June 13, 2020

Stanley Park and Accessibility: The Bigger Question

As the debate heats up and polarizes on how Stanley Park should allocate road space while accommodating everyone in a time of pandemic, here’s the bigger question:

Does access for the disabled and seniors require ‘Full Motordom’ – the default 20th-century road-and-parking design that gave us auto-dependence?

Here are several examples of Motordom design from the park, including this one:

The roads are designed almost exclusively for driving – banked and angled curves, no stop signs, unaligned crosswalks, limited sidewalks.  Of course, no bike lanes.

Some park commissioners and supporters have a new line of defense to prevent change: Motordom is necessary to provide access for the disabled and seniors (who are presumed to be car-dependent), while at the same time implying or accusing those who desire a more balanced approach of demanding a car-fee Stanley Park.  They’re not and it isn’t.


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  1. Cars (or really, individual motorized vehicles in all forms & shapes, incl all forms of ownership ie rented, shared plus coop or individually owned) will be here forever. We need to accommodate a city incl large buildings and access to all public parks for all transport modes. Not just bike or bus enthusiasts!

    1. No, cars won’t be with us “forever”. They are not gifts from an ancient god whom we dare not anger. They are a choice, despite the habit of talking about them as if they were as immutable as the sun, the moon, and the tides.

      1. The ancient “car” was the horse or horse drawn carriage. Today’s car is mainly an internal combustion engine (or ICE) vehicle, in various shapes and sizes, in various ownership modes from owned to leased to shared to rented.

        Tomorrow’s car is likely ever more electric, in various shapes and sizes, in various ownership modes from owned to leased to shared to rented.

        I do not see this going away, ever, as (hu)man wants to move about and see places, friends & family !

        As such, Stanley Park and many other places of interest need to be accessible by “cars”, or if you prefer the term, motorized individual vehicles, not just public transit or bikes.

  2. Does antone know the cross-section of park drive?

    Without knowing it, i have an intuitive feeling that aroad setup that shared the road between cars and cyclists could work.

  3. If there is an advocate for the status quo out there i.e leave two lanes for motorised vehicles please explain why leaving one lane for cars and emergency vehicles and the other for cyclists, horse-mounted police and the occasional horse-drawn tourist buggy will not work.

  4. There’s no better time to try this than right now, while people are already coping with so many things out of the ordinary.
    There’s a 99.9% chance the sky won’t fall and vehicles will adapt to altered (slower) access. – it’s a park, not a freeway.

  5. Oh I have been enjoying cycling the park road system these days. Plenty of little kids out on bikes with their parents as well. Tourists on bikes. Newbys on bikes. Serious competitive riders. MAMILS like me. I think a wide lane for bikes only is just fine.

  6. Interesting discussion! If there ever was a time to reduce motor car (includes electric motors) space, this may be it. Why should they have so much of the transportation space in our parks. Let’s get to changes in intersection geometry to accommodate cyclists, buses and motorists. It works on city streets and can function well in parks as well. Leave most of the paths and trails to pedestrians.

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