It’s going to be a banner year for new and upgraded parks in Vancouver, according to this Courier article:

Except for one thing.  See if you can find the word ‘cycling’ anywhere in there.  (Let’s save you the time: you won’t.)

Or check out the design for the new park at Smithe and Richards:

See the bikes: two on the City sidewalk, one on the adjacent City bikelane.  Given that this is a small park, that’s not too surprising – but it is indicative.  When looking at the failure of the Board of Parks and Recreation to actually incorporate, improve or even acknowledge the woeful condition or absence of safe and sufficient cycling facilities, the conclusion is reinforced by their capital plan: the “new era of park and facilities development” as described by Tina Mack, manager of park development, includes pretty much everything except cycling.  One gets the sense that the ‘Recreation’ in their name doesn’t involve anything with wheels (except the parking lots for the community centres).

This still stands as the Parks Board approach to cycling facilities:


    1. Except for the fact that the Vancouver Charter, Chapter 55, Part 23, gives the Park Board exclusive jurisdiction over parks, including paths and parking lots (ie. transportation/mobility – see, and last term, the NPA held the majority.

      They had the opportunity to select from a number of options, jointly planned and presented by City and PB staff, to remedy the dangerous situation at Kits Beach Park (from Balsam to Ogden – in order to facilitate the safe movement of people on bicycles to, and through, the park), and chose to stall and delay, thus kicking the can over to the current Park Board. Let’s hope this doesn’t repeat.

  1. On the other hand, the renewal and improvements to the south false creek waterfront walking and biking route was a collaborative effort between Parks and City staff. I understand that planning will soon begin on a new plan for and major investment in the English Bay Beach and Sunset Beach Parks. The future Morton Plaza will eventually provide an opportunity to improve the cycling route along Beach.

    The capital plan has several millions of dollars identified for new bike and skateboard recreation facilities. See page 36 of this report on the 2019 – 2022 Capital Plan: I searched the word cycling and it appears about 25 times in the document….and yes in the Engineering section. The commentary does notice the importance of improving safe cycling routes to parks.

    1. As you note, Michael, this is the City’s capital plan, not the Parks Board’s. I wasn’t able to find a copy, and it may also have money’s dedicated to cycling – but it’s evidently not a Parks Board priority to reach a standard already set by the City on their existing cycling infrastructure, much less the new routes.

      1. The Capital Plan (all element approved as part of the election) identifies priority projects for City projects and that includes park lands, recreation facilities and community centres as well as other City facilities and infrastructure. When I worked at the City, staff from Parks, Engineering, Facilities, Police, Fire and Planning all worked together on formulating what was considered by the Park Board (for Parks lands) and then considered by Council and then ultimately the voters.

        This page has a lot of information on the capital plan:
        Sorry I should have clarified…the references to bike and skateboard parks are on page 33 and 36 of Appendix A.

        A Review of Engineering staff’s report on 2018 – 2022 priorities for Cycling facilities (Appendix “A”) does identify a ‘Park Lane’ bike route that appears to be on eastern boundary of Stanley Park:

        The VanPlay Inventory and Engagement Report does note the importance of connectivity and it includes references to bikeways:

        We can also anticipate that ultimately the design of Northeast False Creek will provide a new and improved facility for walking and folks on wheels.

      2. Park Lane is an interesting example. In the Stanley Park Cycling Plan, approved by the Park Board commissioners in 2012, it wasn’t in the top three categories of required improvements. It isn’t within the Park, it is on the boundary, but is under the jurisdiction of Park Board. So we see it on the priority list for improved routes, championed by the Park Board, while all the other higher priority identified issues within the park go unaddressed. It is a route designed to skirt the park, rather than enter it. Surely some of the priority safety issues within the park could be addressed before this one.

        1. By park, my three are:
          1) Kits Beach park from the north end of Arbutus to Balsam, a civic embarrassment and a gap in the Seaside Greenway
          2) Stanley Park, with a prioritized list from the items identified in the approved and budgeted plan
          3) Jericho Park from Point Grey Road west, along or near the beach

          Within Stanley Park, my three are:
          1) the Coal Harbor entrance hub, with signage and marked paths (which are already paved but do not permit bikes) to Park Drive and the Causeway protected paths
          2) the path above the seawall, from Beach Ave to Ceperley Park, with sufficient space, and separation for people walking and people on bikes
          3) a protected bi directional path on Pipeline Road from Burrard Inlet to the Coal Harbour entrance hub, providing a return route from the eastern section of the Seawall path, and relieving congestion on the Seawall path to the west

  2. So if a bike path in the City’s Transportation Plan happens to pass through a park, does the Parks Board pay for it? (my guess is not)
    There could be some budgetary and jurisdictional issues at play.

    1. Paths in parks are paid for by the Park Board, but I don’t think that is the issue. It is more one of responsibility (which group does the work) and having resources with the right skill set. The people who have designed our recent bike paths work in Engineering, not in the Park Board, We absolutely need landscape designers and arborists, which the Park Board has, but those professionals don’t design transportation infrastructure.

      The new South False Creek path work was collaborative, but the planning, design, and public engagement wasn’t led by the Park Board.

  3. Tangentially related – I was just reading ‘Muck Sweat &Gears’. The author mentions Britain’s Cycle to Work Scheme whereby employees can acquire bicycles and equipment through their employer at a saving of almost 50%. This has proven popular. Everyone benefits.
    As good as bike share is, and kudos for making it dirt cheap for low income (wonder what the take-up is on that offer – how many even know), these are not desirable bikes for any kind of distance commuting, and there’s just a tiny basket in front, so they’re useless for shopping.
    A quality bike is expensive, and when kitted out with racks, panniers, lock, lights … that cost is a deterrent. A Cycle to Work scheme that stipulates this kind of a practical setup makes sense as opposed to someone looking to get a Colnago on the cheap.
    A basic maintenance course should be included too. How many know how to oil their bikes properly? How many headsets have been ruined through inattention? It’s green to take care of your bicycle.

  4. Before the municipal election had a survey question about implementing the 2012 Stanley Park cycling plan, Camil Dumont, (who was elected) said “Let’s just get on with it”, John Irwin said they would “work to insure that it is in the next capital plan.
    Great! Now let’s see them get on with it.

    1. When Park Board staff were asked at a budget meeting with commissioners and the public why there wasn’t any money included in that year’s capital budget to implement the 2012 cycling plan, they responded that they didn’t need to include an amount as they had done so previously, and it had been approved, so the funds were there and could be used. So, apparently no need to wait for the next capital plan. It just needs political will and clear directions to staff. I agree, let’s get on with it!

      Glad you liked the question to candidates. It is great to know that people followed that initiative to see how candidates responded.

      1. The Hub survey was one of (several) sources of information about candidates’ positions that I used to make my decisions. It helped me rule out some people and consider some others. It’s too bad that only a few candidates responded.

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