Stanley Park to fully reopen to cars next weekend, with bike lane abolished

Sep 18 2020, 9:27 pm

The temporary bike lane along Stanley Park Drive is set to be erased, as the Vancouver Park Board has made a decision to allow full vehicle access onto the roadway, with cyclists returning to the Stanley Park seawall.

This change will come into effect on Saturday, September 26. The configuration from traffic cones, equipment, and signage will be dismantled starting at 8 pm the previous day, which will necessitate the temporary overnight closure of Stanley Park.

Two lanes of vehicle traffic on Stanley Park Drive will be made accessible by morning, except for the 700 metres of roadway between Beach Avenue and Lagoon Drive, where existing traffic patterns will remain in place to maintain the changes to Beach Avenue for cyclists.

Additionally, full vehicle access to Stanley Park’s local roads will be available at the entrances into Stanley Park Causeway. All parking will be fully reopened, except for the parking near Ceperley Meadows.

Following roadway rules, cyclists will still be permitted to use Stanley Park Drive, just as they did before the pandemic.

The controversial, prolonged changes that banned cyclists from the seawall and diverted them onto the roadway was deemed as a measure to provide cyclists and pedestrians with more physical distancing space.

Initially, all vehicles were banned from Stanley Park, between April 8 and June 22, until the Park Board spent $200,000 on dividing Stanley Park Drive into one lane for vehicles and one lane for cyclists.

stanley park september 26 2020

Stanley Park road configuration starting on September 26, 2020. (Vancouver Park Board)

“With children back in school, and with COVID protocols and behaviours in place, the data tells us we can return the park to its conventional traffic patterns and we are grateful to everyone who has given us feedback on their experience in the park this summer,” said Dave Hutch, the Park Board’s director of planning and park development, in a statement.

“A lot has changed since the early days of the pandemic. While we are seeing an uptick in cases throughout the province, we also know a lot more now about how people can use outdoor spaces with lower risk and we are confident the public has developed a new understanding and appreciation for keeping distances outdoors.”

The park’s private businesses, particularly the restaurants deep in the park, blamed the limited road access and reduced parking at their locations as contributing factors to their financial losses during the COVID-19 downturn, and threatened legal action against the Park Board.

The single lane for vehicles also caused congestion, resulting in delays of as much as 30 minutes, when Stanley Park Horse-Drawn Tours resumed their operations on the car lane.

For less experienced cyclists, there were also issues with climbing up the steep hill before Prospect Point.

The Park Board is currently seeking public feedback on the park’s transportation system changes through an online survey that has seen over 10,500 respondents to date. The survey’s deadline was originally September 13, but it has been extended to this Sunday, September 20.

Earlier this summer, Park Board commissioners directed staff to conduct a feasibility study on reducing vehicle volumes in Stanley Park over the longer term.

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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