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Stanley Park Drive to return to pre-COVID times with scrapping of bike-only lane

During the COVID-19 pandemic, bikes were at first given access to all of Stanley Park Drive and then later one designated lane

Stanley Park's designated bike lane shown on Dec. 5, 2022.
Stanley Park's designated bike lane shown on Dec. 5, 2022. Photo by NICK PROCAYLO /PNG

The ABC Vancouver-dominated Vancouver park board voted on Monday to scrap Stanley Park Drive’s bike-only lane.

On Monday night, the seven-person board voted six to one in favour of returning Stanley Park Drive to pre-pandemic times, when both lanes were available for vehicle traffic only.

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According to an ABC Vancouver motion, a month after the COVID-19 pandemic was declared in B.C.(March 2020) the Vancouver park board closed Stanley Park Drive to all vehicle traffic in a bid to reduce the number of people that accessed the park. Bikes were also barred from the seawall so that pedestrians had less contact with others, and bikes then had access to Stanley Park Drive (that travels the circumference of Stanley Park).

The park was partly reopened to traffic in June 2020, with the left hand lane for cars and right hand lane for bikes, with cyclists still barred from the seawall.

In September 2020 cyclists were allowed back on the seawall and their bike-only lane on Stanley Park Drive reverted back to vehicles.

However, in the spring of 2021 parks board staff were directed to re-implement a temporary bike lane on Stanley Park Drive to last until the fall.

This temporary bike lane was then extended until a study of vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian traffic in Stanley Park was completed. This Stanley Park Mobility Study is still not finished.

According to the motion, “the temporary Stanley Park Drive bike lane and the current reallocation of road space in Stanley Park represents an inadequate response to the needs of some park users, whether they be cyclists, motorists or other park users. A solution that better meets the demonstrated needs of all park users and park partners is required.”

Commissioner Aangela Haer, who brought the motion forward, said Stanley Park should “be accessible to everyone, not just bikers.”

Green commissioner Tom Digby – the only dissenting voter – said that “driveability is not the hallmark of a world-class park.” All attempts by Digby to modify the motion were rejected.

Parks board staff have been told to close the bike lane by Christmas and to come up with a plan by February 2023 outlining how new permanent bike-only “infrastructure” can be introduced to the park.

Parks board also voted in favour of increasing parking fees in the park by nine per cent increase per hour, six per cent per day and 10 per cent for special events.