The Vancouver Park Board has put off voting on a controversial plan to pave a bike path through part of Kits Beach Park.
Commissioners were set to vote on a report on the project Monday night, but instead decided to send it back to staff.
“We just didn’t have enough information tonight and Kits Beach is too important to not protect it and take care of it,” Sarah Kirby-Young told CTV News.
City staff, in a report to the park board, says the separate bike lane is necessary to avoid conflicts between “cyclists and pedestrians in this short stretch of seawall due to an abundance of shared pathways and poor wayfinding cues and signs.”
Howard Kelsey, co-chair of the Kits Beach Coalition, said he’s “ecstatic” that the vote has been delayed, and hopes whoever replaces Mayor Gregor Robertson after the October election will shift the city’s priorities away from cyclists.
“This was a very important decision,” Kelsey said. “Cyclists should be able to go wherever they want to go, but not at the expense of pedestrians [and] traffic.”
The park board has been working on developing a separated bike path for Kitsilano Beach Park since 2013, and held three public engagement processes over four years.
Last modified: March 14, 2018
KITSILANO BEACH PARK IS REMARKABLE IN ITS POPULARITY OF SPECIFICALLY FOOT TRAFFIC: BY VAST MAJORITY, IT IS A PEDESTRIANS’ BEACH FROM THE PUBLIC’S CHOICE. ALL AREAS ARE OFTEN CROWDED WITH PEDESTRIANS OF ALL AGES WALKING OR RUNNING IN ALL DIRECTIONS, COMING AND GOING FROM RESTAURANTS, PARKING LOTS, TENNIS COURTS, VOLLEYBALL AREAS, KITS POOL, THE BEACH, THE PLAYGROUND, THE PICNIC AREA, THE SEAWALL, KITS SHOWBOAT, LOCAL HOMES AND SUNTANNING ON THE GRASS. BALLS, FRISBEES, DOGS, MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS, PERFORMERS, FOOD TRUCKS, ETC. ABOUND. THERE IS SO MUCH TO SEE AND DO, WHILE THE INCREDIBLE WATER AND MOUNTAIN VIEWS ATTRACT EVEN MORE ATTENTION IN THE OPEN SPACES THAT ARE FULL OF SUNSHINE OR SHADE TREES. IT CAN ONLY BE DESCRIBED AS A SUPER-FUN PLACE TO BE, STAY AND ENJOY ONESELF FOR AN HOUR OR MANY HOURS. THOROUGHLY DELIGHTFUL, HEALTHY AND STRESS-RELIEVING. THE ONLY PROBLEM: CYCLISTS. THEY ARE A MAJOR SAFETY HAZARD AT KITS PARK; THEY SNEAK UP BEHIND YOU, FLY PAST YOU, CUT YOU OFF, CROWD YOU, SHOUT AT YOU, HIT YOU, AND PREVENT YOU FROM ENJOYING YOURSELF COMPLETELY FOR FEAR OF IMPACT. SOLUTION: MAKE KITS PARK A NO-RIDE ZONE; CYCLISTS MUST DISMOUNT, BECOMING PEDESTRIANS THEMSELVES. WHY? SAFETY AND FAIRNESS: YORK AVENUE, ONE BLOCK AWAY, IS A SEPARATED BIKE LANE FOR THE SAFETY OF CYCLISTS; PEDESTRIANS AND CARS ARE NOT ALLOWED IN THIS BIKE LANE. CYCLISTS CAN RIDE FAST OR SLOW ON YORK AND NOT ENDANGER PEDESTRIANS. IF A BIKE PATH IS ALSO INSTALLED IN KITS PARK, OR ON AN ADJACENT SIDE STREET (LIKE ARBUTUS), THE YORK BIKE PATH WILL NOT BE USED (BECOMING WASTED ROAD SPACE) BECAUSE CYCLISTS WILL PREFER THE PARK, FAST CYCLISTS WILL ENDANGER THE PEDESTRIANS, A PAVED BIKE PATH WILL TAKE AWAY GRASS AND TREES, PARKING WILL BE REMOVED AT THIS POPULAR PARK, AND THE INFRASTRUCTURE WILL WASTE MILLIONS OF TAXPAYER DOLLARS ON A REDUNDANT SEPARATED BIKE LANE WHEN THERE ALREADY IS ONE ON YORK. IT IS NOT A SUFFICIENT OR APPROPRIATE ARGUMENT FOR HUB, THE CYCLING LOBBY GROUP, TO DEMAND A BIKE PATH AT OR THROUGH THE PARK BECAUSE HUB WANTS CYCLISTS TO BE CLOSER TO THE WATER AND VIEW THAN ON YORK (ONE BLOCK AWAY). SAFETY MUST ALWAYS TRUMP MERE PREFERENCE, WHIM, AND GREED. RECREATIONAL CYCLISTS, WHO DO NOT WISH TO RACE THROUGH THE PARK, WILL BE MORE THAN HAPPY TO DISMOUNT AND WALK THEIR BIKES, LEISURELY ENJOYING THE PARK SPACE AND RESPECTING THE SAFETY OF THEIR FELLOW PEDESTRIANS AS PEDESTRIANS THEMSELVES. PROBLEM SOLVED. THE PARK BOARD IS PUTTING SAFETY FIRST, WHICH IS WHY IT HAS ASKED FOR A FULLY-SPECIFIED SET OF OPTIONS FOR THE PARK BEFORE APPROVING ANY CONCEPT OF AN EXTRA BIKE PATH THAT COULD RUIN THE PARK AND/OR PUT THE PUBLIC AT INCREASED SAFETY-RISK. THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS, AND THE PARK BOARD KNOWS IT.
Susan, I am a Kits resident, and I am in total agreement with you. I fear Parks Board will put together another plan, in conjunction with the bike lobby, and we will have to fight this thing again in one year. Yes, it makes sense to be proactive. In fact, I agree with the idea of making the area a bike-free zone. This said, I feel the project should start with a petition to make the area “Pedestrian Only”. That means cars can still park in the lots and on the street. Moreover, cyclists can go to the park, but they must walk their bikes (or lock them in racks). Of course, we would permit strollers and wheelchairs and such. It is interesting you speak about safety. When the various groups spoke at the last Parks Board meeting no one talked about children playing in the park. The Coal Harbor Residents Association told me that there are scores of accidents with bikes around the kiddies water part (Lumberman’s Arch) and at Second Beach. None of those accidents are captured in Vision Vancouver’s data base.
A new bike path is not needed. In the picture, there is already a paved path there beside cornwall. Many bikes are already using it and then go through the parking lot to arbutus street. A cyclist can choose either to use the seawall with walkers or use local streets through kits point neighbourhood.
Yes, “KITS”, there already is the separated bike lane that runs parallel to Cornwall on York Avenue, and the safest route for cyclists is to use York entirely and not use Cornwall or Arbutus at all because there is no need to ride on these streets since York exists and because the high volume of pedestrian traffic should not be competing for space with riding cyclists. If cyclists want to get closer to the water to look at it, they should be required to dismount and walk their bicycles safely on behalf of their fellow pedestrians, respecting their need for safe space.