Vancouver approves bike lane through 10th Ave. hospital area
City planners say a street redesign will make 10th Ave. safer for everyone, but some patients and people with disabilities still oppose the plan.
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Vancouver city council today approved a $3 million street redesign, including the addition of a separated bike lane, along 10th Ave between Oak and Cambie.
The proposal was initially panned by people with disabilities and patients of the health services-heavy area, and was criticized for seeming to put cyclists and tree retention before patients.
But after an intense consultation process of several months it gained the support of the city’s persons with disabilities committee, Vancouver Coastal Health and the BC Cancer Agency.
For other patients and advocates, the proposed separated bike lane on 10th between Oak and Cambie is still a no-go because it will require the removal of 75 street parking spots or require patients to cross the bike lane.
The city is proposing to build a new 116-spot surface parking lot and improve passenger drop-off spots, but patients say that won’t help people with disabilities who drive themselves, but can’t walk long distances.
“I’m here to draw the exclamation mark to what parking means to the population I represent,” said Jocelyn Maffin, who uses a wheelchair and both works and has been a patient in the 10th Ave. health hub.
“For people with power or manual chairs, they don’t have a lot of options in that area. A lot of those parking spots surveyed (in the area) were down a very steep hill, so think about how many of those spots you’re probably counting in your head as available, are not available to people with spinal cord injuries.”
NPA councillors George Affleck and Melissa De Genova opposed the plan. All Vision councillors, as well as Green coun. Adriane Carr and NPA coun. Elizabeth Ball, voted to approve it.
City staff had proposed to redesign 10th Ave., a narrow residential street that carries a heavy stream of traffic, ambulances and delivery vans as well as vulnerable pedestrians and cyclists.
Over the past seven years, there have been 69 incidents of cars hitting pedestrians or cyclists along the corridor, where Vancouver General Hospital and centres devoted to arthritis, spinal cord injuries, cancer and eye treatment are located. Planners estimated the street redesign, which includes traffic calming, better signage and raising crosswalks to sidewalk level, could reduce collision by 70 to 90 per cent.
Kelly Talayco spoke to council about her ordeal assisting her elderly husband, who suffered from arthritis, in and out of facilities along 10th Ave. The plan proposes to put a separated bike lane between street parking and the sidewalk, and Talayco said the idea of helping him to cross a separated bike lane “sends chills down my spine.”
10th Ave. has been a popular commuter bike route for many years, and a city survey found that 60 per cent of cyclists on 10th were ending their trip somewhere within the health corridor.
But Talayco argued cyclists should not be allowed on 10th Ave. at all, saying that if the city can close part of Point Grey Road to cars but allow cyclists, the reverse could be put into place on 10th.
Staff has made changes based on consultations after the proposal first came before council last fall: improving alternate bike routes along 14th Ave. and 7th to give cyclists an alternative to 10th; increasing the number of on-street parking for people with disabilities and adding more passenger drop-off zones; and nixing a proposed car-free zone on Heather Street.
Jacques Courteau, a member of the city’s persons with disabilities advisory committee, said those changes and the consultation process made the difference in his committee’s decision to support the plan.