Monthly Archives: October 2015

Tear ‘em down or leave ‘em up: Public divided on Vancouver viaducts removal

Vancouverites aren’t universally sold on demolishing the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts as council is poised to determine their future – an infrastructure decision that could forever change the city’s east side and False Creek neighbourhoods…

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John Murray, director of the False Creek Residents Association, questioned whether residents will actually get a bigger park if the viaducts are removed. The new map simply shows a reconfigured park, he argued, and it won’t be adequate for the thousands of extra residents.

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Viaducts decision at City Council Oct 21

The FCRA has several concerns that we have repeatedly voiced.

First and foremost is the Creekside Park Extension. This park,  which includes the completion of the NEFC seawall, was a contractual obligation of Concord Pacific in the Original Development Plan in 1990. They have consistently delayed the delivery of this much needed park space by shifting the parameters of that responsibility.

Now the responsibility and the possibility have been shifted to the removal of the viaducts. They are attempting to get ‘buy in’ by making yet another promise—13.75 acres instead of the 9.06 acres that is already part of the contractual agreement. Those 13.75 acres now include the land under the viaduct previously allocated to youth hard surface recreation as well as the closure of Carrall St to north/south traffic effectively making that area “park space” and the new cycling/pedestrian bridge to Dunsmuir St. They now say there will be an early phase in of the seawall. So if it is possible now to provide a completed seawall why hasn’t it been possible before?  The timeline for the park as stated in the viaducts report is 2025.

Waiting another 10 years is not expediting the park.

The Park Board park space requirement is still on the books as 2.75 acres per 1,000 residents. This rationale was again ratified by the Park Board unanimously a couple of years ago. With a possible increased density of 2,500 residential units, as reported today, in order for the COV to sell enough density to pay $200 M for the viaduct removal and road changes there is absolutely no way that the community can bear that increase in population, not to mention traffic, without more offsetting green space. Where are the plans for the required social infrastructure to meet the needs of these thousands of more residents? No schools, community centres, daycares—just more and more density to contribute CACs for the viaduct removal ($200 M). If the COV is going to be negotiating with developers regarding community amenities we think that there should be more transparency in that negotiation and not just a presentation of a done deal a week before a report to council.

We still don’t know if there is a traffic plan for North/South arterial streets like Abbott, Carrall and Quebec Streets, other than the plan to close Carrall St to north/south traffic.

For anyone who lives here we see the huge volumes of traffic sitting bumper to bumper on both arms of the viaduct, especially the Dunsmuir viaduct, during rush hour and most importantly when there are concurrent events at the stadia. Or on the Park site.

There are still ongoing concerns re traffic in the 100 and 200 Blks of Prior St.  The city has promised that there will be 8 M setbacks to take the pressure of the new traffic pattern off the residents who now live in those blocks. The residents never expected to have to contend with 6 lanes of traffic outside their front door. There need to be assurances that this will be mitigated.

It is unfortunate that there are still many unanswered questions. Especially: Who will benefit and who will ultimately be paying for this? What do the city taxpayers actually get? What do the developers get?

Will we be looking at a wall of condo towers separating our neighbourhoods rather than the viaducts, which we can still see over and walk under? The skytrain will still be a divisive component between neighbourhoods as will a six-lane roadway, which will need to accommodate the 40,000 vehicles currently using the viaducts as well as the 22,000 vehicles currently using the surface roads.

The Green Light Campaign remains our silent signature protest for neighbourhood green space, which has brought the community together and inspired imagination of what might be possible.