If a work environment is reported to tolerate inappropriate and hostile interactions, in tone or vocabulary, it can be considered an unsafe space – and even debated in the national news.  But here it’s possible for an environment to be physically unsafe and, in the case of the Vancouver Park Board, be considered business as usual.

An example from Peter, an unaffiliated resident who cares about this kind of thing:

On May 30th of this year, Bikehub informed us that the Park Board had decided to implement a “quick fix” this summer to the Seaside Greenway that currently goes through the Kits Beach parking lot (an absolutely disgraceful and very dangerous section of what is otherwise fantastic bike infrastructure).
Apparently, this is said “quick fix”:

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“New stencils in the Kits Beach parking lot. Apparently we are to ride in both directions, right at oncoming traffic, too close to the parked cars. This doesn’t help, at all.”
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Park Board Commissioners and staff should be deeply ashamed that this is considered a ‘quick fix’. This changes absolutely nothing for those of us who bike through this parking lot on a regular basis, and especially for all the tourists cycling through this part of Vancouver, who may not be familiar/comfortable with cycling through this chaotic section of the Seaside Greenway. In fact, based on research, these sharrows are likely to make the situation more dangerous for cyclists:
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“A 13-year study of a dozen cities found that protected bike-lanes led to a drastic decline in fatalities for all users of the road. As for painted bike-lanes? No safety improvement at all. And for sharrows, it’s safer to NOT have them.
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I fail to understand how Vancouver’s Park Board can be so consistently and obviously anti-bike (as has been the case for well over a decade), in such sharp contrast to the City of Vancouver’s commendable pro-bike efforts.
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Truly shameful! Citizens and tourists of Vancouver deserve much better!
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Comments

  1. The stencils painted on the MUP along Cornwall are an improvement, as is the trimming of the vegetation to allow full use of the path. More markings are expected on the street (Balsam) by the City, not the Park Board, to direct people on bikes into and out of the path along Cornwall.

    The stencils on the wide path from Cornwall and Yew back to the parking lot could have actually included a painted lane for people walking, and a painted lane for people cycling, as it is sufficiently wide. Missed opportunity.

    The stencils in the parking lot are a mistake. The Park Board crew used the bike path stencil, when the sharrows (share arrows) stencil was intended. We can debate the value of the sharrow symbols, but at a minimum, they indicated where to position a bike. The stencils that were applied tell people to ride too close to parked cars, in a single line, and thus make a bad situation worse.

    The no cycling stencil at the west end of the parking lot, on the wide section of path, is also an error. It is placed directly on the official bike path, as documented in City bylaws, and shown on City maps. It should be removed as it will just cause conflict with people who assume others shouldn’t be cycling there, when in fact riding to the service lane beside the restaurant is far safer than using the parking lot.

  2. Given that the Park Board are going to keep the parking lot route for some time yet, until they come up with a solution to the full Seaside Greenway route through Kits Beach Park, it was suggested that they could change the parking lot traffic flow. There are three vehicle access points to the street for this parking lot. The lane intended for bikes to share with vehicles could be marked one way for vehicles, with signs directing traffic within the parking lot, and at the entrances. There could also be signs requiring drivers to back in to the marked spaces, so they don’t back out into bike traffic. That is a basic safety rule implemented in many private parking lots.

    Neither suggestion was implemented.

  3. The Parks Board is a stubborn throwback; and frankly, people do ruin everything. Its independent position and nepotistic make up guarantee that the more the city around it changes, the more hell-bent it’ll be to preserve that simpler time before Vision ruined absolutely everything.

    The indifferent inaction is frustrating for most of us, but how much worse must it be to actually be a Parks Board member – professionally spiteful and willfully ignorant? Eesh. Tiresome qualifications.

  4. Now that the Vision party isn’t in power in City Council and the NPA is doing a bit better than they used to be, they can drop the anti-cycling schtick. It didn’t get them very far anyway.

    I was really hoping that the new faces elected to Park Board were going to make a difference. I’m disappointed so far but maybe it’s just too soon to tell. They’re under pressure from busy bodies who hold irrational fears about bikes so that’s a factor.
    They need to get all the stakeholders together and help them sort out something. This approach was successful east of the Burrard Bridge so finding some common ground should be possible here.

  5. Previous successes with AAA bike lanes on bridges, downtown, and through parks (esp English Bay) should be enough evidence that cycling and other uses can happily coexist, with gains in safety, health, joy and mobility options.
    Once a few elected people summon the small amount of political courage needed to get these changes done, we will all look back and wonder why, dear God, it took so long.

    1. Peter, I still do not forgive you for that delay. I probably never will.

      Where was YOUR courage when we most needed it? We suffered years of delay when you decided, for political priorities, to shove us cyclists under the bus in an outrageous game to win at all costs.

      I say this not to disparage you per se, but to remind us all that in our effort to make a better, more sustainable world we must drop the BS and choose to stand for our values and not for the expedience of a political win. It didn’t work for the NPA in the long run. It became a horrible crutch that decimated your party for a decade. We see this disease continue in the right of centre to this day. Please help make that divisive politics stop.

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