Reflecting Vancouver

Urbanism and Life on the West Coast

Point Grey Road and Stephens Bike Connector


Point Grey Road and Stephens

As I mentioned regarding the closure of Point Grey Road, Vancouver engineers typically waste no time implementing changes passed by Council. Here the reapportionment of roadway for green space and bike traffic at the corner of Stephens and York, connecting to Point Grey Road, has already started. The reformed intersection is intended to bridge the Stephens bikeway, the forthcoming York commuter route, and a grand stretch of separated bike lane along the north side of Point Grey Road. Presumably the crossing will allow quick access to Burrard Bridge for eastbound bike commuters, as well as offer easy access to the seaside greenway for cyclists heading north from central Kitsilano. Reaching Jericho by bicycle should prove more popular than ever this summer thanks to this single intersection. It is not clear why some consider this project a means to limit accessibility of Point Grey Road for leisure. If anything, the parks will be much easier to reach for leisure, their intended purpose.

Point Grey Road bike lane

The bike lane along this pictured stretch of Point Grey Road is more exception than rule, running only two short blocks from Trafalgar west to MacDonald, where it merges with the recent traffic closure and empties into now-local roadway. To the east, continuation along the odd northerly detour of Point Grey Road at Trafalgar is straightforward enough, but the need for a clear connection through Kitsilano Beach becomes all the more apparent. Sadly, a political misstep by the City, which sought to hurry a plan through the Park Board without major public consultation, appears to have stymied improvements within the Park borders for the time being. This leaves a muddle of mixed-use paths, lacking an intuitive route from the Point Grey Road greenway to Ogden Avenue at the far eastern edge of the park space.

Kitsilano Beach Park bike routes

Yesterday I took precisely this path, weaving along the southern fence bordering Cornwall, down the colonnade of trees toward the beach, and behind the Boathouse until reaching Arbutus Street. I faced unnecessary conflicts with pedestrians and automobiles, even in the dour rain of February, where a few ingenious infrastructure fixes would yield none. The situation within Kitsilano Beach Park needs amendment, and will become increasingly chaotic as summer approaches. I am surprised that a routing along Arbutus has not garnered more attention, as it would seem to avoid the brunt of the disagreements about running more pavement through the eastern half of the park.


Author: Chris

I'm the author of Reflecting Vancouver, a West Coast blog devoted to urbanism, culture, politics, philosophy, and everyday living in Vancouver. Right now I'm taking a break to travel.

6 thoughts on “Point Grey Road and Stephens Bike Connector

  1. Pingback: West Side Resident ‘Shocked’ City is Changing Something | Reflecting Vancouver

  2. It is unfortunate that Hadden Park supporters insist on maintaining the park with no improvements of any kind; I do not believe this was the intention of the past legal stipulation of no substantial development being permitted in the park. Hadden Park is currently in a debilitated state and barely used other than by illegally off-leash dogs catching a frisbee. The only walkway is currently shared by pedestrians, runners, skateboarders, wheelchairs and cyclists. It is not a wide enough walkway to accommodate all of these users safely. The planned separated bike path parallel to the existing pedestrian walkway would provide greater access to the park and beach, as well as increased safety for all users. For now, as the City has been unable to convince residents of the benefits of the planned bike path and has been threatened with a lawsuit, cyclists will have to make due with the existing roadways or struggle dangerously to negotiate space with pedestrians on the existing path. However, the planned bike path will undoubtedly proceed in the near future as it is unquestionably needed and does not constitute “substantial development.”

    • Thanks for your comments here and elsewhere, and for your advocacy of improved cycling amenities along the corridor. Whether the covenants of Hadden Park are interpreted to allow for a separated bike lane or not, the unfortunate fact of the matter is that the Park Board faced an arduous and costly lawsuit to argue the matter. Given the width of Ogden Avenue and very low traffic, I don’t blame the Park Board for abandoning plans along this particular stretch. I would even say that Ogden Avenue meets AAA standards, rendering unnecessary a separated lane through Hadden.

      The much more pressing problem is how to get cyclists from the western end of Ogden Avenue to the other side of Kitsilano Beach Park. If you ride the existing seaside greenway west along Ogden, it very abruptly ends as Ogden meets Maple, almost inviting a continued path through the park from this point. Further along the margin of the park, Arbutus Street is not comfortable for bicycles in present form, and certainly far from AAA without major changes. I have to dish some of the blame for the present mess on the City, as they could have proceeded in a much more democratic way, which would have engaged residents rather than spurning them. In the end, I think a retrofit of separated bike lanes along Arbutus is probably the best way forward given the local opposition to any new pavement, as suggested by Voony. This lane could then be connected east to Ogden and west to Point Grey Road by various fixes to the existing pathways, although a short stretch of new pavement to connect the ends of Ogden and Arbutus would be desirable.

  3. I am certainly relieved that tax dollars were not spent on this frivolous lawsuit.

  4. Pingback: York Bikeway: Curb Realignment at Yew Street | Reflecting Vancouver

  5. Pingback: Seaside Greenway: Desire Path in Kitsilano Park | Reflecting Vancouver

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