VoiceOfReason_ Posted July 30, 2013 Share Posted July 30, 2013 A bitter months-long battle over a Kitsilano bike lane proposal that pitted motorists against cyclists and neighbour against neighbour has ended. Vancouver city council gave the green light Monday night to the $6-million Seaside Greenway and York Bikeway project, which includes a controversial plan to close off one kilometre of Point Grey Road west of Macdonald to commuter traffic, diverting 10,000 motorists to other roads. “This has been seven months’ consultation but decades in the coming,” said Coun. Heather Deal. “This route is going to become a jewel. People will adapt to it and we will be glad we did it.” The most contentious sections of the plan — the Point Grey diversion and the York Avenue bikeway — garnered a 7-2 vote in favour from councillors, largely along party lines. Six Vision Vancouver councillors and Green party councillor Adriane Carr voted in favour, while NPA councillors George Affleck and Elizabeth Ball voted against. Mayor Gregor Robertson, who had just purchased a house near the proposed bike route, recused himself from the vote to avoid any potential conflicts of interest. The plan fills in the last remaining gap in a 28-kilometre cycling route stretching from the Burrard Street Bridge to Jericho Beach. But it is also one of the most divisive issues in recent memory. “We’ve divided this community,” said Affleck, who put forward a failed motion to defer the plan to October. “There are a lot of people in the city angry about this.” At the heart of the issue, said Deal, was whether people thought Point Grey Road was safe or not. There was no consensus among speakers Monday night, with some saying the seaside artery is safe, citing ICBC statistics showing there were no accidents between cyclists and motorists on Point Grey Road between 2008 and 2012, and others who say they regularly witness near-misses on the road. Deal points out the plan shifts commuter access on Point Grey Road east to Macdonald instead of Alma. “That’s it. For that difference, you get an amazing continuation of our seaside route.” In total, 217 people registered to speak on the issue over five nights of debate. Monday drew a noticeably smaller crowd than previous nights. The majority spoke out against the plan, calling it defective and costly, affecting many but benefiting only a few. Markus von Berg said the plan provided a “modest gain” for cyclists but a major inconvenience for motorists, residents, and businesses along Macdonald, 4th Avenue, Broadway, and 10th Avenue, which will bear the load of diverted traffic. “Why are you going from something working OK to something completely unknown, a complete shutdown,” he asked councillors. He suggested the city look at other traffic calming measures for the street, such as pedestrian-controlled intersections and use the savings to fund the bike share program. Another speaker, James Sullivan, was gung-ho about the project. “I think it’s a great thing for Vancouver to have this as a selling point,” he said. “It’s not the end of the world as people are saying.” City engineers will start work on the Kitsilano project in early fall, starting with the Burrard-Cornwall section, which will be turned into a more controlled intersection. © Copyright © The Vancouver Sun http://www.vancouversun.com/travel/Vancouver+city+council+approves+divisive+bike+route+Point+Grey/8723693/story.html Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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