New Point Grey Road cycling and pedestrian route nears completion

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Gregor Robertson Gridlock flag
One homeowner has several flags on their front lawn, calling out Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson for upgrades to the Point Grey Road bike route -- and offering free pamphlets.

If City Hall told you they would repave the street in front of your home with brand-spanking new asphalt, rebuild the sidewalk, install brand new LED lighting and plant more street trees, would you fight it?

Perhaps surprisingly, that’s what a vocal minority of residents along Point Grey Road on Vancouver’s west side continue to do, even as a project to improve the road for cyclists and pedestrians nears completion.

The Seaside Greenway completion project aims to “improve walking and cycling routes between Jericho Beach Park and Burrard Bridge” and “complete the Seaside Greenway to create safe and comfortable connections.” The upgrade project cost $6.4 million and will be complete by the end of summer 2017.

The city says that once complete, pedestrians and cyclists will be able to enjoy a safe and comfortable 28-kilometre walking and cycling route along one of the city’s most scenic routes, beginning at the Vancouver Convention Centre and ending at Spanish Banks.

Improvements to Point Grey Road

  • North sidewalks widened to three metres
  • Boulevards between street and sidewalk are 1.4 – 2.7 metres wide to help improve sightlines
  • Cyclists will ride in the road like on other residential bike routes
  • 40 additional trees planted to enhance green space
  • New LED lighting installed
  • Parking maintained on south side of Point Grey Road
  • Road has consistent width from Tatlow Park to Alma Street

Despite the aesthetic and usability improvements, several homes are displaying large protest signs on their front lawns, expressing outrage about the money being spent to beautify their street from what they call an “out-of-control” city hall.

Despite the upgrades, several homeowners along the street are upset about the changes.
Point Grey Road plazas
Several small plazas have been added along the street, as well as new areas for landscaping.
New LED light standards.
Point Grey Road garden area
Upgraded sidewalks and areas for landscaping.
Point Grey Road upgrades
New driveways, curbs and sidewalks.
Chip Wilson's house
New asphalt installed in front of Lululemon founder Chip Wilson’s home.

The city has gone to great lengths to route the new, wider sidewalk around existing mature trees in front of homes. In several spots, landscaping was removed but it had been planted outside property lines and on city property.

When complete, the upgraded street will be the envy of the rest of the city, with its wide sidewalks, brand-new road surface, plenty of street trees, new LED lighting and traffic calming. The upgrades are improvements most Vancouver taxpayers can only dream of — as they struggle to get a buckled sidewalk repaired or a pothole filled.

Point Grey Road used to be a busy commuter route between downtown Vancouver and UBC, with thousands of cars using the route daily to avoid traffic on West 4th and Broadway. Now it’s a low-traffic street, which improved property values and quality of life.

It begs the question, what are the vocal minority of naysayers really concerned about? Is it really the cost of the upgrades, or is it the hundreds of cyclists and pedestrians now passing by? Would these homeowners prefer a seawall along the waterfront in front of their properties (and their views)?

There’s no shortage of issues city hall deserves criticism for, but an improved cycling and pedestrian route in one of Vancouver’s most spectacular settings isn’t one of them. 

  • CBInVAN

    I didn’t understand the problems either, until I cycled by one evening and noticed how much city owned land that owners on the north side were using for free were going to lose.

  • Muji

    The “upgrades” are a huge inconvenience for the local residents.

    For example, before the upgrades, they could simply jump into their Aston Martin, back out of their driveway, and drive to the market to buy some organic skim milk. Now, they need to jump into their Aston Martin, back of out of their driveway, and then have some cyclist who they nearly ran over because they didn’t shoulder check as they were backing out of their driveway give them a dirty look as they drive to the market to buy some organic skim milk. These cyclists are out of control!