June 17, 2020

What do the NPA Park Commissioners Want?

I’m trying to figure out what NPA Parks Commissioners Barker and Coupar have in mind.

They want to “take immediate steps to reopen Stanley Park to its pre COVID19 transportation and access plan…”  And do it now, before next week.

Who knew there was a plan to keep Stanley Park in 1960s-style traffic design?  You know, Motordom.

I’m trying to figure out whether they actually intend the cyclists to go back to the seawall and the shared paths.  Since, not wanting to fight it out with the cars and buses on a shared Park Drive, many will be back on the seawall, sharing what had been used only for walking and running while all the bikes were up on the road.

So, is all the return to “sharing” really the outcome the NPA Commissioners want?  Given the likelihood of immediate conflict.


There have been months and months of flow-way style cycling in the park.   The peoples of Vancouver found a collective play space.  And this video is what it looked like last week:

Park Drive


Imagine a portion of those cyclists back on what have been walk-only paths.   Isn’t this a set-up for immediate conflict?

I doubt that’s really what the NPA commissioners want.

So what is?

Posted in


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

Share on


  1. It drives me insane that the park is busy at all hours of night. I live next to lost lagoon and occasionally I stay up late and see cars constantly circling the park at 2, 3, 4 am. Vampire car club? The park roads should be closed from dawn to dusk like other parks.

  2. Two theories: 1) Even though it’s never lead to electoral success the paleo-urbanist branch of the NPA invested so much initially into opposing bike lanes that it suggests some form of sunk-cost fallacy kicked in. 2) But it does wind up their [diminishing] base.

  3. I support any plan that allows me to take the kids for bike rides around the park using the seawall, and that allows me to ride my motorcycle around the park using the roadway, and that allows me to take my elderly relatives around the park by car. I’m happy to share the roadway with cyclists that want to use the roadway, but I’m against permitting cyclists to selfishly monopolize the roadway to the exclusion of everyone else.

    1. Yes, because parks are totally intended for car drivers. I think the NPA and their supporters should come out in full support of making the park fully car accessible, you know, for the old and those who can’t walk or ride a bike. I propose to wide any and all trails in the park to at least the width of a F-150 Raptor. The felled trees can be sold for profit by the parks board so they can build another upscale dining location in the city’s parks.

      1. Michael, Don’t forget get to tell Mayor, Council, Parks Board and all your friends: “As a cyclist, I’m happy for automobiles and bicycles to share the roadways in Stanley Park, and I’m against permitting a cyclists to selfishly monopolize Stanley Park roadways to the exclusion of everyone else. And, I want the seawall to re-open to bicycles.”

        1. Why would I? I do ride a bike, but rarely through the Park and I personally have no problems with cars, as a direct safety hazard. I do have a problem with the parks board though that regularly ignores the well being of citizens in order to “make a buck”.

          The NPA playbook of “cyclists are killing the old and infirm” is tiring too. It is interesting how the nature of the park has changed since cars have been banned from the area. You can see a lot more small animals and birds than I have seen ever before. The geese pretty much have taken over the area to a much larger degree than normal as well. It’s almost as if cars and nature are at opposite ends. If you want to go for a drive take to #1, that’s car territory. No cyclist will interfere with your enjoyment of nature there.

          I mean, it’s a park. Who wants to enjoy nature when instead you can sit in your metal and glass cage and have the AC blowing while blowing toxic exhaust out of the back. A much better way to experience “nature”. He says sarcastically.

        2. Guest, I have been talking to the media for several weeks now, telling them that I am happy to have a lane allocated for cycling in the park, and for automobiles and delivery vehicles to have a lane, and for people walking to have space to move on the seawall in these times of physical distancing. It is about space for all. Nothing selfish about it. And their response is typically to post a headline that says something like “cyclists want vehicles banned from Stanley Park permanently” even when the article or interview that follows doesn’t call for that at all. It is tiring.

          But when large numbers of seniors, families with kids, and everyday people who ride and walk in the park write letters to our park board commissioners telling them that they appreciate the space they have been given over the past month, it makes up for it.

      2. I think you mean the Larriet edition. It’s way bigger.

        And don’t forget the dodge ram 3500. Only takes $100 worth of gas to zip in from the fraser valley for a quick cruise around the park.

    2. Well, fortunately for you the previous PB motion did not say that. It just said to investigate reducing. That’s different than eliminating.

      I like that they asked staff to get information. Evidence is the way to make decisions, not whims or notions or political posturing.

  4. Can we (that includes certain cycling advocates) please stop talking about banning all cars from Stanley Park. It quite understandably sets off certain car alarms unnecessarily.

    With that out of the way, let’s talk about the VPB’s War on Bikes. Because of it, they refuse to keep building out separated bike lanes that have served so well in English Bay and the peace flame park at the south end of the Burrard Bridge.

    As Gordon points out, this amounts to a dangerous mixing of pedestrians and cyclists in Kits Park and from Jericho to Spanish Banks. That is the default policy: to spite cyclists, make their lives and those of pedestrians in the parks more dangerous and unpleasant.

    It seems the NPA position is to repeat that pattern around the seawall in spite of all the increases in traffic by both pedestrians and cyclists.

    1. It is actually way worse than that. The Parksboard seems to have decided that parks are “destinations” instead of parts of the communities they lie in.

      Take the Cactus Club on English Bay. That’s not a place where the locals would usually go, same with the Fishhouse on Kits Beach or pretty much anything inside the park.

      Yet, the Parksboard seems to see the parks as something they have to run as a business instead of a service to the citizens of the city the parks are in.

      I think it’s way past time that the Parksboard gets dissolved and folded into the city. From what I have read Vancouver is the only city left in North America that holds onto this institution and in my 15 years in the city I have never seen anything good come out of the board.

      Just one example, the Cactus Club on first beach. the original city plan called for a loading / unloading area right outside the doors. Basically the pullout that is currently there wasn’t supposed to be there. Instead the loading zone would have acted as a buffer between the bike path and people leaving the restaurant.

      It was by the insistence of the Parksboard that instead we got a pullout and now we have a constant conflict area between drunk people coming out of the Cactus Club, focussed on the people they’re with stepping right into the bike lane.

      1. Same situation at Kits Beach park. The last round of meetings and public hearings for improvements to the bike lane there included a point from a commissioner that the bike lane would interfere with the restaurant there (even though it was proposed to run behind the restaurant). And the bike lane couldn’t go through the parking lot because that would reduce restaurant parking. It seems that the park board’s tenants call the shots.

        There was a proposal to create a protected return route for people riding bikes, on Pipeline Road (pre pandemic). This was part of the Stanley Park Cycling Plan that commissioners approved in 2012. A return route allows people around Lumberman’s Arch to return directly to the park entrance if they choose, relieving congestion on the seawall path near Siwash Rock. It was deemed to be a problem because it may have resulted in the reduction in parking along Pipeline Road. Can’t have that. It gets busy when the Christmas Train is running. Of course, that is when the Park Board makes vehicle parking free in the park. Hopefully that practice won’t continue with our new commissioners who appear to be trying to bring about change.

    2. I can see from peter’s comment what is going to happen.

      Between now and the next municipal election on october 2022, things will continue on as usual.

      The citizens of vancouver will slowly come to realize how obstructionist the parks board is. It is possible to take a pleasant, off-road (no cars) ride for 28 kms, around much of the waterfront of vancouver, EXCEPT for stanley park, kits park and jericho park, where it is acompletely unnecessary gong show.

      Look out, parks board! In 2022, you are all going to be run off the road, electorilly speaking.

  5. Are we going to be ok with close to normal summer pedestrian/cycling traffic on the seawall (minus a few tourists)?

    Opening both lanes back up to vehicles basically says cyclists can go back to the seawall – which is nice but you’re going to have a very crowded seawall when we’re supposed to be social distancing.

  6. I am pretty certain what’s happening here is those two are getting ready to run for city council.

    I like that apparently this is such a great threat to cardom that an “emergency session” is required.

    I am also greatly disappointed that Stanley Park Brewing decided to “support this”. Because as we all know, nothing mixes better than getting drunk and getting behind the wheel.

    Maybe the VPD can set up a road check at the park exits and have all drivers blow.

    Alternative: The city can install some k-barriers on their side of the road and block access that way.

    1. I’ve visited Stanley Park Brewing twice since they’ve reopened and had to wait both times. Clearly they aren’t hurting for business with no cars in the park and parking lots closed. I’ve just written them to tell them why I won’t be back if they continue to put up road blocks to permanent improved cycling.

      I encourage others to do the same.

      1. Yes, I did support them as well when they only had take-out and I had introduced several people to them as well.

        I am also planning to not return and let them know why. What an excellent way to tell your community to get stuffed.

  7. “It’s going to go and put in a bicycle lane that’s a velodrome for beyond seasoned cyclists,” said Malkin. “It’s not being inclusive, this is not something where families and children are going to be able to ride around.”
    Anyone who is in the park regularly would know that the pre covid park drive traffic was primarily “seasoned cyclists” and all the beginners were on the seawall. Now everyone is on the road together.
    If I ran a business in Stanley Park I would be happy that there is motion to direct a huge amount of traffic to pass in front of my establishment instead of on a seawall. I’d also be open to serve people if allowed. The road is full of cyclists, there are big outdoor areas to place seating, and the government will pay part of your staffing costs. Instead they’re filing motions and worrying about people using a park for exercise.
    Seems like the pro-active thing would be to stop politicking and start adapting.

  8. William Ferguson wrote: “If I ran a business in Stanley Park I would be happy that there is motion to direct a huge amount of traffic to pass in front of my establishment instead of on a seawall. I’d also be open to serve people if allowed. ”

    I don’t think a lot of businesses quite grasp the immediacy of cycling. If you’re in a car it’s a lot harder to decide to pop into a business on a whim because you’ve got to deal with finding parking, paying for it, and then walking back to the business. On a bike you just stop – heck in some cases like food trucks I’ve seen cyclists order without even getting off their bikes (the cycling equivalent of a drive-thru).

  9. The answer is pretty simple, actually. A clear example of how some politicians listen only to their costituency, and not others.

    Are they not supposed to look out for the best interests of ALL citizens?

    Tone deaf.

    1. Unfortunately not. They’ll simply listen to whoever’s loudest, especially when the whole point is to go fishing for noise. Quiet, polite expressions of support for the new park access do not match the howls of self-righteous protest for returning the park’s roadways solely to cars. When cycling proponents get just as loud and fervent in their support of limiting car access, even the dog-whistling fossils in the parks board will listen. Call their bluff.

Subscribe to Viewpoint Vancouver

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

Join 7,293 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