Reclaim Prior stages ongoing community actions and protests
Residents of Strathcona, Vancouver's oldest residential neighborhood, continue rotating rush-hour traffic calming measures along Prior Street this week in advance of City Council's vote on viaducts removal. A press release this morning says that Strathconans have long maintained that the status quo of high speed traffic along Prior Street is unacceptable.
The community is vowing to keep up the pressure in response to the City of Vancouver’s proposal to maintain traffic capacity as part of the soon to be voted on Viaduct Removal Plan.
Prior Street traffic reflects the community's forty-year struggle to fight the freeway expansion that would have destroyed the neighbourhood. Residents were able to stop the freeway, the release says, but not the viaducts, which deliver an intolerable level of traffic to a road that was not designed to accommodate it. It states that the City’s plan currently shows Prior as an extension of the newly expanded six-lane Pacific Boulevard.
Since launching the Reclaim Prior campaign, well over 1,000 signatures have been collected to demand the calming of Prior Street as part of this plan, the press release says, adding that:
On Friday, July 6, hundreds of residents staged a family-friendly demonstration on Prior Street to protest the designation of the street as a major east-west arterial route. Following a town hall meeting with Councillor Geoff Meggs on July 7th and subsequent meetings with senior staff, residents resolved to continue protests and traffic calming actions for as long as it takes until the City makes a meaningful commitment to eliminating the highway through their neighborhood.
The calming of Prior Street, which local residents have been awaiting since the viaducts were built in 1972, is endorsed by the Strathcona Residents Association, Raycam Community Centre, Grandview Woodlands Area Council and has support in the communities of Crosstown and North East False Creek.
Throughout this week, random squads of residents are slowing traffic and calling attention to the frequent number of traffic violations (excessive speeds, red-light running) and safety issues for the neighborhood, which includes two elementary schools, several senior care facilities, (three of which are located right on Prior Street), several daycares, two community centres and numerous places of worship. Commuters are encouraged to add a few minutes to their travel time or consider alternate routes, as pedestrian controlled traffic crossings will activated during rush hours as part of community traffic calming measures.