Anyone that is travelling by bike going east/west across the city knows what a super cycling street Tenth Avenue is to commute. It is relatively level, has great scenery, and gets you where you want to be. Trouble is that it also goes through the Hospital District between Oak and Cambie Street where the Vancouver General Hospital is with an array of specialists visited daily by many many people who for illness or accident may not have great mobility and may be travelling by car. And there is the rub.
As reported in the Vancouver Sun the City of Vancouver Engineering Department is back to consult this month with changes for this section of street including separated bike lanes on either side of the avenue, raised pedestrian crossings, passenger drop-off zones near arthritis and eye care centres, and improved signage.
And here is the problem-close to one hundred metered on-street parking spaces will be taken off the street. Price Tags has written about the fact that the loss of these on-street parking spaces was significant to people with mobility challenges and people from out of town, as well as people who may be seeking cancer treatment. The Seniors Advisory Committee of Council has also spoken out on the issue. The new plan being shared this month actually takes out more curbside parking spaces than the previous plan.
I have been reminded by legendary urban designer Frank Ducote that the issue for access to on-street parking is not only one for seniors, but is one faced by many people for many different reasons with the multiple medical institutions along this street. There is also an Eye Centre where sight impaired people come and go. For many the at grade parking is seen as a necessity not a luxury, and I am reminded of that when families show up under tragic circumstances at the Emergency entrance to the hospital. They need access quickly.
Open houses to view the new plans are as follows:
• Nov. 22, 4-7 p.m., Blusson Spinal Cord Centre
• Nov. 23, 4-7 p.m., Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral
• Nov. 26, 11 a.m. — 3 p.m., Blusson Spinal Cord Centre
• Nov. 29, 4-7 p.m., Croatian Cultural Centre