Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Archive for August 6th, 2016

Blacktop War!

with 7 comments


The speed with which the tracks were removed has surprised many observers along the Arbutus Corridor. It was not long before the rough ground revealed by the removal of the track ballast was being graded, and now blacktopped. Even faster was the response from the creme de la creme. As reported by the Vancouver Courier they have been handed a short term victory, as the City Engineer appears to have conceded that not everyone is happy to see a nice new smooth surface. See also the Metro piece which links to the video made by the nay sayers.


Work is still needed at the crossings both to remove the track in the roadway, finish the connections to the sidewalks and place barriers to prevent use by motor vehicles.

[UPDATE September 5, 2016: the track has now been removed at all the crossings shown here: work continues to divert bikes/peds to the existing crosswalks at the intersections rather than crossing where the track used to be.]



I think the overall impact is a distinct improvement over the shabby railway, and the mess left behind after its removal (noted in my previous post). We also noted more use by people on cycles as opposed to those walking, but I think the debate needs to be refocussed away from the tiresome stereotypes applied to cyclists and pedestrians, and concentrate on the use of this revitalised space by people. All ages, types and abilities, with all sorts of interests, and not just the locals or those with a proprietary interest.


I would encourage anyone to come along and share the wealth – not just those with tall boyfriends or walking sticks with curved handles.

As it happens, there are plenty of good examples of pathways with multiple uses in the neighbourhood. This is the scene today in Arbutus Village Park: a blacktopped path, you will note, though not quite as pristine now.


There are mature trees, providing welcome shade, and benches from which to observe the passing scene.

Arbutus Village Park

And someone who really appreciates a nice smooth pathway.

I could also point to Ravine Park which parallels the Corridor on the other side of Arbutus Street, is not permitted for use by cycles (but which seems to be unenforced) and is also blacktop through the trees.

Ravine Park


Written by Stephen Rees

August 6, 2016 at 4:05 pm

Posted in Arbutus Greenway