Bicycle battle at City Hall: Kits bike lane proposal debate

Seaside Greenway and York Bikeway: A big day at City Hall. We're covering it live, as well as providing background.

Seaside Greenway/York Ave Bikeway (Detail)
Seaside Greenway and York Bikeway proposal: detail via vancouver.ca

Live from City Hall: Seaside Greenway/York Bikeway proposal

Today sees two key presentations at City Hall: The public bikeshare program and the proposed Seaside Greenway and York Bikeway, best known as the controversial Kitsilano bike lane project. Refresh this page often to read the latest updates. Just click here for background information on the Kits bike lane proposal, as well as the relevant links.

- 7:41pm Speakers will continue until 10pm. With close to 200 lined up, we are assured of a continuation meeting, which will take place at 6pm on July 25. This proposal hearing had over 25 times the number of citizens wanting to speak as did the bike share proposal hearing. It's a somewhat complex plan that features a fair number of compromises, so there's kind of a lot in there to elicit a heated reaction one way or the other.

- 6:51 Moving into Citizens Section of speakers list. Brian Tucker, PhD, is wearing an Anonymous/Guy Fawkes mask. We are asked to take that as a "no" in terms of his support of the proposal. No input from those who live on York regarding Phase 2; "That is dirty pool." In initial consultation, "cyclists have stuffed the ballot boxes". Also, no forecasts of how the proposal will affect safety of cyclists or pedestrians. Nothing to say, "This plan saves lives"-- why not?

- 6:41 Carr: What about the idea that York won't be as desireable as Cornwall? Paz: York is the immediate solution, but separated lanes on Cornwall would be better. Point Grey Road currently has a lot of "near misses" as pedestrians try to cross.

- 6:37 Tanya Paz (Chair, Active Transportation Policy Council) "This is the time to show leadership and approve" the proposal. Letting the status quo continue is "not worth the risk". 2a option not a gated community. "Real benefit to 2a is to pedestrians." Most of the city lives east of MacDonald, and must travel west to hit the beach. (Finding their friends is their problem, though). Older citizens in the neighbourhood will want to "age in place". "Time to step up and walk the talk" and implement the 16-year-old promise to prioritze walking and cycling. Paz recommends passing the plan "as is".

- 6:28 Helen Cook (Planning Manager, Roads Dept, Translink): Translink supports investment in cycling infrastructure. Increase share of cyclists on the road, reduce number of injuries. Convert trips below 8km to cycling. More people would cycle if it were safer and more convenient. "Build low-stress bikeways" and a comprehensive bikeway network. 2400km of unconstructed bike network in regional plans at the moment. Some identified as separated bike lanes.

- 6:23 Nancy Noble (CEO, Museum of Vancouver): Encouraged to Burrard Bridge improvements, and by cycling-route improvements. Museums in Vanier Park not accessible by transit anyway. "Different issues at different points" along the corridor. Okay with compromise to make Chestnut Street 1-way.

- 6:10 Morrissey: "Why is this project a priority?" If the City had more money, the Seniors Advisory Committee would be more supportive. However, seniors' services are currently not up to speed. "We are not add-ons." Recommends proposal be sent back to committee.

- 6:07 Chris Morrissey (Chair, Seniors Advisory Committee): Agrees with Weiss that this isn't a plan for all ages and abilities, unless the plan means "all ages & abilities of cyclist". "The devil is in the details." Can't rely on any assurances not included in the actual proposal. She wants at least 1 senior/disabled-accessible parking lot.

- 6:06 Weiss: Transit pretty much vanishes from Point Grey Road west of MacDonald.

- 6:03 Carr: Recommendation that we ask Parks & Rec to complete Greenway route through Hadden and Kits Parks. Any accessibility concerns w/ those routes? Weiss: We're not well enough informed to answer that.

- 5:58 Meggs: When were you briefed on the plan? Weiss: 8 days ago. (Rueful laughter from the gallery) "City has sincere commitment" to seniors and disabled, but lacks the technical knowledge to plan it without consultation.

- 5:53 Jill Weiss (Persons with Disabilites Advisory Committee): "This is a plan for very fit young people." Proposal "reduces access to beachfront area and senior center to "most fragile and most vulnerable." Plans must be developed from the ground up to include those with less mobility. This time they were consulted too late for anything other than "Band-Aid solution". Only verbal assurances that solutions to identified barriers will be implemented. Weiss says that's not good enough. Quality of access must be explicit in the plan. With no transit option, removing the option to drive means reducing access. "Too much parking has been removed." Weiss suggests report be referred back to staff, with assurances to disabled/seniors be explicity added.

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