I’m promoting a comment, left anonymously this morning by “robotboy44” on the post “Arbutus Greenway: What’s Up?”. The writer questions the definition of “Greenway”, and argues that Vancouver has a choice on the Arbutus Corridor between a “bike freeway” and a “nature based stroll”, sort of like Pacific Spirit Park, but nevertheless reminiscent of “. . . the way it was.”
Personally, I feel that we need to ensure that a broad cross-section of the public has the opportunity to visit, ride, stroll or wheel along the corridor before we set a specific concept in … er… ah… cement (as it were).
This is very clearly a partisan space in support of the “bike freeway” position on all things path related, so pardon me for sharing another view, but I will.
It’s a cheap and baseless dig to characterize opposition to the paving as the “creme de la creme”. That kind of comment speaks more to your prejudice than it does a desire for thoughtful discussion and appreciation for a point of view which is not your own, so how about we try here to avoid these kind of assertions and instead discuss the issues.
People were upset about the paving because it seemed wholly inconsistent with the promise to discuss and listen to the people about how to treat the “greenway”. It was called a greenway and references were made to the NY Highline, which is not paved and not a fast bike route, but a leisurely stroll with amazing views. The Arbutus Greenway will never be the Highline because it’s not in NY, it runs along Arbutus. Very different experience, although I should think that does not need to be said. The term “greenway” even implies a more rustic, nature based experience. At least to me.
The previous use of the AB was more rustic and characterful. The feeling from many was that some of that character would be retained in creating the new user experience. Perhaps a kind of Pacific Spirit Park approach with green and a natural feel. On the other hand, biking proponents feel that the logical approach is to make it as clean and efficient a bike path as possible, so that means asphalt. No time for dirt getting on tires or gears.
Other bikers, like myself, really enjoy the more leisurely pace of a path much like the one at Kits Point or Jericho Beach or Pacific Spirit Park. If your goal is to make an active transportation corridor to get from A to B, then clearly asphalt is the way to go, but it’s clear that there are many who did not see the “greenway” in those terms.
So why the upset about the asphalt, which was called “temporary”? Because it felt like a very surprising move given the plan to consult and listen. Also, given the cities spotty reputation with listening, it felt like a decision had been made. In my opinion, people were rightly offended by this move.
I have my views about how the greenway should look and feel, but honestly, If there is true, broad consultation and it is felt that it should be primarily a bike commuter path rather than a more nature based stroll more reminiscent of the way it was, then so be it, but it seems reasonable to hear from the public before paving it. And in the mean time, I hope we can avoid characterizing people with baseless insults about their interests, financial well being or proximity to Arbutus.