Posted by: VPSN | June 9, 2010

A better path for the Seawall?

The VPSN’s Transportation Working Group has written to City Council to encourage them to look at developing a temporary route for the Seawall.  The If you’ve ever traveled from Downtown, you’ll likely have encountered a great big set of stairs west of the Convention Centre.  That’s because the Seawall is actually slated to go through the property currently occupied by the Temporary Float Plane Terminal.

With a permanent facility possibly two years away, it makes sense to have a better alternative.  Mayor and Council have been promoting the importance of sustainable transportation, and we hope that they’ll agree that we need to make better, safer space for cyclists and pedestrians… and not just for planes.

Council will be looking at this issue on June 10, and will be reviewing a staff report on permitting the temporary facility.

Here’s an excerpt from our letter:

[We are writing] … to provide comment on the aforementioned Development Permit Application, as well as the associated staff recommendations that you will be considering at your June 10, 2010, City Services & Budgets meeting.

The VPSN undertakes work in support of vibrant public spaces – including initiatives connected with promoting walkability, cycling and access to greenspace.

Like many Vancouverites, our organization is keen to see the completion of the Seawall link between Downtown and Stanley Park.  We note that only incomplete link in this path exists immediately to the west of the Convention Centre, on the site occupied by the Temporary Float Plane Terminal.  Currently cyclists and pedestrians who reach this point are routed up or down the grand stairs to Jack Poole/ (Thurlow) Plaza, or are required to backtrack and go around.  While there is an elevator that can be used to move between the two levels, the opportunity to use this can be limited by volume of traffic, the visibility of the elevator (many people don’t even know it’s there), and the perception, for cyclists, that the elevator is not intended for bikes.

Given the two year duration of the proposed temporary permit, and the resultant possibility that the move to a permanent facility could take this long to complete, we would like to propose that Counsel request staff to explore the possibility of a temporary route for the Seawall that avoids these challenges.  We would further propose, as a cost-recovery measure, that Counsel consider requiring the applicant to provide the route in a fashion similar to the requirements imposed on other development or event-related initiatives in the vicinity of the Seawall.  We believe these amendments would better support the City’s current Greenest City goals, as well as the intent of the Downtown Transportation Plan.

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