$2.2 Million Kitsilano Beach Bike Lane Sparks More Protest

04_18_van_kits_courtesypaulhughesA crowd of 100 people proteseted at Kitsilano Beach Sunday to show their opposition to a $2.2 million planned bike route through the area. The bike lane will go through Kits Beach and Hadden Park,  eliminating 23 parking spots and causing memorial benches to be removed. It is scheduled to be completed by May.

Here’s the intel from Amy Judd at Global News:

They say they do not have a problem with the bike lane, but they have a problem with its placement as it will go right through Kits Beach and Hadden Park.

Residents say they fear much will be lost if the 12-foot wide asphalt path is built through the park. Other ideas included painting a bike lane through the green area.

The path was approved in October, but protesters say there wasn’t proper public consultation on the project.

“The thing that concerned us the most was the process,” says Howard Kelsey with the Save Kits Beach Now Coalition. “Very little consultation.”

“I represent about 1,000 basketball users. I’m personally on these courts about… four times a week, for probably 40 years. You have Jim Clive who founded Kits Beach Volleyball, they have more than 1,000. So we just did a quick check of our constituents, about 3,000, not one person knew anything about even the initiative, let alone the survey.”

Hundreds also showed up to a rally last Sunday and emphasized the importance of safety.

Kelsey says they will draw attention to the bike lane route and how that is the key issue at stake.

There is a bike lane already in the area, and Kelsey says the city does not need to put in another bike route so close to an existing one.

“So we asked the question, ‘why would you be putting a bike route 20 feet away from the existing bike route?’ and the answer was that the cyclists want better seaside views and better seaside experiences,” says Kelsey. “Well with all due respect, 20 feet is not going to make any difference in your sight line.”

He says they do support bike lanes, but not in a “position that endangers people.”

3 Responses to “$2.2 Million Kitsilano Beach Bike Lane Sparks More Protest”

  1. kitsresident says:

    Firstly, I’d like to say that I am happy that we have such an enthusiastic group of residents here in Kitsilano that are willing to get involved in the democratic process. I admire when people wish to have their views heard, even if I don’t necessarily agree with the view of certain people, as it is healthy for our political system and keeps governments accountable.

    On to the issue at hand, I’d like to know where other bike routes those involved with this protest group are referring to. If they are referring to the “Seaside” bike route (i.e.: West 3rd Ave.), that route is many blocks from the water and is more suited towards commuting, not family recreational cycling. If they are talking about the existing path within Kits & Hadden Parks, this path is highly congested in the summer months and is not suited for cycling use of any kind during the period roughly from June until the end of September.

    I think what is being missed here is that the Park Board doesn’t appear to be attempting to run a commuter cycling route for high speed travel through the park but rather it seems to me that they wish to provide a continuation of the existing seawall separated biking facilities in the rest of the city in order to rectify the pedestrian – cyclist conflict on the existing path in the popular months. I feel that this is a very important expansion of cycling facilities for families, not just commuters.

    On a final note (I’m probably going to get some people upset by saying this), I don’t believe that each and every decision a city or government makes ought to be subject to a lengthy and costly public consultation. While I don’t believe that governments ought to run roughshod over the public, I also believe that we elect officials that we choose to have act on our behalf (hence ‘representation’). If there are concerns about the way that things are being implemented I’m sure constructive criticism is appreciated, but I hear too often the claim that there wasn’t enough consultation used in such a way that implies that there will never be enough consultation until the government agrees with my point of view.

  2. christine says:

    Very well said @ kitsresident. I don’t live in kits so didn’t think that I had a right to an opinion, but I do cycle through Kits beach (at a leisurely pace) and think that the current path isn’t suitable.

    I also agree 100% with you about public consultation. Getting everyone to agree on everything will never happen. Some folks will simply never be happy.

  3. kitsresident 2 says:

    The current path is more than adequate. Has there been accident recently? No there has not. Most cyclists slow down when going through busy areas. They could widen the existing path a little (1 meter). It is unnecessary to build a new path and cutting trees. Not that many bikes go through that area, so what is the problem? It is not as busy as Stanley Park. The parks department is just looking for ways to spend money that it doesn’t need to.