Update on Georgia Viaducts study finds partial removal straightforward, but full removal linked to transit investments

An update on the city’s study of the future of the Georgia and Dunsmuir Viaducts says “c0mplete removal of the viaducts may be feasible in the longer term given current transportation trends.”

But the memo circulated to council today by Jerry Dobrovolny, director of transportation, makes it clear that partial removal of the viaducts could come much sooner — perhaps in a few years — without significant traffic impacts.

Dobrovolny circulated the update in advance of tonight’s public forum on the viaducts at Simon Fraser University, which will feature city consultant David Turner, of Halcrow Engineering, as well as architect Bing Thom, former city planning director Larry Beasley and Bernie Magnan, economist with the Board of Trade.

The final version of this first phase of the viaducts study should come to council in May.

In my view, these preliminary findings underline the importance of the planned second phase of the study, which would consider urban planning opportunities to transform this key area in the heart of the city. Neighbourhoods around False Creek are keen to see the next phase for this reason.

With private sector development proposals worht at least $1 billion at some stage of rezoning around BC Place Statidum — adding 7,000 new residents and thousands of jobs — the city should do everything possible to link up communities like Yaletown, Chinatown and Strathcona around new parks and other amenities.

The viaducts — remnants of a rejected freeway system from the 1970s — are a poor legacy for this emerging city centre.