Vancouver park board commissioners divided over separated bike lane on Stanley Park road

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      Tonight, the Vancouver park board will revisit the idea of creating a separated bike route along one lane of the road travelling through Stanley Park.

      That's because the board's chair, Camil Dumont, has prepared a motion seeking fellow commissioners' support to direct staff to create a temporary cyclists-only path on Park Drive until around October 31.

      The Green commissioner's motion also seeks the board's approval to ask staff to "work closely with park stakeholders", consult with City of Vancouver advisory committees, and report back with a summary of the data, outcomes, and observations arising from these measures.

      It's a polarizing issue with the two NPA commissioners, John Coupar and Tricia Barker, vehemently opposed.

      This morning on CBC Radio One's morning show, Coupar claimed that parking revenues fell by $3.5 million in Stanley Park when Park Drive road space was reallocated to cyclists last year.

      The host, Stephen Quinn, pressed Coupar on whether that could be attributed to the closure of the border and the sharp fall in tourism in the pandemic. Coupar replied that parking revenue remained stable on the western side of the park, including beside the park board's office.

      NPA commissioner John Coupar is highlighting the fall in parking revenue in Stanley Park in 2020 when road space was set aside for cyclists.

      Meanwhile, Barker has claimed that she was subjected to "hate" after raising concerns about two parking spots being unavailable for people with disabilities.

      The NPA only holds two seats on the seven-member board, which also includes three Greens and two Coalition of Progressive Electors members.

      A supporter of the separated bike lane, the nonprofit HUB Cycling, tweeted that a park board survey demonstrated last year that 70 percent of respondents would like some of the road space dedicated to cyclists. It also maintained that a separated bike lane will enhance safety for pedestrians on the seawall.

      Another supporter of the concept, planner and developer Michael Mortensen, argued that it's really a question of "equity". He tweeted that a disporportionate amount of paved space per person is set aside for motor vehicles over cyclists and pedestrians.

      Dumont's motion notes that the City of Vancouver declared a climate emergency in January 2019. And he's argued that setting aside one lane for cyclists will help achieve the city's goal of reducing carbon emissions.

      "To avoid catastrophic climate change, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns that we must limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius," the motion states. "This means slashing carbon pollution globally by 45% below 2010 levels by 2030 and reaching net zero by 2050."

      From April 8 to September 26 in 2020, space was set aside on Park Drive for cyclists to create physical distancing between them and pedestrians who walk along the Stanley Park Seawall.