The Vancouver Dirt Jump Coalition launched our second bike facility at Hastings Park in Vancouver this past weekend. I’m really proud of this one because it really caters to riders of all ages and abilities; dirt jumps have a little steeper learning curve than a pumptrack, so this really opens it up to everybody. This being a pump track, it requires less maintenance as it doesn’t take the same kind of abuse that dirt jumps like we launched in 2010 in Vanier Park.
After several meetings with users, it was determined that dirt jumps at this location weren’t the best fit. Given the large open space where they’d be much more exposed to the sun and rain, which means the jumps would break down much faster if they’re just baking in the sun without proper water systems and an existing community in place to maintain the jumps over time.
Ironically, this pump track now stands about 60 feet away from where I had met with Mark Villiamy (retired Park Board planner) more than 15 years ago to discuss where Vancouver’s first dirt jump location might potentially be; in a lesser-used corner of Hastings Park just off the backside of Playland. In the fall of 2010, we opened the Vanier Park Dirt Jumps at Kits Point, a location I never thought would be possible – it was just too good to be true.
Hoots Bike Parks (Facebook page) designed and built this project, which includes the large pumptrack and a much smaller, beginner-level pump track that was designed specifically with young children in mind. This is located right beside the tots’ playground so that parents could be close to their children doing a couple of different activities simultaneously. The pumptrack is lined with some bridge-style bike skills components that create a perimeter to separate the track from the commuter bike path that curves around the track.
This was a project I worked on for a few years and in a much larger capacity. I was asked to sit on the advisory board for the Hastings Park Open Space Advisory Group, meeting many times spanning more than a year with park planners, engineering firms and landscape designers as they planned the redevelopment of Hastings Park. This redevelopment included the Empire Fields soccer field, sports plateau, community bikes paths, reimagining Creekway Park (where Brittania Park meets up with Hastings Park at the north end of the park), and the daylighting of the original stream that was buried decades before and be the official ear to the Park Board representing the Leeside Tunnel which houses the Leeside Skateboard Park (which has its own group overseeing it, I was making sure all agreements were being honoured and that nothing went sideways on them).
This wasn’t like any of the dirt jump and skatepark projects I have worked on before; this was a much larger, more encompassing holistic approach to the redesign of Hastings Park. In the end, I’m really impressed with how it all turned out. I really got into a few different parts of the redesign I didn’t think I would, such as the daylighting of the original stream and the commuter bike paths throughout the park.
Here are some additional images of the park’s redeveloped sections and some of the Hastings Park branding and wayfinding designed by Public Design.