Board of Change learns of City's ambitious cycling and walking targets

(Page 2 of 3)

The Greenway

Of particular importance to the city is the east-west corridor from Stanley Park to Yaletown. Driving along that route on Davie Street (or trying to cross it) is an exercise in patience at the moment, but Dobrovolny envisions this as a verdant pathway of walking/cycling glee known as the Comox-Helmcken Greenway.

This is augmented by "parklets", one of which you'll find right now in front of the Creperie on Robson street: a former parking spot turned into public seating. Local business pay for the parklets' upkeep, but they're not exclusive seating areas for those businesses.

I've seen similar pocket-parks spring up in New York City, particularly in the  Meatpacking District; they indeed breathe new life into once-congested intersections.

What we're talking about is blurring the lines between commuting and lifestyle. Part of that involves food trucks. Vancouver is getting there, but I'm envisioning something like Farragut Square in Washington, D.C.: a mecca of cuisine on wheels. (D.C. is a city that has walkability absolutely nailed, but it was planned that way since Day One.)

DC's Farragut Square: Food truck paradise

The Comox-Helmcken Greenway also calls for the retrofitting of existing streets to accomodate separated bike lanes: you're seeing these on Burrard Street already as your #22 bus inches agonizingly through traffic.

Also part of the Greenest City plan is the retooling of the Broadway Corridor, in which the beleagured B-Line will be replaced by subway service. Dobrovolny reckons that on Day One, the new underground service will be the most popular mass transit line in Vancouver.

Johnny-come-lately: Broadway Corridor could be a hit

Not everyone likes bike lanes

Johnston said in the beginning that he wasn't just there to talk about the positives of building a greener city, but also the real challenges. Bike lanes, for example, have been a massive bone of contention when it comes to Vancouver's urban planning. Not all bikeways are created equal: some have been seen as more disruptive than useful. Remember the fights over the Burrard Street Bridge retrofit and the Hornby Street bikeway?

This is happening again with the Adanack bikeway. Exacerbating stakeholder anger is the fact that the City didn't explicitly identify the project as one that would shut down motor traffic along a stretch of Union Street. This isn't just NIMBYism and fear of change: businesses cannot exactly take wholesale delivery via bicycle.

A message from the Strathcona Residents' Association reads in part:

"[City] Staff were unable to explain why planning east of Gore Avenue was specifically mis-identified other than it was "an oversight". Residents contend that this sort of 'oversight' is not a desirable benchmark of community planning or civic engagement."

The SRA argues that this is only one example of the City's lack of due diligence in planning the Adanac bikeway, and the group has its own criteria for traffic rerouting in Strathcona.

More in City

Living in an apartment with kids? Share your experiences

The City is seeking input from apartment-dwelling families with children to help plan for spaces that better meet their needs. As part of an update to the High-Density Housing for Families and...

Your water wise summer starts early this year

Today City Council approved a new Drinking Water Conservation By-Law to align with the Metro Vancouver Drinking Water Conservation Plan. Under the new by-law, watering restrictions will start on...

Temporary modular housing approved for Kaslo Street

The Director of Planning for the City of Vancouver, Gil Kelley, announced today the approval of a development permit to build 52 new temporary modular housing units at 4480 (formerly 4410) Kaslo...
Speak up about this article on Facebook or Twitter. Do this by liking Vancouver Observer on Facebook or following us @Vanobserver on Twitter. We'd love to hear from you.