VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Months of simmering anger came to a head on Vancouver’s west side this morning, where there was a rally along a popular commuter route through Kitsilano.
Point Grey Road is now permanently closed to all but local traffic between McDonald and Alma Street for the construction of a seperated bike lane.
During the morning commute, a few dozen protesters got honks of support while holding up signs proclaiming Point Grey a private road, calling it “Chip Wilson Way” or “Lululemon Lane”, a reference to the expensive homes along the route.
It is an issue that has divided the community.
“They rammed this issue through. There are hundreds of angry citizens who came and said ‘please don’t close Point Grey Road’ and yet Vision Vancouver, like they have on so many issues — whether it’s community centres or other issues around the city — have said they don’t care,” says Vancouver city councillor George Affleck, who joined other members of the NPA to support the protesters.
“They are creating a private road for residents on that street and for cyclists. They’re calling it a seaside greenway but there’s no seaside there, it’s packed with homes, there’s no sea to see. You are simply closing a road off to the people of the city,” Affleck tells News1130.
But a handful of supporters were at the rally.
“This has been a long time coming and it’s an extremely positive change for the neighbourhood and for all of Kitsilano,” says Pamela McColl, chair of the committee to calm Point Grey Road.
“I would say [Affleck’s comments are] silly and very political. Of course he has to stir the pot, being on the losing side. It’s a great project and was worked on by many people of many different political points of view and it’s opening up an area of the city to all Vancouverites and to the world,” she tells News1130, claiming to have collected thousands of signatures in support of the bike and pedestrian greenway from locals and tourists alike.
“They’d come here by bicycle and by the time they got to Alma, they were terrified. We needed to change this, it’s an area of the city that everyone should enjoy. Now they have access and they’re going to be here safely. That’s the issue.”
The Kitsilano Chamber of Commerce also opposes the bike lane, claiming to have spoken to hundreds of people in the area concerned about moving up to 10,000 vehicles a day off of Point Grey Road and onto Fourth Avenue or Broadway.