With the dust barely settled after the battle over the Cornwall-Point Grey bike route, some West Side residents are now upset that green space along the route is being paved to create parking spots.
The grassy areas being paved for 20 new spots are road right-of-ways owned by the city, with the majority adjacent to small parks along the bike route.
Whether the majority of those parking spaces will be reserved for residents has yet to be decided.
Shannon McRae says her mother would be shocked to discover the right-of-way directly next to the mini park named in her honour is being paved to create seven parking spaces. Other parking spaces being created, or are already paved, include three near the corner of Point Grey Road and Macdonald and eight on Point Grey Road near Trafalgar. Two more parking spaces are complete and adjacent to what’s known as Point Grey Park Site on Trafalgar Street.
McRae’s mother was a member of the city’s planning committee from 1973 to 1975 and Margaret Pigott Park was officially dedicated in her memory in May 1996, two years after the senior was struck and killed by a vehicle in front of her West Point Grey home.
“My mom was instrumental in getting the park board to buy five properties along Point Grey Road and turn them into little waterfront parks for everyone to enjoy,” said McRae, who contacted the city with her concerns.
McRae attended meetings regarding the Cornwall-Point Grey bike route and said with so much focus on the closure of West Point Grey Road other details went unnoticed.
In January, a plan to block off Point Grey Road and turn it into a roadway for cyclists and local-traffic-only went into effect to much discussion and public acrimony. McRae said since the closure of Point Grey Road, traffic is so congested in front of the park she fears the addition of parking spaces will create a safety hazard — as well as an eyesore.
The city says some of the parking spaces weren’t included in the original drawings but were added later in response to reaction from residents and members of the city’s Persons with Disabilities Advisory Committee and the Seniors Advisory Committee.
But Jill Weiss, chair of the Persons with Disabilities Advisory Committee, said the request from the joint committee was only for at least one official disabled parking spot adjacent to each of the mini parks along Point Grey Road.
“I thought the main concern was Jericho Park with the bike lane running beside it,” said Weiss. “I can’t speak to the exact locations, but we did also ask for one appropriate parking space at the mini parks. If you’re a frail senior or have a disability, you need an appropriate parking spot.”
Point Grey resident Elvira Lount also contacted the city with her concerns about the new parking spaces, in particular the two on Trafalgar Street adjacent to Point Grey Park.
“As far as a disabled spot, that’s not what they were being used for the other day,” said Lount. “I have to wonder if getting rid of that chunk of green space for parking was worth it.”
Lount said even though the property adjacent to Point Grey Park is not actually parkland, it’s a loss of precious green space. “On a street that did not need extra parking,” she said.
In an email to the city, Lount asked, “Why doesn’t the city reclaim some of the right-of-way in front of the houses [along the route] for additional parking rather than take away precious green space in the mini parks?”