Keep Stanley Park open for all!
Keep Stanley Park open for all!
Widely considered one of the most beautiful urban parks in the world, a motion is being presented at the Park Board to “Explore Options to Reduce Motor Vehicle Traffic in Stanley Park”. This could mean limiting access for people who choose to, or must, access the park by car in favour of a second bike route. Exactly how these restrictions could be realized is not clear, but it’s important to send a message to the Park Board now.
Changes to access could mean that the able bodied would be better served at the expense of anyone who can neither bike to the park, or walk the considerable distance to popular destinations within the park. Why?
The temporary and sensible closure of the park due to Covid-19 was meant to be just that, temporary, however some Park Board commissioners are responding to the positive feedback from cycling users who enjoy the park free of motor vehicles. It is a very nice bike ride on the road, and one which, in fact, has always been available as well, but it is also more strenuous and does not afford all the same views as the seawall, which a TripAdvisor review described as, “Fantastic place to cycle around, even if you're not confident at cycling, is flat and there are dedicated cycle lanes away from vehicles.” To some, this is just not good enough.
So who are the people who would find restricted access a barrier? Obviously the mobility challenged, most elderly people, but also anyone coming from afar who would find using public transit and walking through the park, too difficult to be practical. Also anyone who is visiting with beach gear, picnic, chairs, etc… Many families come to the pool and Third Beach laden with items which would be very difficult to bring by transit. Impossible? Maybe not, but these are all barriers for families and anyone who is not as able bodied as cyclists.
Some advocates speak of getting cars off the road or use hyperbolic language about how fumes and pollution from cars “ruin” their park experience. This, despite the thousands of online reviews extolling the beauty, serenity and access of Stanley Park. New York’s Central Park is sited as an example of a car free urban park, but it is a narrow strip with numerous access points all around the park, served well by roads and transit. Stanley Park is like an island and getting to certain destinations on foot would be a prohibitive walk for many.
Refining the park experience, making it safer and more enjoyable is a good thing, but creating a barrier to others is not the way to do that. It’s also worth noting that parking revenue generates $4 million annually to help maintain all our parks.
Please sign this petition to urge Vancouver’s Park Board to keep this jewel easily accessible to all. Even better, please write to the Park Board to tell them how you feel about keeping the park accessible to all. You can leave feedback on this webform. or contact commissioners directly by email at PBcommissioners@vancouver.ca
Keep Vancouver’s most beautiful park accessible to all.
Listen to Park Board commissioner Tricia Barker discuss this issue on CKNW