September 8, 2016

Arbutus Greenway: Exclusion, the Crème de la Crème, and Getting Things Done

From the Editors of Price Tags:
The Arbutus Greenway project is a small study in tactics.
The first tactic is the classic process argument over lack of consultation. Often equated with lack of veto power, this argument can go on forever: there are enough high-level concepts, choices and details to debate until all the participants (elected officials, engineers and opposition alike) have expired, retired or moved to Kelowna.
Secondly, and related, is the attempt to redefine the very meaning of the term “greenway” – not as a transportation corridor that favours people over motor vehicles (a rare commodity in North America) but as a nature walk, a forest trail, a haven for blackberry bushes and able-bodied walkers. And few others.
Despite decades during which greenways have been defined via major planning documents, the opposition hopes to spark a process of re-definition that will take months, years and (best case) decades, and achieve the opposition’s goals by default. Delay equals victory.
But there’s something else going on: an almost unspoken assumption about the intended users of this corridor. A few, or everyone?
Those opposing the temporary surface paving of the Arbutus Corridor were quick to identify (and hopefully defuse) a term that has been associated with the adjacent West Side neighbourhoods for over a decade now: the Crème de la Crème.
The term became popular as a short-hand for that west-side sense of entitlement over the Arbutus Corridor:
As reported in Vancouver Metro, the term was first used in a heated discussion in Council.

The millennium was still young when, during a debate over the future of CP Rail’s Arbutus Corridor, Kerrisdale resident Pamela Sauder stood up at a meeting and uttered the following breathtaking landmark of arrogance and entitlement.
“We are the people who live in your neighbourhood. We are dentists, doctors, lawyers, professionals, CEOs of companies. We are the crème de la crème in Vancouver. We live in a very expensive neighbourhood and we’re well educated and well informed. And that’s what we intend to be.”

If the Arbutus Corridor, purchased by all the citizens of Vancouver for $55 million, is to be limited in its access and designed primarily for the benefit of those in the adjacent neighbourhoods, then the use of the term Crème de la Crème is exactly correct.
The dilemma, on the other hand, for those who argue Arbutus should be developed according to the long-term vision for a network of greenways, and be truly accessible in the interim until that final plan is developed, is” What should that look like?” How can accessibility, safety and a respectful recognition of values be accommodated in the short term? How can the right of the many for access be respected as well as the rights of the few to delay?
But if there is a decision to keep the greenway in stasis until some indeterminate process is completed, then that become a decision of exclusion. And most likely, it will be the basis for all future fights to keep the status quo and prevent a rail/tram line from being constructed – the very reason the corridor was purchased in the first place.
Bottom line: will the City agree to allow all residents access to this important transportation and recreation corridor in the city so everyone can think about the final design. Or will the Crème de la Crème delay and win the day for exclusion and exclusivity.
We’ll find out as the Arbutus Consultation process on the temporary pathway rolls out over the next few weeks.

Posted in


If you love this region and have a view to its future please subscribe, donate, or become a Patron.

Share on


  1. What is interesting is that the editors of this blog explain post after post to explain that the bike lane standard of the 90’s; painting on the road, are obsolete; and nowadays we need much better, and they could be right.
    Where the editors become schizophrenics, is when they fail to recognize that similar evolution happen in other matters: The “greenway” standard of the 90s, “a bike-lane with horticultural element”, is also obsolete…
    Probably people of the SALA could speak better on it, but for the record here is contemporary definition of a greenway according the editorial board of of the Landscape and Urban planning journal in a special edition on greenways:
    greenways are (i) ecologically significant corridors and natural systems; (ii), recreational greenways, where users find a network of trails and recreational sites and areas; (iiii), greenways which provide historical heritage and cultural values. Greenways are often multi-purpose corridors providing all three functions and benefits
    Tom turner, who has tested several definitions with the British public, has found out, that people agree most with this one:
    “A linear space containing elements planned, designed and managed for multiple purposes including ecological, recreational, cultural, aesthetic and other purposes compatible with the concept of sustainable land use”
    So on this blog, the editors believe that a greenway = transportation corridor, and seems to not accept people could have a different opinions than them …and still the city has promised something much more different than a “transportation corridor”:
    The editors of this blog seem to have a problem with a public consultation process, (and seem much more comfortable with City hall advised by a committee chaired by people with vested interest in the outcome of the policy they are advising on; assuming the cityhallwatch blog is right)…
    having a personal opinion, should not prevent to accept other could have a different view on the matter,.. and it should not prevent one to keep ethical in the promotion of his ideas…

    1. Good points about why people have different views about what a greenway should be and why they are upset about the rush to pave.

    2. It’s a TEMPORARY PATH meant to solicit interest for a consultation process that’s ALREADY PLANNED. We DO NOT NEED another consultation process on top of that. Just how deeply do we need to regress the process before everyone is satisfied?

      1. everything a government introduce is called “temporary” at first (starting with the income tax)…
        However, people have good reasons to be skeptical of the city intentions, and essentially see a fait accompli policy…
        To reinforce this feeling, people also see that the so called “temporary path” has already destroyed some intangible element of the greenway such as its ambiance, (see here), and express concerns on how genuine can be a public consultation under such circumstance.

        1. Yes, lets completely forget that CPR had EVERY RIGHT to remove things on the the right of way at the time. It’s not like there weren’t signs everywhere and, y’know TRACKS in the ground.. Sheesh.
          Meanwhile lets forget that the path is/was overgrown with invasive species, creosote in the soil, and was that it was illegal to use, and so only locals did because they knew when the cops came around.
          But y’know that’s all inconvenient.

  2. As a resident of East Van, I don’t care what the final solution to the greenway is. Or the interim solution, for that matter. Or which side is more selfish. Bottom line is, the greenway is primarily for residents of the west side, simply by virtue of being in the heart of creme de la creme land.
    What I really care about is that $55m got spent to buy it, countless millions to make whatever temporary arrangements are made, and countless more millions to finish it up. To say nothing of the countless person-hours devoted in many departments in city hall planning, plotting, designing, marketing, consulting, building, politicing. And all the while, in the other parts of the city, residents make do with painted lines on streets (where they don’t have to make do with just sharing the streets…).
    Why don’t you head on over the Fraser river, and check out the paths there? Why is hard-packed gravel good for that, but not for the creme? Why is over-grown, rock-strewn path ok in East Van, but only tarmac is good enough for the creme? (BTW, my kids won’t ride some parts by the river after having come off their bikes and got nasty cuts from the rocks in the path).
    The self-centredness of everyone who lives and operates north of King Ed and west of Main is breath-taking. Maybe take a trip out to the unwashed masses beyond and give your heads a shake.

    1. All good points … all evidence of why the solution needs to be both/and rather than either/or ( … or neither/nor as some would have it). Nothing about improving Arbutus should take away from doing something about elsewhere, neither should the presence of insufficient infrastructure elsewhere cause Arbutus to be insufficient/defficient.

  3. There are a number of false assumptions in this post, but I agree that there is confusion about the notion of a “greenway”, however the city has to shoulder that responsibility as they openly compared Arbutus to the NY Highline, which is not paved and does not even allow bikes. So if the city says that “we are going to build Vancouver’s “highland”, how can you blame people for misunderstanding the intentions? Now you are all over people for not accepting the dictionary definition of greenway.
    There is another thing. The city actively supported the use of the CP rail land for community gardens (no, they were not just gardens for rich west side residents. Why the heck would they need a public space for their garden?). Many enjoyed the rustic feel of the disused rail path with it’s bramble and railway ties. This was part of the charm. So people rightly expected that retaining some of that character would be an option to consider. Not saying it has to be that way, but it’s not absurd to imagine that residents might like that to be considered. That’s why hurriedly paving it seemed such an affront.
    Now let’s address this creme de la creme comment. Some dope makes a stupid statement like that and we just never hear the end of it. There are people in this world who say stupid things, but you hold to this quote to support your notion of west side elites like a wrestler with his opponent in a head lock. Drop it. it was a stupid comment and no one on either side supports that notion as regards Arbutus. It just inhibits considered debate by distracting with such idiocy.
    As regards the resident of East Van, I would say that assuming this is just for the wealthy of Shaunessy is a misnomer. The Arbutus Greenway would stretch from Marpole to wherever it ends around Granville Island and residents across Vancouver would have access to it. I don’t live near Commercial Drive, but I still enjoy going there.
    And by the way, how is it that this corridor can be seen as just for the elite west siders, but Point Grey Road is championed as a place that all Vancouver has the right to turn into a bizarrely named “seaside greenway”. (I say bizarre, because it is a road with housing on both sides and not on the sea at all).

    1. Thank you Robotboy for that. I find it tiring and pointless to get into characterization of people from different parts of town. It just distracts from any good will that people have and from the task at hand. Also the asphalt or gravel thing is so tedious.What should be discussed is what the purpose is. Then later the choice of materials can serve that.
      From what I can tell, some locals freaked out then got a meeting with the city and were pleased with the meeting. That’s good isn’t it?
      Let’s all move on to the next step.

  4. Let me rant a bit more. Last I checked on the map, Marpole is firmly on the west side. Yes, it’s not Shaughnessy, but so what? The fact of the matter is that the greenway will be overwhelmingly used by people on the west side. And really, all I have to say about that is good for you all. It’s wonderful to live in a city with great amenities, and have the city council spend money making them better.
    What I’m suggesting is that through all this navel gazing about paving or not, cyclists preferred or not, the bigger picture of how poorly resources are shared across the city, never mind the region, is getting lost. By the time this is all done, it’s going to be $75m or more spent on here. To say nothing of the energy devoted to it, detracting from other projects in the city.
    That’s the real outrage. The fact that this consumes so much bandwidth in the city, while large chunks are just being neglected. Like I said previously, take a ride on some East Van cycle paths. Try Kerr street for example. 59th. Knight street bridge. And the path along the river – sure the developers in East Fraserlands will have to fix it up – but the city sure as hell isn’t going to spend any money there (and haven’t for years).
    I know you are all hip and happening west-side/downtown people here, but this is about the only site where you can discuss issues of the city, and it would be nice for the people in power (ie many of the denizens of this blog) to start being more neighbourly and consider a broader area of the city and the region. I know my kids are never going to be able to enjoy this city as adults, because all the policies in place are encouraging the city to be an increasingly exclusive place for the wealthy, and concentrating the amenities in those very locations that are only accessible to the wealthy.

    1. I believe that the eastern part of Vancouver has quite good cycling facilities. The BC Parkway was one of the first major cycling routes in Vancouver and has been in place for over 30 years. One of the first major upgrades of a busy arterial to local streets/bike paths was Grandview North. CVG is also a great amenity which stops at Main Street. City has great plans for Grandview Woodland, including upgrades to Commercial, completion of the Portside Greenway and a bike route on Victoria Drive. False Creek Flats will have great cycling.
      In terms of cost, Arbutus will probably come out at very little cost. Cost for a future Broadway Subway will be reduced by about $20 million due to not having to support heavy trains crossing Broadway. Development on some of the wider portions could easily cover the cost of the greenway.
      However, what really rankles is that a small group of nimbys have forced the city through undemocratic actions into wasting money on a consultation process for the design of a temporary path. There will be three workshops which require space rental and lots of staff time. This is truly a waste of money and the people involved in this should be ashamed.

      1. While I don’t agree with the people who stopped the paving (temporarily at least), it goes too far to say they should be ashamed. Entitled perhaps.
        I agree with the East Van resident that streets and other public spaces on the east side need more attention than this storm in a tea cup.

      2. BC parkway gets used daily the City Manager Dobrovony, and Jeff Lee, Vancouver Sun city hall reporter.
        They live in the elysian fields of New Westminster where the people do no fight about class distinctions.

      1. The many responses just show that people are passionate about it. This is a good thing in my opinion. Hopefully people will divert that passion into giving good useful input into the final design.
        I also think it’s weird to hold workshops for a temporary path but that’s politics for ya. And these things are cheap. They get the rooms for free probably. They might make coffee and grab a few bags of cookies. They’ll have print outs of the area and felt markers. All pretty cheap in the grand scheme of things and if it helps people to get along better and contribute in a positive way it’ll be worth it.
        A bad outcome would be to have people grumbling away for years after because they held some belief that some supposedly powerful “other” group dominated or something. This can happen. (I know people who are still complaining about something that happened thirty years ago but wasn’t true then and was never true. They read some opinion piece in a trashy newspaper and believed it.)

        1. I suppose I should have added to my huzzah for less on this was my hope for more on other issues in Vancouver / Metro Vancouver. There’s A LOT going on in this City and region with far greater implications and importance than these two issues that seem to generate so much noise.
          Really though, just glad to have a space where urban issues are discussed like this.

    2. Out of interest, what’s your view on PGR? My view is exactly what you say, that while the city is happy to spend millions on the richest postal code in Canada, we have essential needs neglected in the city. Could be east side, could be DTES, mental health, even just other road works necessary that are more pressing.
      As regards Marpole being on the west side, I think you need to get off of the obsession with maps. Clearly Marpole and great swaths of land that this path will cover are not exclusive to “the elite”.

      1. the city is happy to spend millions on the richest postal code in Canada
        This is a misconception. The City is completing a pedestrian walkway/cycling path where one segment happens to go through one of the richest postal codes in Vancouver.
        The same route also goes through other neighbourhoods. It is an extension of the Seawall that allows one to go along waters edge (Port of Vancouver section excepting) from Powell & Clark to Spanish Banks. The wealth of one neighbourhood or another does not affect the logic of completing this seaside route.

        1. No, it is not an extension of the seawall; seawalls are walls constructed at the seaside to protect the foreshore from further erosion. Point Grey Road is an inland, local residential road with houses on both sides of the road. There is no wall on this road, and it is not seaside. It is ludicrous to suggest otherwise, and as far as it being the completion of a walkway/cycling path, it is already both — an established bike route as of 2013 with wider than standard sidewalks as of 1925 and later upgrades. Any further enhancement is a luxurious wastage that the city can ill afford.

        2. “It is an extension of the Seawall that allows one to go along waters edge” Which is funny considering it’s a street with housing on both sides and no “waters edge” at all. Not only that, but the second phase has little if anything to do with cycling because it already is a cycling route. Really, what is the need to do anything more to PGR in terms of cycling? It’s really not good enough?

        3. It is now such a perfect and lavish cycle route, the city is embrassed. The logic is that if it’s now made more like a promenade for pedestrians then perhaps a few people might start walking along it and won’t seem such a blatant sop to the veloistas.

      2. Their view is to censor comments that identify the truth of the cost wastage and redundancy of infrastructure of the Phase 2 extra-wide “inland seawall” that has been declared “unsafe” by traffic engineers.

      3. Nevermind that this route will be the preferred route for people coming off the bike bridge from Richmond into Vancouver, rather than going up Heather or Ontario, funneling more people onto the Burrard bridge. This doesn’t just benefit the west side of vancouver, it makes cycling from Richmond, much more doable. (and if you doubt people cycle from Richmond, they do, and get downtown in about the same amount of time as the train)

  5. Really, there’s only one appropriate use for the Arbutus transportation corridor: Skytrain.
    A right of way like that is impossible to find. Rather than making an orphan tram line that requires its own separate technology and that intersects with traffics, you could have trains wooshing overhead at high speeds. With no expropriation needed, no tunnels needed, you could build a rapid transit line there for a complete bargain.
    Plus the guideway would mean there’s enough room for cycling/walking paths in the narrower parts of the corridor, which isn’t guaranteed with the tram.
    It could be done as a southern branch of the Broadview extension of the Millenium line. Terminate it at the Canada line wye and have it go to Richmond. Then you’d have a one seat ride from Burnaby to Richmond!
    Although some might say the density doesn’t justify it, once you upzone the corridor, with property values there so high you’ll get intensification all along Arbutus.
    Of course by the time this is built the Nimbys would feel a bit silly for having opposed a bike path…

  6. Well, at my ranting is provoking some discussion, so I’ll rant a bit more.
    First of all, I have no objection to there being nice stuff on the west side, in rich neighbourhoods, or even Marpole (that help robotboy44?). If money grew on trees (like it used when we had paper bills…), I’d say go for it. Really, I won’t feel any better if someone else’s neighbourhood is just as neglected as mine.
    But the fact of the matter is that all that money spent on the greenway and PGR means money not spent elsewhere. Again, that’s not a reason to not make nice stuff, it’s a reason to prioritize and spread the wealth a bit…
    PGR is a good example here. To be honest, I never go there. It’s too hard with young kids to get there. So, I don’t have an opinion as to whether the new work is good, bad or ugly. I do have an opinion that it’s money that could have been spent on south/east Van (say along the river, my favourite hobby horse) to make an area that IS accessible to many people like myself a bit more pleasant. So yeah, every time I cycle along the rocky, overgrown trail along the river, or have to take a detour around the construction in the East Fraserlands, it makes me bitter about the millions being spent on PGR and Arbutus. What, the city can’t even find $10-20k out of my tax dollars to clean up the paths there? I bet the budget for consultation on the temporary paths on Arbutus is more money than it would take…
    Second point about Arbutus being a link to the Cambie cycle bridge. I don’t know. I’m quite fine with cycling up Cambie when coming off the bridge. There’s an actual separated path there for a bit, and you can still use Heather if you prefer. Will it be nicer to go up Arbutus on a cool cycling through-route (not using bicycle highway to avoid flame-wars…)? Probably. Maybe. It’s kind of out of the way if you’re going downtown or anywhere not way out on the west side.
    But even if it is better, dammit, I’d rather have improvements that reduce the risk of getting killed every time I go over the Knight street bridge which has NO safe cycling infrastructure. Believe it or not, there are many people who live and work in Richmond and Vancouver east of the creme de la creme!
    Talking of Knight street, the only reason the intersection with Marine is getting “upgraded” is because of a grant from higher govt. So, the city will spend $100m or so on Arbutus/PGR, and leave a mess at one of the most critical transport junctions in the region unless someone else pays. Priorities?! And note that the “upgrade” does nothing to address the horrible cycling conditions on the bridge, at Mitchell Island, crossing over Marine, and the Inverness “cycle route”. (Ok, Inverness is a quiet street, so it’s not so hard to share with traffic. See, us unwashed masses can be easily placated just by having a street that’s not busy like Knight to cycle on).
    Ok, enough ranting for one weekend.

    1. FYI, city is adding lots of cycling improvements to the Knght/Marine intersection. Bridge itself is TransLink jurisdiction and we, the people, denied them sufficient funds by voting no on the funding referendum. (Actually it is the province’s fault for insisting on a referendum in the first place). I must be one of the few who don’t mind cycling across the bridge, but wider sidewalks and other improvements would certainly help.
      We should rejoice that the city is as cycling friendly as it is since it is probably the best for cycling in North America. However we still have a long way to go to make this a truly great cycling city. Arbutus corridor will be one of the jewels in the crown of a great cycling city.

    2. I lived between Knight and Inverness for more than five years. Given a choice I’d choose Inverness over Knight for pretty much anything other than driving. Actually, there were days when I chose to drive slowly along Inverness, waiting for cyclists or pedestrians to help me cross 41st, doing the zig-zig at 37th, etc. because driving along Knight and having to make turns onto/off of it in a small car is only a few steps short of terrifying.
      I believe east 37th was the first official bike route in the city, the first to get road closures, pocket parks, etc. but it seems like most of the effort since then has been building and upgrading west side routes.

      1. Note that West 37th has no such pocket parks and closures to motor vehicle except for the odd diverter. Yes, nimbys rule.. What about recent upgrades to Adanac Bikeway including road closures to motor vehicles and protected paths on Union near Main and the improved connector to Science World. Upgrades to CVG. Powell St overpass. East Side is quite cycling rich and will become even more so in the near future. I wouldn’t begrudge anyone having the AG in their neighbourhood since it will be an amenity that will attract people from throughout the city, the region and even the world.

        1. Though I think the cycling definition of East Side above stops at 12th avenue in the South and doesn’t treat much than Adanac/Union and the UnderMillenium Line routes.
          Few can afford to live along the northern routes in the future.

    3. Hi bar foo, I agree with your assessment of improvements for biking and safety needed in various parts of Vancouver. The Vancouver side of Second Narrows also has the bare minimum and is basically unchanged since the 1980s or so.
      On the other hand I can see that it makes sense for the city to build out the bike network on the west side and downtown where cycling numbers are highest, where the beaches are popular destination, and where the bike share started. Downtown has much population growth. But it looks like the city is planning improvements more to the east now. Some have been done a few years ago around the PNE grounds.
      You should try the bike trip to Spanish Banks via Point Grey Road. It’s really nice and a good family trip.

  7. One thing we can be sure of is that those going to the Kerrisdale and Kitsilano Arbutus bikeway consultations shop at Whole Foods, not at No Frills.
    The resort for the sporty wealthy relentlessly advances.
    The congestion on the old Knight Street Bridge is a healthy bottleneck that tells people that they really should be on transit instead and also serves to keep the volume of traffic entering the city down. It’s considered to be a good thing.

    1. I don’t think we can tell who shops where.
      It seems like the work to be done on the Knight St. Bridge is mostly for safety reasons (the most unsafe intersection in the city) and for easier big truck movement from Marine Dr to Knight St. What it really should have though is a dedicated bus lane and some bike lanes. That’s giving people more choices.

    2. Not true. The area surrounding the Greenway in North Kits is mostly Apartments and Condos, and the kids living there have limited options to access open spaces. This is not an area of privilege.
      Paving what has been a de facto park for these kids for the past 30 years into an unnecessary bike street seems more than a little ridiculous. There has to be another option.

  8. Arbutus has always been a transportation corridor. The CPR followed the flattest possible route from False Creek to the Fraser. It’s quite possible that parts of the route were mapped out and used for transporting people and goods a thousand years before that by First Nations people. When BC Electric stopped running trams it was still a transportation corridor. When the CPR stopped running trains it was still a transportation corridor. To this day it is zoned for transportation and it was on that basis that the sale was made to the city.
    The crème de la crème want the corridor left to go wild so no outsiders will visit their private little dog walking trail. They regard the land as their private domain, a place only “members” should have access to.
    As for the term “greenway”, isn’t Point Grey Road being called that now? It’s a road, for crying out loud, you can’t get much less “green” than that. So “greenway” is just a newspeak word for transportation corridor with a bit of pretty landscaping.

    1. Wow, more tiresome generalizations and baseless assertions about who cares about Arbutus and why. Eric, above, even knows where everyone shops. This is why discussing anything here is like a black hole of frustration. Because proponents here (and most of the posters here are that) usually resort to these stupid comments about cream (sorry “creme”) and Whole Foods and such.
      Do you notice that no one on the other side resorts to this? “Oh, you lazy, organic, bike riding, socialist, gluten free, quinoa eating, man bun wearing, Vision zombie proponents of every bike path no matter what, people.” See how stupid that sounds? Imagine if comments kept saying stuff like that every time. It’s just tiresome and I’m sorry that the moderator here does nothing to try to stem the flow. I’m not insulted by it, it’s just tiresome (and entirely false, by the way).
      In terms of the point about it being zoned for transportation for all these years, good thing you weren’t on the planning committee for Granville Island all those years ago, because that was zoned for industry. How the heck did they let all those artists studios and veg markets in there! Didn’t they realize how it had been zoned previously?
      Point is, the Arbutus corridor was sold on the basis that it was going to be transformed and that is why people are interested in giving input on how it will be transformed. The city and CP even have a specific deal in place to allow for compensation for any development that may happen in places along that line. So unless you think that development will be on wheels and roll along a track, you have to understand that the use will change and that is the whole idea. It will include transportation, but how and what is not confirmed. There is talk about a tram, but years in the future, maybe. Right now, the talk was about a NY high line type of experience, which, in fact, does not even allow bikes. So it seems it could be many things, but it will certainly not be an enclave for the rich to roll around on their penny farthings, or whatever silly image you have in your head about the people who live near Arbutus.

      1. Felicity would like to know if she’s safe to plan an Indian Summer picnic along this new Greenway, before she puts the straw hats and parasols away for the season.
        Her main concern is that one of those Spandex gladiators on a new fangled carbon fibre contraption might suddenly whoosh around a corner, collide with, mangle and maim one her darling grandchildren that seem to frolic uncontrollably with unabashed abandon.
        She has seen photographs of this one-lane blacktop velopiste and she insists her trepidations are not without foundation.
        In an unwanted quandary,
        Yours truly.

      2. Robotboy44. They actually do say stuff like that and more. Much of it contradictory.
        I’m against it myself from anyone. (I won’t says “both sides” because there aren’t any “sides”.) It doesn’t get us anywhere. I might as well just read The Sun if I wanted trashy opinions and engineered conflict.
        There are plenty of smart people who read and comment on this blog. How about we learn to both listen to other opinions (even if they’re unfounded or crazy), analyze whether there’s anything there, respond with respect even if disagreeing, and see what happens.

      3. David: “Do you notice no one on the other side does this?”
        No, I didn’t notice that. This gem from your van poli site doesn’t support your position (and there are lots more)
        Elvira Lount: ….Sometimes I think why bother. Who needs the aggravation of nasty HUB trolls. But then I’m back at it a few days later. A thorn in the side of the Hubbites.
        Maybe some moderation?

        1. Yeah, I don’t see that the same way. Elvira is not ascribing character to people she disagrees with apart from calling them “trolls”, which is her view based on their specific actions on the site, as she sees it. That’s her opinion and I don’t know if it’s justified or not, but she is not making claims about where those people shop, work, how rich or poor they may be. I see that as very different.
          In any case, I am not looking to examine each and every post in any forum anywhere, but just what I read here at Price Tags. This repeated characterization of what is considered the opposition. I don’t think it does the discussion any service.
          I also agree with resisting the notion of “sides”. I myself am open to the idea of Arbutus being paved if that’s what is felt the most appropriate by the people who intend to use it. What I resist is the notion that it must be one way, or that if you bike (which I do) you should only want it paved. I have tried to explain previously why some feel affronted by the sudden “temporary” paving and the way the city had represented Arbutus in terms of a greenway and why some would have a different impression as to what that would be, because the city referred to NY’s high line, for instance, which is not paved and is bike free.

      4. Do you notice that no one on the other side resorts to this? “Oh, you lazy, organic, bike riding, socialist, gluten free, quinoa eating, man bun wearing, Vision zombie proponents of every bike path no matter what, people.”
        When I look at, for example, this exchange between Elvira Lount and someone who happens not share her opinions and dared to point out factual errors in her claims (clearcutting) in a respectful fashion only to be dismissed as a “HUB troll” then no, I have not noticed.

      5. I used crème because actual residents of the area use that term. They consider themselves better and more important than everyone else. Look at what they’re calling the flyer they’re currently circulating: Ourbutus. Could it be more obvious that they believe they’re the only ones whose opinions should matter?
        The end result will be great if people from other parts of Vancouver are heard and ideas from other places considered. It will be even better if those who don’t live near Arbutus go out and visit the place so they can see the challenges and opportunities first hand. That’s why I strongly supported the temporary paved path. A firm smooth surface is best for people like my father-in-law who has limited vision, people with assistive devices like scooters, and parents pushing those cheap umbrella strollers that stop rolling if they encounter anything bigger than a pebble.
        Personally I’d like to see Arbutus have a hard path for those who want to take it slow and easy and a second one for those wanting to go a little faster. I don’t want to see the rest “beautified”; I think natural local plants should reign. A balance between minimal initial landscaping effort and minimal long term maintenance should be sought. Others will undoubtedly disagree with me.

        1. “Ourbutus” offends you so much? People refer to “our Vancouver” or our country. I think you can twist anything to serve your preconceived notions, but I would suggest it’s not very constructive to do that.
          Anyway, who are “they”? Some rich people who live in the area? So what? People are entitled to have options you and I disagree with, but it is hardly representative. Again, you can find these people and happily use them to support your views of who your opposition is, but really, I think it’s pretty silly to try to have a discussion about an issue when you already have this idea of who these people are because you heard one or two people say some stupid thing.

  9. I wasn’t going to rant anymore this weekend, but I do have to answer some things. First, I actually live and bike in East Van, so I think I have something to say here. No, biking facilities in East Van are not wonderful. No Arno, just because there are nice routes on Powell and Union (which mostly serve downtown commuters, BTW), doesn’t mean the rest of the place south of there has anything nice to speak of.
    Of course, it’s not like there’s no infrastructure. Of course, I don’t begrudge anyone having nice stuff like Arbutus or PG or whatever. I would continue to draw your attention to the tens of millions spent here, and very little elsewhere. That’s what I have a problem with. The completely disproportionate expenditure of funds.
    Take the Knight/Marine fixup. Yay, they’ll put a shared ped/bike path (ie widen the sidewalk) on the southeast off-ramp. That’s it. And note, this is only happening because of a grant from higher govt, the city is spending nothing here. Take the path along the Fraser river. At least as relevant to East Van residents – if you see how nice it is in Burnaby, then compare to Vancouver, you might understand how we get a little frustrated. And it might get cleaned up, but only when the East Fraserlands developers get around to it, the city isn’t putting any money in.
    Again, if the tens of millions spent on buying, consulting and developing Arbutus came with, oh, say $250k to work on some routes elsewhere in the city, that don’t serve the needs of west-siders or people living downtown. Believe it or not, there are people who live and work in Vancouver outside of the core. There are people going places that are not the west side or downtown or Broadway. Is it too much to ask that you don’t have to take your life in your hands going to Richmond over Knight street, or that you can cycle with your kids along the river, or that a bit of thought is devoted to people commuting on 49th?
    There’s so much needed in the city to make it work better for ordinary people, I’m so tired of hearing about west-side infrastructure, and seeing the amount of money being spent on nice-to-haves when real needs are being ignored.
    /really end of weekend ranting, i have work to do

    1. I do feel that Arbutus is a unique project because it’s really the only semi-flat north south route in the entire city. Unfortunately it’s on the west side where a disproportionate amount of money is already being spend on cycling infrastructure, but because it’s unique I believe it must be done right regardless of location.
      Hopefully the next city council will take a good long look at the whole city and direct additional funds to the areas that have been neglected in recent years.

    2. Common sense alone dictates expenditures should be where they are most needed at any given time, but Vision caters to their PAST affluent supporters.

  10. “Do you notice that no one on the other side resorts to this?”
    Adding my voice to the chorus of contradictors here Robotboy44.
    Actually, it’s worse. Ms Smith refers to those who she considers unwelcome in her neighbourhood as ‘riff-raff’. The term ‘Progressive’ is a favourite epithet of those who oppose much of the good work done to make cycling and walking safer in the region. And if you don’t think those who advocate for cycling infrastructure improvements are unfairly tarred with an inaccurate brush time and again I would urge you to look more closely at the divisive, name-calling tactics employed by Eric and Susan in this very thread and others of their perspective across the media landscape when the topic of cycling arises.
    I will add that the gravel path proponents might spend an hour or two in Trout Lake Park while the good weather persists. Finally, the bike path’s cracked and uneven surface has been repaved and now it’s even more likely to be populated by walkers, strollers, and dogs on extenda-leashes. The people are voting with their feet and they are voting for hard surfaces such as asphalt time and again.

    1. Chris, anyone in any neighbourhood who commits crimes I would characterize as “riff-raff.” It is not the locale that is the issue, but the behaviour of the individual.

        1. Quite right Chris. Every time I go to Point Grey I can just feel the crime emanating everywhere. Crime spouts all over the area. It exudes crime at every corner.
          When ever you see crime emanating you should report it.

    2. I hardly consider referring to someone as “riff raff” or “progressive” in the same league as the examples I have quoted. These are vague and general comments, but they do not seek to define by way of class, shopping habits, personal motivations, etc. You know, like this:
      “The crème de la crème want the corridor left to go wild so no outsiders will visit their private little dog walking trail. They regard the land as their private domain, a place only “members” should have access to.”
      That, or “riff raff”. Same thing? Really?

      1. “These are vague and general comments, but they do not seek to define by way of class, shopping habits, personal motivations, etc.”
        I invite you to waste more time here. You will find that this axe cuts both ways, and such judgements are made quite often, from both sides of the fence (road?).
        Just a couple comments above, Eric is conflating recreational and competitive cyclists with the entire cohort — in what I see as an attempt to ‘other’ cyclists. That’s his game much of the time.

      2. You can’t honestly believe this doesn’t happen on both sides can you?? I know we all have our biases but….let’s be real here lol.

  11. The newly paved Trout Lake path is sweet but dicey – it was loaded with people on Saturday – not the place to speed; had to brake and do avoidance. Many park users are oblivious to danger.
    Never understood why people walk/run on a hard surface when there’s grass adjacent. If there’s a grass boulevard I always walk on it – easier on the joints and it uses more muscle groups – cooler on the feet too. Only problem is the squishies left by lovely dog owners.
    Thumbs up to paths that go under the Skytrain track; like portions of the Central Greenway, so you can cycle/walk in the rain. This is a built-in amenity that should be incorporated more often – like the kids’ playset under the Cambie Bridge. It’s a treat to walk/play/ride and stay dry while it’s raining.

  12. And the Hub bicycle Vandals (Hub Huns?) have their Ride the Night over the paved part of the Arbutus path as a victory march.
    Very strange Night Rider route in my opinion, not designed to go anywhere

    1. Bike the Night also goes on a gravel portion of the new path from 37th to 41st. Riders will be able to comment on which surface they prefer, speaking from the experience of having ridden on both surface treatments.

    1. Well, since you are belabouring… Calling the city “dictators” because of the way they implement policy is entirely different than the narrow and specific personal attacks on the people who oppose the city’s um, vision. I’m not sure how you can equate the two.

      1. Correction: The poster clearly stated the City AND people who support cycling.
        That the City’s announced consultation process does not match your [never defined] vision of public consultation does not make them “dictatorial” either.
        There are a lot of city planners and staff who work very hard to make the City work in the fairest way possible. I’m pretty sure they do in fact feel being referred to as dictators qualifies as a personal attack as you have defined it here.

    2. David Fine: Do you not see the use of words like moonbeam and visionistas, both very common on your site, as exactly the same sort of silly partisan comment? You don’t appear to moderate those comments on vanpoli at all, while calling for moderation here. I think the above comments are why many of us stay away from vanpoli, it is just too toxic.

      1. I don’t prefer the use of these terms, but hitting at a politician like that is, again, very different than making baseless statements about the personal habits of people who’s opinions you disagree with. Check how you may have referred to Harper and the Cons during their seemingly interminable time in office. You telling you always called him “the right honourable prime minister Harper”? I suspect not. Politicians in power get called stuff. People refer to Trudeau with remarks about his selfies and such. It goes with the territory, but again (again!) that is entirely different than what I have explained here. If you don’t see it, then I can’t help you further.
        Wasn’t it Gregor himself who called the opposition “a bunch of fucking NPA hacks”? and “angry old white men”? Yeah, I think it was.

      2. I agree, but in one case, the issue is clouded by the repetitious characterization of people which serves to cloud the issue and stifle discussion. My very point is that posters here should stay away from such nonsense and stick to the issues, just as you say.

        1. If you can’t see that those politicians, and the staff who work for the City, are people too, then I can’t help you. Suggesting that everybody does it, so it is fine, doesn’t help at all. Especially when you are calling for moderation of comments that are critical of your point of view, while comfortably accepting it on your own site.

      3. Jeff, you decline to participate in the Vanpoli group, but you feel I should be moderating on your terms. That’s silly. If you join the group and contribute and have a beef with with what you are reading, I would absolutely look to address it, so how about we stick with what is posted here, on Price Tags, rather than bringing everything else into the discussion.
        I am not aware of personal attacks on the character or habits or status of city workers, so why are you suggesting this is the case? Again, let’s deal with comments here on Price Tags and not everywhere on the internet. Here in this venue, the comments are pretty much one way and wholly baseless and offensive and do not serve the discussion, but distract from it.

        1. David: not moderation on my terms, simply on the terms you are suggesting that the editors of this blog need to moderate on. In other words, your terms. Forget the whole internet, how can you suggest that moderation is required here while ignoring the issue on your own site?

  13. Moreover, Jeff, editing out comments that you consider dangerously true is hardly conducive to a meangingful discussion; censorship, book burning, ostracizing the academics and establishing your “bike guards” as a form of cyclist-only cultural revolution went out with Mao. Your “vision” is passe.

    1. I have never edited out a comment here, susan. You and I are both subject to the same commenting policy. Maybe it would be a good idea for you to review it.
      Calling people names is not conducive to meaningful discussion.

      1. I do not call people names, Jeff. The editing out is not for that reason; it appears to be politically-motivated: if my comments hit hard against cycling infrastructure or Vision (one and the same), despite being true, the editor fears my comments’ impact. In short, readers may start to think about what is equitable and true, insteady of pure fantasy.

      2. That is incorrect, Jeff; we are not subject to the same commenting policy, as you have repeatedly insulted commenters, name-called, violated privacy requirements, and promoted your own entirely self-serving HUB propaganda while being utterly disrespectful to anyone with an opinion (or even the facts) opposite your own obsessive view. Yet, your comments are not censored. Hardly an even playing field, to say the least.

        1. Then start your own blog Susan. You can say whatever you want. Don’t like your treatment here? Then go elsewhere (please!). If no one begs for your return, then I guess you’ll know how much value is placed on your contributions right?
          IMO, what’s happening here is that you are trying to piggyback on the audience Pricetags has developed, due to its being a reasonably good place for intelligent debate on matters of interest to its audience — to push your own agenda. Whatevs as the kids say, but you have zero entitlement to demand publication on someone else’s platform.
          I for one remained amazed at the forbearance extended to you and your single-issue comments. They’ve dragged down the quality of this blog in a big way IMO. As we see from other commenters such as Eric and Thomas, dissenting opinions are welcomed, even when they can’t get their facts right. You’re not a victim, you’re the problem.

        2. “you have repeatedly insulted commenters, name-called, violated privacy requirements, and promoted your own entirely self-serving HUB propaganda while being utterly disrespectful to anyone with an opinion (or even the facts) opposite your own obsessive view.”
          Thumbs up this comment if you think Susan just described her own behaviour to a ‘T’

        3. Thanks for your backhanded compliment Chris.
          I presume you have Gordon’s OK to proceed to become official twiddledee bully and bouncer? I don’t dispute your qualifications.

  14. It’s not bullying or bouncing to call out statements that are clearly factually incorrect Eric. If you don’t like having your remarks called into question, don’t make claims that don’t stand up to scrutiny.

      1. I’m not demanding my posts be published, nor have I had comments deleted for violating the policy Susan. Thumbs up/down on my two previous posts really is the tale of the tape here.

  15. I had a chance to cycle the Arbutus pre greenway the other day and I have to say, although I believe the city handled the sudden paving very poorly, it was a very nice cycle ride. I had said before that if the public view is that it should be paved, I’m okay with that. My own opinion is that paving is indeed very nice for cycling this route, but that it should also attempt to provide a feel which is reminiscent of what it was, so lots of green and visual touches that make it different than what could strictly be a cycle highway.
    One other thing which was interesting is that around 5pm on a stunning sunny weekday, there was barely a sole on it. I know it is very early days, but interesting how it is currently scarcely used. I expect that would change, but people certainly aren’t itching to get on that path yet.
    Interesting also that there is an extremely quiet and pretty street running adjacent to the path, also with no one on it. I remain perplexed as to why cycle advocates consider a very quiet residential road an undesirable or in any way unsafe route to take.

  16. It seems a shame to make what amounts to just another street, but just without cars, in a city that is already a grid of streets.
    [Ed: edited for violation of comment policy]
    Some real imagination and this could be a beautiful, meaningful and accessible space for everyone.

  17. Just read this on December 22, 2021, long after it was written.
    It is interesting to think about who was in power then (Vision), and who was the opposition (NPA), and how different things are now.

  18. I was wondering where the Arbutus green ends and there’s still more train tracks are but not being used will the Arbutus Green be expanded beyond the train tracks are not being used to South Burnaby where there’s a park or where the next train bridges

Subscribe to Viewpoint Vancouver

Get breaking news and fresh views, direct to your inbox.

Join 7,291 other subscribers

Show your Support

Check our Patreon page for stylish coffee mugs, private city tours, and more – or, make a one-time or recurring donation. Thank you for helping shape this place we love.

Popular Articles

See All

All Articles