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Vancouver Park Board votes to keep Beach Avenue bike lane

Vancouver Park Board votes to keep Beach Avenue bike lane
Vancouver Park Board votes to keep Beach Avenue bike lane

The Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation voted Monday night to reject the City of Vancouver’s plan to remove a segregated bike path and restore a traffic lane near Stanley Park.

Park Board commissioners decided to ignore the City Council’s request to restore two lanes to Beach Avenue in the West End and instead retain the bike lane.

“The independence of the Park Board is the reason we are bringing this forward, to prioritize with the board that park amenities and park features, playgrounds for kids, skate parks for youth, all are a greater priority than allowing cars to drive into the park,” Commissioner Brennan Bastyovanszky explained.

The bike lane on Beach Ave has been a major source of contention since the dedicated lane was implemented in 2020, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vancouver City Council approved a plan in April to restore two-way traffic and parking, and eventually add new pedestrian and bike lanes.

The plan, which was included in the city’s West End waterfront plan, came after councillors decided to scrap the 30-year-oldImagine the West End Waterfront Parks, Beaches and Transportation Vision projectwhich has been in the works since 2021.

Commissioner Scott Jensen believes the city “should not spend $16 million adding a car lane at the expense of a bike lane that has proven to be very successful.”

“Let’s get to the point where we build parks for a community that needs them so much,” he added.

But the commissioners’ decision wasn’t unanimous. Commissioner Jas Virdi explained that the Park Board’s decision to deny the bike lane’s removal is “another example” of competing governments.

“This is another example of us opposing what the council is doing, and continually fighting and resisting, and fighting and resisting, and wasting money,” he said. “This is exactly why I don’t think there should be two opposing councils.”

City council voted in December 2023 to dissolve the Park Board and assume all responsibilities. Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim said at the time that the Park Board was inefficient and costly. In April of this year, the British Columbia government said it would support the city’s plan, but only after the upcoming provincial election, scheduled for October 19.