Cycling
May 21, 2020

Seaside Redesigned: Why Seaside won’t go back to the way it was

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 – expansion of bikeways throughout the city.  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.

 

Read more »

 

After a cycle from the West End to Jericho, the contrast between those parts of Seaside that allow for sufficient separation and distancing with those that don’t became more obvious than ever.  More than that, it’s evident that the status quo is unacceptable.

The City and Park Board cannot on one hand tell us to keep two to ten metres apart and then, on the other, not provide sufficient space and proper instructions.  It has led to mutual irritation among users. And, bottom line, in a pandemic it’s just not safe.

Some examples.  (Click title to get all images.)

Pandemic approved:

Seaside at Coal Harbour, April 11

 

Not pandemic approved:

Seaside near Second Beach, August 2018

Read more »

If a work environment is reported to tolerate inappropriate and hostile interactions, in tone or vocabulary, it can be considered an unsafe space – and even debated in the national news.  But here it’s possible for an environment to be physically unsafe and, in the case of the Vancouver Park Board, be considered business as usual.

An example from Peter, an unaffiliated resident who cares about this kind of thing:

On May 30th of this year, Bikehub informed us that the Park Board had decided to implement a “quick fix” this summer to the Seaside Greenway that currently goes through the Kits Beach parking lot (an absolutely disgraceful and very dangerous section of what is otherwise fantastic bike infrastructure). Apparently, this is said “quick fix”: Read more »

Just a reminder.  The extensive changes and improvements to Point Grey Road (despite the silly charges regarding the rich and real estate) is because of this:

The natural foreshore between Kitsilano and Jericho Parks is going to remain this way.  It was never really an option to extend the seawall along here.  And yet without some connector that met a reasonable definition of safety, accessible to all ages and abilities, the missing link would have become intolerable.
So yes, Point Grey Road is essentially a piece of the seawall and the Seaside Greenway.
 

Read more »