Cyclist in Stanley Park approaching a Park Board engagement booth

Stanley Park survey results indicate majority of respondents want road space dedicated to cyclists and car-free days

November 24 2020 –

The results from the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation’s recent public survey about the temporary traffic management plan in Stanley Park in response to the COVID-19 pandemic drew just over 11,000 responses. The majority said they enjoyed the changes and would like to see future consideration of dedicated road space for cyclists along with car-free days in Stanley Park.

Survey followed temporary road closure

On April 8, the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation temporarily closed Stanley Park to vehicles to encourage physical distancing, reduce crowds, and provide more space for cycling and walking. The park was closed to vehicles until June 22. After that date and until September 25, one lane was reopened to vehicles, while the other was designated for cyclists, as bikes were still not permitted on the Stanley Park seawall.

The temporary traffic management plan provided the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation with a unique opportunity to observe the impact of these changes, which led to the initiation of an open-format public survey to more fully understand how the temporary changes were received by users, park partners, and the general public. 

Independent analysis provided

The survey, which garnered the greatest number of respondents to date for a Park Board public engagement initiative, was conducted over the course of four weeks from August 25 to September 20.

Once the survey closed, the data was verified and analyzed by Qualitas Research Inc., a third-party firm that was contracted by staff to provide detailed independent analysis.

Through the data verification process, a total of 187 responses were removed and 10,859 results were included in the final report. Data cleaning is the process of detecting and fixing (or removing) inaccurate, incomplete, duplicate or corrupt records from a dataset. 

About the results

Just under one third of respondents (3,180) reside in downtown Vancouver. These respondents were the most frequent visitors to Stanley Park before the COVID-19 pandemic, 68% of whom visited once a week or more. Conversely, the majority (69%) of the remaining Vancouver residents (other than downtown) said they visit the park less than once or twice a month. This rate of visitation to the park was similar for respondents who live outside Vancouver (64%).

When Stanley Park was closed to vehicles, the frequency of visits to the park reportedly increased for the majority (60%) of respondents. A small proportion (18%) said they visited the park less frequently during this time. Respondents from outside Vancouver visited less frequently than did Vancouver residents.

Twenty-five per cent of respondents indicated that they depend on a vehicle to enjoy and experience Stanley Park. 

When asked about future changes to the park, 70% of survey respondents said they would like to see some sections of road space dedicated to cyclists, 62% said they would like to see car-free days, and 33% said they do not want to see any changes.

Use before the road closure

Before the temporary closure to vehicles, the most common mode of travel to and around Stanley Park (for 60% of respondents) was by bicycle. Also common were walking and running (49%) and vehicle (47%). A smaller proportion (13%) used public transit to get to the park.

Top reasons to visit and valued features

According to the survey, the top five reasons people visit Stanley Park are: 

  1. For passive recreation (walk, roll, cycle) – 73%
  2. To access nature in the city – 59%
  3. To visit the beaches and picnic areas – 47%
  4. To show visitors (example: from out of town) around the park – 30%
  5. To drive through the park – 19%

The top five features people most value about Stanley Park:

  1. The natural environment – 83%
  2. The park’s open space to recreate, walk, run, or cycle – 79%
  3. The convenient location and proximity to the city – 67%
  4. The park’s features and attractions – 25%
  5. The various dining opportunities in the park – 12%

Broader study and engagement to come

The Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation intends to use the survey results and data analysis as part of a broader study and data collection process, along with ongoing stakeholder and public engagement. A summary of the survey’s outcomes (9 MB) was shared with the Park Board last night at is regular meeting.

Based on feedback received, staff will report back to the Park Board with any recommendations for approval prior to any future changes to traffic management in the park.  

The complete survey data will be available for review in the near future.