Vancouver, September 6, 2011 – An ongoing petition initiative led by the Vancouver Public Space Network (VPSN) has found significant public support for expanding Robson Square through the permanent closure of the 800-block of Robson Street to vehicular traffic.
Despite more than 1,800 signatures calling for the block’s continued closure, Robson Street between Hornby and Howe is scheduled to re-open to traffic today following post-Olympic renovations, significantly altering the character of this vibrant public space.
“For the past two years, the 800-block has been closed to vehicles and Robson Square’s role as a public gathering place has become further enriched through buskers, community markets, and great activities like Picnurbia,” said VPSN board member Josh Paterson. “The expanded public space has enlivened the downtown core and demonstrated the exciting possibilities of an expanded Robson Square.”
However, much of this positive change will be lost with the return of cars and buses.
To stimulate discussion on the future of the 800-block, the VPSN recently created two petitions: one supporting an expanded Robson Square closed to traffic, and one supporting the re-opening of the block to cars. The petitions, organized by the VPSN’s Urban Design working group, represent a non-partisan, volunteer-based effort to gauge support on both sides of the Robson Square debate.
As of Monday, September 5, the petition supporting closure of the block had received 1,846 signatures (paper surveys and online petition combined), compared to 40 signatures supporting the block’s re-opening to traffic.
Results of the petitions will be communicated to Mayor Gregor Robertson and members of City Council.
The 800-block of Robson Street is one of Vancouver’s preeminent public spaces. Located at the heart of Robson Square, the block is one of the most frequented pedestrian routes in the city and serves as backdrop for public gatherings, celebrations, rallies, cultural events, and community markets of every stripe.
About the Vancouver Public Space Network:
The VPSN is a grassroots collective that engages in advocacy, outreach and education on public space issues in and around Vancouver. This includes challenging the increase of advertising ‘creep’ in public places, promoting creative, community-friendly urban design, monitoring private security activities in the downtown core, fostering public dialogue and democratic debate, and devising creative ways to re-green the neglected corners, alleys and forgotten spaces of the city.
For more information, visit http://www.vpsn.ca
Vancouver Public Space Network