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Not everyone celebrating completion of Point Grey bike lane

The city is this weekend celebrating the completion of work on the bike lane along Point Grey Road, but not everyone is in the mood to party.
point grey
Mary Lavin says she is concerned about the safety of cyclists, pedestrians and vehicle drivers as the city celebrates the completion of the second stage of the Point Grey Road bike lane. Photo Dan Toulgoet

The city is this weekend celebrating the completion of work on the bike lane along Point Grey Road, but not everyone is in the mood to party.

The Point Grey section of the 28-kilometre Seaside Greenway is now complete and the City of Vancouver is planning a family-friendly celebration Saturday, Sept. 9 at Volunteer Park from noon to 3 p.m.

The Seaside Greenway now stretches from the Vancouver Convention Centre, loops around Stanley Park and False Creek, and ends at Spanish Banks Park.

“Completing this stretch of Vancouver’s 28-km long Seaside Greenway between Volunteer Park and Jericho Beach means people of all ages and abilities can safely and comfortably explore the city,” Mayor Gregor Robertson said in a news release. “Since the city has made basic improvements to the Point Grey section of the Seaside Greenway, walkers have increased by a third and cycling traffic has quadrupled. I encourage everyone to get out and walk, bike, skate or stroll.”

According to the city’s statement, since completing the first phase of the project in 2014, the number of people walking and cycling on Point Grey Road has increased from 600 to 900 per day for walkers and 2,700 per day for cyclists.

“Over the last year, work was done to improve walking conditions, widen sidewalks, expand green space, improve connections to waterfront parks along Point Grey Road, and improve the public realm by installing benches, lighting, and a water fountain,” the city states in the release. “In particular, focus was put on safety improvements to reduce potential conflict between people walking and people exiting their driveways by vehicle.”

Residents along the stretch of Point Grey Road first welcomed the idea in 2013 to create the bike lane after petitioning the city to remove commuter vehicles. However, once the work was done, some began raising concerns.

“Our concerns are primarily about the safety of the design,” said resident Mary Lavin.

She said the design of the greenway has led to heated conflicts between cyclists — those who are riding quickly through the area versus those out for more of a leisurely ride — on a daily basis as there are no delineated fast and slow lanes. 

“It’s very much a free-for-all,” she said. “It’s just a mess.”

She also said residents have seen both cyclists and motorists crashing into the medians, adding that residents have asked for both signage and education, but nothing has been done. 

Lavin said the biggest concern for residents along that stretch of Point Grey Road is people trying to get in and out of driveways on the north side of the road. The newly widened sidewalk makes it difficult to see cyclists and pedestrians as homeowners try to enter and exit their driveways.

She said residents have asked the city to install sensors or lights, or to paint the sidewalk, to indicate that there are driveways there and cyclists and pedestrians should use caution.

Lavin and other residents voiced their concerns last year before council approved the recently completed second phase of the project.

Since the first phase was completed in 2014, the work has reduced traffic on the road. Prior to the construction, an average of 10,000 vehicles plied the road daily. That’s been reduced to 400 to 600 a day.

"There's a tremendous livability benefit," city engineer Jerry Dobrovolony said at the time.

A call to the city has not yet been returned.