Cycling
August 19, 2019

How do you cycle to Stanley Park Brewing?

A new brewpub in the old Fish House has opened in Stanley Park, next to the main tennis courts:

Isn’t the bike on the logo, front and centre, a nice touch?  It’s what you’d expect for a destination away from any major road, in a park, for an active, outdoorsy culture.

So how do you cycle to Stanley Park Brewing?

Officially, you don’t.  Go to the website for the brewpub, and here’s what you find:

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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. Read more »

Quick, when you think of the entrance to Stanley Park, is this what comes to mind?

For many, this is their first impression: a parking lot.  But others are not noticing the asphalt – instead trying to navigate through one of the most congested points in the park:

For those renting bikes at Denman and Georgia, it’s even worse:

And only the sidewalks seem like a reasonable option:

In an ideal world, some of the parking lot would be assigned for bike rental, accompanying restrooms and services, with proper separation and sufficient gathering space.  But this is the domain of the Park Board.  And we should know by now, when it comes to cycling, the Board really doesn’t give a damn.

 

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This past weekend, I decided to take a quick ride over to Jericho from the West End, just to see what was happening with the Folk Festival.

Along the way, I found several long-standing examples of the City of Vancouver’s Park Board indifference to cycling.  (I know the commissioners would disagree, but the lack of action over so many years, regardless of all the plans, consultations and rhetoric, speak otherwise.)

For instance the path pictured above, just to the west of the Aquatic Centre, connecting Beach Avenue with the Seaside Greenway —narrow asphalt and worn grass — is ambiguous, inadequate and unsafe.  If it were under the jurisdiction of the City’s engineering department, it would likely have been rectified by now (it’s been this way for decades).

But it’s Park Board territory — and another example of their attitude: #wedontcare.

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Over four-fifths of likely voters (83 percent) believe that bicycling is good for San Francisco, and that bicycling in the city should be comfortable and attractive to everyone from small children to seniors.

  • For the first time, a majority of San Franciscans (51 percent) report biking occasionally, and 31 percent report riding regularly, meaning a few times a month or more.
  • A supermajority of San Franciscans (72 percent) support restricting private autos on Market Street.
  • Most San Franciscans (56 percent) support dramatically increasing City spending on bike infrastructure from around 0.5 percent to eight percent of the City’s transportation budget.
  • Two-thirds of San Franciscans (66 percent) support building a network of cross-town bike lanes connecting every neighborhood in San Francisco, even at the expense of travel lanes and parking spots.
  • Twice as many San Francisco voters are are likely to ride a bike on unprotected bike lanes (57 percent) than on streets without bike lanes (28 percent). Likely riders jump up to 65 percent on physically protected bike lanes.
  • Most voters (54 percent) would like to bike more frequently than they do presently.
  • With so many people reporting that biking is good for our city, and expressing the desire for better infrastructure and incorporating biking more into their lives, it is no surprise that a supermajority (68 percent) believe that City leaders are not doing enough to encourage biking.

The poll was conducted by David Binder Research, surveying 402 likely voters by cell phone and land line between Saturday, Aug. 20 and Tuesday, Aug. 23, and was commissioned by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. The margin of error is 4.9 percent. Findings include: …
 
PT: As a past NPA City Councillor, I continue to be amazed that the party has not tried to reposition itself on cycling issues, still aligning itself with whatever group is currently pissed off and dog-whistling to voters that cycling will not be a priority.
That’s most evident with the Park Board on which the NPA holds a majority.  Some of the most controversial projects fall in their jurisdiction – notably Kits Park.  But their indifference extends to other parks that are on the cycling network or are major destinations – especially Jericho and Stanley Parks.  There has been no upgrading of the cycling infrastructure in years – and no indication that there will be any time soon.
The most egregious example: Second Beach in Stanley Park, a major junction for the thousands of cyclists and pedestrians who are deliberately placed in conflict:

The worst case is  the point where the yellow line switches from being a centre line for cyclists to a separation indicator for peds and bikes, without any clear indication of what’s happening.  It’s been this way for years – and apparently no one at Parks cares very much.

And then, of course, there’s this at the entrance to Jericho:

The Park Board couldn’t make a stronger statement, could it?
Ask a representative about their approach, and you’ll here about studies and plans and consultations.  But it’s also clear that there will be no political leadership, and that there is unlikely to be any action, much less a major commitment of resources, any time soon.
Which is odd.  Given the explosive growth in active transportation and the clear benefits, politicians today generally want to align themselves with this movement.  But more than, why would the Park Board continue to maintain an unacceptable status quo as the quality of infrastructure is upgraded all around them?  Their failure to address deficiencies and outstanding conflicts will only become more apparent – and annoying.
Sure, it won’t be easy to deal with unhappy constituents who see paving parkland as an unacceptable and unnecessary intrusion (regardless of the success of the Seaside route through English Bay and the False Creek parks).  But the NPA prides itself on the party that can get things done, and do it in a more balanced way than Vision.

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