On the surface the conflict on Kits Point is about a continuation of the Seaside Route through and around park space. The Park Board has punted that decision.

Delay and indecision is pretty much the Park Board strategy everywhere within their jurisdiction.  See Jericho:

But the way some of the Kits Point residents (the most successfully parochial community in the city) have framed the debate, it’s also about a larger policy issue.  Is cycling for all an activity to be accommodated and encouraged in parks?
Two Park Board commissioners (John Coupar and Sarah Kirby-Young, NPA) used concerns over lack of details – no route, no costing – to avoid a decision to proceed.  That no doubt surprised the staff who must have been instructed to prepare a report without those details in order not to inflame the community with the impression of a foregone decision.
So the Park Board failed to affirm or reject the position of the opponents, which (without quite saying it) is that cycling should be kept out of their park.  Quote: “ ‘I’m happy with that. It’s a reprieve for the moment,’ said Peter Labrie, a Kits Point resident who believes a bike lane through the park is unnecessary.”
If the Park Board refuses to make a decision on a properly designed bike route to connect and continue the Seaside, they would be affirming that position.  Their position by default would be that an activity which promotes healthy recreation, is necessary for active transportation and advances the city’s sustainability goals is not something to be encouraged in their parks.  (You can see why they don’t want to have to say that.)
This protest is also about an even larger agenda, as articulated by Howard Kelsey of the Kitsilano Beach Coalition.

(Kelsey) suggested the decision represented a broader win against cycling advocates he believes had held sway over the city’s agenda.”
“The cycling agenda was just put on hold,” he told supporters. “They are not driving the agenda anymore.

Conclusion: Many Kits Point residents and allies want to discourage cycling in the city by preventing the funding and construction of safe cycling routes for all.  And they have come very close to saying that.
The question now is whether those running for office will also support or reject that de facto position.  Or will they pursue the NPA strategy of never saying no but never articulating a positive alternative, and where possible never voting for anything decisive.  Cycling will simply be suffocated.


  1. You have phrased your question rather prejudicially, and it rather might be “Should cycling be an activity that dominates in parks?”.
    And before my comment is dismissed as disagreeable, I could point out that this is exactly what has happened in the Arbutus Greenway area, in particular on the larger open areas such as between Maple and Pine streets.
    The kids that are now growing up in an ever densifying city surrounded by a grid of pavement now have to contend with more pavement and danger in an area they have traditionally had unfettered access to.
    And to add insult to injury city planners BS’d the local residents with talk of “Temporary Tarmac” and other nonsense. The Greenway was simply paved as quickly as possible at the expense of any other legitimate use.
    I’m not a Kits point resident or creme de la creme by any means, but I feel it’s important to speak up against more pavement wherever that may be in the city, and do our best to remove pavement from areas that could have a more general use for all persons.
    I feel the cycling community is barking up the wrong tree by looking to take away unpaved area from others, and should rather be looking at other solutions such as gaining exclusive access to area that is already paved.

    1. The Greenway was simply paved as quickly as possible at the expense of any other legitimate use.
      No it wasn’t. First, despite your characterization, it is in fact temporary and planning & public consultation has already begun on the permanent path. Secondly, because of the outcry of 5 or so people, there were public consultations on the temporary path and the pavement was the overwhelming choice (I know, i was there).
      I feel it’s important to speak up against more pavement wherever that may be in the city
      And to hell with people with disabilities and mobility issues, or who are not as confident as you in navigating unpaved paths. They don’t get to share in our city. And did you speak up when the basketball courts were expanded? Or the playground? Or the cafe? I doubt it.
      But the solution is simple: Reclaim space from the parking lots and restore to parkland. You’d support that, right? Because your primary concern is over the preservation of parkland, right?

      1. I went to the public consultations and even met with Jerry Dobrovolny on the Greenway before the paving started. There was never any chance that the consultations would reflect local public interest, and it was sad to see HUB members and Mobi employees who had no connection to the space other than occasionally transiting it on their bikes being deemed resident at the consultations. Those who locally use and are bound to the space were pretty shocked out the outcome.
        And we are not talking about the disabled here, or we would be talking of better sidewalks and complete safe streets. That’s a bit sour to frame any of this in the context of disability access.
        And in fact I would be in favor of the reclamation of the Kits beach parking lots. In fact I would be happy if Cornwall Ave was free of motorcars from Burrard onwards. This is the sort of solution I favor as it is possibly something gained, rather than existing park eroded away.

        1. Those who locally use and are bound to the space were pretty shocked out the outcome.
          That is your very unscientific opinion. And the high-use the Greenway is seeing, including by my 82-year old father (who is delighted to be able to use it), belies this claim.
          And in case you need reminding, parks and greenways belong to the people of Vancouver. All the people.

        2. People also come from outside Vancouver and even from outside Canada to ride on our magnificent Seaside Greenway and Arbutus Greenway. There needs to be a uniform level of comfort in these paths and this is seriously missing in Kits Beach Park.
          Also, WRT children,isn’t a paved path in a park the best place for kids to practice riding a bike and enjoying the park experience at the same time? Why deny kids this great experience?

    2. “I feel the cycling community is barking up the wrong tree by looking to take away unpaved area from others, and should rather be looking at other solutions such as gaining exclusive access to area that is already paved”
      Good point. In this case, the cycling community advocated for that.
      Along Cornwall, the preferred solution was to simply dedicate the existing MUP for people on bikes. No new paving. There are multiple paths there dedicated to people walking. The staff recommendation was to repurpose that MUP, but to add a sidewalk, at City expense. It took away green space but was deemed OK because it was road allowance (boulevard) and not in the park. Still a loss of green space.
      From Yew and Cornwall to Creelman and Arbutus, the preferred cycling community solution was to use the existing paved service lane, and design it to be safe for people on bikes, and delivery trucks. Exactly what exists at Lift restaurant in Coal Harbour, where the Seawall bike path is the access lane for deliveries. That lane would have saved the whole length of paving along Cornwall, in the lawn. It would also have saved having a AAA bike path cross the parking lot entrance. It was vetoed by the restaurant, a tenant of the Park board. Staff were unable to explain why a tenant had a veto. We proposed having the transportation engineering department propose a solution there, for consideration, to see if the needs of all users can be met. It was called the Special Study area on the map. PB staff recommended building the bike path in the green space, and studying it at a future date. Second choice in that area was through the existing parking lot, which is already paved. Build a protected lane. It impacts the number of parking spaces. Staff were focused on retaining parking, as were local residents. So staff ended up recommending using more green space, although that was the last choice of the cycling community.
      Along Arbutus, we supported a path in the park, next to Arbutus. We did not accept a painted lane in the road, proposed by the Kits Coalition. If the road was narrowed, the new path could be built in the existing road allowance, not impacting the Park green space. We can’t recommend narrowing Arbutus by making it one way, or eliminating parking on one or both sides, without further work being done, but if the City gets agreement from residents, and emergency services, and does traffic circulation modelling, it could work. The staff recommended solution was to put this to engineering, and come back with a recommendation. That was what commissioners declined to even vote on. They complained there was no costing, for one. Hard to cost something before design even starts. Pure delaying tactic.
      It goes on, but the point is that the goal was not to impact green space more than necessary, and there were lots of opportunities to remove paving for no net change. We should start with basketball courts, and the parking lot next to them which was deemed vital, in part, because basketball players like to carry lots of stuff in their cars and need to park close by. No, I’m not making this up.

  2. On the other hand, the staff proposal had a ton of green space removed by adding a sidewalk along Cornwall. This project was an attempt to fix a significant gap in the Seaside Greenway and to improve safety by separating walking and cycling.
    WRT Arbutus, what was the previous usage? All I remember is a rough path which was occasionally shared by people walking and cycling. The current paths were created after extensive (and expensive) consultation and are indeed temporary. Final design is not yet determined. The temporary paths allow people to explore the greenway and to provide input to the final design.
    Also, why is it OK to have walking paths, tennis courts, parking lots, roads, swimming pools, restaurants, basketball courts, sport fields, community centres, more parking lots, aquariiums, space centres, archives, museums, more parking lots, etc. in parks but somehow a safe cycling path where families with children and people of all ages and abilities can ride to park destinations or enjoy the complete length of the Seaside Greenway is somehow not OK?

  3. If you want fun, y’all come join me on Vanpoli on Facebook … they’re barrels of fun to debate (though I don’t think they know it).

  4. Re the lower photo showing the undecided Jericho bike lane .The solution is simple.
    Remove the PGR parking spaces at the NW end of PGR and carry the bike lane straight through to the West and then connect to the trails further on.
    Do not wait until a child is killed by the current configuration.

  5. An interesting comparison can be made between the proposed Kits bike lanes and the currently under construction separated bike lanes in South False Creek. The latter have resulted in quite a bit of grass being paved over, but there’s been little to no opppostion from the locals, unlike Kits point. Why?

    1. Because the project was initiated by meetings with the cycling community and local residents. The issue was the same as at Kits, heavy use on a narrow path. It was then promoted to the City Transportation team, who led it. PB staff provided valuable input around trees and green space, but it was City staff who led consultations and engagement. And they did a very good job of it. The consensus achieved was very high. One of the first speakers at the council meeting was a resident that I participated at a meeting with at the very start. His talk was essentially that he never cycled, he walked there every day, and he fully supported the project. That was very gratifying to hear.

  6. There Is a better example than Jericho. Look to the Stanley Park Cycling Plan. Years of consulting the public, with an outside consulting team to boot. Finalized. Approved by the Park Board. That was 2012. Then an implementation plan, and an implementation budget, approved by Park Board in 2013.
    Still waiting.
    One of the high conflict zones is not marked for where people on bikes and people walking should be., which is why there is conflict. No new paving required, it is plenty wide enough, it just needs a sign with an arrow. Multiple meetings with PB staff. A joint site visit. Approved funds sitting in an accrual account since 2013. But a problem. It was deemed too risky to erect a sign because when there is digging, there may be sensitive areas with archeological significance. OK. Makes sense. How about a stencil on the path. Paint, no excavation. No, because that would lead to people feeling entitled, apparently. Shouldn’t people riding a bike on a marked bike path be entitled to be there? Apparently not.
    This was about a crash conflict zone identified through the 2010-2012 public consultation and included as a recommended fix. It needs signage, nothing more. A problem there is that such signs are done by Engineering, and this in a Park, so it is PB responsibility. We have a misalignment between authority and resources, again. It is far worse now than in 2012 because of the new separated paths on the Causeway, which MOTI built. Two more years have passed. And people continue to have conflicts at that spot.
    But at least no one is feeling entitled (to feel safe when using the Park).

  7. 1/ let’s pass the partisanship observations:
    The Park board which has put on hold the bike lane work was a Vision controlled one.
    (and they did righly so…):
    the solution to it is very simple and has been described by larry estrin above: it is all in the hand of the CoV and not the park board.
    2/ I like the Park board Staff preferred alignment at Kits
    (oldies here remember that I was called name by the bikelane brigades, for daring to suggest better solution should have been explored at the time), but here is the rub:
    It appeared from the PB meeting that the arbutus alignment was effectively the main contentious point. There is mention of it in the staff report, and endorsement of many other points done here, and staff mentioned the very above street arrangement in the meeting, but as pointed out by Peter Ladner (cited by the Sun) , the staff report was keeping “unnecessarily vague.”
    As Jeff mentioned, it is effectively probably due to the fact that is in the CoV juridiction, like the sidewalk extension on South Cornwall (another great improvment over 2013) …and like the now required alignment (by court unjunction) of the bike path on Ogden street ROW.
    What progress did the CoV on those matters in the last 4 years? Who is delaying who?
    So far I can see, the COV has taken a wishy washy approach to speak the less…and the risk by approving the staff report was that the park board was putting itself into a corner: it could have relieved the city of any intensive to redesign the Arbutus ROW. Here the park board infine says: as long as there is no COV commitment to build a bike lane on the Arbutus ROW. nothing gonna happen under our stewardship.
    The puck is now with the CoV: I am fine with that.

    1. The Park board which has put on hold the bike lane work was a Vision controlled one.
      There are 3 NPA commissioners, 2 Green, 1 Vision Vancouver, and 1 independent.

    2. the bike lane has been put on hold in early 2014 both in Kits, and in Jericho,
      the park board composition at the time was 5 Vision, 2 NPA…

    3. What we need to understand here is that this project requires joint effort by the PB and by City engineering. Neither can do it by themselves (unless the City just paints a bike lane on the roadway, including on Cornwall, and calls it a day, and that is what some proponents asked for at the meeting).
      The City engineering staff don’t have jurisdiction in the park. Yet they are the ones who can assist with the path design. Park Board staff are trained in park planning, and landscape design, but not in transportation. Which is why PB staff couldn’t advance this over the past few years. It isn’t just about the connection from the park path to the street, as Commissioner Coupar stated in the meeting, but rather the whole route. There are utility boxes and a pump house along Arbutus, on the boulevard. They can’t deal with those issues.
      Engineering staff don’t have a project approved to do this, as Park Board leadership has not invited them in to the tent. So they helped PB staff prepare a concept proposal, and it went to commissioners, who punted it (even though there was no cost, no final route, no detail design yet). If Commissioners don’t say clearly, we want to address this, why would any staff (PB or Engineering) waste time on it? It seems clear that not fixing it is the preferred course of action of some commissioners.
      Commissioners asked if the path could use the street ROW (not just a painted line, but move the curbs, etc). Engineering responded in the meeting that that was their interest, and it might involve eliminating parking on one side, or making it one way, or both, but first there had to be a traffic study, consultation with the neighbours, consultation with emergency services, and they could do all that and come back with what the options were. Commissioners declined to endorse that plan to do a design.
      The puck is clearly with the commissioners. There was an open winger waiting for a pass, offering to help, all they wanted was a nod and the pass. The commissioners didn’t just fail to pass the puck, they took it and went home. And for some meeting attendees, that was called winning the game.

    4. Voony. That alignment would be okay with me. I would prefer it a little more in the park but anywhere around there is fine. The one thing about it is that it assumes that the reason to bike there is to go past the park and not to it. We already have York for that. What people want is to bike in the park.
      But if something like this is all that can politically happen at this point, it wouldn’t be so bad.
      It’s wrong that you were called names. I don’t support that.

  8. I also am perplexed about what this is really all about. Is it just partisan politicking? Is it an irrational fear of cycling? Is it fear of the changing world we live in? The reasons they state don’t make any sense so all we can go on is speculation.
    I hope one day this is sorted out. It might be a long time though.

    1. Separating pedestrian and cyclists on other areas of the Seawall has not been controversial. What is it about [some of] the residents of Kits Point that is different?

      1. Maybe it really is just all about parking spots. Maybe they’re annoyed in general at all cyclists everywhere because they were delayed by one of “them” once. Anti-cycling/anti-cyclist sentiment is so hard to figure out (and was such a surprise to many when it surfaced.)
        In most places in the world cycling is welcomed as a sign that they’re doing something right. Parks are seen as one of the natural places for recreational cycle paths. What is wrong with these people?

        1. Yes, but then one has to see comments by David Fine. Like this one:
          David Fine
          Replying to @pladner
          Then please say that. #WeAreHUB doesn’t want that. They want it through the green space. Everyone showed up to stop that happening.
          David wasnt there. And he didn’t participate in the discussions HUB had beforehand with the KPRA. He certainly didn’t ask what HUB’s position was. And because of the deferral motion, he didn’t get to hear it.
          He would have been surprised.
          Some people showed up to preserve parking. Others to fight the Hadden legal issue again (one told me that the whole Kits Park was actually Hadden Park). Some showed up to argue against public consultation.

        2. Boy if I had a time machine. Hitler first obvs, but then I think I’d make time to deal with Hadden. Comes to Vancouver, ‘donates’ someone else’s land because he can’t abide women, children, and men on the bathing on the same beach, puts a dumb covenant on it, builds a house in West Vancouver, lets it burn… and never comes back. To be hailed as a hero by the creme.

      2. What is different is that folks live there with splendid view in multimillion $ homes AND that there are lots of kids. Maybe make Ogden and Arbutus a one way street with angled parking on one side and a bike lane on the other.

      3. Ogden isn’t under discussion. It wasn’t part of the PB staff proposal. There is a separate opportunity to build a protected bidirectional bike lane on the north side of Ogden, where parking is not permitted anyway, and with no encroachment into Hadden Park, but that wasn’t a debate topic this week.
        The PB staff recommendation, endorsed by the cycling community, was to go along Arbutus, with a protected bike lane, not a painted one. The extent to which it could be built on the ROW depended on traffic modelling, emergency vehicle access, and potential parking impacts. Residents were clear in their request for no reduction in parking, as was the Kits Coalition, even asking at one point in the meetings for additional paved parking in the Park.
        The motion wasn’t to build a bike lane. It was for PB staff to work with engineering to see what was possible, and report back to commissions. That was what commissioners decided to defer and not vote on.

    2. Posters here will find it hard to understand but there is a strong sentiment amongst those I know (who aren’t cyclists) that Vision fiddled with bike lanes while the housing market burned. It may not be fair to paint as either/or but that’s going to be the narrative in the next election.

      1. It is unfair and inaccurate. If any city only did one thing things wouldn’t work. The city is (rightfully) doing all sorts of things in many areas. If they hadn’t put in any cycle routes it wouldn’t have made a difference to housing.
        What I’m hearing from people I know is that they’re moving too slowly with cycling infrastructure. People have different perspectives. I get it.
        I see the notion coming from the mainstream media which consistently highlights the cycling aspect of any project, even if it’s minor or nonexistent. This gives people the impression that they’re fixated on it or something. Far from true of course but there you go.
        I for one would like to figure these people out because they’re getting in the way of people’s mobility options. If their needs can be met or their myths dismantled then we’ll get somewhere. If they would be more honest about what they want it would help.

  9. I thik there is no “bigger agenda”, either pro- or anti-bike here.
    They issue is it is a busy park with multiple users. As such there is really no need to pave this park used by many with kids. Tough to accommodate folks that wish to park their car, walk or have a picnic and bikes too, unless route is far away from water ie through Kits Point.
    York Ave bypass functional for commuters. Tourists can ride through Kits Point or push their bike a few blocks along Kits Beach to Maritime Museum.
    Or make Ogden and Arbutus a one way street with angled parking on one side and a bike lane on the other.
    Many options, none ideal.

    1. There is not a need to pave more of the Park than necessary, there are options that reduce impacts by using current paving. And there are opportunities to reduce existing paving.
      Curious as to why you think kids on bikes should be excluded from the Park, while kids walking, playing basketball, playing tennis, using the washrooms, going to the concession stand, etc, are all welcomed in. Some kids are more deserving?
      Commuters on York have nothing to do with this. But since you bring up York, there is a school right there. Maybe a good place for the basketball courts?
      There already is a Seaside bypass route on Arbutus for faster riders. We are talking about the Park route, which runs along the beach and around the point, and which has been recognized as a bike route (it is a multi use path route) by the Park Board since 1998. They voted on a report then, with maps showing the route, as part of the implementation of the helmet law for Park bike paths. The goal is just to take bikes off that waterfront path and return it to pedestrians. But that needs an alternate route.

      1. A bike path parallel to walking path would reduce usable park space quite a bit. Very busy route for kids and people walking. As stated above best might be on Ogdenand Arbutus with angled parking, oneway for cars.
        By Kits Pool to Maritime Museum too narrow and far too busy to squeeze in a dedicated bike route.

      2. There already is a (shared) bike path there. A separate bike path parallel to a walking path along the beach would squeeze park space a lot, which is why the push for a separated bike path back near the Arbutus alignment. The current shared walking and cycling path along the beach just isn’t safe at busy times.

  10. If the Kits Park Defence Militia was really concerned about green space they would be celebrating the new green space created along the Point Grey Road Seaside Greenway.

    1. They could visit Alder Bay and see the new green space created along the Seaside Greenway there with the recent work. Paving taken up. Looks great. It is scheduled to open in the next few weeks.

    2. I checked out the Vanpoli facebook page where some of the notable Park Defense League people hang out. It looks like these same people launched the petition to not introduce pay parking in Spanish Banks. This park is notable for the loss of green space due to parking lots which fill up much of the park. Why did they not embrace pay parking so that demand would be reduced and then some of this parking could be returned to green space?

      1. Its odd how equity enters their vocabulary when it comes to standing up for folks who can’t afford to pay for parking at Spanish Banks, but not when it comes to accessing the parks by any other method.
        Fundamentally, cars = good … else = not.

  11. “As such there is really no need to pave this park used by many with kids.”
    I bet it’s empty right now. It’s empty most of the time, because except for a few dry weekends in summer it’s an empty, soggy field for the most part. We are having a big fight over wet grass. Amazing when you think about it.
    ‘Pave the park’ is hyperbole. Please don’t hyper the bole.

    1. That goes for a lot of Vancouver Chris. How busy are bike lanes on a rainy winter day vs a summer one?

      1. “How busy are bike lanes on a rainy winter day vs a summer one?”
        Busier than Hadden Park’s soggy field on almost any day except for a small peak during summer weekends. Regardless, if the highest use for Kits Park is determined by usage at its busiest peak, that included lots of cyclists… and there is room for picnickers and a bike path.
        Here’s the thing that sticks in my craw about this. I went to the rally some time back to ‘save’ Hadden Park and its trees. And I saw a lot of so-called nature lovers… complete with disposable paper cup shout down Constance Barnes and basically act like a mob. Some trees are more equal than others I guess. Some people’s perspectives more welcomed too.

  12. Thanks to Mobi and their data tracking of usage, we have information on how much riding is done relative to rainy days and colder days. This is data for Mobi bikes, but it seems reasonable to use this as a proxy for other bikes.
    I don’t have the graphs (and haven’t found them online yet) but they were presented at the T2040 stakeholder meetings.
    The Mobi bike usage was tracked and graphed. Then information on days with rain were added in, and average daily temperatures were added in.
    The results showed that there was a lack of correlation with ridership relative to rainfall. I think that for Mobi bikes, that may be because even when it rains, it doesn’t necessarily rain all day.
    What the results did show was a strong correlation with ridership relative to daily temperatures. When it is very cold, people rode less.
    Considering that most Mobi riders won’t have rain gear with them when going for a ride (by observation) I suggest that regular riders would show less correlation between ridership and rainy days that riders on Mobi bikes do.

    1. I can see that. In June when it’s warm I have no problem getting a bit wet but in January wet and cold it’s a different story. (Dry and cold is a different story again and if there’s no ice it’s fine.)

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