After five years of planning and three separate public consultation phases, the Vancouver Park Board is ready to move forward with a preferred route for a controversial bike lane through Kitsilano Beach Park.
On Monday, Park Board commissioners will consider a report with a City staff recommendation to approve a preferred alignment that brings a new bike lane onto grassy park space.
From the west, the route begins at Balsam Street and Point Grey Road and almost hugs Cornwall Avenue between Balsam Street and Yew Street.
But between Yew Street and Arbutus Street, the bike lane makes an intrusion onto a large existing grass area, and then it turns north and runs on a portion of the south parking lot before continuing onto grass space next to Arbutus Street’s west sidewalk. About 10 parking stalls will be lost.
At the northern end of the beach park, north of McNicoll Avenue, the bike lane veers deep into a grassy, treed picnic area to connect with Ogden Avenue towards Vanier Park.
According to staff, this route has a low potential for pedestrian conflict and vehicle conflict and is furthest away from the beach.
Previous route options considered would take the bike lane route to an area immediately adjacent to the beach and Boathouse Restaurant entrance, but after receiving public criticism the preferred route takes cyclists “‘to’ and not ‘through’ key destinations and gathering spaces.”
Altogether, the preferred route option with a 10-ft-wide bike lane will result in the removal of about 10,000 sq. ft. of existing park space. Some trees in the way of the bike lane including “overgrown shrubs and invasive tree species” will also need to be cut down.
The report also states there will be improved pedestrian connections along Cornwall Street and into the park and a new design for the park entry at the foot of Yew Street.