Gerry O’Neil is the well regarded horseman that has been offering horse drawn tours of Stanley Park for several decades. For $50.00 for an adult or $20.00 for a child you can take a one hour tour around the park in a horse powered tram that can accommodate 26 people.
Of course Mr. O’Neil is also dealing with the current Covid Stanley Park provisions that have meant that only one lane of Park Drive is open for vehicular traffic, with the other lane dedicated for cyclists, separated by the traditional orange traffic cones.
While vehicular traffic in Stanley Park is supposed to go along Park Drive at 30 km/h per hour, it rarely is that slow as any park visitor can attest. And Mr. O’Neil’s carriage rides were for some reason dedicated to the vehicular lane as opposed to the temporary cycling lane. The average horse moves about 6 kilometers an hour at a walk, meaning that vehicular traffic stacked up behind Mr. O’Neil’s horse drawn trolley.
As Ben Miljure with CTV news reported Mr. ONeil is frustrated. ” As you can imagine, when you’ve got 30 0r 40 cars behind you waiting, there’s a level of stress that you’re hoping to get out of their way,”
While the one lane closure for cycling on Park Drive is temporary to alleviate overcrowding on the seawall during the pandemic, it is a surprise that the horse drawn trolleys were classified as vehicles as they have no motors. That is often the litmus test for whether a use belongs in the bike lane or not in many municipalities.
Take a look at Hyde Park in London where there is a generous walking lane beside a surprisingly wide bicycle lane. There the bike lane is shared with the Queen’s horses on their way to and from Buckingham Palace. Perhaps moving the horse drawn tram to the cycling lane might be a temporary consideration during this unusual summer of short-term pandemic park modifications.