By Gord Price
I’ve often criticized the shamefully inadequate bikeway system in our crown jewel (“The Shame of Stanley Park”), but really, the problem with the design of the internal transportation network goes way beyond bikes.
Sometime in the post-war period (I’m guessing in the 1950s), the planners and engineers of the day assumed the default way of moving through the park would be by car – and they designed accordingly.
There is of course the seawall and trail system.  But in the heavily used interior parts on the east side of the park, there are only some unhappy asphalt paths where it is assumed that walkers, runners and cyclists will stick to the spaces allocated to them, inadequate as they are, and not try to walk along or run along the parkways designed to be exclusively for cars.
Below is where the city meets the park.  The design is clear: there are no complete streets to accommodate multiple users. If you are walking, you go on only the separate paths, regardless of whether they actually go where you want.
And the quality of the ped routes – the minimum amount of asphalt – also makes it clear where you come in the hierarchy.
Regular users know how frustrating it can be to cross the park south of Lost Lagoon:
Cyclists heading for the tennis courts from the north along Lagoon Drive, for instance, are confronted with a one-way road system that makes no accommodation for their intentions.  You want to go left, but legally you can’t.  It’s assumed that, like drivers, you will go kilometres out of your way to reach your destination – or else use the ped paths to the annoyance of walkers.
Again, another sign that the Park Board (a) is oblivious, (b) doesn’t care or (c) isn’t prepared to make an active transportation system for everyone a priority.


    1. See you there!
      And after this we can hope that the paths through the remainder of the park will be properly addressed, instead of directing people on bikes into parking lots where cars are often backing out of spaces.

  1. Further to the shamefully inadequate bikeway system, see the southern end of the southbound causeway. The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MoTI) built a protected bikeway along the causeway, in reaction to the death of a cyclist.
    The causeway bikeway looks reasonable
    Until you get to the end, when you are faced with a disappearing painted bike lane, without any protection, around a blind corner, ending up on Georgia Street.
    The obvious solution for those not wanting to mix it up on Georgia Street, including those park visitors just wanting to return to the park entrance, is to take the path to the right. But it isn’t designated for cycling by the Park Board, despite the MoTI sign. It is a sidewalk.
    A case was made to designate and sign it as a cycling path, to the T junction. That would take away a short section of sidewalk. But the sidewalk doesn’t go anywhere; the west causeway path is sign-posted for bikes only, since the causeway improvements were made.
    Apparently park board staff are working on a number of improvement opportunities including this one; the narrow shared path parallel to and above the seawall immediately north of the Park Board office; the southbound causeway exit right after the bridge, onto Park Drive; the bike-only tunnel at Ceperley Park, a return loop along Pipeline Road; and a few others.
    It would be good to see some progress on the 2012 Cycling plan.

    1. Yet another example of people being “framed” by exclusionary infrastructure. Anyone who criticizes cyclists as a class for doing anything wrong needs to be put on a bike and forced to navigate places like this and attempt to do it legally. Then they might understand what it’s like to try to get around in a system that is designed for a single activity.
      If their motives are to punish people then they won’t be changed but a better motive would be to transform law breakers into law abiders. This can best be done by allowing people to get to where they want to go without being forced to disobey the law. The blame cannot be put on the person put into that situation and only with the design of the place. Let’s design things so that the most obvious thing to do is the legal. Let’s stop creating outlaws out of well intentioned good people.
      Let’s get that plan from 2012 going.

  2. I think the answer is b) or c). I have suggested numerous times to make some simple changes like wayfinding signage and a curb drop in the Lost Lagoon area near the causeway. Also to install a few bike racks in Jericho Park. The inaction by the Park Board clearly has nothing to do with costs because many improvements would be very cheap.

  3. Many thanks, Gordon, for drawing our attention once again to motordom and Stanley Park. Much more than a ‘fix’ is required. The entire layout of the Park’s access needs to be rethought. Many of the motorways, especially at the southern end, could be repurposed for active transportation. Nor should we lose sight of the fact that the highway/parkway’s use of Stanley Park as a throughway to the Lions Gate Bridge can be altered when the existing ‘contract’ expires in 2029.

  4. It doesn’t strike me as particularly onerous to get to the tennis courts by proceeding along Lagoon Drive to the Fish House parking lot, turning left, and accessing the courts there. It’s all of what, 60 seconds longer?

  5. This anachronistic quality has always struck me about Stanley Park: it’s essentially a 1930’s parkway with some hiking trails and a shoreline. The green jewel of a city that prides itself on being ‘civilization within nature’ is predominantly a network of roads through a forest. In many ways it reminds me of Flushing Meadows/Corona Park in Queens. Not a compliment. I wonder if any effort will ever be made to change things or citizens’ nostalgia will once again prevail.

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