A Good Sign: Markings of change in Stanley Park
Something new at Stanley Park: a little bit of paint.
Well, it’s sort of in Stanley Park. These markings were recently added to the crosswalk on the north side of the Causeway Underpass that connects Coal Harbour with Lost Lagoon (map here). The original design (below right) proved to be inadequate: too subtle for all concerned.
Maybe the markings were added by the Park Board, maybe the City engineers. But hopefully they’re an indicator of improvements to come. The Park Board has never really come to terms with the impact of cycling on Stanley Park, since, given it size, the roads were scaled originally for the horse and car, the trails for the hikers, and then, with the construction of the seawall, the hope that walkers and runners and cyclists and bladers and dogs and whatever else would just get along within a couple of meters of asphalt. Sure.
But even as demand increased, there has never been a plan that scaled a park-wide network of cycling routes realistically for the bike. (Try getting back from Brockton Oval or the totems: no signage, no legal shortcut. Presumably cyclists are supposed to know they have to pedal for up to eight kilometres just to get back to where they were a kilometer ago.)
Park Commissioners have probablybeen terrified of the cost and public reaction if greenspace had to be paved over (as was done for the Seaside route at English Bay, under the City’s jurisdiction). They would discuss the issues, vote to study and consult, and then rarely act. (I identified one of the more egregious problems here.)
A proper bike plan has been promised for decades, and one is currently in process – and maybe this is literally the first sign.