Point Grey Road Closure Panic: Point Grey Road To Become ‘Park for the Rich’


bikelaneThe debate about the Point Grey Road closure has been raging on Kitsilano.ca since spring. Expect things to heat up even more. Under a new plan released yesterday, Point Grey Road is set to become a residents-only street. The closure is part of the city’s plan to upgrade bike and pedestrian infrastructure in the corridor stretching from the Burrard Bridge to Jericho Beach. Headlines are calling it a victory for the city’s elite who live on the pricey beachfront Point Grey property.

The $6-million construction proposal would block off the road from Macdonald Street to Alma Street, diverting an estimated 9,700 commuter cars each day.

From the Vancouver Sun: “We’re converting that section of Point Grey Road into a local neighbourhood street with local access for residents,” confirmed city transportation manager Jerry Dobrovolny.

Eliminating car traffic on Point Grey was one element tucked into the 68-page Kitsilano bike lane proposal, a project intended as a means to connect cyclists from the Burrard Street Bridge to Jericho Beach. The bulk of the diverted cars are expected to be pushed along Broadway, 16th, 12th and 4th Avenues. The new plan will also axe 200 parking spots from the total 1,000 along the route.

Opinions remain polarized throughout greater Vancouver and Kitsilano. The council will wait a week for the public to analyze the dense document before inviting speakers to share opinions at council next Wednesday. Thus far, every Vision Vancouver plan that has come before the council has been passed. If city council votes in favour next week, Point Grey Road would be closed to through traffic by the end of the year.

Find more coverage of the bike path that could close Point Grey Road in the Globe and Mail here.

Take a look at the City of Vancouver’s Point Grey Road plan here.

Last modified: July 19, 2013

12 Responses to " Point Grey Road Closure Panic: Point Grey Road To Become ‘Park for the Rich’ "

  1. Mary says:

    Eureka! Finally the urgent safety issues on Pt. Grey Rd. have been acknowledged and addressed by the City. Making this road a local street will reduce car traffic from 14,000 cars per day to under 500. This shared-road use model that does not accommodate bike lanes provides equal access of use for pedestrians, cyclists and local motorists. Through traffic will be diverted to the other arterials that have pedestrian crossings, lights, signage, advance turn lanes, etc. to handle the traffic. Bring on the Vote to ratify Option 1(2a), making Pt. Grey Rd. a neighbourhood street. Finally residents and visitors will be able to cross the road and ride bikes without fear of accident, injury or death. I applaud the City for this overdue movement into the future.

  2. Mary says:

    Just back from a “conversation” at SFU about this issue. 140 people – the most yet – attended, and the session seemed highly polarized.
    As a neutral I am flipping back and forth on the issue. In general, I’m in favour of privileging bikes, pedestrians and transit. One thing I liked was the idea that Tatlow Park a “hidden gem” would be connected with the park across Pt Grey Road and attract more visitors. As a resident I’d like to share that little park more.
    I’ve concluded I’m with the SLOW DOWN folks to ensure there’s appropriate process. Mid-summer seems a bad time to vote on something this controversial.

  3. Mary Bennett says:

    I didn’t see the link to the plan,so here it is:
    (btw there are two Mary’s – I’m the second Mary).

  4. Jonathan says:

    The problem with the argument of local residents supporting the proposal is how extremely self centered it is. Just because you live near a road doesnt mean you own it. I live near 4th ave and would love to see the number of cars on 4th reduced, but I know that such a move would negatively impact all users of the road, most of whom live all over the west side and beyond. I’m all for safety, but it is disengenous for these residents to not acknowledge the positive financial implications this will have on the surrounding property, especially those on pt.grey road (dont get me wrong, I don’t blame them as I would probably be doing the same).

  5. Anyone rich enough to afford a bike, a pair of shoes or a $2.75 bus fare will be able to enjoy Point Grey Road and its fantastic views.


  6. Jonathan says:

    After reading the Vancouver Sun and its messageboard, I see you are spamming identical messages on each. Can someone please explain the rationale for not delaying this until more studies/public consultation can be done?

    Also, am I the only one who finds it interesting that the seawall expansion plan has been buried, the same one that would accomplish all the stated goals (and was to be subject of a substantial private donation), but “negatively” impact the exclusivity of the Pt. Road homes? It is tough not be skeptical on such developments.

  7. Ken Ohrn says:

    I think the real issues are broad and more relevant than this. It is about safety for the area’s residents and visitors, as pedestrians, cyclists and motorists. It is also about substantially improving the priceless opportunity for both residents and tourists to enjoy the area’s numerous small parks and spectacular views, without the danger of dealing with inappropriate high-volume commuter traffic.

    The focus is on the 1-km stretch of Pt. Grey Road that is now traveled by up to 10,000 commuter vehicles per day. Too many people seem unaware that this is a narrow road in a densely populated residential neighbourhood, and it has been identified as dangerous since City of Vancouver’s 1995 and 1997 transportation plans. And it is dangerous for both cyclists and pedestrians. It is dangerous because there are no controlled pedestrian crossings – just dangerous flows of commuter vehicles, roughly 1/3 of which are registered neither in Vancouver nor UBC. Monitoring studies show that the speed limits there are routinely exceeded by scofflaw motorists. And this cutting through a neighbourhood with one of the highest numbers of people walking and cycling in Vancouver.

    If the Cornwall end of this route were not connected to the Burrard Bridge, this narrow local street would probably never have developed into a high-volume, high-speed arterial. It is far better that this inappropriate and dangerous traffic be diverted to the existing arterials on 4th Avenue and Broadway, where the vast number of merchants there will benefit immensely from the increased traffic. Other commuter options are 16th Avenue, a four-lane divided arterial, and 12th Avenue, both of which connect directly to UBC, as do the other two arterials. There is ample unused capacity available on these arterials to safely accommodate commuter traffic.

    As to increases in value, these proposed changes will open up the numerous small parks along Pt. Grey – Cornwall to tens of thousands more people, so that enjoyment of this waterfront area can be returned to residents and visitors alike. Not to mention providing a safe and effective corridor to get to the beaches at Jericho, Locarno and Spanish Banks by some means other than a motor vehicle. As it is today, these small parks and their views of ocean and mountains are mostly cut off from residents and visitors by commuting motorists, whose intent is mostly to zoom past them as quickly as possible on their way to somewhere else. This irreplaceable resource is squandered, and this plan returns to everyone the opportunity to enjoy our wonderful city – to the great benefit of businesses, tourists and ordinary residents city-wide.

    It is not high-speed arterial roads that attract people to visit, work and live in a city – there are plenty of them around, and they don’t need defending. What attracts people is the opportunity to work, live and play in vibrant, beautiful, unique and safe environment, free from the deadly flow of high-volume commuter traffic. The City of Vancouver is on the right path, and I join in with the majority of residents in supporting this plan.

  8. Tim says:

    Ken, the tourist angle you speak of is not realistic. There are no hotels that serve the subject area, and most tourists who want a scenic bike ride are already well served by Stanley park and the sea wall on both sides of false creek. As said above, this sounds like the wants of the locals overriding the more numerous needs of the many non-locals who use this route. Also, easy on the loaded words (scofflaw motorists, deadly flow, etc)…doesn’t help discussion and only serves to polarize.

    Who knows, maybe I’m just bitter about the cyclist who ran a red light today at cornwall/yew (no joke…he didnt even hesitate) and almost crashed into me and my son crossing in the crosswalk.

  9. Dave says:

    As a resident of the area between Point Grey Road and West 4th I can assure you that the increase of vehicles on these narrow streets and avenues will endanger all of the local residents.

    These avenues are too narrow to allow vehicles to pass head on and to cross or turn east on West 4th is a difficult proposition at almost all times. And the speed limit is 50 kmh while only 30 kmh on most of the controversial stretch of Point Grey Road!

    Don’t be taken in by the propoganda the Point Grey Road residents are spouting. They obviously have little concern for the bicycle lobby. Their actual motive is to have their quiet little parks and close Point Grey to traffic at the expense of their neighbours directly south of them and to steal the rights of the occupants of approximately 10,000 vehicles per day from using their most efficent route to commute to work, UBC, beaches and parks, etc.

    Also Ken, you are dead wrong regarding the sentiments of the residents of Vancouver. 2 polls (CTV and Vancouver Province) taken in last 2 days, show 66% are against this ill conceived proposal.

    There are many other logical solutions which safely separate vehicles from bicyclists without inconveniencing and endangering tens of thousands of commuters and residents on a daily basis.

    And don’t get me going regarding the real estate assessor who says that due to the traffic pattern changes, the property values will increase along Point Grey Road and decrease on all streets directly to the south!

  10. Trevor Watkins says:

    What I find confusing is that the City is planning to close Point Grey Road. One of the safest stretches of arterial road in Vancouver with zero bike accidents and very few car accidents over the last 5 years. The plan leaves the high crash areas on Cornwall Avenue virtually untouched. And on top of that redirect 3.5 million cars a year to 4 of the most dangerous intersections in Vancouver West of Granville Street.

    I do believe in bike lanes. I think they are very important as our city continues to increase density. Yet City Planning has no overall design plan for bike lanes. They certainly haven’t shown us one. The City continues to design and build bike lanes on a piecemeal basis and bend to the will of Translink to the point that the bike lanes are no longer safe or efficient. For example, on one stretch of road in the plan for Cornwall/Point Grey Road some residents have to monitor and cross an extra wide sidewalk, a two way bike lane and two lanes of traffic just to get out of their driveway. In some cases driving out backwards. Is that improving safety? Two way bike lanes are confusing to cyclists, motorists and pedestrians alike. A car turning across a two way bike lane needs to monitor two directions of bikes along with two directions of traffic. This is similar for a pedestrian and inherently dangerous to the cyclist. Especially as cycling volumes continue to grow.

    I really like travelling down Point Grey Road from time to time. Sometimes on a bike, sometimes in a car and occasionally running. I do believe traffic should be calmed on this road but in other ways. The city should be making plans to reduce the number of cars on the street with smart planning. Point Grey Road traffic trips have continued to decline for the last three years. And traffic calming can reduce these trips even further.

    What is smart planning? In my mind, our commuter bike lanes should travel down our main arterials. They should be one way, separated and travelling in the same direction as traffic. Parking on arterials should not be a priority. It should be sacrificed for the benefit of the overall flow of bikes, transit and cars. By doing this speed gets inherently reduced and the city takes on a more enjoyable atmosphere. Cars are pushed away from the side walks where cafes and restaurants have out door seating, where people like to stroll, and kids like to play safely. This way residents don’t have to sacrifice their essential every day parking spots on their already quiet street. Translink should be happy to make concessions instead of forcing bike lanes away from their transit routes. Slowing traffic will inherently build ridership on Tranlink’s system and improve their revenues over the long term. That is what being a city is all about. Making concessions to improve the nature, enjoyability and efficiency of our city. Translink should be no different.

    I do not support the plan that the city has put forth for these reasons. I believe the plan should be put on the shelf until the city has a full design plan for the commuter bike lane network and Translink is willing or forced to make concessions. Translink is owned by us. They should not have so much power to be able to dictate where bike lanes can and cannot go.

    If you feel the same as me please get involved. Sign the petition below to give us time to develop an alternative plan. But do so quickly. The vote is this Wednesday!

    Thanks for listening.

    PS: Here is a link for a petition to have city council delay the vote to create a third option – http://www.change.org/en-CA/petitions/mayor-and-council-vancouver-bc-develop-a-third-option-for-the-cornwall-point-grey-road-corridor

  11. Mary (#1) -- the first commenter, not Mary Bennett, the 2nd and 3rd commenter says:

    The closure of Point Grey Road to commuter traffic: PASSED! All 2200+ of us who signed the only vetted Petition by the City, and in support of Option 1(2a), closing Point Grey Road, are simply over the moon with excitement. Finally, every pedestrian, cyclist and local motorist can cross Point Grey Road, open a car door, load and unload people with disabilities, access the beach without fear of being struck down, etc. Within the past week and a half, one cyclist hit a parked vehicle on Point Grey Road and broke both her arms, and two cars hit head on and were badly damaged on the road, both in the 3600 block. Those of you who continue to argue that safety is not an issue on the road do not live on the road and have not done your research. ICBC has reported hundreds of car, cyclist, and pedestrian accidents on the road. Safety has been targeted as a major concern on Point Grey Road for decades (UBC, Ratepayer, City and independent reports all confirm this fact and support the option of closing the road). It has been a long time coming, but now it’s been achieved. Thanks go to Richard Campbell, myself, Pam McColl, Gary Bello, Steve McMurto, Brad Dallas and all the other articulate, prepared, intelligent and factual speakers who gave up their time to report their personal first-hand knowledge of the road to City Hall. Kudos!

  12. Mary (#1) -- the first commenter, not Mary Bennett, the 2nd and 3rd commenter says:

    Incidentally, Trevor Watkins’ Petition against closing Point Grey Road failed because it is full of inaccuracies, misstatements and overt fear-mongering. We made the City aware, Trevor, of your false advertising in your Petition, signage, meetings and neighbourhood flyers. Next time, Trevor, get your facts straight if you want people to offer their support to a cause, and if you expect the City to give any Petition any credence. Members of your group spitting on City staff members didn’t help your cause either. What were you thinking?!