In 2016 when a report on Point Grey Road becoming the Seaside Greenway went to Council, there was much discussion about separating walking from biking, and ensuring that sidewalks were adequate and wide enough. You can reference that report here.
Of course some residents had usurped public city owned boulevard property as their own, by adding in shrubbery and fences, and were none too pleased when the City needed that public property for public things, like sidewalks and boulevards. There was even discussion from residents that they would be more likely to crash into pedestrians and cyclists with the hedges and trees removed. You can’t make this stuff up.
It is always instructive to look back at what people feared of and to look at how things actually progressed. When the Seaside Greenway was approved, real estate values on Point Grey Road apparently increased by 30 percent. It is a traffic calmed, quiet street. And yes, there is an elephant in the yard, in the 3600 block of Point Grey Road.
I have written that privately owned landscaping on public property may always be challenged. As the city grows and enhances walking and cycling mobility there will be more vigilance to ensure that homeowner landscaping does not impede proposed city works, or indeed, city owned property.
Sadly, the Point Grey elephant’s enclosure does take up some publicly owned property too, and the fence was not moved as part of the improvements for the Seaside Greenway.
Instead the pavement was widened to take up more of the city owned grass boulevard between the curb and sidewalk so not to inconvenience the property owner’s fence.
And further on in the 3800 block of Point Grey Road adjacent to Hastings Mill Park it is quite clear that the sidewalk is not wide enough, with the muddy tracks on either side of the cement showing the “desire lines”. In a park in winter people want to keep their feet dry.
While 1.8 to 2 meter widths of sidewalk are universally accepted as good minimum standards, the intensity of use of the sidewalk and location also needs to be considered. It’s that kind of attention to detail that is needed as use of the Seaside greenway increases, and the appreciation of everyone’s right to the public realm is reinforced.