Viaduct teardown plan promises affordability, access, and green space. Can it deliver?
The latest round of recommendations for the viaduct teardown plan include affordable housing, green space, and traffic management.
What about traffic?
From Page 12 of the report:
A key idea from a winning submission in the Ideas Competition, proposed by a team made up of Dialog, PWL Partnership, Beasley and Green, was a street network that replaces the viaducts with a two-way Georgia Street connection down to Pacific Boulevard, and combines Pacific and Expo Boulevards on the north side of the Skytrain guideway.
The replacement street network features a new 2-way extension of Georgia Street connecting down to Pacific Boulevard. Pacific Boulevard would be expanded into a 2 -way street east of Georgia, and would be realigned north of the Skytrain Guideway for a direct east - west connection to the downtown.
The City is hoping that traffic coming through East Van towards the downtown core will be able to utilize the revamped Pacific Boulevard and Georgia Street without completely choking Strathcona, but concedes that this is still only a theory:
The analysis is reassuring however there is still more work to be done with local communities and stakeholders to review the data in detail and continue to discuss their issues and observations related to the arterial network in this portion of the city and how any final plans can address issues brought forward in these processes.
Page 21, 29, and 30 suggest that the City has heard the outcries of groups like the Strathcona Residents' Association, but still must figure out how to avoid turning Prior and Venables into even less salubrious commuting choices than they already are.
The viaduct teardown plan must fall into line with both the Greenest City 2020 and Transportation 2040 plans as well. Do not stop reading at Page 34. Keep going into the appendices, which have traffic patterns, zoning statistics, and budget projections. Again, more interesting than it sounds.
Once in a generation
The report notes that this is a "once in a generation" opportunity to transform the city, but it's actually even rarer than that. We can have a hand in our city's development, but we have to stay active and vocal to make sure that "we" really means "Vancouver's residents".