Today at City Council, Mayor Gregor Robertson outlined his position on the future of Vancouver’s Eastern Core, following a presentation from city staff to update Council on over two years of ongoing planning work and public consultation around the viaducts.
“The future of the Eastern Core and the viaducts is a major decision for the city, and it will impact how we grow and connect communities like Chinatown, Strathcona, and Grandview Woodlands,” said Mayor Robertson. “It is a key decision and it cannot be rushed – we need to take the time hear neighbourhood concerns and ensure they are addressed before we make a decision.
“Any change must ultimately benefit the citizens who live and work in the area, and ensure good traffic connections,” added the Mayor. “The neighbourhoods near the viaducts will clearly need to benefit from such a proposal, whether it’s through more park space, affordable housing, calmer streets, or new jobs.”
The Mayor included the following measures among his priorities:
- Making immediate traffic improvements to Prior Street, including re-instating parking and exploring speed bumps and other calming measures, to make the street safer for local residents
- Pursuing the Malkin connector to divert traffic, including heavy industrial, off residential streets of Strathcona and Grandview Woodlands and onto designated routes
- A timeline for deliverables for local residents, including expanding park space and affordable housing, as well as options for phased or partial removal of the viaducts, as opposed to one single removal
- Incorporating any removal of the viaducts with the City’s Economic Action Strategy goals of increasing job density, particularly in the clean technology and digital media industries, in False Creek flats and along Great Northern Way
- Ensuring that the flow of commercial goods is a priority and that the needs of the business community are considered, as outlined by the Vancouver Board of Trade
During today’s council presentation, staff presented a number of key facts for consideration as work continues on the viaducts strategy:
- Removing the viaducts would increase parks and open space by 13%
- Vehicle traffic volumes entering and leaving downtown during peak periods have declined by 15% over the past 15 years
- At this spring’s open house public consultation, 69% said they supported or strongly supported the concept of removing the viaducts
Staff will report back to council with more options and information in the fall.