Posted by: VPSN | December 2, 2010

Robson Square expansion – City Council takes steps to make it happen

Quite an exciting morning for public space planning in Vancouver… and more steps forward on the Robson Square expansion.  Just a few moments ago we made a presentation to Council on the public square expansion (details to be posted shortly).  In response to some very interesting discussion on the subject, Council has agreed to support “permanent summer pedestrian openings of Granville Street, a major public square at 800 Robson Street to coincide with Vancouver’s 125th Anniversary with intention to meet an April 2011 date, and temporary weekend closures of Robson and Mainland Streets. 

Here’s the revised motion that got approved:

WHEREAS on March 25, 2010 Council approved a motion from Mayor Robertson to request a staff report on the feasibility of a number of Olympic Legacy projects including opening Granville, Robson and Mainland Streets to pedestrians, a public square on the west side of the Art Gallery and a permanent streetcar line.

WHEREAS on April 6, 2010 Council approved a subsequent motion from Councillor Cadman to refer the issue of opening Robson Street to pedestrians on weekends as part of the Olympic legacy.

WHEREAS in November 2010, prior to the staff report on Olympic Legacy project opportunities being received by Council, Councillor Anton put a notice on motion requesting that staff consult with affected parties regarding a public square at 800 Robson Street.

WHEREAS it is anticipated that in the next month staff will be reorting on a permanent “Open Streets” program which Council approved on February 4, 2010 after the report on the 2009 “Summer Spaces” program, a pilot of temporary pedestrian openings for streets on weekends, and subsequently reconfirmed when the 125 Anniversary report was received.

WHEREAS Rediscover Granville was a highly successful summer long closure of downtown Granville Street in 2010 that built on the Olympic Legacy, and work from the 2009 Summer Spaces program, to provide a public space in downtown Vancouver which the DVBIA, DVA and other organizations would like to see continued.

WHEREAS as part of the Greenest City 2020 mobility goal, staff are working on a report expected to come to Council in January regarding public spaces in downtown to support greater walking, biking and transit use.

WHEREAS it would behoove Council to see the results of these reports to understand the total public realm plan for downtown Vancouver, and their potential impacts on stakeholders, before providing direction to consult on any one item.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT Council request staff to continue their work on reports already requested and that the results of these reports be collated into a Downtown Public Spaces Plan – including, but not limited to, permanent summer pedestrian openings of Granville Street, a major public square at 800 Robson Street to coincide with Vancouver’s 125th Anniversary with intention to meet an April 2011 date, and temporary weekend closures of Robson and Mainland Streets – which stakeholders can be consulted on.

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