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'Vancouver traffic is the worst': Photos of overcrowded Stanley Park bike lane spark online debate

Bike congestion on the Seawall is causing problems, again.
People are fighting over the Stanley Park bike lanes again, this time due to major congestion on the Seawall.

The Stanley Park bike lane has been a topic of contention between locals for months (if not years), but the warm weather coupled with tourist season and the popularity of the Seawall is forcing the issue again.

Summer is a busy time for the Stanley Park Seawall anyway, but cycling advocates say that the recent removal of the additional park bike lanes has caused congestion.

Two photos were posted to Twitter over the weekend (July 3) of long lineups of cyclists at a standstill along the seawall and it's caused quite the debate online. No one can agree on the cause or the solution.

Many people pointed out in the replies that the traffic jam in both images was likely caused by walk areas just out of frame that ask cyclists to dismount to protect pedestrians crossing.

However, one of the original posters clapped back that the "entire seawall was/is a zoo at this point [and] beyond, thanks to insufficient safe [and] separated bike lane access elsewhere in the park."

Which is where the debate kicks in.

Would the protected bike line inside the park help the pileup on the seawall?

The bike lane was installed along Stanley Park Drive in 2021 to allow social distancing between cyclists and other park-goers. 

Vancouverites who supported keeping the bike lane have organized protests to keep it in place, and some even "redecorated" the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation office with cyclist graffiti. The topic of the bike lane even caused a Park Board meeting to recess early due to a heated altercation.

Despite local outcry, the Park Board voted on Feb. 13 to return most of Stanley Park Drive to pre-pandemic two-lane vehicle traffic, which meant removing the bike lane almost entirely.

Some locals are making the argument that "the rider profile for those on the Seawall is different than that of the road cyclist."

"These tourists want the Seawall regardless of speed," says one response on Twitter.

Meanwhile, others believe that some people would be inclined to use a protected bike lane inside the tree line to avoid the Seawall crowds if they had the option.

"Biking the Seawall with children on a nice day can be the opposite of relaxing," says one resident. "The separated bike lane on Park Drive was an excellent alternative if the crowds became too much."

Some Vancouverites feel that those who are less comfortable biking with cars have been forced onto the Seawall as the only protected option, adding to the congestion while others think that there will always be congestion no matter what.

However, the consensus at large is that both are necessary.

One cyclist shared a video of their experience riding on the road in the park sharing the road with vehicles. They allege that vehicles are driving at 60 km/h when the posted limit is 30 km/h and that the vehicle traffic on a long weekend is not heavy enough to require two lanes.

The VPD has previously posted officers in the park to catch speeders but there has also been conflict between cyclists and drivers on the road regardless.

With files from Maria Diment