Tenth Avenue between Oak Street and Cambie Street in Vancouver is a designated bikeway. It also hosts the welcome mat for many British Columbians who are seniors accessing health care services from the varied parts of the Vancouver General Hospital. Many seniors from outside the Metro Vancouver area also come to this street for specialists appointments at one of the many Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) related buildings along Tenth Avenue. Yes many of these people are the elderly and the infirm, and yes they should be traveling by taxis and accessible bus. But if they are from out-of-town, they may not be able to do that.
And there is the rub-how do you provide reasonable on-street parking for seniors that may be only able to access by car? Is it reasonable to allow people who are quickly going to the Emergency entrance a chance to have metered parking outside the building? And how do we maintain this street as a bikeway without having cyclists “doored” or crashed into?
The City of Vancouver is considering installing a separated dedicated bike lane along this section of Tenth Avenue which would eliminate 70 plus parking spaces, laudable anywhere but which has concerned seniors who are accessing services by vehicles. A petition has been circulating stating:
“Patients, caregivers and seniors with critical health care and treatment needs are begging that access to hugely important street parking remain available on West 10th Avenue behind Vancouver General Hospital. West 10th Avenue is home to the British Columbia Cancer Agency, the VGH Eye Care Centre, the Blusson Spinal Cord Centre, the Mary Pack Arthritis Centre and many other critical services.”
There is a large excavated site next to the new B.C. Cancer Research Facility on Tenth Avenue. It seems that part of that building’s approval was for surface area parking to be installed on this site. That was never followed up on, and that certainly would provide more at grade parking for the area in the time of transition to a more bike friendly route.
The Vancouver Sun has also reported on this issue, which sadly appears to have become a generational issue between senior vehicular users accessing 10th Avenue hospital services and cycling advocates wishing to have a convenient, safe and fast bicycle route. With over 3,000 cyclists and 4,500 vehicles using the route every day Council has referred the matter back to staff for more consultation.