Jeff Leigh, as always, provides some helpful background and perspective:

That path through Kits Beach park has been on the City inventory of bike paths for decades. Some Park Board commissioners have expressed on several occasions over the past few years that it isn’t actually a bike route now, since they didn’t vote for it and it is their jurisdiction, not the City’s. This is despite the fact that it is shown in the Vancouver City bylaw (with a drawn map) and in the City GIS database. That database is used to publish the City free bike maps. We pointed out to the Park Board commissioners and staff that they have in fact acknowledged it as their path in their Park Board meetings.

The oldest reference we were able to find that acknowledged it as a Park Board path was when Vancouver enacted the bicycle helmet bylaw, and wanted to include City facilities that were off-street. The City Council motion was in February 1998 (and was moved by councillor Gordon Price). Staff then made a list of all the paths, but City staff couldn’t make a bylaw for the city park paths since it was Park Board jurisdiction. Park Board staff prepared a report (April 1998) with a map of their paths, and Commissioners voted on it, in June 1998. It passed unanimously. That was in support of putting a helmet bylaw on Park paths per an attached staff report, not to declare some routes paths and some not, but it shows that at the time they considered it a formal bike path.

Park Board staff have more recently advised that they don’t consider the 1998 documentation to be significant in determining whether they consider that path to be a bike route or not. When stencils stating “No Cycling” were applied to the paved portion of the official path a few years back, and this was brought to their attention, Park Board staff removed the stencils. Now a few years later, they have applied them again.

All this matters in the push for improved walking and cycling facilities in Kits Beach Park because public perception can be different depending on where we are coming from, what our starting point is. Some claim that there is an effort to put a new path through the park, and remove green space. Others point out that there already is an official path, and the desire is actually to move the bike path farther away from the water, but still in the park, where it is less congested, and so return the waterfront path to people walking. By claiming that there is no path there now, Park Board staff effectively create more public pushback from special interest groups.

Just as the “To, Not Through” de facto policy for bikes routes in parks has never been officially voted on by the Park Board, so it seems is the very status of the AAA bike routes in parks like Kits, Vanier and Jericho.

So let’s ask them – and we’ll keep it simple:
Should the AAA bike routes marked on the official City map above be removed?
The fact that Parks and City may be studying them is not a sufficient answer; we want to know what each commissioner thinks their status is at the moment.   Do these AAA bike routes even ‘exist’?
PT will send an email to each commissioner, and we’ll report back here and find out where they stand.


  1. Thanks Gordon. It will be interesting to see how Park Board commissioners respond to your request. Once you have their responses, we can forward the responses to the survey questions on cycling in parks that we at HUB Cycling sent to all candidates during the last election. It would be good to compare them. And to note which commissioners declined to answer the survey questions.

    There is broad support for addressing the unsafe shared multi use path right in front of the concession (noting that it is congested in summer months, not all year). This is currently managed with moveable signs, deployed when necessary by Park Board staff. It would be good to see this path relocated to the east of the concession, exactly the same as has been done at other concessions (Sunset Beach, Second Beach, Locarno Beach), and still in the park. This isn’t the approach that Park Board staff took with their recommended solution for the paths in Kits Beach Park in 2018 (and which commissioners at the time did not accept, referring the report and recommendations back to staff for “more study”). That recommendation took the path out to Cornwall and Arbutus, keeping people on bikes out of the park, and away from the beach, concession, pool, and restaurant. It was essentially a push for “To, not Through.” More recent staff work on the Van Play strategy has recognized the importance of people cycling both To and Through parks, so hopefully that will be recognized in their next set of recommendations for commissioners.

  2. Near kits beach it would have always made sense to have the AAA bike route go from Burrard Bridge to Point Grey Road along Cornwall rather than York Avenue. York Avenue is circuitous, farther from commercial destinations and requires a greater elevation change. That section of Cornwall has two lanes of car capacity sandwiched between one lane of capacity. A true s*** sandwich for the environment.

    1. Agreed Nicholas. Many of us made that point at open houses during early planning. York works okay (for me anyway) but Cornwall would have been better. The argument from planners at the time was it would have hindered transit. It was difficult to argue the point with those who should, in theory, have better information on the subject.

      But recreational riding along the seaside route could be so much better and there’s little in the way of good excuses for big improvements around Kits Point.

      Hopefully Cornwall will be revisited at some point. The underlying worry of congestion for which transit made a convenient excuse never materialized. As usual.

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