…and the Vancouver Canada line case. The remarks apply also to LRT unless specified (another post has been dedicated to buses

In a nutshell, the person per hou per direction capacity a subway line can offer, is

    (capacity of a train) × (number of train per hour).

Like for buses, the capacity of a train is a function of different parameters, mainly person per square meter occupancy standard, and seat arrangement.

At the difference of low floor buses (and LRT), is little “protuberance” (such wheel room) on high floor train, and technical room present in a train cabin rather under floor or on roof, are often the result of a tradeoff:

    train capacity vs easy maintenance

The theorcal capacity of a train, is in fact a direct function of its surface:

    (length of the train) × (width of train).

…and train length, is constrained by the station’s paltforms length, which are typically very expensive to expand.

Train capacity

below is an example of compared train capacity, expressed in term of surface able to accomodate passengers

Train consist Platform length width surface
Vancouver Canada Line 40 3 120
Vancouver Canada Line 50 3 150
Vancouver Skytrain (Expo line) 80 2.65 212
Paris typical subway line 75 2.37 178

For matter of comparison, the theorical Canada line capacity (with 50meters platform) is just 15% lower than on most of the parisian subway lines, such as its line 2 or 5: those lines carry ~100million riders a year.

Behind the seating layout, a train needs in practice several features to effectively reach its theorical capacity. Among them

  • Minimal unusable space between cars (and in cars)
  • Allow passenger to “overflow” from a car to another one

Intercirculation between cars, usually allows that, but again, some interciruclation layout can be more efficient than other:

skytrain


MP89CA_interior On top the skytrain MKII (second generation interior)intercirculation is narrow, impeding free flow movement from car to car, and blocking line of sight at the difference of the Parisian MP89-CA (bottom picture), where the train look like a single “big room”- credit photo top, the Translink’s Buzzer, bottom: wikipedia

Dwelling time and frequency

homogeneous occupancy of a train is also function of the door disposition, but the door layout affect primarily the dwelling time. Short dwelling time is important for a host of reasons, frequency being one of them, and frequency affcet the line capacity:

    interval between train can’t be shorter than the station dwelling time

It is hence important to have as much as possible doors, but also have them wide enough, to allow good in/out flow movement. It is also important to avoid that some doors, slow down the boarding/alighting time because they have to handle more traffic flow:

  • From a boarding viewpoint, where passengers have no apriori on the location of door on platform, the best way to do that, is to have all the doors equidistant (It make also the best use of the platform space)
  • From an alighting perspective, all doors on a car should be equidistant
skytrain

A 68 meters Vancouver skytrain consist, compared to a 75meterParisian MF01 5 cars consist (operating on line 2,5 and 9): the later has lower theorical capacity because it is narrower, but it has greater practical capacity due mainly to a better intercirculation. Furthermore, all doors are equidistant on the MF01 [1], while on the skytrain MK2, people waiting in red zone have to report on a nearby door zone slowing down the boarding. Similarly people standing in red zone aboard the train are too far from a door slowing down the alighting (or conversely limiting the practical capacity of the train by passenger reluctance to stand to far away of a door).

Track issues

A single track, vs a double track, at the end of a line could be used as a cost saving measure, but obviously it affects the freqeuncy of a train line. That said, if the single track portion is short enough, the impact can be relatively minimal.

    Frequency can be be obtained by using a tail track to store trains

The possible frequency is then:

    ((time to travel for and back the single track) + (dwelling time × number of train to be stored) ) / (number of train stored).

As an example, at Richmond Brighouse station, on the Vancouver’s Canada line

  • the tail track past the station can accomodate one stored train [2], and the station another one
  • the travel time between Lansdowne and Brighouse is ~90s and a typical station dwelling time ~20s
2 trains run in one cycle on the single track , by using a tail track behind the termini station

2 trains run in one cycle on the single track , by using a tail track behind the termini station

2 trains can run every 4mn on the Richmond Brighouse branch of the Canada line.

Because one train can run every 4mn on the Airport line, it is possible to get a train every 80s, or 45 trains per hour, on the common trunk (Bridgeport-Waterfront)

Even, with 40meters long train, the Canada line could provides a caapcity of ~15,000pphpd, assuming 330 passengers per train: that is 3 times of the actual capacity. Greater frequency are theorically possible with the introduction of short turn train (avoiding the single track section):

3 trains running in one cycle, one being shorturned before the single track section, 2 using the single track section

3 trains running in one cycle, one being shorturned before the single track section, 2 using the single track section

PS The above numbers for the Canada line, assume the availability of rolling stock, power supply, track signalling, and fast operating switch: All those could need to be upgraded, as well as the stations along the line to handle the corresponding increase in ridership, but it could be no need for heavy civil engineering work/track reconfigutation toward a capacity increase of 15,000+ pphd


[1] Materiel roulant MF2000, seance 12/12/2000, Conseil d’administration du STIF

[2] Addressing Canada Line capacity questions, Translink, June 3, 2010.

We have generally welcomed the last 2 rounds of service optimization, since they address bus route network structural deficiencies and this year makes no exception:
Among proposed change the 404 rerouting from Ladner exchange to Riverport is something we have previously called for:

The bus 49

It is important that TransLink rationalizes its bus network to provide value for both the taxpayer and the transit user, as well as provide a sound foundation for sustainable growth. The most obvious inefficiencies, are the route diversions serving specifc needs- An issue already well identified in the 1975 Downtown Vancouver bus review [2]- since a diversion means a less attractive service for most of the travellers.

A bus route detour may seem benign on a relatively low frequency route but it introduces inefficiencies which compound as transit ridership grows. It is notoriously the case of the bus 49 diversion at Champlain Height, which we have already pointed to the Translink commission

current_bus_49

Such a diversion could have been overlooked decades ago, but is an unsustainable in 2014, with UBC, a Canada Line connection and Metrotown as major destinations along this route:

The Champlain Heights detour is an unnecessary inconvenience for 95% of route 49’s 20,000 weekday riders. It adds 4 to 5 minutes to each of the approximately 250 daily bus trips, which costs $500,000 annually (more than the cost to operate all the Ladner/South Delta community shuttles routes C84, C86 C87 C88 and C89 combined)[1]. This figure will only get worse over time.

Addressing it, not only improve the Translink financial sheet, but it also dramatically improve the bus service along the 49th avenue:

The proposed new bus 49 route by Translink saves 4 to 5 mn on each of the 250 daily runs done by the bus 49

The proposed new bus 49 route by Translink saves 4 to 5 mn on each of the 250 daily runs done by the bus 49

Understandably, some residents affected by the change have voiced their concerns [3]. Any routing change affects some customers and their concerns need to be considered. In the route 49 case, virtually all Champlain Heights’ residents will stay within 500 metres of a bus stop (either rerouted bus 49 or bus 26, both being among the 20% most frequent bus routes).

A reworking of the bus 26 could be also possible along lines below providing better connections to the rest of the network and service/jobs than the actual one:

A bus Joyce/Metrotown could improve the accessibility of the Champlain Heights thru the rest of the network, service and jobs compared to the current route (29th Ave Skytrain station- Joyce)

…But eventually the development of the East Fraser lands area calls for a more drastic review of the bus routes in this area, so it seems wise to not touch the route 26 for the time being (since it is a prime candidate to be extended to the East Fraser Lands)

The saving provided by the ending of the 49 diversion could easily pay for a community shuttle linking champlain mall to Metrotown thru 54th avenue.

  • ~40 daily shuttle runs could end up to cost ~$125,000 annually, assuming a $60/h shuttle operating cost [1]

but one could reasonnably question: Is it the best use of the saving Translink can do, when so many other areas are severed of even basic Translink service?

In any case, there is no lack of options to mitigate the lost of a direct 49 access for some people, and potential inconveniences are largely outweighted by the general service improvment.

The Vancouver council position

It is sad, but not overly surprising that the Vancouver council seems to be prepared to pass on March 11th, a motion initiated by Geoff Meggs, disregarding the benefit of the proposed 49 rationalization for the overwhelming majority of transit user, to focus only on a so called “service cut” in the Champlain Height, to oppose to the the improvment of the route 49.

One will notice, that so doing, the Vancouver council is dismissing the transit user value of time, and its contribution for the region’s economy (a viewpoint rightfully denounced by Gordon Price)…Do they adopt the same perspective when it is time to argue for a Broadway subway?

In the context of a looming transit funding referendum, it is extremely important that TransLink addresses its network inefficiencies, especially when they impede greater benefits for most of the transit users, and reduce the transit value of our tax dollars… and thought one could expect tthat its efforts could receive full support froom the concerned municipalities, it is also important that Vancouver doesn’t receive a favor treatment.


[1] Bus service performance review, Translink 2013

[2] The Downtown Vancouver Bus Service vision in 1975

[3] Bus service cut worries Champlain seniors,Sandra Thomas, Vancouver Courier, February 25th, 2014


Since mid 2012, Translink and the city of Vancouver have been working on a Downtown bus service review, with public open houses held on June 2012. Below is our take on it:

It is no secret, that the purpose of the exercise, done under the impulse of the city of Vancouver, is to clear many areas of the city from transit, and more notoriously Robson square. As such the public has been presented with a set of constraints:

The constraint set for the Downtown bus Public consultation

The constraint set for the
Downtown bus review Public consultation

The consultation was not presented necessarily in the best terms possible – we could have liked a brief historic of the downtown transit network, and having the staff seeking feedback on a set of considered principles to design the transit network [2].

In light of it, and especially the previous consultation on the Block 51, the Downtown bus service review consultation Summary [6] is a very welcome surprise:

  • some geometric principles are spelled

    • “Routes should be designed to be simple, direct, and easy to understand”
  • More importantly, the concern on the impact of street closures to bus, especially Robson square, seems properly recorded, as well as a potential solution

    • “The Robson closure does nothing to better city culture and is disruptive for bus routes”


      “I approve the City’s initiatives for public spaces (eg. the 800-block of Robson) but this should not force transit to detour, there can be closures for private cars and trucks but let transit buses/trolley buses through, similar to great plazas in Europe.”

Timeless geometric principles as already stated in [2] (as we have seen here, and well worded on the Jarret Walker’s blog and book) appear as uncontournable.

Not surprisingly, the summary teach us, that in downtown, trips demand are from everywhere to anywhere…

Origin destination pair in the downtown peninsula exhibit a great entropy - nevertheless some major transit corridor appears

Origin destination pair in the downtown peninsula exhibit a great entropy – nevertheless some major transit corridor appears

Trying to single out some destinations to be served, such as a future art gallery, is somewhat self-defeating. The popular destination of today, was not the one of yesterday, and will be not necessarily the one of tomorrow. What is important is to be able to provide a network which is time resilient:

  • It is a “mobility” network, around which the city is structuring itself rather than the reverse

That leads to the following issues, from the most important to the least

Bus coverage

One principle in designing an efficient and resilient bus network, is to maximize the coverage while minimizing the number of bus lines, and still obeying to a core geometric principle: direct and consistent routing – that is a straight line (or following the street grid orientation). For the Downtown peninsnula, assuming an accepted ~1/4 mile walk to a bus stop, the probably most optimized configuration can be done using 3 main transit corridors as illustrated below

The yellow strips, representing bus corridor and their catchement area, are lay down to provide the the most efficient bus coverage in Dowtown. Red arrows represents necessary connectivity between bus corridor

One will quickly recognize the route 5/6 as structuring the Westend coverage in a very optimal way: It explains the resilience of those routes structuring the Westend since its very early development and still doing it:

The WestEnd development plan is widely based on the actual bus route 5/6 anchoring the high density and retail/commercial development

The WestEnd development plan is widely based on the actual bus route 5/6 anchoring the high density and retail/commercial development

Moving one bus route from one street to another one, could seem to be a minor change, but in fact it can affect dramatically the coverage…either by introducing gaps or redundancis in the transit coverage, all severly affecting the network efficiency. In the context of the current Westend development, consequence can be much more dire.

Connectivity

A perfect grid as suggested above should allow to make any local trips with no more than one connection.

Our public transportation network is also a hierarchized one:

  • “local bus” routes aiming to provide transportation option in downtown, such as route #5
  • “city bus” routes, that is the one connecting the downtown to other part of Vancouver, such as route #14
  • “regional transit” routes where lies the skytrain network, sea-bus but also bus route such as #250 or #135

To keep reasonable the number of transfers for people coming from outside Downton, it is particularly important to have all “structuring” downtown network lines connecting to the regional network:

Vancouver regional transit network in its Downtown

City routes are not represented, but can be considered as part of the “structuring” downtown network (that is particularly obvious in the case of route #19 serving Stanley park)

bus-seat supply

Specific bus route could be overloaded, but in some key downtown corridors (mainly Hasting and Granville), there is an over-all over supply of bus-seat (over-supply on some bus routes is not compensating under supply on others)- a typical problem in urban cores we have already encountered, in a more acute form, in Sydney, Australia


buses_Granville there is excees of capacity on the Hasting corridor west of Main – credit photo (1). Simialr observation can be drawn on Granville Mall – crdit photo (3)

It could be no easy answer to this problem, but one will notice that one rationalization idea not implemented was the the discontinuation of bus route #3 west of Main [8]. A similar conclusion could be draw for bus 8.

The fact that the route #3 and #8 use 60ft artics trolley bus (in short supply), reinforce the case for route shortening, freeing bus capacity where it is more needed

Urban integration
Buses congestion, leading to a bus wall, as seen above on Granville, creates its own urban integration issue:

It obviously affect the pedestrian experience on this mall, by creating both a constant physical and visual barrier.

The issue could be complex to address on Granville Mall. However some other urban issues can be more readily addressed:


bus_stop_queue_Georgia top: bus laying over at Davie and Denman – credit photo (4). Bottom bus line-up on Georgia street

The bus lay-over at Denman#Davie creates an uninvitating “pedestrian tunnel” whereas, sidewalk activity could thrive, considering the view, sun exposition, and immediate proximity to the Beaches.

We have already discussed on a relocation of this lay-over, in a critic of Denman street, which is underlining the network issue this lay-over also creates

Transit is very Vancouver centric: thought numerous bus route to North shore run on Georgia, there is no direct connection of them with the Westend. furthermore bus 5/6 make a time point at Davie and Denman making the Northshore<-> Davie area transit option less than appealing (map credit - Translink)

At the end, a succesful transit network, means a good patronage, which also creates its own issue, as we can regularly witness on Georgia street. Such problem should be addressed.

The additional constraints or Robson square

Cnnsidering the above issues, one can see emerging the rough lines of what could be an ideal transit network…but adding additional constraint in the form of arbitrary “no bus” zone could be wreaking havoc on it.

When come Pedestrian streets, they should be designed as a complement to the city transportation system, not as an impediment to it, and that is also a reason making their success…or failure otherwise [7]. Fortunately some solutions, especially the ones considering transit as part of the urban fabric, achieve exactly that

Note:One will find a summary of a city conversation on the Robson square issue, on the Stephen Rees blog.


[1] Georgia Straight

[2] We mainly think of some geometric principles. on the example of those clearly enounced in a the 1975 Downtown Vancouver Bus Service vision, as seen in a previous post. Translink has some material illustrating the importance of some, as discussed by Jarret Walker

[3] “The TTC page” website

[4] Stephen Rees

[5] Vancouver/UBC Area Transit Plan , Translink, July 2005.

[6] Downtown Vancouver Local Bus Service Review: Phase 1 Consultation Summary, Translink and City of Vancouver, 2013

[7] Jarret Walker uses the “bus as pedestrian fountain” metaphor to convey the importance of transit to the success of a pedestrian area.

[8] See [5]. Note: the shortening of the route #3 has been briefly implemented apparently in 2006-2007 but abandoned in 2008 with the introduction of artics trolley on the route 3.

Cycling or not in Hadden park

February 19, 2014

This article has been mainly written in November 2013, so could need to be read in the context of a still active law suit regarding the construction of a bike path in Hadden park [4]. I have added further information made available in the interim

Is it legal to cycle in Hadden park (block 136-137)?

Like in most of the urban parks, cycling is prohibited in Vancouver parks, except on footpath or promenade specifically designated as a cycle path [2]: Does such exception exist for Hadden park?

The cycle maps provided by different sources from City of Vancouver seem to be confusing:

map-cycling-vancouver-extra

The Vancouver cycle map (1) seems to indicate a path thru the north of the maritime museum, hence not on the land covered by the Haden covenant, but that is not practcal, while the report (3) seems to indicate a shared bike/pedestrain path thru the Hadden donation

The signs, along the seaside route, say a total different story again:


various sign along the seaside bike lane in Kits point

The real sanctioned route is apriori:

the existing seaside route, as according to signage

the existing seaside route, as according to signage

The Vancouver street and traffic by-law confirms this interpretation [5]

extract of the {5) showing that the Seaside bikeway doesn't infringe Hadden park

extract of [5] showing that the existing Seaside bikeway doesn’t infringe Hadden park


The lawsuit [4]

The Nov 2013 Megan Carvell-Davis vs City of Vancouver lawsuit states two important points:

  • The City of Vancouver approved an “active transportation corridor” which mandates a bicycle path through Hadden park but requires the approval of the park board to approve the construction of the bicycle path
    • This first point insisting on the bike path rational, tend to support the idea that the goal pursued by the construction of the bike path thru Hadden, is not for the enjoyment of the public, what is a first contravention of the Hadden covenant
  • The construction of a paved bicycle path through Hadden park is a violation of the term of the Hadden trust.
    • The second point claims that the bike path is an alteration to its present state of nature which is not reasonably motivated by neither park preservation, safety or enjoyment of the public

It will be probably an important legal point to demonstrate that either or not, a legally sanctioned bike path already exists or not in the Hadden park land under covenant (block 136 and 137).

It will be also eventually important for the petitioner, to demonstrate that the current use of Ogden avenue constitutes a reasonable, and safe alternative for cyclists to enjoy the current state of nature of the park, making the request for a bike path in the park an unreasonable alteration of it.

There is little question that cycling along Ogden allows cyclists to enjoy the park and the view it has to offer. The arrangement chosen to the under construction bike route along Point Grey road (near Trutch) will support the idea, that Ogden avenue is

  • either safe enough for cyclist of all age and ability to cycle,
  • or the city can modify Ogden avenue to achieve a desired safety without infringing the Hadden park covenant:
The seaside bike way at Point Grey Road at Trutch will share the road with local traffic

The seaside bike way on Point Grey Road at Trutch: cyclists will share the road with local traffic, demonstrating that such arrangement can be considered safe enough for cyclist of all age and ability on “neighborhood” street, such as Ogden

Addendum

To give more strength to its case the petitioner has provided reference to a peer reviewved scientific paper titled ”Safe Cycling: How Do Risk Perceptions Compare With Observed Risk?” [6] (affidavit [7]). A paper, we have already studied here. What is important to retain for the case under trial is that this paper states that a “bike only path” and “residential street designated bike route” exhibit a similar level of objective safety (thought that the perceived risk is measured greater in the later case) as shown in this graph:

A study on Toronto and Vancouver (Canada) from [6]: “bike only path” and “residential street designated bike route” exhibit the same level of objective safety

Epilogue

The petitioner case proved strong enough to have the City of Vancouver finally renouncing to fight against it on February 17th. That also makes the route alignment, thru the picnic area, in Kitsilano park, meaningless.


Main source is the lawsuit filled by [4]

[1] City of Vancouver cycling map

[2] park by laws City of Vancouver, Jan 1st, 2008.

[3] Seaside Greenway Completion and York Bikeway (Phase 1 of Point Grey-Cornwall Active Transportation Corridor),General Manager of Engineering Services, City of Vancouver, July 16, 2013

[4] lawsuit filled by Megan Carvell-Davis vs City of Vancouver, on Nov 4th, 2013

[5] street and traffic by-law no. 2849, City of Vancouver, January 1st, 2014

[6] Route Infrastructure and the Risk of Injuries to Bicyclists: A Case-Crossover Study, Teschke K, Harris MA, Reynolds CC, Winters M, Babul S, Chipman M, Cusimano MD, Brubacher JR, Hunte G, Friedman SM, Monro M, Shen H, Vernich L, Cripton PA., American Journal of Public Health: December 2012, Vol. 102, No. 12, pp. 2336-2343.

[7] Megan Carvell-Davis vs City of Vancouver: 3 affidavits filed on January 29th, 2014

Hadden park, a bit of history

November 12, 2013

Most of the below come from Megan Carvell Davis affidavit in [1]. She had already stated the issue in a comment on the bike lane vs the park post, but then unaware of the covenant exact terms, I have no commented on that before. The below is under the light of this covenant attached in [1]:

Some historical context

Hadden park (right part) and Vanier park (left) circa 1907...the staircase seems at the same location as today

Hadden park (right part) and Vanier park (left) circa 1907…the staircase seems at the same location as today

The land known now as Hadden park (originally given to CPR as a provincial crown grant in 1886) was promised to be a harbour, according to the CPR wishes:

Kitsilano plan by the CPR - circa ~1920

Kitsilano plan by the CPR – circa ~1890

The CPR always had some development plans for this Kitsilano area, and those encountered opposition at the time (“already many nimby there!”): Even the park board objected to see this area (the land east of Chestnut, was also slated to be an indian reserve by the federal government), to be turned into a major facility for shipping, this in July 1919 [1]. The area was then looking like below:

toto

1919 aerial view of Kitsilano, and what is now Hadden and Vanier parks

Picture from 1982 Ogden avenue, circa 1923- future Hadden park is second grown bush – it will be restored in a more “natural” state by 1928 – (credit photo CoV archive ref AM1376-: CVA 1376-691)

“According to the 1933 journal of Major J.S. Matthews, Vancouver’s first city archivist, on his final trip to Vancouver in 1928,
Mr Harvey Hadden, a real estate business man from London, expressed the view that he would “like to do something for Vancouver which had done so well for him-in his real estate investments”. Hadden accepted the proposal of his former architect and friend, Mr S. M. Eveleigh that there should be a waterfront park connecting the Kitsilano Indian Reserve to Kitsilan Beach.” [1]
In October 1928, Mr Hadden, gave for a $1 and subject to a covenant, to the city of Vancouver, the properties he had just purchased from the CPR. That is block 136 and 137 (DL 526), then valued at $41,000, are shown below:

subdivisionDl526

Hadden donation to the city consist of the block 136 and 137: only those block are covered by the covenant Hadden donation to the city consists of the block 136 and 137: only those blocks are covered by the covenant

The city accepted the gift, and the covenant.

Hadden park, as we know today, consists of

  • Block 136 and 137 (DL 526) as donated by Mr Harvey Hadden
  • “Closed road” Maple and Cypress, North of Ogden, on April 27, 1931
    • The Centennial Totem pole erected in October 1958, is in the Cypress ROW north of Ogden
  • “water lots” 5780 and 5781 granted by the Province of british columbia, on June 12, 1935
    • Part of those land has been filled up, noticeabily to erect the maritime museum in 1958, and the unleashed dog area is also on this area

The covenant
The term of the Hadden Trust are that Hadden Park (that is stricto senso applying to block 136 and block 137 as illustrated above)

  • “shall be used as and for a Public Park or recreation ground and not for any other purpose whatsoever”
  • “shall be improved and put in shape as a public park or recreation ground, but in carrying out such improvements the Board of Park Commissioners shall keep the property as near as possible in its present state of nature subject to such alterations or changes as may be reasonable necessary for its preservation and for the safety and enjoyment of the public. it being the desire of the grantor that those using the Park shall as far as reasonably may be enjoy the same in its natural state and condition”

The maritime museum

In the 1950′s, the city had acquired the St Roch vessel and was looking for a place to moor and preserve it.
After much controversy, a decision was made to house the St Roch into a new building: the maritime museum. This will be built circa 1958, on land granted by the Province in 1935: The “water lots” 5780 and 5781 have been partially filled for that purpose, and that has been considered at one point as not violating the covenant by the city [3]. The fact that the blocks 136 and 137, have lost de facto, their waterfront status, is considered as a violation of the riparian right of the said blocks, this, according to the Hadden park conservators [1].

The dog off-leash area

The covenant, stipulates that “the grantee shall use and maintain the properties for park purposes and the beach for bathing more especially for women and children”. In 1998, the park board approved Hadden Park Beach as an off-leash dog area, while that dogs are not allowed on bathing beaches, according to the park bylaws [2].

The enforcement of the covenant in that matter per-suppose, that the blocks 136 and 137 have riparian right, but the city viewpoint could be that:

Mr Hadden rights did not extend below high water mark as he did not hold title to the water lot which was at that time in the name of the crown. He therefore had no power to convey any rights with respect to bathing on the beach [3].

The letter and the spirit of the covenant

The spirit of the covenant could not have been respected that well, but so far the letter of the covenant has been relatively well respected (neither the maritime museum, nor the totem pole are on properties donated by Hadden). Basically, the only alteration the properties has seen since 1928, has been the installation of benches (already there circa ~1940), and can be considered, as a reasonnable alteration forward a better enjoyment of the park. The construction of a bike path, directly on block 136-137 could certainly set a major precedent:

the "approved" bike path  routhe into Hadden park. Some cyclists currently use the path on the right, but is it legal?

the “approved” bike path routhe into Hadden park. Some cyclists currently use the path on the right, but is it legal? (credit photo facebook)


Main source is the lawsuit filled by Megan Carvell Davis [1]

[1] lawsuit filled by Megan-Carvell-Davis-vs-City-of-Vancouver, on Nov 4th, 2013

[2] park by laws City of Vancouver, Jan 1st, 2008.

[3] Corporation counsel letter to city, November 20th, 1957, as attached in [1]

the Kitsilano bike freeway

October 30, 2013

Some critics of the park board plan [1] have called the infamously bike path approved by the park board, a “bike freeway”. Is it an “over the top” rethoric”?

A freeway definition:

freeway
/ˈfriːweɪ/
nounN. AMER.
dual-carriageway, especially one with controlled access.

The park board plan for the bike lane:
kitsBikeLanePicnicArea

The dual carriageway is there, albeit on a short section, where downhill bikes can accumulate lot of speed (the reason for the “freeway”?). That is a point for the bike freeway qualification. Unfortunately it is also at the most convoited picnic area site…If the project proceeds ahead, picnickers will be separated from the shore by no less than 3 rows of paths…The bike path takes more space than we have initialed thought


Notice, that the gradient of the slope is roughly similar to the one on McNicoll, but the elevation difference, 6m, is 50% greater than between arbutus and Maple, along Mc Nicoll (4m). That increases the risk of speedy cyclists, and potential safety hazard


Notice also, that from a cycling effort perspective, it makes little sense, to go down to the parking lot from Arbutus (2m elevation change), to have a longer hill.

The route above is extracted from the RFP No. PS20130532, providing detailled engineering plans: this finding call for a recap of the Kits beach bike lane saga


  • On october 7th, the Park board approves a bike lane bisecting Kistilano beach and Hadden parks, the approved report [1] mentions that benches need to be relocated, and fences erected around the playground area (see more here)
  • On october 14th, thanks to some chalk lines materializing the approved bike route alignment, park users and residents discover the existence of the project. That creates an outrage in the community, Howard Kesley seems to emerge as a leader, and seems to be behind @savekitsbeach and the associated facebook page (Raymond Tomlin, is also following this on his blog Vanramblings)
  • On october 15th, Park board commissioner Aaron Jasper explains it is a “done deal”, and there is no intention to consult the public on it [3]
  • On october 16th, The city of Vancouver issues the request for proposal PS20130532, with detailled engineering plan – specifying at least 5 memorial benches to be relocated, in addition of picnic tables, and the fencing of the playground area. the deadline is November 5th
  • On october 18th, Park board chair Sarah Blyth issues a media release [2] qualifying as “untrue rumour” the above and stating that the “White chalk lines outlining a wide route through the Park” as not in any way reflect the route to be taken”. The park board staff said otherwise the day before. She goes as far as to say that “The final route has not been determined”, and advisory group will be established to work on the final design of the route. Some media, like the Georgia Straight, reprint the media releases in extenso without pointing any contradictions
  • On october 20th, a town hall meeting organized by savekitsbeach is held at the Kitsilano boat house. NPA park board commissioners Melissa De Genova and John Coupar, NPA city Cuuncillor George Affleck and Vision park board commissioner Constance Barnes are attending. Ms Barnes then recognizes than the lack of public consultation was a mistake, explained the the park board has been misleaded by its staff, and agreed to correct that…
  • On october 22th, Park board chair Sarah Blyth and commissioner Constance Barnes agree finally to qualify the attendance to the sunday town hall meeting, as a “mob of retiree loitering around the Boathouse” and “enjoying obsolete pasttime…as picnicking” [4].
  • On october 28th, NPA Park board John Coupar and Melissa De Genova issued a motion calling for Special Meeting on Kits Beach Park, to be held on Novemebr 4th, 2013, 6pm

In principle, After all the damages inflicted to the public trust, by more noticeabily park board commissioners Barnes and Blyth, the park board, recognizing it has been off track, should be eager to regain this trust and approves the NPA motion…and finally forms the promised advisory committee….

…let see how gonna unfold all this….


[1] Seaside Greenway Improvements,Vancouver Park Board, Oct 1st, 2013

[2] Park Board statement on Hadden and Kitsilano Beach Bike Path – Next Steps, Sarah Blyth, October 18th, 2013

[3] Kits Beach bike path a done deal, Sandra Thomas, Vancouver Courier – October 15, 2013

[4] See various tweet from the concerned indviduals: as here and there for Constance Barnes. Sarah Blyth did the same.

Some people ask,

Many parks have bike paths, or scenic drives. Some have even a train, what is the problem with Kits beach?

Bike path at Trout Lake and motor road at Stanley park - credit photo left (1), right (3)

The problem is one of geometry:

  • A park needs to be accessible
    • The larger a park is, the more it needs to have access infrastructure, if one want to see it “used”.
  • The smaller is the park, the more a new infrastructure impacts it

Trout Lake is not only much bigger than Kits beach park (overlayed on it), but it has also a square shape, when Kits beach is a “strip park”. Notice also that there is no continuous street on the East side of the park (where the bike path is)

According to what is measured, the impact of a bike path along Kits beach (around 1.1km) is between 2.5% of the total park area to 10% of the effective green space (vegetation):

The different space allocation of Kitsilano park. A bike path can have a significant impact on the useability of the park

In comparison, John Hendry park (Trout lake) is 27Ha and has a ~900m bike path. Kits beach a 50% smaller park, could have a bike path 40% longer than John Hendry park. The Trout lake bike path occupies roughly 1% of the park area. A number order of magnitude lower than in the Kitsilano Beach case

  • Some shapes are better than other

Comparing surfaces area disregarding their shapes is missing the most critical informations on the quality of the space

paved area (grey) surface  is the same in the left and right case. but no volleyball court fit in the left one, when 2 fit in the right one

paved area (grey) surface is the same in the left and right case.
but no volleyball court fit in the left one, when 2 fit in the right one

Kitsilano is a narrow “strip park”, which usuability can be quickly compromised, if it can’t offer swaths of grass of sufficient size for spontaneous activities, usually occuring on grass that is ball games but not only; spontaneous activities typically occur on space with non defined use.

SlacklinerCollingwoodPark

Kids playing soccer, young practicing Slacklining: a sample of many spontaneous activity observed this week-end at Collingwood park, all of them requring swath of grass of sufficient size

A good picnic site, in addition of a good view, also requires an agreable environment able to maintain a minimun of “social distance”, with other people and activities…what requires a certain size, too

One of the problem with a bike path into Kitsilano park, as initially approved by the park board [2], is that it will impact other activities justifying a park in the first place. If the park board proceeds as it wants, there is no doubt, the bike path will be successful, but that also means, that our seaside will become increasingly homogeneous, geared toward the enjoyment of cycling only, instead to offer a wide and diverse range of recreational activities

Fortunately, it is possible to provide a safe and scenic ride to cyclists, with minimal impact to the park, and its current usages, as we have seen here and in more detail, there. The question rest, does the Park board will finally listen?


[1] twitter user neil21

[2] Seaside Greenway Improvements,Vancouver Park Board, Oct 1st, 2013

[3] flickr user keepitsurreal

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