August 7, 2019

How the Park Board Tolerates an Unsafe Space – 2

Peter got a response from the Park Board with respect to his complaint on the Kits Park bike route, which PT reports here in Part 1.
Peter: The Park Board twitter account responded:

So, they’re removing the sharrows … and doing nothing in the immediate future. Even the suggestion of a review for new “route markings” makes it clear they don’t get it. Route markings, even white lines, won’t solve the problem here. To add insult to injury, their suggestion that cyclists ‘adjust their route depending on comfort’ is just painful to read. Where else should cyclists ride? On Cornwall?
I was under the impression that the commissioners of the past decade were largely responsible for the abysmal state of cycling infrastructure in our parks. With this response from a Park Board staffer, it’s clear that staff are also to blame. Whether it’s a lack of training/education in bike infrastructure planning, or simply a complete lack of understanding and interest, the contrast between City planning staff and Park Board planning staff is stark.
Do you have any recommendations on how a resident can best apply pressure on this issue?
Well, sure.  It’s time to call out the commissioners whom one would reasonably expect to provide the political will and support to not just resolve this issue but support sustainable choices in our parks and recreation system: the Green commissioners, Stuart Mackinnon, Dave Demers, Camil Dumont; and previous cycling advocate, COPE commissioner John Irwin
Together, they have a majority on the board.  But by their lack of action, it seems they are supporting the NPA commissioners in their policy of “To, Not Through” with respect to cycling:
‘We want the City to build AAA cycling facilities to the parks, but we’re not going to extend the system through our parks.  Asphalt is fine for vehicle parking, but it’s unacceptable to build or extend cycling routes if it requires taking away any grass.  We will, however, put a bunch of good intentions in our plans and policies – but we’re not actually going to do anything about them.  We’ll just continue to, as the Twitter post above indicates, “review the best approach.” ‘
So what to do: call them up and call them out.  Demand accountability.  Name names. 
Here they are:

Commissioner Stuart Mackinnon

Commissioner Stuart MackinnonBoard Chair

Commissioner Stuart Mackinnon of the Green Party joins the Park Board for a third term.

Phone: 604-379-7715

Commissioner Dave Demers

Commissioner Dave DemersBoard Vice Chair

Commissioner Dave Demers of the Green Party joins the Park Board for his first term.

Phone: 604-348-6784



Commissioner Camil Dumont

Commissioner Camil Dumont

Commissioner Camil Dumont of the Green Party joins the Park Board for his first term.

Phone: 604-348-6697



Commissioner John Irwin

Commissioner John Irwin

COPE Commissioner John Irwin joins the Park Board for his first term.

Phone: 604-348-6264


Posted in


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

Share on


Leave a Reply to DanCancel Reply

  1. What a diverse group. Perhaps they can be shamed with the Parks equivalent of Jan Gehl coming here to tell the world what an accessible joke our parks are. Take away the view of the mountains and what do most of them have?

  2. I sent this letter to all 4:


    As a frequent bike user along the seawall from UBC where I live, through both Pacific Spirit Park and/or seawall via Jericho Park / Spanish Banks / Kits I would like to suggest that Park Board consider upgrading ie paving and/or better marking bike lanes in these heavily used sections of the park.

    To promote active transportation biking ought to be promoted both TO parks and THROUGH parks. Parks are for ALL users, those who come by cars, families, kids, walkers, runners AND bikers. As such, please separate and/or upgrade ie pave critical sections in these 4 parks mentioned (Pacific Spirit Park and/or seawall via Jericho Park / Spanish Banks / Kits). I am sure there are other parks, too, and assume you have use stats to prioritize tight funding to heavily used sections first, then less frequently used. One weird part of the Kits park is the almost unmarked bike lane through the parking lot parallel to the tennis court. Why not at least paint this in GREEN with bike symbols ?

    The NW Marine Drive section from UBC via Spanish Banks ought to be improved for safety reasons, too, as cars frequently go over 100 km/h and it is a very busy bike route, esp on weekends. Spanish Banks has only an unseparated gravel path or unpainted section of NW Drive.

    We can, we must do better. Feel free to contact me for further questions.

  3. If you look at the Vancouver bike map all of the Jericho seawall, kits beach and vanier park is considered AAA bike route. Clearly that gravel path is not but I guess the park board thinks their job is done there.

    1. It is classified as AAA based on it being off street, with no vehicles sharing the space, or for some specific sections, with sufficiently low vehicle counts as to quality as AAA. Path surface doesn’t enter into it. An upcoming cycling infrastructure report from HUB Cycling will consider not only path surface, but path width, and user volumes, in classifying paths as to their comfort and safety for users.

      That path through Kits Beach park has been on the City inventory of bike paths for decades. Some Park Board commissioners have expressed on several occasions over the past few years that it isn’t actually a bike route now, since they didn’t vote for it and it is their jurisdiction, not the City’s. This is despite the fact that it is shown in the Vancouver City bylaw (with a drawn map) and in the City GIS database. That database is used to publish the City free bike maps. We pointed out to the Park Board commissioners and staff that they have in fact acknowledged it as their path in their Park Board meetings. The oldest reference we were able to find that acknowledged it as a Park Board path was when Vancouver enacted the bicycle helmet bylaw, and wanted to include City facilities that were off-street. The City Council motion was in February 1998 (and was moved by councillor Gordon Price). Staff then made a list of all the paths, but City staff couldn’t make a bylaw for the city park paths since it was Park Board jurisdiction. Park Board staff prepared a report (April 1998) with a map of their paths, and Commissioners voted on it, in June 1998. It passed unanimously. That was in support of putting a helmet bylaw on Park paths per an attached staff report, not to declare some routes paths and some not, but it shows that at the time they considered it a formal bike path.

      Park Board staff have more recently advised that they don’t consider the 1998 documentation to be significant in determining whether they consider that path to be a bike route or not. When stencils stating “No Cycling” were applied to the paved portion of the official path a few years back, and this was brought to their attention, Park Board staff removed the stencils. Now a few years later, they have applied them again.

      All this matters in the push for improved walking and cycling facilities in Kits Beach Park because public perception can be different depending on where we are coming from, what our starting point is. Some claim that there is an effort to put a new path through the park, and remove green space. Others point out that there already is an official path, and the desire is actually to move the bike path farther away from the water, but still in the park, where it is less congested, and so return the waterfront path to people walking. By claiming that there is no path there now, Park Board staff effectively create more public pushback from special interest groups.