Vancouver Park Board approves bike lane for Kitsilano Beach Park

Apr 13 2022, 1:40 am

The concept for a new separated bike lane within Kitsilano Beach Park that largely utilizes and parallels the route of existing pathways received the green light from the Vancouver Park Board on Monday evening.

Park Board commissioners approved the alignment recommended by their staff in a 6-1 vote, with NPA commissioner Tricia Barker opposed. The decision was relatively uncontroversial, compared to previous Park Board matters over bike lanes.

The approval also follows Park Board staff’s public consultation on their proposed alignment earlier in 2022.

Subject to further approval by the Park Board, the detailed design process will begin later in 2022, and construction could begin in early 2023. The project has a budget of $595,000.

The separated bike lane through the park would establish a new west-east, purpose-built segment of the city-wide Seaside Greenway.

At the western end of the park at Balsam Street, the existing Seaside Greenway on the street would transition to the existing multi-use pathway running west-east over two blocks, parallel to Cornwall Avenue.

A new pedestrian sidewalk would be built along the length of Cornwall Avenue to provide a replacement east-west pedestrian pathway on the north side of the street. Currently, there is no sidewalk next to the curb, and pedestrians depend on the multi-use pathway.

kitsilano beach park bike lane february 2022

February 2022 concept: Kitsilano Beach Park bike lane using the existing west-east multi-use pathway. (Vancouver Park Board)

kitsilano beach park bike lane february 2022

February 2022 concept: Kitsilano Beach Park bike lane using the existing west-east multi-use pathway. (Vancouver Park Board)

At Yew Street, the bike lane on the existing multi-use pathway would then transition to a separated route running south-north, achieved by widening the existing parallel pathway from the foot of Yew Street to the beach.

Just before The Boathouse Restaurant building, the bike lane transitions west-east by sharing the existing service lane for delivery vehicles — north of the tennis courts. This brings the bike lane to Arbutus Street, where it takes a turn north and travels along a separated route on the west side of the street, and effectively establishes a seamless connection for the Seaside Greenway. It follows the existing temporary on-road bike lane on Arbutus Street starting at Creeman Avenue, but the existing concrete barriers would be replaced with low curbing.

kitsilano beach park bike lane february 2022

February 2022 concept: Kitsilano Beach Park bike lane on widened pathways within the park, and transitioning to a service laneway. (Vancouver Park Board)

kitsilano beach park bike lane february 2022

February 2022 concept: Kitsilano Beach Park bike lane on widened south-north pathway from the foot of Yew Street. (Vancouver Park Board)

Arbutus Street between Creeman Avenue to the south and McNicoll Avenue to the north would remain open to two-way traffic, with curbside street parking on the east side of the street. This two-way ‚Äúcourtesy‚ÄĚ street, as opposed to a one-way configuration, addresses the need for safe access in the area.

kitsilano beach park bike lane february 2022

February 2022 concept: Kitsilano Beach Park bike lane on Arbutus Street north of Creelman Avenue. (Vancouver Park Board)

kitsilano beach park bike lane february 2022

February 2022 concept: Kitsilano Beach Park bike lane on Arbutus Street north of Creelman Avenue. (Vancouver Park Board)

The design also addresses the concerns of the previous bike lane route concept through the park, considered by the previous Park Board in Spring 2018. At the time, the previous concept attracted significant controversy for its route meandering through the park’s open grassy areas, and was perceived as a loss of green space.

But Barker, on Monday, expressed other concerns over the revised bike lane’s design, specifically potential conflicts between cyclists and the high number of pedestrians in the area, and people with mobility issues, including the residents of an adjacent seniors’ private hospital and care home.

“We all know that bicycles, skateboards, scooters, and e-bikes… things are traveling really fast now, and I think anyone who is walking knows how hard it is for those to stop quickly if someone is crossing the bike lane,” she said.

“We need to get our cycling speed limits down, we need enforcement, and we need to find a way to make this park safe for anyone who goes to it.”

The bike lane route was approved with the added requirement that the City of Vancouver’s Persons with Disabilities Advisory Committee conduct an on-site assessment of the bike lane design before any work begins.

When the new permanent separated bike lane is complete, the existing temporary east-west separated bike along the northern edge of Jericho Beach Park’s parking lot next to the tennis courts — installed in May 2021 — will be dismantled. The 50 vehicle parking stalls currently used for the temporary bike lane will revert to their original use as vehicle parking.

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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