Re-Opening Beach Ave to Cars is BEST for the Environment

The car-haters are fuming!

Last week, Vancouver City Council rejected a 30-year “pie in the sky” proposal by the Vancouver Park Board for redevelopment of the West End waterfront.

Estimated price tag: $300 million (which, of course, would mean $2 Billion or more by the time it was completed … LOL!)

Councillor Sarah Kirby-Yung called it a “fairytale plan”, as Council sent it back to the Park Board for a reality check.

Meanwhile, what Council did do was approve bringing back two-way vehicle traffic along Beach Avenue between Stanley Park and Denman Street.

Right on!!

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, those I saw as just extreme left vehicle haters at the Park Board closed ALL Stanley Park roads to cars … severely restricting access to the 1,000-acre (405 hectare) Vancouver gem.

It was the dumbest move I had ever witnessed local politicians make: there was not a scintilla of scientific evidence I saw that ever showed people travelling in vehicles could spread COVID to others. In fact, sure seemed to me that pedestrians mingling on the seawall, speeding runners and panting cyclists represented more of a health danger.

This was, in my view, just a hate-on for cars by extremists in power, come to fruition.

And to hell with the handicapped, seniors, families who need vehicles to get around and restaurants/businesses in the park, or their hundreds of employees trying to make a living.

The hate-on for cars not only went on for far too long in Stanley Park, in various machinations, the radical lefties in charge at Vancouver City Hall joined their Park Board comrades in trying to punish the motoring public.

Vehicle access to many downtown streets was attacked/restricted/denied; parking areas were slashed; parking fees were multiplied; no left turn here, no right turn there, no turns at all; and no right turns on red became the rule.

Impact on the environment?

Well, almost all my trips downtown started to take five to eight minutes more since all these changes came into effect.

Getting there is sure no longer half the fun! It’s now often confusing, circuitous, even scary. (Check out the traffic lights/pattern northbound at Hornby/Nelson!!)

And think about the damage to air quality and the environment all these EXRA punishments to motorists have produced: tens of thousands of cars every day travelling greater distances, idling more and taking longer to go anywhere or through the downtown.

Proof that for the car-haters, it’s not really about the environment: it’s targeting vehicles that motivates, just for the sake of targeting vehicles.

Beach Avenue is a perfect example.

For years, the anti-car extremists at the Park Board and City Hall have barred vehicles from exiting Stanley Park through Beach Avenue or Nelson Street or Alberni diverting ALL park traffic back to Georgia Street.

Been there; done that … and so have hundreds of thousands of other motorists bound for the Burrard Bridge, Kitsilano, the East End or Vancouver South.

Too bad, no one has ever calculated the EXTRA fuel, fumes, pollution forced on the citizens, visitors of Vancouver by having to divert back to very, very, busy Georgia Street and then back along Denman, Thurlow, Burrard to get to Kitsilano, False Creek, the East side or Granville or Main to get to Vancouver South!

The “environmentally-motivated” Park Board and Council were just blowing smoke … literally!! (Who advises them? The petro fuel industry?)

But change is coming …at last

“The new plan will see the road reopened to traffic in both ways, with plans to replace the beachside sidewalk with a new bike path and the installation of a new pedestrian path through the park,” Global News reported May 10.

“This was about balance,” said Councilor Kirby-Yung. “So it supports pedestrians, it supports cyclists and it supports traffic flow in the area.”

Exactly! Inclusion, sharing and equality.

But the car-haters don’t want balance and fairness: they want “car-cleansing”: a Stanley Park all but reserved for fit cyclists and really healthy pedestrians, capable of walking several kilometres … free of cars, seniors, handicapped and families.

So I have no doubt the anti-car crowd is not done yet.

Hopefully, the current Council will hold firm … cater to the majority… and do what’s REALLY best for the environment: end the war on drivers.

Harv Oberfeld

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