Work to begin on separated bike/pedestrian paths in Hadden and Kits Beach parks

Public input showed safety a concern with shared pathways

Sandra Thomas

Staff writer

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A report going to the park board Oct. 7, details the work that will take place as part of the Seaside Greenway, including separated pedestrian and bike paths in Hadden and Kits Beach parks.

Also included in the report is a recommendation to begin phase one of a project that, if approved, will eventually see a permanent waterfront pedestrian/bike path connect Jericho Beach and Spanish Banks.

Vision Vancouver park board chair Sarah Blyth said the pathway will pave the way for a permanent route. Whether that means an extension of the seawall is yet to be determined.

“We want to look at how this section goes,” said Blyth. “If this meets the needs of cyclists and pedestrians it could be another way to get along that route and connect the seawall.”

In July 2012, Blyth brought forward a motion requesting park board staff look at extending the seawall from Kits Beach to Spanish Banks after an anonymous donor offered to help pay for the project, expected to cost tens of millions of dollars. That same week, NPA Coun. George Affleck brought forward a similar motion asking city staff to look at such a proposal.

Environmentalists, however, protested the proposal due to fears a seawall extension would damage the fragile foreshore ecosystem along the waterfront.

According to this week’s park board staff report, a gap exists in the Point Grey-Cornwall Active Transportation Corridor between Jericho and Kits Beach parks, which the park board wants to close by providing pedestrian and cycling routes within street right-of-ways while also improving several parks along the way. That recommendation is included in the Seaside Greenway Improvements report going to the park board for approval next week.

The report describes phase one as a small bike path proposed to connect with the new separated bike lane under construction on the north side of West Point Grey Road with the waterfront pathway in Jericho Beach Park, bypassing the busy pedestrian area at the concession stand.

Phase two of that project is envisioned as separated bike and pedestrian pathways “along the waterfront to Spanish Banks Park.” The report recommends funding for this part of the project be included in the 2015 to 2017 Capital Plan.

The Seaside Greenway Improvements report also identified upgrades to Hadden and Kits Beach parks as a priority to help improve the Point Grey-Cornwall Active Transportation Corridor.

Following a public input process that included open house events, meetings, workshops, online questionnaires and a survey, it became clear separate bike paths through Kits and Hadden Beach parks were “overwhelmingly supported.” The report noted that during busy times the shared pathway along that route can be dangerous, and conflicts between pedestrians and cyclists take place frequently.

Lighting the pathway along that stretch of the corridor was also proposed, but with mixed responses. As a result, the consideration of lighting has been postponed until phase two of the project.

The report added as part of phase one, West Point Grey Road will be closed to vehicle traffic between Tatlow and Volunteer parks and the existing road pavement will be deconstructed, while new curbs, a bike path and green space will be added. Phase two includes a project to daylight Tatlow Creek in Volunteer Park and that a new accessible pedestrian pathway to the beach be constructed. At Hastings Mill Park, the existing perpendicular parking in the street adjacent to the park will be changed to parallel parking separated by a new bike path and existing sidewalk.

sthomas@vancourier.com

twitter.com/sthomas10

(This story has been modified since its original publication.)

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