Seaside Greenway: all the paths along the waterfront, from Coal Harbour to Spanish Banks.

One of the best continual waterfront pathways in the world. The result of a century and a half of political commitment and constant addition.

In the 1990s, separated routes were state-of-the-art design as the Seaside enveloped False Creek.  Vancouverism at its best.  (Examples in the video above.)

Certainly a new standard for active transportation.

David Lam Park Seaside Extension – 1998

Vancouver loved it.  A generation of cyclists, runners, walkers was raised on it, of every age and agility.

But the road-like design was not a standard some park board commissioners were comfortable with, reflecting the general anxiety Vancouverites feel when it  comes to paving paradise.  In Kitsilano Park, they stopped trying.

Nonetheless, Seaside was connecting up. More kilometres opened every year in the nineties, the region was building a network in the 2000s, the Bikeway Network was in full bloom. Add in downtown bike lanes, Burrard Bridge, Point Grey Road.  Growth was inevitable.

Like any attractive and free transportation option, it began to fill up.  But we weren’t anywhere near incoherent congestion.  Wheel and feet got along pretty well on Seaside – except in some of the parks.  And there was still room for tourists.

Then, March of 2020.  Overnight we found out what our very own latent demand was when Park Drive and Beach Avenue became Flow Ways*.

Vancouver immediately experienced the difference, and they liked it.

Best of all, it took the pressure off the seawall. If the Beach Flow Way didn’t exist, those bicycles would be back in places like this:

 

How could deliberately doing that be defended? It probably can’t.

Basically, there’s no status quo to return to.  Now we have to design successfully for the world we are believe we are in.

As the awareness of the future of Seaside is developing, the summer will progress. And it will be just us Vancouverites on Seaside  There are no tourists.

By fall, if we’re responsive and there’s a will for more change, we’ll have essentially designed the next stage of Seaside.

 

Comments

  1. Let’s not forget the rise of e-bikes too.

    Unclear why routes along Jericho or Kits don’t have proper cycle lanes.

    Beach Ave could be closed for cars except some locals. However we need access to Stanley Park and Spanish Bank beaches by car too. Closed parking lots make no sense whatsoever in both locations !! Open them up as not everyone lives close by, bikes or loves buses.

  2. Gordon, in your recount you skipped the situation along South False Creek. The paths, in some places shared, were built a generation earlier than the paths at David Lam Park, and they filled up. Congestion became a problem. People didn’t feel comfortable walking there. A project was initiated in 2015 that considered local residents, visitors, room for walking, and room for cycling. Those improvements were led by City Engineering staff, with Park Board staff participating.

    It worked out very well, and we are all using the new paths now. From Olympic Village to Creekside Drive (right before the Burrard Bridge) it is much more comfortable for people using various modes. There is still a traffic calmed street (Charleson and Lamey’s Mill) as a bypass for faster cyclists who just want to connect, but the paths near the water are very popular.

    The same needs to be done elsewhere along the Seaside Greenway, including near Kits Beach Park, and at Sunset Beach. City staff know how to do it. Park Board staff can work with them, each respecting their own jurisdictions. It isn’t rocket science.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *