enough width. If not, no bikes, such as the Kits Beach 1 km stretch. [ one can walk one’s bike, too, you know .. or is too much to ask ? ]

        1. Yes it is but not because it’s “too much to ask” but because it’s unreasonable. Asking to dismount is only okay temporarily (construction for example) but should not be part of any permanent design.
          The reason being is that it’s unenforceable. Sure, you could position a cop there and give out a few tickets but that can’t be maintained for very long.
          Then later someone will be going through with their bike on a day in which nobody is walking and think to themselves “Oh, there’s nobody here so my little bit of cycling won’t be a problem”. And they would be right. What happens though, is that sets up for the sign to then be ignored all the time.
          Unreasonable and unworkable (and most of the time unneeded) rules and signs will get ignored. This is a universal thing about human nature. We do what makes sense. When an environment is full of rules and many of them are nonsensical it just becomes more noise to ignore and then unfortunately we ignore the rules that do make sense.
          No, it’s better that things are designed to allow people to do what they need to do without it causing a problem to others.

      2. “Enforcement and fines are the answer to dealing with those who are not responsible.” Yes, we need much more enforcement of cyclists to make sure that they follow the rules of the road, including on bike paths. There is the odd yahoo cycling like a maniac on a bike path, but the vast majority of cyclists go slowly on bike paths to enjoy the natural environment and to respect others in the park. Ticketing the crazies would help keep them under control.

        1. Sure, enforcement. We presently have that and it’s often misguided.
          In addition to that we have a situation where the rules are not clear and there are varying beliefs on what the rules are.
          For example, the traffic act states that slow moving vehicles (tractors, bicycles, etc.) should be on the right side except when making a left turn or when there is not enough room on the right side and the law states that you must be in the centre of the general travel lane to indicate to those behind you to not pass you. Some people are not aware of the allowed exceptions and think that someone slow in front of them is doing something wrong.
          There is also inconsistency from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In some jurisdictions you’re required by law to bike on the sidewalk and not on the road. In others it’s the opposite. In some places you’re supposed to cycle on the left side facing traffic. In other places that’s not allowed. In some places you can treat a stop sign as if it was a yield sign when cycling. In some places you can ride two abreast and in others you cannot. There’s so much variation and in a place like this people move here from many places in the world and they’re not given a pamphlet about the local laws when they show up, they just do what they know from their old place and aren’t aware they’re doing anything wrong.
          So before enforcement you have to design the streets and paths to avoid conflicts, then educate all, and then after that, and only after that can you start writing tickets.

  4. Be careful of your choice of words:
    A “bike lane” stimulates a negative connotation, because +1 bike lanes = -1 car lanes.
    Instead, in parks, they’re called bike paths .

  5. No matter which side of the debate you fall on, it’s completely ridiculous to suggest that a bike lane and a tennis court in a park are the same thing. Sheesh.

    1. Tennis courts are there so that people can enjoy a sporting activity in a parklike setting (as opposed to playing tennis inside an inflatable dome, for example). In what way do bike paths differ from that?
      I think you’ll find that the sizable majority of cyclists who use bike paths in parks are there to enjoy the ride as opposed to just using them as a thoroughfare. The Stanley Park seawall is a good example – it’s doubtless the busiest bike path in any Vancouver Park and yet hardly anyone uses it as a way to get from one place to another. The cyclists who use it are there because it’s an enjoyable experience with terrific views. Isn’t that what parks are all about?

      1. Hmm, the seawall runs around the edge of Stanley Park, not IN Stanley Park. That’s not what most people think of when you talk of putting a bike lane IN a park, as opposed to having tennis courts/basketball courts/soccer fields IN a park.
        Hey, Trout lake has paved areas for picnics, children’s playgrounds etc. Let’s add a paved bike lane around the lake for people to cycle on. It’s pretty much the same as a paved picnic area, isn’t it?

        1. Actually, the B.C. parkway bike route runs right through Trout Lake Park, and that one is designed for people going from A to B. At the moment, memory fails me as to whether it’s paved or not.

      2. The seawall bike path in Stanley Park isn’t in the park? Is it in the ocean then? It is exactly the same concept as the proposed seaside path was in Kits Park.
        I don’t know about needing a paved bike path around Trout Lake, but there is a paved bike path running through that park. It is called the BC Parkway.

        1. Well, not being a Kits resident, I don’t have a stake in where exactly the path goes. But from all the maps I saw, it certainly wasn’t the same concept as the seawall. Regardless, good luck to you all if/when you get the city to spend more millions on west-side bike lanes.
          As for my comment on Trout lake, the people here are insistent that bike lanes MUST be allowed in a park, BELONG in a park, and it’s an outrage if someone objects. So, that would imply we MUST have a paved bike lane in the park at Trout lake.
          But, wait, as any reasonable person can see, bike lanes DON’T always belong in parks. There’s a plenty good case to be made that bike lanes belong on the edges of parks, on the outside of parks, but not IN parks.
          It’s so frustrating as a Vancouver resident to see everything subsumed to the quest for bike lanes. Actually, when it comes to the Parks board, a lack of swimming, skating, gymnastic and general recreation areas (that are well-kept) is much more important to everyone. Bike lanes in parks is REALLY LOW on the priority list.

        2. Opposing “no bike lanes in parks” is not the same thing as “every park should have a bike lane”. Yours is a straw man argument which, according to Wikipedia’s definition, requires that the audience be ignorant or uninformed of the original argument in order to be successful. I’d like to think that the level of discourse here is above that.
          The Kits bike lane keeps coming up because the existing path is a natural connector between two other bike paths but is not adequate for shared pedestrian and bike use. Where the same conditions exist in other parks then yes, it does make sense to do something about it.

  6. Gordon seems to love to illustrate the Seaside Bikeway at English Bay by this short stretch of stand alone bike path joining the section along Beach avenue, with the one along the pedestrian path.
    As we all know, that is not necessarily very representative of the bike experience on the sea side bikeway: Either the bike path, is contigus to the pedestrian path , or is part of the streetscape on the west side: so that in fact the majority of the seaside Bikeway (between Stanley Park and Burrard bridge) looks more like it:
    Technically, the bike path could even be not in the park!
    It all looks like the designer of the time has made sure to minimize as much as possible the bike path foot print on the park
    Gordon is right: why That couldn’t be possible in KItsilano?
    (a question we have already asked here …and by the way the main difference with a tennis court and a bike lane, is that a tennis court doesn’t fit on a street at the difference of a bike lane)

    1. This is my point as well. There are other examples such as this one where the Seawall cycle path is not close to the walking path but is still in the park. I don’t know why the parks board was so insistent that it be close to the existing shared use path. Maybe they were just exhausted after all the crazies that came out of the woodwork when the Point Grey Road thing happened and dug in their heels. I don’t know. But no matter how nutty people’s ideas are, you should still listen to them and explain to them respectfully why their ideas are not feasible otherwise you just create hard feelings and suspicion and then you can’t get anything done after that with them.
      It’s sounds like all parties involved in this need a mediator if anything is going to progress from here. The need for people to cycle through (and to) the area without causing problems for others will continue to exist. Something, someday will have to happen. It’s unfortunate that the implementation of the previous design was handled so badly.
      Maybe we should be asking the candidates running for Parks Board if they have a background in human relations.

    2. That is doable in Kits, along the parking lot and closer to Cornwall.
      Somehow the bike path off Burrard bridge ends on Cornwall. Weird. Why is Cornwall still 4 lanes ?
      Why is there no proper bike path up to UBC from Spanish Banks ?

      1. The bike path coming off the Burrard bridge splits into two routes. The recreational/seaside route turns right off Cornwall up towards the Maritime Museum. The transportation route to UBC goes up York. They come back together at Point Grey Road at Trafalgar or Stephens.
        There are reasonable roads and paths along Spanish Banks towards UBC. After Spanish Banks you would have to ask MoTI, as that is no longer within the City of Vancouver. What does your Electoral Area A representative have to say about it?

        1. I am a bit puzzled that the seaside route is being painted now as purely recreational. Wasn’t the argument for the new PGR et al that they would cut greenhouse gas emissions? If so the capital, both economic and political, would have been better expended on a commuter route that actually got significant amounts of people out of their cars.

        2. The route through the park is primarily recreational, despite frequent claims of it being a “bicycle highway”. Point Grey Road collects bicycle traffic from York and from the path through the park along the water, so it serves both transportation riders and recreational riders.

  7. Let’s be clear, PGR has nothing to do with the environment. If anything, the opposite as it feeds 10,000 a day somewhere else and creates more congestion and pollution. It also does not get people out of cars because it is a ghost town most of the time. It just is not used, which proves very clearly that this notion of people moving away from cars and on to bikes in any significant number is just pure fiction. Yes, PGR on a lovely summer Saturday is full of life, but commuting? Forget it. Go down there any day during commuting times and you will see that it is almost completely empty. Here are recent pictures which conform that. Check them out. I would appreciate someone explaining to me how they can justify the claim that PGR is a success given this reality.

    1. You may want to review the Transportation 2040 plan, to give some context to the documented shift away from single occupant vehicles and our city goals for the next 25 years..
      You can post all the photos you like. Not sure why you pick late morning, when the commuting rush is earlier than that, but that’s up to you. Of all of the people who live along that road and presumably commute, you are suggesting that most use motor vehicles. There are certainly lots of cars and trucks parked along the road, evidence of the road not being closed. Now ask yourself why not one motor vehicle is seen moving in all of your photos. Not many bikes, but zero motor vehicles. What does that tell you about your argument that people are predominantly using motor vehicles? Perhaps your photos aren’t actually representative of anything?
      It makes more sense to look at counts over a month or longer, and see the trends. Although you like to quote 1.9% mode share for bikes in this area, you have been shown previously how it is 10-12% for commuting, and we can agree that casual bike rider percentages are over and above that figure. How has usage changed based on the official counts, and not your anecdotal photos? How has the Burrard St bridge monthly count changed upon the completion of the PGR and York bike routes which feed into it? This offers far better data than one set of photos which if we follow your logic, proves that we don’t need roads for motor vehicles.
      Or you could use the Bike to Work Week statistics. There was a 65% increase year over year in registered trips in the spring 2014 BTWW. I hear it is around 35% for the fall BTWW (year over year) in the cold and wet, so of the new bike commuters in 2014, it looks like something like half stayed with it in winter conditions. Encouraging.
      And back to your first sentence. Why does it have to be all about the environment? How about individual health? And individual choice? And cost? All are contributors to individual decisions on choice of transportation mode. And why just bikes? Point Grey Road offers a much improved walking experience now. Think about the whole picture.

    2. I agree that it was not done for the environment or ecological reasons. From what I gather it was a combination of three needs. Traffic calming on a street that wasn’t well suited to be used as an arterial, a cycling route and closing a gap in the Seawall.

    3. Anecdotes and unsubstantiated assertions pop up here and elsewhere all the time. This time, it’s another round on the new Point Grey Road. Just for fun, here are two series of photos I took there to help solidify the nature of the situation.
      The series show every person moving past me during an hour, whether on foot, two wheels, 3 wheels or 4 wheels. Kindly persons have counted the travelers, and the numbers are on the page.
      An Hour on Point Grey Road, March 23, 2014
      Another Hour on Point Grey Road, July 5, 2014
      While imperfect, these series are useful and convincing. Much more so than a few photos and a lot of sad conclusions drawn from them. The best data will come in due course from the counters that City of Vancouver has embedded in the road in several places on the new PGR.
      But I know that some will never accept any conclusions other than their own delusions. And will continue to mistake data for the entire of Greater Vancouver for data about a section of the City of Vancouver. It’s sort of pathetic, really.
      The times, they are a’changing.

      1. Also worthwhile to add: The tree swing that you see in the photo didn’t exist before the road was closed to through auto traffic. The closure has made that formerly unusable park a popular (albeit small) haven for the little kids in the neighbourhood, mine included. The quality-of-life improvements that have resulted from the closure are massive for those that live north of 4th as we do.

        1. Exactly. Previous to the traffic-calming, PGR had no neighbourhood due to the grave safety concerns of traffic volume and speed. Now, children can play in the parks freely, and do. We have a neighbourhood, finally.

      2. Ken, good documentary photos. In another post later, I said I didn’t see them because I thought you meant that they were on this site, which is where I looked. I have seen them now.
        One set is from July and the other set is a spring day with blossom on the trees. That’s fine. Clearly people were cycling that day and that’s good. I have no doubt that the road would be used and enjoyed. My issue is with the notion that this kind of bike infrastructure is meant to be about commuters getting out of cars and impacting on our emissions. That this is heralding a move towards changing people’s mode of transport. I just don’t see that. I see it being used by people who could also have enjoyed near car free cycling on side roads and by people who will undoubtedly enjoy it on lovely days, as I have myself. It’s a nice place to cycle, but did we need to close it to through traffic instead of making a dedicated space on the road? Is it really being used by commuters in any substantive numbers? Doesn’t seem it.
        I am also looking forward to the comments on your photos, Ken, that I got. That they are useless because they are just one guys pictures and so mean nothing and that it’s so silly to discuss transport policy based on one guys pictures. I’m waiting. It’s quiet in here.

        1. David F: “That they are useless because they are just one guys pictures and so mean nothing and that it’s so silly to discuss transport policy based on one guys pictures.” You just answered your own question.

    4. David F: I told you to look at the endless supply of pictures on the Price Tags website showing Point Grey Road teeming with life. Did you do as I suggested and look at the photos and photo diaries? It would appear not. So sad when people choose to remain ignorant rather than easily educate themselves.

      1. Of course I looked at the pictures on the Price Tags website. Every one of them, height of summer. Of course it is going to be used then and I’m glad it is.
        I am talking about the assertion that the PGR is used by commuters all the time. It clearly is not. Please look at the photos I linked to and explain that. Did you? “It would appear not.”
        Point Grey is one of the areas singled out with high bike usage. I think it’s quoted at like 12%. If that number is really fairly representative, then how is it that I can go down to PGR on a number of occasions and see barely any cyclists there on perfectly nice days in September, October and November. Not driving rain or snow when cycling would be only for the very committed either. No one hear seems able to explain that. I wonder why. Is it that “people choose to remain ignorant rather than easily educate themselves.” Susan? (Just thought I would borrow your question there.)

        1. David F: Yes, you regularly choose to remain ignorant rather than educate yourself. That fact is plain to everyone here.

        2. Just keep avoiding the questions, Susan, that’s what you do best. Whenever you are challenged with a comment, you just ignore it and hurl facile insults. Is that really the level of discourse you feel is appropriate here? Well, clearly it is, because that’s what you do. It is tiresome.

        3. My first set of photos is March 23. For those challenged in the common-sense department, that date is one day (maybe 2) after the end of winter. And the number of travelers by two feet, two wheels, 3 wheels and 4 wheels is listed with the photos for all to see.
          Hardly the height of summer.

        4. David F: PGR was traffic-calmed so that it would be traffic-calmed. What do you not understand about this? 10,000+ cars per day travelling at high speeds in both directions on a narrow residential road was too dangerous.

      1. I see some cars parked there, but I’m not clear on what your point is. You mean it wasn’t used by cars either?

      2. Seems pretty clear that in a random photo of Point Grey Road, in this case from Google prior to the changes to reroute arterial traffic, that no cars are moving. Some are being stored there, but none are driving. And this despite the estimates of 10,000 vehicles a day. If your photo represents typical bike use, then you must equally believe that this one represents typical car use. You may even call it a ghost town.
        Or we could stop trying to use random photos for route design.

      3. Considered from the other angle, we could accept that the counters showed up to 10,000 vehicles per day prior to the changes, and so given this photo it is obviously possible to take a picture of a road that is empty of all moving traffic at a point in time, but which moves up to 10,000 vehicles per day on average.

        1. Sure, we can always find ways to discount hard evidence or to compare to other seemingly contrary evidence. The point is, some seem to make out as though I am seeking to contrive pictures at unique times of day to win an argument. I have gone down to PGR on a number of occasions and have spoken to others as well and my pictures seem to be consistent with other reports. My pictures also do not show the other times I have been down there and not taken pictures. Same findings, just not documented. You want to make a case that 10,000 cars a day did not drive down there? Sure, you could do your own personal research. Well, not any more, but you could have before.
          I am reporting what I see and backing it up with photos. I am not going to stand there day in and day out all day to prove the point. I will repeat the question though. Why have I found on about a half dozen occasions, two of which were photographed, that at prime commuting time, almost no cyclists were there? Was it because I was happening upon freak incidents which just never happen when I am not there? Do you think the pictures are Photoshopped? Do you just think I am lying about the time the pictures were taken? I’m just wondering.
          Many think I am here to rail against cycle routes, but I have oft repeated the point that I am a cyclist, I enjoy many of the existing paths, but I resist the notion that cycling is going to get ride of cars in any significant way or that people cycle “from all over” to get to Kits Beach in any substantive way, but particularly, I am seeing a $6 million ode to the cause, which does not appear to be used very much outside of the summer. (Sorry Ken, I did not see your March pics. I did a search and looked at many photos that were from the summer. If you can provide a link, that would be great, but I’m sure they exist anyway because you say they do).

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