Next summer, people of all ages will be able to enjoy cycling and walking from Kits Beach to Jericho along Point Grey Road extension of the Seaside Greenway. Thousands of residents and visitors will experience the great views from parks dotting Point Grey Road. Year round, cycling commuters will take advantage of the this safe direct route from the West Side to Downtown and out to UBC.
City council heard from over 130 people during five days of meetings. Councilors Carr, Deal, Louie, Meggs, Reimer, Stevenson and Tang voted for the Point Grey improvements while Affleck and Ball voted against. On the previous Monday, council unanimously approved improvements to the Burrard Cornwall intersection that will make it safer and more convenient for everyone. Council also asked Park Board to plan improvements to the Seaside Greenway paths in Kits Beach and Haddon Parks.
Macdonald to Alma
The most contentious part of the plan is the diversion of through motor vehicle traffic off Point Grey Road between Macdonald and Alma. People walking and cycling will be able to continue straight along Point Grey between Macdonald and Alma. Drivers will still be able to access the homes and parks along Point Grey through the north south side streets.
Several residents along Macdonald and other streets were concerned about increased traffic due to the Point Grey diversion. In response to the concerns, council directed staff to address livability concerns and help mitigate the impact of traffic through measures including traffic calming on residential streets.
Many people on both sides of the debate agree that motor vehicle traffic is dangerous. People don’t want to cycle in it or have it near their homes. That is why improving transportation choices is so important. When projects like this encourage more people to cycle instead of driving, the city becomes safer for everyone driving, walking or cycling.
Others were worried about congestion. Chances are, as with the case with Burrard Bridge and Hornby bike lanes, these issues will very likely not be as bad as some expect. In fact, more people cycling and walking due to these improvements will decrease traffic on roads throughout the community and downtown.
Road space will be reclaimed to join Tatlow and Volunteer Parks together with only a bike path and sidewalks separating them. Future plans include the daylighting of Tatlow Creek. Also Point Grey Road Park will be expanded at Trutch Street.
Balsam to Trafalgar
From Balsam to Trafalgar, the proposed separated bike lanes were rejected due to resident’s concerns regarding the removal of parking. Instead, the street will likely remain pretty much as it is now. While there is not much traffic on this section of Point Grey, parking is allowed too close to the driveways to allow cyclists and drivers pulling out of the driveways to see each other. Hopefully, the City will address this problem.
Trafalgar and Macdonald
Between Trafalgar and Macdonald, there will be a 4m wide separated bike lane on the north side of the road. A pedestrian and cyclist activated signal at Stephens and Point Grey will allow cyclists to access the new York Bikeway.
Alma to Jericho Beach
From Alma to Jericho Beach, there will be separated bike lanes on the north side of Point Grey.
Also approved were improvements to 3rd Ave including a bicycle pedestrian signal at Macdonald and a traffic diverter at Bayswater.
Connection Needed to Burrard Bridge
Overlooked in these plans, is the need for an all ages connection from Burrard Bridge to Kits Beach and the Seaside Greenway at Yew and Cornwall. The current plan has the Seaside Greenway extending east to Yew adjacent to Cornwall in Kits Park, then heading north. It is uphill to York along Yew. It would make more sense to extent the path east to Arbutus then either have a path along Arbutus to York or find a way to include separated bike lanes along Cornwall. One possibility is acquiring space from the property owners on the south side of Cornwall.
Safe Convenient Cycling
The new route along Point Grey will only require cyclists to cross one intersection between Yew and Jericho while the current route along 3rd Ave requires crossing 18. As intersections account for over half of cycling collisions and much of route is separated from traffic, the new Seaside Greenway should prove to be very safe to cycle on. The lack of intersections and hills will also make it faster.
The Seaside Greenway will be enjoyed by thousands of people from all parts of Vancouver, the region and around the world everyday. A big thank you to City Council for their strong leadership, city staff for their hard work and all the members of the community that helped make this happen. A good idea to send a quick thank you email to: Mayor Gregor Robertson and Council <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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