The Arbutus Greenway is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create something big, wonderful and enduring for active transportation in Vancouver. Thankfully, citizens have beaten back the effort to turn it into a private park (complete with heritage blackberry bushes, whose berries go so well with crème-de-la-crème and cocktails).  Citizens went to open houses in energetic droves to toss in their wishes, hopes and fears.

But what comes next?

Naiobh O’Connor, writing in the Vancouver Courier, asked Lon LaClaire, Vancouver’s Director of Transportation, to discuss the upcoming design effort. Wondering, like everyone, how to squeeze in walkers, rollers of various kinds, bike riders and provisions for an eventual light rail system.  Not to mention art, history, planters and whatever else came up from the consultations.

Personally, I’ll be most interested in intersections, since this is where danger lurks.  I’d be delighted to see grade-separation in a few places where the Greenway crosses arterials. I’ll be looking for design options in the fall, and preferred options in the spring of 2018.

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What the City bought

From the Vancouver Courier:  Greenway project staff are now analyzing a mountain of feedback. Close to 4,000 people submitted input — 3,000 completed a city survey, 910 visited two pop-up events and 260 attended open houses. . . .

The corridor ranges in width from 15 to 20 metres, raising anxiety the city is trying to pack too many uses in. It’s a point raised during consultation where one of the main messages LaClaire heard was “people want something pretty simple.”

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Lon LaClaire, Director of Transportation

“I heard some people concerned about what we’re trying to fit in the right-of-way… trying to fit a streetcar, walking and cycling doesn’t leave much space,” he said. “That is going to be a challenge in the design. It will be interesting in the next phase, when we come up with options, how it can fit and get people’s reactions.”

Deciding the route for the future streetcar is one the first priorities because it will inform the rest of the design. There may be portions where the tracks could veer off the corridor and move back on at a different point. LaClaire has been talking with city engineers about the possibilities. . . .

But detailed design work on the final greenway is a long way off.  This fall, design options will be unveiled followed by further consultation. A preferred option, which might be a combination of more than one, will be released in the spring of 2018.