Kitsilano Remains Deeply Divided over Point Grey Road Closure

9404313On January 18, Point Grey Road between Macdonald and Alma streets closed to through traffic for vehicles. This is part of the controversial $6-million Kitsilano greenway plan that will link Burrard Bridge to the western beaches with a bike/pedestrian route.

Cars are being diverted along Macdonald and encouraged to use 4th Avenue, Broadway, 10th Avenue or 16th Avenue to proceed farther west.

In the early days after the road closure, opinions are divided and battle lines are drawn.  To some, the city increased street safety. To others, the Point Grey Road is a an utter failure and a huge inconvenience.

Kitsilano residents staged a rally Monday, January 20 to protest the closure of Point Grey Road to through traffic.The project has divided residents and politicians and has prompted a lawsuit threat from the Kitsilano Chamber of Commerce.

From the Province: Critics say the closure will divert an estimated 10,000 vehicles a day to secondary streets, while turning Point Grey Road into a private driveway for expensive waterfront homes. The closure did not appear to impact major arteries. TransLink said buses in the area did not experience significant delays, even during rush hour.

From Metro: Proponents argued removing commuter cars from the residential street would help slow traffic and increase safety.

Are you in favour of the Point Grey Road closure? Why or why not? Weigh in below.

34 Responses to “Kitsilano Remains Deeply Divided over Point Grey Road Closure”

  1. Susan Smith says:

    I fully support the closure of Point Grey Road West of Macdonald Street to allow for local motorists only. The closure of the road, reconfiguring it as a local street rather than a secondary arterial has united the neighbourhood. Residents can FINALLY walk, run, cycle and drive safely. Prior to the closure, Point Grey Road was a dangerous speedway despite being a 100% residential street, unlike Macdonald Street, Cornwall and 4th Avenue, which are a mixture of residential and commercial properties. The dangers of narrow and congested Point Grey Road kepts residents and vistors alike from using the numerous parks and beaches there. This past weekend, after the closure, an immediate transformation was witnessed, with people of all ages and abilities, local and visiting, suddenly out using the shared road freely without fear of being hit by the previously endless stream of high volume racing vehicles. Since the closure, neighbours are stopping on the road to talk to each other, crossing the road to meet each other, and doing various activities in the stress-reduced, traffic calmed environment. Now, cyclists are on the road instead of waging war on the sidewalks with pedestrians and dogs. Local drivers can now see and negotiate cyclists on the road provided both cyclists and drivers follow the posted 30K speed and rules of the road. Residents of the area have simply taken back the street for its intended residential and recreational, not commuter, purposes. I, for one, could not be happier.

  2. Kitscyclist says:

    Susan is a selfish point grey snob that doesn’t want anyone else in here neighborhood. She is the problem in Vancouver. There is enough space on point grey road for both cars and cyclists if some parking is eliminated. Been down point grey road several times before the road was closed, there was barely that many cars parked on road. There can be a separated bike lane in addition to 2 way traffic. There is ways to make the street safer to cross for pedestrians like more cross walks, traffic lights. Speed bumps can be placed on street to slow down the few speeders. Most drivers do drive close to limit. Look at the streets besides schools and near parks, they always have speed bumps. Traffic slows down to 20-30km.

    What happened to the proposal to build a seawall? Did your neighbour Chip Wilson complain to City that he didn’t want common people cycling in front of his house.

    Everyone should get in their cars and drive to point grey road and clog it up to send a message. The street is still open.

    Also, what is with the extra police harassment at Macdonald and 3rd avenue?

    Point Grey residents are the most annoying bunch of people.

  3. Susan Smith says:

    Firstly, “Kitscyclist,” I reject your claim that you are a cyclist because if you were and had ever travelled on Point Grey Road prior to its closure to commuter cars, you would either be dead from being hit by the un-ending stream of speeding traffic on Point Grey Road, or (if still alive) would be profusely thanking those 2200 + members of your city who signed petitions in support of closing the road for your safety as a cyclist on it. Only now, after the road closure, can cyclists travel along the road without impending fear of death or serious injury. Secondly, I reject your claim that you ” have been down Point Grey Road several times before the road was closed” and “there was barely that many cars parked on the road.” If I ignore your poor grammar (which tells me, and others, a lot about you) and just focus on the content of your statements, they are complete fiction: the South Side of Point Grey Road is always replete with (full of) parked cars, primarily because most of the residences on the South side do not have garages or driveways; owners, residents and visitors have to park on the road. This is precisely why the City opted not to remove the parking on the South side of Point Grey Road. The City has, however, removed the parking on the North side of the road (where the wealthy people live), so those residents have lost their parking with the closure of the road — something that I am sure you are very happy to find out. In other words, the wealthy North siders, such as Chip Wilson, have actually had to sacrifice (give up) something that they had before — parking — so that you, and others can cycle more safely down Point Grey Road. You are welcome. Thirdly, prior to Point Grey Road being closed, it was designated as a secondary arterial, which means that no speed measures (speed bumps or traffic lights were allowed) without redesignating the road as “local” (closing it to commuter traffic). Thirdly, the speed limit on Point Grey Road is 30K, and most drivers refused to drive that slow, despite numerous enforcement attempts over the years, and despite numerous injuries, property damage and fatalities — DO SOME RESEARCH before you make false statements. Regarding your preference for a sea wall; for you information, Chip Wison offered the city a donation of $10 million for the sea wall extension to be built — he wants it, like you do, so you and he have something in common (strange though that seems). Calming the traffic on Point Grey Road permits MORE people to visit the area, not fewer, and to stay and visit safelt; it simply prevents commuter traffic (the speed demon motorists like you, who selfishly believe they have the God-given right to terrorize their fellow citizens by turning a residential road into their own public freeway for the 3 seconds it takes them to fly through the neighbourhood at break-neck speeds). Well, I have news for you, the road is CLOSED to motorists like you, not still open, as you claim, and any attempted violation of the rules of the area will be immediately ticketed. That is why there is a police presence at 3rd Avenue and Macdonald Street — commuters cannot enter or exit Point Grey Road from Macdonald Street anymore, ever.

  4. Ryan says:

    Yep…….that’s a Point Grey snob alright…….what a load of sh*t!!

  5. Greg in Kits says:

    Approximately 80% of the speakers (mostly local residents) at last summer’s public hearings opposed the road closure and related traffic changes. Ms. Smith, Ms. McColl and other closure lobbyists had early and preferrred access to like-minded staff and politicians at City Hall, and the assistance of taxpayer- funded cycle advocacy group resources in signature gathering for their petitions.

    The neighbourhood is NOT united on this. Residents and commuters will now proceed to pay the price for this hare-brained scheme, at least until the next election.

    Bring it on!

  6. Susan Smith says:

    “Ryan” — Can you do any better than mere obscenities? In contrast, I have provided you with the facts, but you don’t want to know them. “Greg” — I challenge you to prove any ONE of your statements because I know you can’t. The 2 years of PUBLIC consultation meetings regarding the safety concerns about Point Grey Road with the City were all PUBLICLY advertised and PUBLICLY attended by large audiences (hundreds of people); the City also welcomed members of the PUBLIC setting up their own meetings and asking the City to attend, which it did on many, MANY occasions. The City vote on the matter was also PUBLICLY advertised, and all two hundred PUBLIC speakers who signed up by simply calling 311 were heard over a period of 5 days at City Hall; Vancouverites were actively solicited by the City again and again over 2 years to participate in the decision-making for Point Grey Road and Cornwall. The City continued to listen to and work with citizens about this issue even after the vote. Members of the public who went door to door gathering signatures in support of the closure of the road also alerted neighbours to this impending change and urged each and every one to contact the city and fill out the City’s surveys about this issue, which literally thousands of Vancouverites did. These are the FACTS, “Grey” and “Ryan.” Look them up for yourselves if you would prefer not to believe me.

  7. Frank says:

    Who does the mayor think he is? Talk about corruption
    Closing a road like pt grey is insane if anything put these stupid bike lanes and
    Make it a one way
    Where are the people in the area that are against this? there should be people on the
    Street stopping this . Where are the petitions
    The side street like 2nd 3rd will be a lot busier cause people will cut through those
    Streets

  8. Julia says:

    This past weekend I walked the point grey road from my place in Kits to Jericho, and I have to say it was a quiet, lovely walk. I see both sides as now our street is more heavily used by commuters trying not to use 4th, and my husband works West and says the traffic has been WAY worse. There’s nothing I can do about it now so trying to look at the positive that it will be easier to ride my bike to the beach.

  9. Susan Smith says:

    Frank, the time to object or agree to the closure of Point Grey Road was over the past 2 years during the City’s public consultation process (prior to the vote being taken at City Hall last summer). In other words, you are coming awfully late to the party. Petitions were distributed on both sides of the issue, and surveys were also conducted. Literally thousands of Vancouverites responded, and there was overwelming support for closing the Point Grey Road. The reason was primarily safety on a residential street.

  10. Kitscyclist says:

    @Susan Smith

    Have traveled on PG road as both a cyclist, and driver. As a Driver, always drive close to speed limit of 30 km/h. This annoys anyone following me, they use horns and brighter lights. Most streets with lower speed limits also have speed bumps. This closure just makes it hard to anyone visiting the clubs and parks at the end of the street. It increases the length of the drive cause more fuel to be used, creating more pollution. It creates more traffic on west 4th avenue that was always congested.

    I only said that some parking needs to be eliminated to create a bike lane on one side of the street. The one block east of Alma street is an exception and parking should be eliminated on both sides or only allow one way traffic.

    A seawall would be a better option. Currently the beach is ugly and needs to be cleaned up. Too much graffiti and litter (the graffiti on Chip’s house is an exception, that is more art). It is hard to access with only a few stairs down. A seawall would help clean it up and improve access to the public beaches.

    Anyways, look forward to the next election to get rid of the vision clowns on city council and them replace with more common sense people that listen. Mr Affleck has stated that he would reopen the street.

  11. Paul says:

    All this has done is create more traffic on other streets in the neighbourhood. People need to get home and are now faced with a maze trying to get there. City Hall should come and take a look at 3rd and Bayswater for one. What were they thinking?
    I am a leisure/commuter biker and have not encountered problems. I follow the bike routes and don’t bike on streets like cornwall when we already have designated bike routes all over the city. Also kits beach has a bike route if you don’t want to cycle up a hill.
    Can’t wait for next election. Won’t vote for this bunch.

  12. Paul says:

    I have also seen research and bike routes are not a #1 priority. Our rating for most livable city is dropping.

  13. Susan Smith says:

    “Kitscyclist” and others, what makes you think that you are entitled to commute as a motorist on any road you want, at any speed you want, at any time you want, for any duration of commuting time you want, for any purpose you want, creating any safety hazards you want, for as long into the future as you want? I have big, bold news for you — you CAN’T! We are not living in a utopia; we are living in a real city with limited space, an increasing population, and an ever-growing number of transportation needs and modes. This is a fact people, so stop dreaming. You are going to have to learn to share, compromise, sacrifice and get along with others. You are not living in a world of ONE.

  14. Greg in Kits says:

    There you have it, the world according to Susan. The problems was everybody else just didn’t want to “share” her now private road.

    The only overwhelming support for this asinine initiative was among Ms. Smith, her neighbours along the now closed section of PGR, and the HUB cycle lobby. Have a look at their financial statements online if you’d have anyone believe they’re not taxpayer-funded.

    The first public airing of this scheme was in January 2013. I attended all of the open house and neighbourhood meetings, and at every one Kits residents overwhelmingly expressed anger and disagreement with the proposal. Likewise at the 3 day council meeting in late July.

    The road closure was a done deal before it was announced, notwithstanding Ms. Smith’s bleatings to the contrary.

  15. Guerrilla in Kits says:

    @Greg in Kits

    Well said. Many in Point Grey and Kitsilano are annoyed. The public meetings were a waste of time. They are just for show so that city can say they listened to everyone when they really don’t care. City council does whatever they want and don’t like listening to residents. This should be an election issue.

  16. Susan Smith says:

    “Greg” — Where is your evidence of any of your naysayer claims? You spout nonsense in the hope that the uneducated and/or unthinking will believe you. It is a fact that the majority of the speakers at City Hall on the days leading up to the vote to close the road and on the day of the vote were overwhelmingly in favour of closing the road. These facts are in evidence on video stream and at City Hall. I was there every one of those days for every second. You were not. I attended every public forum, meeting and open house that the City held; thank you for inadvertently admitting that they existed, as many of your naysayer friends deny this fact. In addition to the majority of speakers is favour of closing the road, over 2200 people signed by hand and in person a petition in favour of closing the road. You naysayers had no such petition. Further, the speakers at City Hall in favour of closing the road were well-researched with formal presentations to Council, complete with first-hand witness testimony, statistics, historical documents, traffic pattern investigative reports, photographs, and resident details about the daily usage of the road. You naysayers merely ranted your egotistical preference to keep the road open so that you could speed on it to get where you were going faster, not having to stop at any traffic lights. What unmitigated gall. If you really wanted Point Grey Road to remain open for commuter car traffic, you should have driven the posted 30K speed limit on Point Grey Road when you had the chance (since 1992). Instead, you opted to speed and endanger the lives of residents, pedestrians, runners cyclists, beach goers, wheel chair users, and all Vancouverites who want to come and use Point Grey Road, and its parks and beaches, for recreational purposes. Well, no more.

  17. PointGrey says:

    @Susan

    So you are saying that reason they closed the street is because there was some speeder in front of your house. It would have been much cheaper to install speed bumps and crosswalk lights like that one beside Kitsilano Community Centre on 12th Avenue. There was no need to waste all this money and effort to close a street. Traffic calming is much cheaper. All those orange things at macdonald are ugly. It looks like a maze.

  18. Greg in Kits says:

    A seemingly endless supply of keyboard flatulence from Ms. Smith.

    “Repetition does not transform a lie into a truth.”
    – Franklin D. Roosevelt, radio address, October 26, 1939

  19. susan smith says:

    “Greg” — Pot calling the kettle black. Repetition would not be needed if people like you and “Point Grey” above would cease maligning the truth to mislead the public. Case in point: I have already stated the fact that speed bumps, traffic lights, roundabouts and other speed control measures were NOT ALLOWED (City’s rules for street designations) on Point Grey Road as long as it was designated a secondary arterial (commuter through road). Only now that it has been closed to local car traffic (redesignated as a Local Street) can speed control measures be implemented. But, “Point Grey” above refuses to let these facts sink in and so spouts nonsense. The facts are the facts. You do not have to believe me; look them up yourself.

  20. Adam says:

    Well, I’ve driven the “new” route along Cornwall, MacDonald and 4th many time now since PG Road was closed and I have to say the trafffic congestion and chaos predicted by so many just hasn’t materialized. While I planned for delays and for extra time to get to my destination I’ve found it just isnt necessary. I’d say there are a few bugs to still work out, but they aren’t much more than bugs, and the upside seems to be a significantly quieter neighbourhood as a result of lower traffic volumes from Alma all the way to Cypress.

    So where is the downside to this change? Have large volumes of cars started to use the sidestreets? Not likely; why would I divert to sidestreets when the mains are just fine? Have we created large numbers of idling vehicles through congestion? Not that I’ve seen and I drive the route E-W and back, twice a day.

    So really, where’s the downside and problems predicted by so many of the detractors – who, incidentally, also seem gripped by inchoate anger at anything to do with cycling and classist angst and vent intemperate bile, anonymously, on this site and others – have predicted?

    The clsure of PG Road has likely created a much more desirable neighbourhood for all residents north of 4th, and any proposal to reverse it and bring traffic back to the neighbourhood will, righly, be strongly opposed.

    Maybe the cars-everywhere-all-the-time lobby can give it a rest. And the anti-bike reactionairy lobby can look in the mirror and ask themselves if they haven’t been too-successful products of the great 20th Century car culture social engiineering effort.

  21. Adam says:

    However,….don’t mistake my support for the PG Road closure as support for HUB, or even the way the COV has gone about building cycling infrastructure in the rest of the City. The members of HUB I’ve seen speak in publilc are uncompromising, angry, and not anyone I’d like representing me. They’re a group of fanatics secretly funded by Vision or its allies in order to provide the illusion of public support for fait-accompli proposals floated by Vancouver’s wild eyed in-a-hurry political party who have been increasingly showing signs of disdain for the very public they serve.

  22. Mona says:

    I too am a local resident unhappy with the closing of PG road, I will not vote for the councilors who did this in the next election. Unfortunately it is my own political apathy that is partly to blame as I did not speak up enough or attend the meetings to state my point of view. I will remember this next time something comes up. From speaking with my neighbors, the great majority of local people oppose this change as well.

  23. susan smith says:

    “Mona,” you have not stated what you are unhappy about in regard to the closing of Point Grey Road or where you and your neighbours are local to. The residents of the Point Grey Road area have been polled, and the vast majority support the closure of the road, having signed petitions in person to show that support. They are happy about the improved safety with reduced car volumes and reduced speeding, allowing for recreational and residential users of the road to travel it safely.

  24. Mona says:

    Of course the (multi-millionaire/billionaire) residents of point grey road would agree to this! It essentially gives them a private oceanfront road. I am a representative of the kitsilano neighborhood that doesn’t live on point grey road. I feel that the road closure makes it more difficult for residents to get around and to access the ocean, and does not provide what I see as a useful benefit to compensate for this. I would have much rather seen a sea wall built to connect the current seawall between Spanish banks and kits. Then more people could enjoy our beautiful beaches, not less.

  25. Point Grey says:

    @susan

    “I have already stated the fact that speed bumps, traffic lights, roundabouts and other speed control measures were NOT ALLOWED”

    Not true. Speed bumps are allowed. Look at West 10th avenue and Vine Street beside Connaught Park. Speed bumps everywhere. Speed limit is 30 km on West 10th Avenue.

    Your statements not true. City can put a traffic light anywhere they want. how about a new one at the intersection beside Chips house. There is a stairs beside his house to the beach.

    Beach avenue downtown has same problems with speeders, is the city going to close that street too?

  26. Bill Barilko says:

    Well I’ve cycled the whole route twice now McDonald to Alma & back-God Almighty what a mess!

    I wonder how much it cost and how much more it will cost to undo.

  27. susan smith says:

    “Point Grey”: you are incorrect. Speed bumps and other speed control measures are not allowed on Secondary Arterials. Point Grey Road, prior to being closed and redesignated a Local Road, was a Secondary Arterial. Speed bumps were not possible on Point Grey Road prior to its being closed. FACT. The only way to control the speed of drivers was to close the road. PERIOD.

  28. S. Rose says:

    I like what’s being done on Point Grey Road, even though I’ve enjoyed the fairly speedy automobile route to Burrard from my neighborhood to the west. I haven’t enjoyed biking down there the times I’ve tried. West 4th or West 12th will do me just fine when I need to drive. I can leave two minutes earlier, or maybe the bus is a better idea anyway.

    I don’t really have anything new to add here, but I don’t like the impression that’s created by the drum-beat of vitriol of the opponents that west-side Vancouver is united against this. We aren’t.

  29. Zelda says:

    First of all, this is not San Diago. That bike lane will only much real use during the summer months, versus having it a shared road would have much more use. They should have maybe just closed it during the summers temporarily. Also, the only lights for people to turn left at safely on 4th are at Alma. I thought they would at least put in left turning signals at the other intersections? Now all of these residents are forced to turn left on 4th where there’s heavy traffic, limited visibility and no lights!! No safe way to get out now unless you drive to Alma via a side street. They keep talking about the safety of the cyclists but obviously the safety of the motorists was not thought of at all. We vote our politicians in to do things on behalf of the people, for what the people want. Not to just do what they please. As others have mentioned the vast majority of residents did not want this. This is not democracy. Shame on Gregor and vision councillors. You will be voted out.

  30. Zelda says:

    Ps… 6 million dollars?? Where are our priorites…. What about affordable housing?

  31. kitsresident says:

    Zelda: The city has put in new LED lighting, left turn signals and left turn lanes in at MacDonald & 4th. Also, you can still turn left at Alma using the left turn lane if you are local traffic in the neighbourhood because it is only thru traffic that has been blocked out.

    I have been driving in the area everyday since the closure and the traffic chaos that people were fearing just hasn’t happened.

  32. w 4th resident says:

    I live by the intersection of Macdonald Avenue on West 4th. I noticed the pedestrian controlled traffic light on the block turned red every minute even though there was no pedestrian crossing the street. I reported what I thought was a traffic light malfunction to the City by phoning 311 on March 3. On March 6, the City called me back and disclosed a shocking news.
    The City has secretly adjusted the four consecutive pedestrian traffic lights on 4th Avenue between Macdonald Avenue and Alma Street to make them turn red automatically every 45 seconds from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends. The purpose is to let the motorists north of 4th Avenue get out of the blocked off area created by the closure of Point Grey Road.
    The City said this traffic light adjustment was a trial. I want everyone to know about this. I sympathize with the residents and motorists in the blocked off area, having an ill-fitted circuitous route imposed on them. However, the residents on West 4th are taking the blunt of the City’s fiasco. Traffic on West 4th has been heavy since the closure of Point Grey Road. To add insult to injury, the manipulation of these pedestrian traffic lights will add to the increased traffic, pollution, and noise on West 4th with the start and stop of the traffic. The City tries to solve one problem it created by adding another problem. How wise is it?
    Here are some questions for the City. How long will the trial last? Will it become permanent? How does the City justify stopping heavy traffic on West 4th every 45 seconds from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. to accommodate the comparatively sparse traffic of side streets north of West 4th? How is the City going to address the added traffic, pollution and noise thus created on West 4th?

  33. angie says says:

    The City insisted on closing Point Grey Road to traffic at all costs and to the objection of the majority, creating huge traffic mess and pollution in the surrounding area. City of Vancouver has reasonably adequate bike routes. Just check the bike map of the City. In the Kitsilano area, there has always been and still is an existing bike route on West 3rd, just three blocks from and parallel to Point Grey Road. The City created a danger to cyclists using the side streets south of Point Grey Road to West 3rd by blocking off intersections to divert traffic. Heavy traffic in the area is artificially created from the circuitous route implemented by the City. The City thus justified the necessity of a traffic free safe bike route on Point Grey Road, which was not necessary in the first place. I would be less angry if Gregor Robertson said the purpose of his office is to serve the richest people in the city at Point Grey Road, instead of saying that he is creating a green legacy by promoting a bike culture. What is green about artificially creating traffic, pollution, and noise in the area, especially after stopping traffic on West 4th every 45 seconds to accommodate traffic north of West 4th? Residents of Vancouver are not as gullible as that.

  34. Barb Brunton says:

    OMG -Isn’t is easier to just change the TRAFFIC SPEED TO 30!!! So SO rediculous!!!’