A pandemic measure taken by the Vancouver Park Board last year—which raised debate and controversy—will resume this year, but with adjustments.
After the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in B.C., the Vancouver Park Board temporarily closed vehicle access to Stanley Park on April 8, 2020, to provide space for physical distancing among cyclists and pedestrians. On June 22, the park board reopened one lane for vehicles while devoting the other lane to cyclists, until September 25 when full vehicle access resumed.
In August and September, a park board survey found that the majority of the 11,000 respondents welcomed the changes and also wanted space reserved for cyclists only (66 percent) and car-free days (57 percent).
Last night (March 10), Vancouver Park Board approved a motion to create a temporary cycling path in Stanley Park for 2021.
The path will be on Park Drive and changes to accessibility, parking improvements, route configurations, and barrier options will be made, based on what has been learned from last year’s version. Park board staff will work with fire and rescue services, traffic management experts, and stakeholders to make these changes.
On November 17, 2020, Vancouver city council had approved the Climate Emergency Action Plan, which includes achieving the goal of ensuring two-thirds of trips in Vancouver to be by active transportation (walking, cycling, and more) and transit by 2030.
Park board chair Camil Dumont explained in a news release that efforts are underway to reduce dependency on vehicles and encouraging cleaner transportation.
“The main driver of this is a realization that we need to de-centre the automobile, culturally and from our way of life, and that’s a very difficult thing to do and it comes with a lot of challenges,”
The motion states that the temporary cycling path will be opened "as soon as is operationally reasonable" and will remain in use until approximately October 31.