The Vancouver Park Board has announced that starting this week, cars will no longer be allowed into Stanley Park.
The announcement was made Tuesday morning by Malcolm Bromley, General Manager of the Vancouver Park Board. Bromley says that while there are many environmental benefits from the directive, the main priority is to ensure public safety.
“We’re doing it to reduce congestion in the park, to provide space on the roads within the park, and to relieve congestion on the adjacent seawalls,” he told reporters.
Despite closing parking lots a week ago, the park has dealt with an abundance of vehicle traffic, particularly on sunny days, as well as people parking illegally on the road.
The Vancouver Park Board says that an abundance of signage will be set up, as well as physical barriers and checkpoints that are patrolled by rangers and the Vancouver Police Department.
Digital traffic signs on Georgia Street, English Bay, and the Stanley Park Causeway will also alert drivers of the closure.
Access will remain open to police, Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services, and TransLink’s 19 bus, which passes through the park. The staff of the Rowing Club, Yacht Club, HMCS Discovery, Prospect Point, and the Stanley Park Ecology Society will also have access.
These measures will begin on Wednesday at 12 pm and will remain indefinitely.
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Once the closures are in place, cyclists are being asked to move off the seawall and to begin using the adjacent Stanley Park Drive, which will be free of traffic.
Bromley adds that the Park Board has also been concerned about joggers.
“We’re finding that sometimes joggers and runners are making it difficult for pedestrians, particularly the elderly, those with disabilities, or perhaps even a dog,” he says.
He asks that joggers and runners perhaps run at different times and to always be considerate of other individuals using the seawall.
Over the past weekend, Vancouver Park Board rangers issued over 700 warnings to individuals and groups to maintain proper physical distancing.
A total of 718 reminders were given out — double the amount that was issued last week.
The Park Board also announced an initiative to send out city staff as “champions.” These individuals are dressed in bright yellow vests and are deployed to Vancouver’s busiest parks, such as Stanley Park, Kitsilano Beach, Sunset Beach, and English Bay.