Opposition to Upgrading Vancouver’s Seawall

I appear to have kicked off an internet storm when I reposted Green Parks Board candidate Stuart Mackinnon’s reply to my question about bike paths in parks.


It’s lead to 3 blog posts on Gordon Price’s blog and more than 175 comments.

At issue, the enhancement of the Seawall, Vancouver’s gem and my favourite running route. As much as I love the seawall, there are sections that could do with some improvements. For much of its length, the Seawall has separated pedestrian and cyclist paths that ensure everyone has enough space.
Running along the Seawall Coopers Park and the Seawall Sunflower Seawall Seawall

But it is inconsistent. In Jericho Park, the seawall is a gravel path. Through Kitsilano Beach, Hadden Park, and Charleson Park the seawall is frequently congested as pedestrians and cyclists share a narrow path.
Charleson Park Seawall Vanier Park Seawall Hadden Park Seawall Kits Seawall

I’d love to see it all upgraded to the same standard, but there is a vocal group opposing any change. They think any new pavement would destroy our parks.

It’s a bizarre view, but they’re welcome to it. However, it bothers me that politicians like Green Party candidate Stuart Mackinnon appears to agree with them. Only Vision and COPE parks board candidates answered the HUB survey asking if they would support separated bike lanes in parks. Mackinnon’s only response was to complain about the question on twitter.

I wish Stuart Mackinnon would realize there is more to being green than maintaining grass.


    • You’re not the only who’s noticed that contradiction.

      I don’t bike the seawall often, but I did yesterday to get pictures for this blog post. It was a really jarring ride on those cobble stones. I pity the rollerbladers who stumble upon that section.

      It will be up to the next Parks Board to upgrade the seawall. It’s important to elect commissioners who realize that the benefits of an expanded seawall outweigh the loss of some grass.


  1. Slightly related to your seawall post, I’m curious as to your opinion of the Stanley Park Causeway. I ride from Kitsilano to North Vancouver and find that section of my commute to be treacherous. I just blogged about it again , mostly out of frustration for the province’s plan to build a barrier for dogs at BC Place, while still doing nothing for the causeway…


    • For over a year I biked that route on my way to/from work in West Vancouver. I know what you mean. On the way up you get to suck exhaust as cars whiz by you and you struggle with the steady grade. On the way down, your momentum carries you at a quick pace, but you have to worry about every pedestrian you pass and hope you don’t get bumped into traffic.

      Personally, I’d love to see the sidewalk replaced with a paved trail parallel to the road but 10 feet into the park. It would be useful for park users and commuters. There is no reason why pedestrians or cyclists would want to be next to causeway traffic, but none of the other trails in Stanley Park are very direct.

      The only downside is having to clear a new trail and removing some trees. I think it would be a worthwhile tradeoff to have a better, healthier pedestrian/cycling trail. But there will be vocal opponents who decry the loss of every tree, much as they do the loss of every blade of grass in Kits Beach.


      • You are correct, there will certainly be opposition, and the BANANA’s will battle for every inch of turf. I remember the fight that went into getting Lion’s Gate Bridge and causeway upgraded about 14 years ago. At that time there were activists who chained themselves to trees to prevent the sidewalks being made any wider. Many people have no idea that the park is entirely second and third generation trees, which makes the opposition to the sacrifice of a few trees for healthier commuting options all the more ludicrous. Perhaps the lost trees could be made up by converting a section of parking, or the roadway at the heritage wood bridge, into green space, but then people would complain about lost parking spaces in the park.


      • I did see several articles online about a site survey being conducted; however, I fear the solution will be many years in the making, as any modification to Stanley Park will highly contentious.


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