Key report on future of Viaducts now scheduled for early 2013 council debate

A key decision on the future of the Georgia and Dunsmuir Viaducts — including their removal and replacement — is now scheduled for council debate early in 2013.

The next report will include a wide range of additional analysis sought by council when it reviewed the proposal in July. Here’s the e-mail just sent to Viaducts-watchers by the city planning team:

Last July, City of Vancouver staff provided an update to Mayor and Council on the viaducts study. Please follow the link to the Council presentation.  The proposed concept plan for the land surrounding the Georgia and Dunsmuir Viaducts includes the following highlights:

  • Replacing the viaduct structures with a Georgia Street connection which ramps down from Beatty to connect at-grade to Pacific Boulevard;
  • Replacing Pacific Boulevard with a new two-way vehicle street connecting the Georgia Street ramp to Prior/Venables, or potentially Malkin Avenue in the future;
  • An increase of parks and open space in the study area by 3 acres; and
  • New opportunities for development on the City owned blocks between Quebec and Gore Ave.
At the open house public consultation last June, 69% of respondents supported or strongly supported the concept of removing the viaducts. Although the public response was positive, a number of concerns were raised by neighbourhoods in close proximity to the viaducts. At the July update, the Mayor directed staff to continue to evolve the concept plan and address the following key issues:
  • 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; and
  • 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.
The staff team is advancing work on these key issues. The intention is to address these work items and bring the Viaducts concept plan to Council for a decision on ‘approval in principle’ early in the new year.
We will continue to inform you of upcoming public consultation events through this listserve. Thanks for your continued interest in the Viaducts and Eastern Core Strategy.
The Viaducts and Eastern Core Planning Team