Park Board staff outline three options for Stanley Park bike lane's future

Feb 10 2023, 1:22 am

The debate continues over the future of the on-road protected bike lane that follows Stanley Park’s 8.5-km-long perimeter road, Stanley Park Drive.

Next week in a public meeting, Vancouver Park Board commissioners will consider three potential options outlined by Park Board staff. While all options will incorporate some changes to improve access to vehicles, they vary considerably in the length of Stanley Park Drive that would be restored to the pre-pandemic configuration of two vehicle lanes.

Last month, the ABC Vancouver majority of Park Board commissioners suspended their original plan of requesting for the full removal of the bike lane due to the expected high costs. While the existing bike lane that has been in place for much of the last few years was intended to be “temporary,” it has extensive permanent-like features, such as concrete barriers that significantly add to the complexity of removal.

Instead of a blanket full removal, Park Board commissioners directed Park Board staff to explore how components of the existing bike lane could be reused for their plans to install a permanent bike lane design — in a way that reduces traffic congestion and improves accessibility.

The similarities

All options remove or replace orange traffic cones and delineators — regarded by some as a visual nuisance — and re-establish an additional way to leave Stanley Park. Instead of forcing vehicles to make a left turn onto North Lagoon Drive towards West Georgia Street, they will be able to continue straight — passing by Cepereley Park — to reach Park Lane (on the east side of bowling club and tennis courts) for their exit from the park. Currently, the exit on North Lagoon Drive experiences extreme congestion due to backups on the Stanley Park Causeway and West Georgia Street.

stanley park drive bike lane january 2023

Existing design of the intersection of Stanley Park Drive and North Lost Lagoon Drive, with the Beach Avenue exit blocked off for the temporary bike lane. All three options would change this configuration, allowing vehicles to continue straight towards the West End. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

The entrances and exits between Stanley Park Drive and the Stanley Park Causeway (to/from Lions Gate Bridge) would also be open under all options in order to improve vehicle access for the North Shore.

With all the options, there would also be improvements to accessibility and parking of coach buses, which frequent the park during the busy summer season.

All options would maintain a cyclist by-pass within Brockton Point and Lumberman’s Arch, and the Second Beach parking lot, which previously had two through-traffic lanes instead of the current configuration of one through-traffic lane for angled parking separation.

The key differences

ABC Vancouver previously indicated the intention is to re-establish the pre-pandemic configuration of two vehicles throughout at least the vast majority of Stanley Park Drive, and reopen vehicle parking stalls along the curbside of the roadway — all in an effort to reverse continued impacts on businesses in the park, reduce traffic congestion on busy days, and improve accessibility for groups such as seniors and individuals with mobility needs.

Only Option C — returning the pre-pandemic traffic flow with added safety features — re-establishes two-vehicle lanes for the vast majority of the roadway. The 30% segment of retained protected bike lane would be largely located within the east side of the park, in and around Brockton Point, where traffic congestion is particularly problematic due to the Vancouver Aquarium’s visitation, and the operations of Stanley Park Horse-Drawn Tours.

Park Board staff have noted that the aquarium area’s 350-stall parking capacity gets full very quickly on busy days, and this creates backups that stretch all the way onto Stanley Park Drive’s single vehicle lane. Option C is also the only option that reverses the Teahouse restaurant’s parking lot to its pre-pandemic configuration.

Option C of removing most of the existing bike lane and deferring any permanent bike lane to the future carries a cost of $330,000, and can be accomplished by late Spring 2023. This is less than the previous estimated cost of $375,000 to $425,000 due to cost savings from leaving the materials in the area for 30% of Park Drive’s length.

stanley park bike lane

Option C — Stanley Park Drive bike lane. (Vancouver Park Board)

stanley park bike lane

Option C — Stanley Park Drive bike lane. (Vancouver Park Board)

Option A would retain 60% of the protected bike lane, with two vehicle lanes re-established for most sections on the west side of the park. Most of Stanley Park Drive would still have the existing configuration of one vehicle lane.

Option B, favoured most by cycling activists, is essentially the status quo of keeping one vehicle lane for the vast majority of Stanley Park Drive, apart from very short two-lane segments for vehicles near Lumberman’s Arch, the intersection with Pipeline Road, and Lost Lagoon. Option B retains 95% of the existing bike lane, and replaces the temporary segments with more semi-permanent fixtures. The existing concrete barriers and line painting would be retained, and mountain curbs would be installed.

stanley park bike lane

Option B — Stanley Park Drive bike lane. (Vancouver Park Board)

stanley park bike lane

Option B — Stanley Park Drive bike lane. (Vancouver Park Board)

Option B is the only option that does not provide congestion relief at hotspots, including for the aquarium’s parking.

Option A and Option B each have a higher cost of $550,000, with work set to be complete sometime in Summer 2023.

All three options keep open over 2,000 vehicle parking stalls in the park, with Option A and Option B opening just under 2,200 stalls and Option C opening 2,242. Prior to the pandemic, Stanley Park had a vehicle parking capacity of 2,317 stalls, with this pay parking providing significant revenue towards park maintenance and operational costs.

stanley park bike lane

Option A — Stanley Park Drive bike lane. (Vancouver Park Board)

stanley park bike lane

Option A — Stanley Park Drive bike lane. (Vancouver Park Board)

Potential future permanent bike lane concept

Based on a highly preliminary analysis upon the direction of the ABC Vancouver majority to explore building a permanent separated bike lane along Stanley Park Drive, in a way that also retains the pre-pandemic configuration of two vehicle lanes, it is estimated 1.7 km or 18% of the roadway is wide enough to fit a three-metre-wide standard separated bike lane.

About 7.5 km of Stanley Park Drive would need a widening of one to five metres into green space, treed areas, and sloped sections.

Such a permanent bike lane would likely be constructed either all at once or in two phases — the east side as one phase, and the west side as another phase. The preliminary cost estimate for each phase is between $20 million and $50 million.

stanley park bike lane permanent concept

Highly preliminary concept for the future permanent bike lane on Stanley Park Drive. (Vancouver Park Board)


Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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