The owners of residences on the north side of Vancouver’s Point Grey Road have some of the most spectacular  views of English Bay and the North Shore mountains, unfettered by public walkways between their properties and the ocean. The City of Vancouver used to have a policy to purchase land along the north side of this street, so that all Vancouverites could enjoy the magnificent views. The intent was to eventually provide access to the beach, which is public in Vancouver.  Margaret Pigott Park is one example of a north side of Point Grey Road private property that was purchased for public use.
While the bikeway portion of the Seaside Greenway has been developed along Point Grey Road, the news for walkers has not been as positive. The city sidewalks on the north side of Point Grey Road are often squished beside the curb, with private landscaping from the large houses encroaching on the city boulevard, making the sidewalk feel even narrower. Most of this private landscaping encroachment consists of hedging and trees.
And then came the elephant. Yes, there was an elephant sculpture installed in the front yard of a house on Point Grey Road’s north side. The property owners fenced the elephant in with a handsome black wrought iron fence that encroached on city owned boulevard land right up to the sidewalk.
In other parts of the city, this does not seem to happen. There is a public understanding that the city owns the land that is called the public boulevard, and that this strip of land extends on both sides of the sidewalk. The location of the water service in front of Vancouver properties is an indication of where the City’s land ownership ends and the private homeowner’s property begins.
Jeff Lee’s article in the Vancouver Sun describes how homeowners on the north side of Point Grey Road are upset with the city’s plans to upgrade the sidewalk as part of a 6.4 million dollar project completing the seawall walkway. This upgrade will mean the city is taking back city land usurped by private hedges and fences to make a sidewalk wide and comfortable, like the rest of the seawall walkway. There will be a 1.2 meter strip between the homeowner’s front yard and the start of the sidewalk.
The City’s plans were originally to place a seawall walk right beside the ocean, in front of the Point Grey houses. This was nixed by the residents, as well as by environmental concerns.
The Point Grey residents held a rally on Sunday protesting the installation of the sidewalk, claiming it was an example of bad fiscal spending and citing the challenges residents would have in exiting their properties in vehicles with walkers and cyclists on the city street.
But here’s the point-taking back this strip of city owned land and putting it in public use for walkers is not about today, it is about tomorrow. Anywhere else in the city I would argue we would have dealt with this landscape encroachment on a popular walking street years ago. It would have made sense to have implemented this wider sidewalk at the time of the adoption of the expansion of the Seaside Greenway. The  properties along Point Grey Road benefited from a huge real estate lift the moment this street was designated.  That was the time to negotiate the return of the public boulevard for the safety, comfort and convenience of  walkers, people pushing strollers, and wheelchair users. 
Hopefully future generations of Vancouverites can vision the Seaside Greenway as a stroll, not just a bike ride. How we deal with these issues today by following established city policy and protocol shapes the public realm, our public spaces, and our future place. There will be no more elephant in that yard.


    1. Well, Sandy,
      You might be interested to know that in the Phase 2 plans for reclaiming land on the North side of Point Grey Road to construct a redundant, extensively wide sidewalk, the City is reclaiming virtually none of the property with the elephant in the front yard, so the elephant will remain despite the reclamation. Sorry to burst your bubble. I might add that other residents on the road are perplexed as to why this one property is getting off so easy with little to no reclamation when all the other properties in the same block and other blocks will lose up to 12 feet of their landscaping. It would appear that a stone “elephant in the yard” is the only type of rationale that our current Council understands as a reason not to take back “encroachments.” Safety certainly doesn’t rate with them. The joke among residents is that perhaps they should all invest in stone elephants to stop the City’s bulldozers.

      1. The elephant is on private property. The fence is not. No one is suggesting that other residents can’t have elephants. Residents can have as many elephants as they would like.

        1. Sandy,
          You have stated in your article that “There will be no more elephant in that yard.” You are incorrect; neither the elephant nor the fence are due to be removed as part of the reclamation for this property, regardless of their positioning on private or City land. Please look carefully at the City’s plan in Phase 2 for this property; it remains almost entirely untouched despite the City’s planned reclamation. For some reason, this property is getting off largely scott-free; one has to wonder why when all the other homes in the same block are due to lose up to 12 feet of their landscaping and driveway ingress/egress. You might want to investigate why “public space” does not become enhanced by the reclamation of the frontage of this sole “elephanted” property. You picked the wrong property as support for increased “public space” due to reclamation.

        2. I am merely stating the analogy of “elephants in that yard”. I am referring the fact that after receiving a huge real estate lift by having Point Grey Road declared part of the Seaside Greenway, some residents have chosen to resent the fact that the city wants to have its city owned boulevard back for other public uses. This is standard practice. That to many people seems to be a fair trade, especially since it is the city’s to being with.
          You are more than welcome to have any elephant you would like in your front yard. I am rather fond of Babar and Celeste.

    1. I wonder what compels you to “laugh at these people”. Is there some inherent hatred or jealousy? What is that is so funny to you?

  1. You’ve told the story quite fairly and well, Sandy. It’s a mystery why this usurpation of city land has been allowed to continue for so long.

    1. It hardly seems mysterious. Wealthy, privileged homeowners in Point Grey don’t tend to be pushovers. The City’s got to pick its battles, but I’m glad it’s finally decided to push back on this one and re-assume its responsibilities. These residents don’t have a leg to stand on – legal, moral, or otherwise.

      1. Dan – well, it’s a mystery to me how a clearly evident public need for pedestrian space – and yes, street trees – has continued to be privatized here.
        BTW, the Oakridge residential area between Oak and Cambie was built without sidewalks, and most property owners consequently landscaped right up to the curb. So yes, Bryn, many other examples do exist in Vancouver and elsewhere. The need to reclaim public space elsewhere just may not be as evident and pressing (for pedestrian safety, convenience and comfort) as on PGR.

    2. Frank Ducote,
      Have you checked the frontage of your property lately? Chances are you are encroaching too. Most streets in the city have setbacks ranging from 6-20 feet or more. So, I guess you are okay with the City taking back your frontage too, right?

      1. If it were to build public infrastructure like a sidewalk, yes. At my previous place I actually phoned and requested they come build a sidewalk where there was none and was just some landscaping I installed. But, you know, East side and all so that never happened.

        1. Exactly, where there is no sidewalk, sidewalks need to be built for public access, and if the only way to do it is to take back City land, that must occur. But, this is not the case for Point Grey Road; there are already 3 sidewalks along the road and they are all over the standard sidewalk width. We have low pedestrian volumes, so there is simply no need for wider sidewalks. The Phase 2 project is for beautification, not necessity. I say take the $6.4 million and build sidewalks on the East side where there currently aren’t any. What do you say?

        2. As Susan says, there are lots of examples of road works that need to be done all over the city which are more compelling that making Canada’s richest postal code a little prettier. Why is that? Pet project syndrome, perhaps?

  2. There are lots of examples of city land being appropriated for landscape all over the city, it’s just not obvious unless you’re looking at a vanmap aerial with the property lines overlaid. That said, those expansions are always ‘at risk’ of removal (in the same way that covered back decks, covered car ports, or illegal garage conversions are at risk if flagged by a neighbour or inspector). In this case I doubt there’s going to be a lot of citywide sympathy generated for their perceived plight.

    1. Bryn,
      Granted, and the residents are not looking for any sympathy, but they are warning citizens about the resulting safety hazards for all users of the road, including you, if you ever come to Point Grey Road, that is.

  3. Six million in street improvements in a showcase route that the whole city can be proud of is being protested? Well, it wouldn’t be Vancouver if we didn’t complain about these things, I suppose.
    I personally cannot see why this investment in PGR, and the sidewalk widening is a bad thing. Sandy’s point about timing notwithstanding, it is public land in a route that is used by pedestrians, dog walkers, runners and cyclists to go from downtown and our beloved beaches and back. As someone who runs this route frequently, I would love to see a wider sidewalk where I do not have to go on the street to pass by someone safely or dodge the occasional telephone pole.

    1. Mike Klasssen,
      It is “a bad thing” because traffic engineers have found the Phase 2 widened sidewalk to be “unsafe” and “likely to cause casualties.” So, take your pick: pay $6.4 million to tear out green space and more than sufficient sidewalks, creating a permanent “unsafe” wide sidewalk and narrowed roadway, or save the money and “have to go on the street,” which has had all commuter motorist traffic removed, “to pass by someone safely or dodge the occasional telephone pole.”

    2. Mike,
      Can we afford to build “a showcase” when there are urgent needs for the millions elsewhere in the city?

  4. Point grey road only needs to be 16 ft wide The other 50 feet is plenty of room for pedestrian pathways and landscaping .Parking should be on private property .

  5. This protest is not about rich peoples’ perceived privilege. It’s about the Mayor’s broken promise, once again… And it’s about the misuse of scarce City resources.
    I was one of the Commissioners on the Park Board of the day that voted to stop buying Pt Grey Rd. properties because to do so would have prevented us from improvements we thought more important in other parts of the City, the East Side in particular. We improved and opened the 5 or 6 pocket parks instead, and they are beautiful oasis’ that allow the public better access to that part of Vancouver’s waterfront.
    As well, our Board created Vancouver’s first separated bike lane on the Stanley Park Seawall. We also discussed doing one on Pt Grey Rd. but decided not to at that time due to the, again, relatively high cost.
    And by the way, these kinds of decisions were being made by the Park Board when it was a truly independent elected entity, not the slow death by strangulation Board of today. When are the Commissioners going to start to meaningfully assert their rightful place in Vancouver’s civic decision making? Two days before the next election will be a bit late.

    1. Thank you for the historic perspective. I don’t know the inner workings of the Park Board or city council, but just from the perspective of riding my bike in Vancouver it seems there is a disconnect between City policies and Park Board. For example there is no wayfinding signage between the bike routes in the West End and the bike route along the causeway (not trivial to find through a maze of paths and underpasses). All signage stops at the start of Stanley Park. At Jericho Park a wonderful bike path leads to the park but nothing has changed in the park, not even bike racks to accommodate the large growth in people arriving at the park by bike.

      1. We have no directional signage for cyclists, pedestrians or motorists on Point Grey Road either. We have asked and asked and asked the City for it for SAFETY. Our requests fall on deaf ears.

    2. The disconnect is highlighted when one reviews the Stanley Park Cycling Plan, adopted (with an associated implementation plan) by the Park Board several years ago. It would be nice to see some of the items referenced in that plan actioned.
      The recent improvements to the Causeway by the Ministry were an ideal opportunity for the Park Board to action the related items.

      1. Even a few signs in Stanley Park would be a start to allow people to find their way to and from the Causeway.
        Another oddity from the Causeway-Stanley Park interface: the province went through much effort and expense to create a couple of passing areas on the otherwise narrow west sidewalk. The Park Board lets their shrubs grown into the sidewalk, rendering the new space unusable much of the time so far this summer.

        1. That’s right, so imagine the manicured landscaping on Point Grey Road, paid for at only the homeowners’ expense, being replaced in Phase 2 plans by unmaintained City shrubs and weeds paid for at taxpayers’ expense.

        2. “imagine the manicured landscaping on Point Grey Road, paid for at only the homeowners’ expense, being replaced in Phase 2 plans by unmaintained City shrubs and weeds paid for at taxpayers’ expense.”
          You’re kidding, right?
          I suppose it is still possible to make the wall along the sidewalk more hostile, perhaps with spikes. Wait, the gate to the left of the second house does have spikes.
          I can see while the second homeowner would be upset though, having recklessly built a garage below grade and put part of the ramp on city property.
          In my Burnaby neighbourhood, such walls are not allowed. Now I can see why. We have people building mansions who desperately want to wall of the street, but they are forced by the city to limit themselves to laughably tiny barriers less than a meter high.
          You mention the poorly-maintained city land. Walls come in different forms. I recall a tour guide in New Orleans before the floods pointing out that the wealthiest neighbourhoods had the worst roads, with broken pavement, patches, and potholes. They deliberately prevented maintenance in order to discourage outsiders from driving through.

        3. “having recklessly built a garage below grade and put part of the ramp on city property.” The city demanded that they build the garages below grade and now, widening the sidewalk will mean that they have to back out blind, which will be dangerous to pedestrians on the new, wider sidewalk.

        4. “they have to back out blind”
          It would be far safer if they backed into their driveways (having a clear view of pedestrians from the street) and then drove out across the sidewalk. This is taught as best practice in safe driving courses.
          Sometimes the simplest solutions are the best.

        5. Geof,
          “Sometimes the simplest solutions are the best.” We agree there.
          The current solution is not the simplest, nor is it the best for the reasons articulated. Bottom line: this scheme is bad urban design and an unnecessary waste of valuable tax dollars.

  6. I am not conversant with all the specifics of this matter but, on reflection I wonder what all the fuss is about. The street was ‘improved’ and through traffic restricted so it would be safer for bikes and pedestrians. Now we’re being told it’s not safe and we need a 12′ wide concrete sidewalk, to be used presumably by both bikers and pedestrians.
    Personally, I like the scale and feel of that part of Pt.Grey Rd. The hedges up to the sidewalk give it a unique sense of place in Vancouver. It’s reminiscent of a more European and UK feel. It’s comfortable.
    I’ve designed two projects just west of Trafalgar. We took our landscaping to the sidewalk in both of them, which was coincidently, also the property line. I know from that experience that the reduced depth of these properties makes every foot important. The properties farther west are even shallower.
    When all is said and done, the money being spent is not a priority. There are far more important places to spend it in the City. And, if we go back to Plan A and, include improvements where the sidewalks and curbs are uneven, reduced through traffic in a “safe” environment for bikes and pedestrians are safely separated from both bikes and cars on the sidewalks, wouldn’t that be a sensible solution?

    1. It would be the “Concerned Kitsilano Residents” who told you that it is a 12′ wide sidewalk. If you asked the City, they would point out that it is a 3.0 metre sidewalk, less than 10′. And no, the sidewalk is not for bikers, unless we are talking about toddlers with balance bikes (no pedals). The shared roadway is for people on bikes, and people in cars.
      One of the significant issues with the current sidewalk (apart from the overgrown hedges infringing on it) is that every driveway cut (and there are a lot of them) creates a drop and a step back up, important for people with mobility issues. That was brought up at the public hearing by several senior and other advocacy groups. In the new design, the curb ramps will be restricted to the front boulevard, so that the sidewalk itself is at a continuous elevation.
      Also recall that water and sewer work is being done as part of this project. The street and parts of the sidewalks are being done anyway. This is about where they are put back after the water and sewer work, not so much about not spending the money to build them at all.

      1. Why 10′ wide just for pedestrians? This is completely out of scale with the width of the street and the adjacent houses, landscaping and trees (even when modified). 2 metres or 6′-6 ¾” is ample for 2 people going each way to pass. The 10′ width, in addition to being out of scale with the street, presents a wide expanse of concrete that will reflect more traffic noise into the adjacent houses, their yards and the street itself. As well, the concrete will reflect heat into the adjacent planting and alter natural drainage, making survival of a diversity of plant types less likely. All of this will encourage the home owners to erect high concrete and masonry walls at their property lines. Congratulations, Vision has created another concrete jungle. Who would want to walk or bike along this strip?
        Maybe go out and talk to the neighbourhood and make some adjustments. Reducing the sidewalk width would save a bit of money as well.

        1. Yes, Bill, residents have already discussed their plans for erecting just such means of privacy, and yes, it will become a concrete fortress for obvious necessity.

        2. It seems many want to walk and bike along here.
          You need to consider the 1 m addition to the sidewalk alongside the 3 m or so reduction to the road width. It is less net paving. Homes will be cooler and quieter, using your examples.
          Check out the City plans for more details.

      2. Jeff,
        You have neglected (again) to mention the fact that the road is not uniform currently in its roadway width and the curvature, and the amount of space that will be taken to create the sidewalk of 3 metres. You have also not mentioned the 1.5 metre front boulevard that will be adjacent to the sidewalk at the roadside. This front boulevard does not exist in most of the blocks, so what the City is planning to build out into the existing roadway is at least 12 feet wide or more, depending on the particular block, its existing sidewalk (they vary from 1.5 metres up to 2 metres), and its curvature. This will involve substantial narrowing of the existing roadway space for cyclists, for example.

        1. Two 3 m travel lanes will be great for cycling. Thanks for your concern.

        2. Is there space for on street visitor parking? The.more information available the.more outlandish this scheme is. Now we’re saw cutting and/or digging up a concrete roadway and replacing it with a 5′ dead grass strip and 10′ of concrete sidewalk. The cost of doing this is very high and the end product will be a substandard, uncomfortable space that will require another $6M redo. What a gong show. What’s the Planning Department saying about this scheme? Surely they aren’t behind this.

        3. Is there space for on street visitor parking? The.more information available the.more outlandish this scheme is. Now we’re saw cutting and/or digging up a concrete roadway and replacing it with a 5′ dead grass strip and 10′ of concrete sidewalk. The cost of doing this is very high and the end product will be a substandard, uncomfortable space that will require another $6M redo. What a gong show. What’s the Planning Department saying about this scheme? Surely they aren’t behind this.

        4. Bill and Anonymous: “Is there space for on street visitor parking?”
          There is parking permitted on one side of the street. It doesn’t infringe on the two 3.0 m travel lanes.

        5. Anonymous from June 29, 2016,
          Street parking became full on the South side when Phase 1 removed almost all parking on the North side (except on the right of way setbacks). Indeed, after much protesting and legal action, the City reinstated 3 spaces on the North side temporarily (until Phase 2 is implemented) in one double block. There is no guest parking on the street, period. And, because most homes on the South side are multi-unit properties, all garage, carport or street parking is taken up by residents’ vehicles and/or maintenance vehicles, which are on the road in great numbers daily. Ironically, the Planning Department is behind this, as dictated by the current Council. South siders were not invited by the Planning Department to the only 3 meetings about Phase 2, so South siders were not consulted about Phase 2 at all, which is a violation of Best Practices. If Phase 2 goes ahead, ALL parking is to be removed from the North side, including parking on the right of way setbacks. A number of properties on the North side have no garages, carports or other designated parking, so they have had to park on the right of way setbacks, and after Phase 2 will have to find impossible parking on the South side street or side streets, which are also full.

        6. susan;
          It is untrue that there wasn’t public consultation on this. There was extensive consultation in 2013, when Council approved the north sidewalk changes in principle. The open question for Phase 2 was whether the new wider sidewalk, which was already approved, would be positioned right at the curb, or between a front and a back boulevard. It seems the City invited north side residents to those meetings for Phase 2, as they were directly impacted.
          Perhaps you could clarify what would be the foreseeable impact to south side residents, given that the changes had already been approved in principle. Reductions in parking wouldn’t seem to be a factor, given the 2013 decisions.

  7. Bill and Anonymous: You may want to check out the City web site for full details of this project, instead of picking up stray bits. Yes, the planning department is behind it. So is engineering. And the majority of council. And groups like the Active Transportation Policy Council. And some local residents. But likely not the ones having the public land in front of their properties reclaimed for public use.

    1. Let’s be specific and clear about this Jeff: all Vision Councillors voted in favour of Phase 2 as did the one Green Party Councillor. All NPA Councillors rejected Phase 2 for its safety concerns, high cost, waste, redundancy and destruction of existing green space. (see video stream on Vancouver.ca May 4, 2016 Council Meeting). The vast majority of residents opposed Phase 2, on both the North side, where the reclamation is occurring, and on the South side, where the reclamation is not occurring (by Petition and at the Council Meeting). The Active Transportation Team (City engineers) provide ONLY oral belief that Phase 2 would be safe; residents presented to Council and the Active Transportation Team traffic and transportation engineer reports of ingress/egress safety analyses, with sightline measurements of driveway access and visibility, and declared the City design for Phase 2 as “unsafe” and “likely to cause casualties.”

      1. Still waiting for those independent reports, susan. The City transportation engineers went on record at Council. They reported that they met with the engineers hired by property owners, and that those engineers agreed that they had not done traffic studies, but simply sight line calculations based on the properties in question.

        1. Jeff, you have your information backwards: the City’s engineers are on record at Council admitting that the City’s engineers have not done traffic studies or sight-line calculations. Independent engineers have. How is it Best Practices for municipal engineers, on the payroll of the taxpayers, to propose a project for Council approval without having conducted and presented traffic, sight-line, driveway access, pedestrian safety, cyclist safety, environmental, grading, utility, drainage, creek, traffic management and resident-impact studies. These and more are required for the Phase 2 project but were not done prior to the project approval by Council, and still have not been done.

    2. I have checked the Report. 10’ lanes are considered to narrow. 11’ is a minimum with 12’ preferred. There are a significant number of driveways off the street due to there not being a lane on the north side, so the combination of the to narrow lanes + density of driveways + bikes, many inherently unpredictable, and the number of pedestrians one would expect on a ‘promenade’ creates a significant hazard doesn’t it?
      I note the Report says a 2M sidewalk is OK on the south side, why not on the north? If that were done there’d be 3.5M or almost 12’ of landscape space on the north side. Bingo! Few, if any, of the existing trees, shrubs and hedges would have to be removed. The residents would be happier. And, money would be saved. And, we’d all have a more appropriately scaled and friendly streetscape. Alternatively, if the City wants to flex its muscles the 12’ strip could be quite attractively landscaped, at a cost, and the City’d have to maintain it at another annual cost.

      1. Not sure who is considering 10′ lanes too narrow. Recall that this is a traffic calmed local road, with a 30 km/hr speed limit.
        Agree 12′ is a standard minimum width. For US Interstate Highways. Doesn’t seem an appropriate standard to apply here.
        There are lots of driveways on the north side. That creates curb cuts, and an uneven sidewalk. The south side doesn’t have that problem, the sidewalk is flatter, due to the lack of driveways. The new curb cuts will be in the front boulevard, maintaining flat sidewalks. Good practice.
        I think the hazard on the north side is overgrown vegetation blocking sight lines more than anything else.
        I think the proposed streetscape is very appropriately scaled and friendly.

        1. Two 10′ lanes + a parking lane + 10′ sidewalk + 12′ landscaping + 24′ front yard + 20′ garage = 86′. That’s a long way to back up going in with or without a ramp. Unpredictable traffic, bikes, and pedestrians make the whole thing an accident waiting to happen. Just like at the Beatty Street Armoury. !0′ is to crowded when you have to do a 90º turn in such tight circumstances. Nothing to do with highways (I’m familiar with he standards).
          The slope for the curb cut needs only be 7′ @ 7.5%. So the final 3′ of the 10′ sidewalk can be flat. If the sidewalk is narrowed and/or shifted up to the walls at the property lines this problem can be eliminated completely or minimized significantly. It’s not really a big problem is it. A 2″ – 3″ drop isn’t exactly what one would call uncomfortable.
          So, as I thought, the plans for ‘landscaping the north green belts is clear cut and plant grass or something equivalent to that. That’s almost as inspired as wall to wall concrete, and does little aesthetically or for sound reduction.
          There is a better solution, that if the City tried to work with the neighbours you’d probably get them onside. So far this process is just more of the same Vision ‘we know what’s good for you’.

        2. Bill, I am not sure which properties you are referring to that have an 86′ run to back up their vehicles along. Most owners have built very close to the property lines. But even if they did, I don’t see the difference between backing up that distance when arriving, or when leaving. Except that in the latter case, there is better visibility of pedestrians when crossing the sidewalk, so it is much safer.
          If you are familiar with the NACTO standards, do you not agree with them as representing good practice?
          I rode the Beatty Street separated lanes today. They work well.
          You are suggesting putting the sidewalk right at the property line, but it is a concession to the property owners not to do so. It would remove more of their landscaping. It was a choice during the consultation (aka working with the neighbours), so if you think that represents a better solution, that was the time to present it.
          If you are referring to the north side landscaping as clearcut and grass, you don’t appear to be acknowledging the landscaping to manage water use, or the tree retention plan. Reviewing the documents would be good.

        3. 12′ is also a City of Vancouver standard. It seems this discussion is really about biker ideology and what’s good for bikers, not an attempt to find a good urban design solution.

        4. “12′ is also a City of Vancouver standard.”
          It seems not. Take a look at the most recent road designs, those for 10th Ave near VGH. In preferred design, the sections with two travel lanes, the lanes are 2.9 m wide, not the 3.0 m used here. These lanes on 10th are designed to safely accommodate private vehicles, delivery vehicles, emergency vehicles, and transit (Handy Dart).
          The most recently constructed lanes I am aware of are on Smithe and other downtown roads, part of the 4 new downtown separated lanes. The lanes on Smithe are 3.0 m wide, and that is a much higher speed road with much greater traffic volume than Point Grey Road.
          This has nothing to do with ‘biker ideology’ whatever that is. It has to do with modern best practices for urban roadway design, as referenced on the NACTO link.

        1. I’m familiar with vehicular geometrics, et al, but do not consider myself an expert. I have successfully used my professional judgement however over the years. In this instance my considered professional judgement tells me that 10′ lanes are to tight, and the night mare of exiting and entering through the 86′ length (see the math) makes this even more unsafe as I’ve said. If the City proceeds, the consequences will be on their shoulders.

  8. Jeff,
    The reports have been submitted to Council and are available under the Freedom of Information Act. Request them.

    1. From the Council meeting (available on line), and the City’s response to the engineering report you presented, your engineer confirmed that he used no safety data. There was no use of counts or traffic projections. He only based his opinion on a site visit, and discussions with residents. He calculated sight lines between a vehicle in a driveway, and pedestrians. He gave the City permission to disclose all this at Council.
      My layman drawings are based on a professional engineering designation.
      Out of interest, do you have any qualifications to evaluate best engineering practices, and question the professional practice of City staff?

      1. Jeff,
        The issue of expertise in the assessment of SAFETY that was done, and is on record, by independent, experienced traffic engineers, in contrast to your admitted “layman” guesswork and the City’s total absence of ANY safety assessments, sight-line analyses or the other required engineering studies that MUST be done prior to recommending a project for approval, speaks loud and clear as to who did the due diligence, and who did not.

        1. Yes, it does. But all that doesn’t mean what you seem to think it means, and when your engineer clarified what he had and hadn’t reviewed, you should have known to stop then.

  9. Jeff,
    You know very well that South side residents were not consulted at all regarding Phase 2. In 2013, no design had been created for Phase 2; this was done in 2015 (according to the Chief Engineer for Phase 2), revised and presented to the public only in February 2016 (see Seaside Greenway website document history). Indeed, in 2013, City engineers and Council (on video) directly rejected any possibility of using the right of way to widen or narrow the road or widen sidewalks because of the high cost to taxpayers and “drammatic” technical “challenges” involved in reconfiguring the road and changing infrastructure, as well as having to solve the problems of “steep grade driveway access.” City engineers lied to Council and the public to obtain approval for the project in 2013.
    There were only 3 meetings held by the City, all in 2016, to present the City engineers’ design for Phase 2 to the public, and only North side residents were invited to those meetings. The deadline for their input was March 13, 2016 (see Phase 2 Newsletter posted on Seaside Greenway website), and the February meetings were on the 18th, 22nd, and 25th. They were invited by a letter dated February 3, 2016, which arrived to homes on the North side between February 7th to 10th. This was 1-1.5 weeks notice to attend the meetings, with 2 weeks to submit input after the presentation meetings. South side residents, to date, have never been invited to meet with the City to consult on Phase 2. This is discrimination and not just poor consultation, but NO consultation.
    How are South side residents going to be impacted by Phase 2? Gee, Jeff, I wonder: South side residents walk, drive, cycle, park, visit neighbours and cross the road daily multiple times, and they enjoy the greenspace on the North side. Narrowing the roadway by 12-15 feet will impact the safety of South side residents and all users of the road with thousands of cyclists per day (approximately 2000 according to City counts) squeezed against each other, parked cars on the South side and moving local motorists on the roadway. Removal of ALL the parking on the North side, including on the setback frontages, will move to the South side and side streets, all of which are already full. There is no visitor parking at all. Maintenance vehicles often have to double-park now or block the roadway completely. Narrow the roadway, and maintenance vehicles will make it impassable for all users. South siders, when walking (yes, South siders do walk on the North side — sunny side — too), will be in danger, like any visiting pedestrians, of being plowed down by North side homeowners leaving their driveways with insufficient visibility due to the extra-wide sidewalk planned for Phase 2. Removal of the green landscaping on the North side will impact South siders views, health and the environment. What a strange question to ask, Jeff. Do you think South siders never go out onto the road and sidewalks, but just live like hermits in their homes?

    1. susan, you are referring to impacts that were clearly understood when Phase 2 was approved in principle back in 2013. The question was how the options presented impacted south side residents. You didn’t answer that.
      As to the lack of parking you reference, the usual approach to managing demand is to price something appropriately.

      1. Please explain: “As to the lack of parking you reference, the usual approach to managing demand is to price something appropriately.”

      2. susan claims that there are too many cars to fit on the street parking on the south side of Point Grey Road. One common approach when faced with limited supply is to manage demand. With parking, that is usually done by charging for it. The recent West End parking study by the City is a good example of one way to manage parking demand when there is not unlimited supply.

        1. Great. What might be expected from a bike lobbyist. Are you proposing to charge all Vancouver residents and their guests in single family and duplex housing to park in front of their houses?
          The City’s residents’ street parking only policies have never worked and need to be revisited. The to cheap cost for permits encourages West Enders to park on the street rather than in their garages, where the breaking rate is higher, instead of requiring buildings to install proper anti-crime devices. This means that to much of the street parking is taken by residents so a visitor finds it impossible to park legally.

        2. I am not proposing anything. susan claims there is too much demand and not enough supply. I pointed out there is a solution for that. susan may prefer to suffer with lack of supply and not try to manage demand.
          But I do like the work the City has done on a new parking strategy for the West End. For residents and visitors. You might like it too, given your comments.

        3. I can only hope. I’ll try to have a look. I have limited time and the endless Vision misadventures are to much for an ordinary unpaid citizen to keep up with. I’d be pleased to see a positive outcome.

        4. Another way to “manage parking” is not to take the urgently needed parking spaces away in the first place. Phase 1 took a lot of the parking away; Phase 2 takes away what is currently left on the North side.

        1. susan: re your post of July 1st at 10:53 am
          Already answered on June 30 at 1:01 am.
          You should also see the response below, from June 30 at 3:45 pm.
          You are simply repeating the same thing.
          Also, calling people liars is a violation of the comment policy, and appears likely to result in having your comment removed.

  10. Trying to keep the conversation here instead of on multiple threads.
    susan posted on the walking thread, here:
    https://pricetags.wordpress.com/2016/06/30/more-steps-in-the-transportation-revolution/#comment-69696 :
    “Petition 2013: “The City of Vancouver has agreed as part of its Transportation 2014 Plan to begin traffic safety improvements for the Point Grey Road – Cornwall Corridor this coming Fall. The City Council is scheduled to vote on the plan this summer. Option (2a): Point Grey Road would be redesigned from a Secondary Arterial to a Local Street with car traffic diversions a Macdonald Street and Blenheim Street. These diversions would be extensions of the current park spaces across Point Grey Road. Pedestrian and cyclist traffic would not be diverted. Existing parking would remain on the South side of Point Grey Road. There would be a significant reduction of car traffic on Point Grey Road to local users only, and without the through traffic, car speeds would be substantially reduced. If you are in support of Option (2a) — Making Point Grey Road a Local Street — please show your support be signing below.””
    No dispute as to whether that is a fact or not. Option 2a was the one the City went with. But there would perhaps be less consternation now if those signing the petition had reviewed what option 2a actually was, and what was subsequently approved back in 2013.
    From the July 2013 City info:
    Option 2a: Point Grey Road – Alma to MacDonald.
    Wider sidewalk and/or boulevard on north side.
    On street parking removed from north side, to provide space for sidewalk and boulevard widening.
    Remove tall vegetation from street right of way on north side, to improve visibility and safety for all road users.
    And there is, of course, a cross section drawing with dimensions, showing all this.
    See page 38 for the above details.
    So the claim that this wasn’t foreseen back in 2013 is simply absurd. Perhaps the originators of the petition thought that they would get phase 1 without phase 2. That appears to be what is being argued for now.
    Claims that there was no consultation for widening the sidewalk ignore the extensive consultation that went on leading up to the 2013 council decision, and all of the consultation on the design details since.
    Claims that susan makes regarding the City stating they weren’t going to use the setbacks appear to refer to discussions around widening the built roadway to accommodate more vehicle traffic, a choice that was rejected in favour of calming the road (option 2a). That is quoting out of context. It is also why those discussions refer to things like the road curvature, referring to curve radii for high speed motor vehicle traffic, something that was eliminated with the closure at MacDonald.
    susan, it was decided back in 2013 to widen these sidewalks. It was included in the option that your own petition supported. It was included in the capital plan that we voted on in the last municipal election, including specific line item entries. I understand that you don’t want it to be a greenway now. But it is. And residents from across the City have expressed their feelings about the construction by using the greenway in every increasing numbers. Maybe it is time to move on.

    1. Jeff,
      As you well know, there is a massive difference between widening a sidewalk one foot and widening it 12-15 feet (sidewalk including the front boulevard that is planned). At no point were residents told in 2013 that “widening” would be extensive. Indeed, we were specifically told by the City engineers that “NO” that would not be the case and “NO” there would not be reclamation of the right of way, and “NO” there would not be the removal of landscaping or driveway ingress/egress (see video stream July 25, 2013, Vancouver.ca City Hall vote on the project). At no point were residents told that there would be road narrowing, dangerously squeezing thousands of cyclists between parked cars and moving local motorists. We were told the exact opposite in 2013, and the City engineers and Council know this. They overtly misrepresented the project to get resident approval; it was disgracefuly trickery on their part.

  11. susan, you really should have read the link in the post you responded to, as it disproves your wild and unsubstantiated claims.

    1. go to page 38, here is the street design referenced as option 2a, complete with a cross section drawing of the street between Alma and MacDonald, and listing the changes such as removal of tall vegetation, narrowing of the roadway, expansion of the sidewalk. It was from the early 2013 public consultation, is dated May 2013, and was included in the report at council when the project was approved in July 2013

        1. Please explain, editor, the reason for the removal of this comment.

      1. Stated on July 25, 2013 in front of residents and City Council just prior to the vote on the project on July 29, 2013, the chief engineer for the Option 2A project (phase 1 and 2): “There was a question about encroachments, and couldn’t we just use the full width of the road dedication to solve the problem quickly and cheaply, and the answer is no. This would require full reconstruction of the street and the sidewalks, and that’s DRAMATICALLY [his emphasis] more expensive than what we are proposing in this report. When you do that major change to a street, you are looking at drainage and grade issues across the entire street cross section. You are looking at moving hydro poles and all the utilities, removal of all the landscaping, and in particular, many of the driveways have steep angles, and so we would need to maintain connections to properties, and by changing the road allowance, you’d be doing dramatic, you’d have major vertical deflections that we would have to overcome. It would be VERY [his emphasis] expensive, millions of dollars, depending on the design (July 25, 2013 Council meeting, 6 PM, on video stream on City website, Vancouver.ca).

        1. And, here we are in 2016, with Phase 2 about to begin, and exactly the same
          City engineers have now done a 180 degree reversal of what was approved in 2013 by Council, as stated above by the chief engineer for the project, which was NO reclamation, NO removal of landscaping, NO 3 meter sidewalk on the North side requiring landscaping removal and steep driveway concerns, NO $6.4 million cost, etc. The point is, Jeff, that the Seaside Greenway Completion (Option 2a – Phase 1 and 2) was approved by Council in 2013 on the assurances by its own City engineers that these specific major changes to the road would NOT occur, were NOT part of the project.
          Incidentally, these same City engineers are also now proposing the sinking of hydro poles as part of Phase 2 at a cost of $1 million per block. This would mean an extra $9 million on top of the $6.4 million already approved for the project. But then, what is another few million dollars of taxpayers money to throw at one 9-block road in the City — apparently, the current Council feels that it has our money to burn.

      2. Jeff,
        By your own admission, approval by residents and Council for Phase 2 was “in principle” only (ie. the concept only); no final design specifications were presented by City engineers, which is why there had to be Open Houses for consultation with residents in 2015 and 2016, with a vote by Council in 2016 (May 4, 2016). South side residents, however, were not consulted.

        1. The principle put forth and voted on was that the sidewalk would be wider. A drawing was provided showing the future width. And that width turned out to be the same as the final design. No change. Detail design hadn’t been done, with a significant question being whether the wider sidewalk would be located closer to the curb, or in the middle of a front a back boulevard. That was what phase 2 consultation was about, not whether there would be a wider sidewalk. Everybody knew that. Except perhaps the organizers of a petition, who appear to have thought it wouldn’t happen despite being documented clearly in the staff report, motion, and minutes.

    2. Jeff, I have read the link, and it disproves nothing of what I have said. I have been directly and continuously involved with this project since 2012 and have lived on Point Grey Road for almost twenty years. I have witnessed first-hand the varying conditions of the road and the twists and turns of the project in the hands of the City since the project was first proposed. You cannot make either of those claims.

      1. The north sidewalk was shown as 3.0 m wide in the 2013 public consultation display boards linked above. It was shown the same in the staff report to the July 2013 Council meeting. The motion that was on the table then was to approve option 2a, as per that report. We have the staff report linked here showing the width, and we have the 2013 consultation materials showing the design with a cross section, and still you maintain that it wasn’t approved then, and that it was not going to happen, based on your interpretation of a discussion about widening the built roadway.
        On July 25th 2013, a local resident (speaker #21) stood up and said to Council that she strongly supported the recommendations, and specifically commented that “Planned wider sidewalks on the north side improve visibility for residents entering and exiting their driveways, as well as enhanced safer pedestrian space…..” So it was certainly known at that time.
        You do remember making that presentation, don’t you?

        1. Yes, I do maintain that the Phase 2 design presented to residents in February 2016 and for Council approval on May 4, 2016 was not at all the design presented to them in 2013. Indeed, it was the opposite of what was presented to them in 2013 and approved by Council in 2013.

        2. Jeff, what presentation?
          Marginally wider sidewalks absolutely would improve the visibility for residents exiting driveways on Point Grey Road if the current back boulevard buffer were maintained so that cars could continue to carefully inch out into the buffer to see pedestrians before the cars enter the sidewalk, and marginally wider sidewalks would improve the safety of pedestrians if there were the high volume car traffic that existed on the road prior to the implementation of Phase 1, which is why residents and Council approved Phase 2 “in principle” only in 2013, as the City’s engineers provided no specifications or final design for Phase 2 in 2013.
          Yet, the closing of Point Grey Road at Macdonald in Phase 1 removed the high volumes of speeding commuter motorists, so no front boulevard buffer is needed to protect pedestrians from cars. Further, the 2016 Phase 2 final design, approved by Council only in 2016, has an extra wide sidewalk built back into the right-of-way, almost at driveway edges (removing the current buffer zone for cars to flatten out in that zone before having to enter and cross over the sidewalk), with an additional wide front boulevard design that is treed (creating extra obstacles to have to see behind or around), making driveway ingress/egress a simply impossible task, putting pedestrians at grave risk of being hit. These design elements were only specified in the 2016 final Phase 2 design. Drivers in cars on driveways of very steep grade will not be able to see pedestrians until they are on top of them because the buffer zone will be replaced by the extra-wide sidewalk extension. In addition, the Phase 2 design that extensively, not marginally, narrows the road will squeeze the thousands of cyclists that we now have on the road (as a result of Phase 1) closer to each other, parked cars and local motorists. There simply will not be enough space for safe use of all users. You do not have to take residents’ word for it; now that Phase 1 has been implemented and the final design for Phase 2 presented, independent traffic engineers have determined that this final design for Phase 2 is unsafe and should not be implemented. FACT.

  12. “what presentation?”
    Since you ask, the one at time stamp 1:44 of the video stream of residents presenting to Council on July 25, 2013. I assume you would be familiar with it given your participation in those hearings. Also, the presentation is by a local resident who was a secondary organizer of a petition, and who lives on the south side of Point Grey Road. Given the similarities between the presentation and your frequent posts here, it seemed reasonable that you would be familiar with it. Was it a different petition organizer? If so, you should check with her, because that petition organizer spoke positively about widening the sidewalks in Phase 2. Demonstrating, at the same time, that it was clearly understood in 2013 that option 2a included widening sidewalks.
    I think your phrase is “truth will out”.

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