March 9, 2021

Stanley Park & “Automobile Bubble Privilege”-David Sadoway

David Sadoway is on faculty and is an instructor at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. He sent the following in response to the Cars versus Bikes Stanley Park post.

Perhaps we need add a new term to our analyses, entrenched “automobile-bubble privilege” reducing a single paved traffic lane on a one way two laned road in public park which should be devoted to green public spaces (not efficient road movement/mobility) is hardly a radical move and should have been embraced years ago by Parks Board.

If we really prioritized healthy parks we would instead have a shuttle bus (as others have suggested) and shut down the existing road fully for pedestrians, wheelchairs and others to instead enjoy”.

 Perhaps actually studying the impacts that road traffic has on human and biodiversity (including habitat fragmentation and increased noise, air and light pollution). This is a Public Park, not DisneyLand. And I thought it was named Stanley Park, not Stanley Parking lot !

For far too long many of our public city, regional and provincial parks have been built on the assumption that all ‘taxpaying publics’ have equal and universal access to a car/truck (as opposed to say affordable transit or safe biking or walking/rolling flowing paths and networks across our urban/biodiverse fabric). We all fund these roads after all, even if we choose not to own cars/trucks.

The same assumption in the Lower Mainland is made with publicly-funded and protected Cypress and Mounr Seymour Provincial Parks which have trailheads that can be accessed only if one uses a private vehicle. Yes, there are expensive shuttle private buses with sporadic services, but minimally during the peak Summer hiking season. 

Ironically Grouse Mountain, with its private gondola and ski hill is the most ‘transit friendly’ immediate access to the North Shore wilds and yet one has to do the Grouse Ground or loop back to Lynn Valley if one does not want to pay the private Gondola operators while not using a car.

Public parking lots and roads inducing automobility (and GHGs not to mention ever reduced urban biodiversity) for exclusive, cosseted private benefit it seems !


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  1. I wish I knew who to credit this to – but a while ago in response to the question “why do car drivers hate cyclists?”, someone replied:

    Whenever one is used to a certain privilege, any questioning of that privilege is perceived as a threat”.

    That cuts to the heart of so many of the difficulties we are now seeing as we transition to more evolved consciousness around around race, gender, mobility, etc. Private car ownership is a privilege, not a right. Sorry dinosaurs, you’ve had your day in the sun.

    Thank you David for putting it so firmly and succinctly.

  2. Yes, a reframing is needed, in addition to a new Parks Board. The privileged bubble advocates’ whining about “fairness” for personal vehicle space mirrors the insufferable Mens’ Rights advocates who bloviate on “equality” when their privilege is challenged. There has got to be some significant crossover there. Just follow the Golf Digest subscriptions.

  3. I’m attracted to the notion of a special, accessible bus to transport Stanley Park visitors to and around the park, combined with elimination of parking except at park businesses. Access might include parking facilities near the city edge of the park. Fees for bus boarding might involve special fees or integrated into the larger TransLink system. Fees would be sufficient to operate the buses plus replace current parking revenue that might be lost. The existing carriage systems might easily be integrated with pull-outs as suggested by a few commentators.

    This is not rocket science. It’s just designing systems with multiple objectives that satisfy all park users.

  4. Good to confirm (kind of) that the ultimate goal of some is to ban cars from the park entirely. When this is raised, the response is that this is hyperbolic nonsense, but here we have it, so there you go.

    Some want to deny access to the park entirely to people who want or need to access it in a car, whether that’s mobility challenged, elderly or just a big family with beach gear and a BBQ. The park is not for them. Oh, and by the way, there is no shuttle and no plans for a shuttle, so let’s at least deal with that reality while discussions take place about the park and how the road is used.

    There is no hate for cyclists. I am one myself, but you only have to read a comment above to see that there is so often hate for car drivers.

    Editor’s Note: Access for seniors and those requiring access will always be maintained in Stanley Park.

    1. Funny, I don’t get the impression at all from that that anyone wants to ban cars.
      Not to worry though, even if there were people that wanted that, it’s not going to happen. What might happen though are a few places with some restrictions, that’s about it.
      Wanting the inclusion of other modes is not the same thing as wanting a ban.

  5. This is another example that is a frustrating example of constantly accommodating motordom in parks, the expansion of the Lynn Canyon parking lot.

    How about a bank of car park spaces dedicated to Evo and Modo in the Lynn Canyon parking lot instead? Or even a waiting slip for an Uber or two? The same could apply to Deep Cove with its Daytripper’s traffic congestion, take away parking spaces and dedicate for Evo and Modo.

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