Following a record-breaking Victoria Day weekend in Vancouver’s largest park, city planners are seeking feedback from visitors on how they get to and around Stanley Park.
The mobility survey asks people how they currently travel to the four square kilometer park, as well as questions such as whether they visit businesses or go to the park to enjoy nature. The survey, ongoing through June 9, also asks what challenges people face in getting to the park.
“One of the objectives of the study is to examine ‘green’ modes of transport and to identify the potential opportunities and challenges of different approaches to reducing private vehicle traffic,” said a preamble to the survey. on the city’s website.
The survey is the latest to be conducted by the Vancouver Park Board as it has changed the way bikes and vehicles can travel in the park.
How to get to and around Stanley Park? We’re currently working to improve mobility to and through Canada’s most famous park and we want to hear your ideas and what you like. Take the survey now ➡ https://t.co/eWJeGih1Zf pic.twitter.com/Wuce8MezgG
In 2020, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the park was closed to vehicles to make more room for bicycles, while the seawall was dedicated to pedestrians. Currently, one lane of Stanley Park Drive is open to vehicular traffic and one lane is reserved for bicycle traffic. Planners struggle to determine if this change, or others, are worth making permanent.
“We need to fully understand what all of these implications are from a safety or accessibility, cost, environmental and overall user enjoyment perspective,” said Emily Dunlop, senior planner at the park board.
In September 2020, the park board conducted an investigation into how the park was being run during the pandemic, and another in October 2021 specifically focused on the utility of a bike path sharing Stanley Park Drive.
Closing the seawall to bikes – along with dividing lanes on Stanley Park Drive and restricting certain vehicles from entering the park – has led to debate and criticism that the park is being made more accessible for cyclists and pedestrians, while it is less so for people. visiting businesses, seniors, people with disabilities, and large groups heading to the park for picnics or barbecues.
Vancouver resident David Fine started a petition asking the park board to maintain vehicular access to the park.
“We want to cycle safely in the park. We want the park to be accessible to everyone. We don’t want that to come at the expense of people who have to arrive by car,” he told Gloria Macarenko of CBC News after the Victoria Day weekend. “It’s of course people with reduced mobility. It’s also people who come from afar, who come with equipment to have a barbecue.”
This weekend highlighted a sense of urgency to get things right, as warm sunny weather led to significant vehicle congestion along park roads.
Dunlop said parking data from the Victoria Day long weekend showed there were more vehicles in the park than any other weekend in the past five years.
Meanwhile, she said 19,000 cyclists entered the park from Coal Harbour, compared to 13,000 cyclists on the same weekend in 2019.
“I think what we’re seeing is this increase in visitation to the park, both local and tourist, which we know is increasing and access for all modes is important to us in the mobility study,” she said.