17-year wait for Comox-Helmcken Greenway is finally over

Council today approved a $5.46 million budget to begin construction of the Comox-Helmcken Greenway, 17 years after the project first found its way onto the city’s list as a key link between Stanley Park and the Central Valley Greenway.

That takes care of  Phase 1, but a clearly impatient Councillor Heather Deal got unanimous council support to bring forward a decision on completing the last link, from Hornby to False Creek, by June.

The project has already been in a year of intensive consultation, but residents of Yaletown have been anxious about the impact of the pedestrian and bicycle route in their neighbourhood. Hence the delay to complete Phase 2.

Based on the applause that greeted the Phase 1 decision, the results will all be positive. The new plan creates some separated bike lanes, where safety is a particular concern, but for the most part the new greenway has a pedestrian focus with cyclists on the street or their own lane.

Residents will see some parking impact — about 56 spots, including 26 resident parking spots, will be lost on the two kilometres of Phase 1 — but the walking and cycling will improve immeasurably.

This long overdue link should be completed just in time for Vancouver to launch its next 10-year transportation plan in 2013.