The latest addition to Vancouver’s expanding cycling infrastructure is a bike repair station in the city’s newest, and yet to be named, park along the Yukon bike route at 17th Avenue.
The park, located in a leafy residential neighbourhood, officially opens Oct. 12, with events planned between 8 and 11:30 a.m., including live music, coffee and pastries. A bike expert from Our Community Bikes will also be on hand to provide basic repairs.
The repair station — the first of its kind in a city park — can service two bikes at once. It features a bike pump with gauge, as well as tools such as screwdrivers, tire levers, a pedal wrench, cone wrenches and hex key set securely attached by retractable stainless steel cable.
“[The station is] great because it’s on the bike route and we’re trying to encourage active and recreational healthy living,” said park board chair Sarah Kirby-Yung.
The .15 hectare park was built on what was a residential lot that the city paid $1.64 million for in May of 2013 —specifically with the intention of turning it into a park.
“That’s common,” Kirby-Yung said. “Typically, land purchases are made through various amenity contributions and then they are designated as permanent park space. That’s ongoing on a regular basis.”
In this case, the city also closed Yukon Street between 16th and 17th to vehicle traffic, which allowed for the doubling of the park’s size.
A winding asphalt path through the park site is designated for cyclists. There’s also play equipment, benches, greenery and a creek in the park, which cost $600,000 to build.
Kirby-Yung said the city might see more bike repair stations in parks if this one proves popular.
“Possibly. Any time we have an opportunity to either add a new park or do a park redesign, we look at updating and providing enhanced features,” she said. “We’ll put them in and then we’ll gauge what the public response is. We’ll see what the usage is and how the public responds to it and then our staff we’d see if that’s appropriate to put in other locations.”
The park board, which is responsible for more than 230 parks, is also trying to name its 22 unnamed city parks, beginning with Empire Fields and Plateau Park. The board just finished a month-long consultation process to gather input on those two. About 100 names were suggested for Empire Fields and 70 for Plateau Park. The naming committee is reviewing suggestions and it will create a shortlist for park board commissioners to vote on in October.
The park board is now accepting suggestions for the new park at Yukon at 17th, as well as one at Main and 18th. Decisions on those names will be made this fall, while all the unnamed parks are expected to be named within the next 18 months.
Kirby-Yung, meanwhile, expects the new park at Yukon and 17th to be popular.
“It’s a really lovely little neighbourhood park. People love our destination parks in the city, but it’s important to have green space close to where people live,” she said. “So it does have some beautiful plantings, it has a miniature adventure playground, it’s got seating for people and nice garden beds, so I think it’s going to be a really nice addition to the neighbourhood.”