Congestion and conflict has significantly increased on the Seaside Bike Route since the Cactus Club English Bay Bistro opened. This is disappointing as pedestrians, cyclists and skaters have just endured 16 months of disruption during the construction of the Bistro.
The congestion and conflict are a result of a number of factors including:
- The Cactus Club is directing their customers to line up and exit directly right onto the bike route instead of adjacent to the bike route. Customers are disoriented and often do not recognize they are crossing or walking on the bike route.
- The loading zone for the Cactus Club is a pull-out from Beach Avenue that is being misused as a valet and passenger drop-off zone. This creates safety issues for both motorists and passengers that are dropped off.
- Signage is poor and installed from the perspective of motorists. Signage needs to be installed from the perspective of pedestrians, cyclists and the Cactus Club customers that would include pavement treatment and signage.
The Cactus Club English Bay Bistro had clear direction from both the City and Park Board to mitigate any impacts to all users of the Seaside Bike Route. This direction included that the loading bay was not to be used for other purposes, in particular for a valet service.
The Development Permit Approval included a requirement for the Cactus Club to provide a Loading Management Plan that “should commit to use the approved loading so as to not impact traffic, pedestrians and cyclists and solely for it intended loading purpose” and that “the permit holder is to be responsible for all costs related to the installation of the lay-by and all costs related to any sidewalk and bikeway changes necessary for the lay-by installation.”
WERA suggests that the City direct the Cactus Club to honour the requirements associated with their Development Permit including:
- Realign the Bistro Beach Avenue entrance furniture to channel customers along the side of the building instead of directly into the Bike Path
- Cease using the loading bay for a valet service and to put out traffic cones during non-loading hours to prevent unauthorized passenger drop-offs.
The Park Board and City also needs to further review the signage to ensure it is directed at pedestrians and cyclists. In particular consideration should be given to pavement markings and signage that alert all users that this is a conflict zone. Current signage that designates the loading zone as a passenger zone should be removed to reflect the intention of the approved Development Permit.
The Seaside Bike route in the 1700 – 2000 blocks of Beach Ave will continue to be a source of conflict between pedestrians and cyclists with its current configuration. Perhaps an alternative solution might be to move the route onto the road as a separated two-way facility, but that is a different debate. The Cactus Club knew about the requirement to mitigate impacts to the Seaside Bike Route with the current configuration, including the intended use of the loading bay and they accepted these obligations. As such the Cactus Club should honour their obligations.
Read WERA’s letter to the City: English Bay Bistro – Park Board – May 2012
Also see Price Tags posting on this topic: Cactus Club bike path: More conflict by design