Posted by: VPSN | August 29, 2012

City moves to keep Robson Square car-free until December (and maybe beyond!)

Robson Square - Jazz Fest - P1050632

The Jazz Fest: kicking-off the 2012 closure of the 800-block of Robson Street

Great news on the public space front: the popular 800-block segment of Robson Street (at the south end of the Vancouver Art Gallery) is going to remain a pedestrian-only space through to the end of the year!

The City made the announcement in a media release that went out this afternoon (see below).  City staff will be using the time to consult with stakeholders about the permanent closure of the space.

The VPSN strongly supports this decision and commends Mayor and Council for this important move.   The VPSN also welcomes the idea of broader consultation on this issue, as key considerations around transit routing and the impact on local business need to be accounted for in any planning for the space.

The 800-block site has proved to be an immensely popular gathering spot.  Originally slated for permanent closure during the completion of the Law Courts building (in the late 1970s), the true potential of an expanded Robson Square came to the fore of discussions during the 2010 Olympics.

Since that time, two successful summertime traffic closures have yielded further positive results.  Innovative seating structures have been installed (Picnurbia in 2011 and Pop Rocks in 2012), and a roster of markets, food trucks, festivals and buskers have transformed and animated the space for residents and visitors alike.


2011’s Picnurbia installation

Robson Square - Pop Rocks - P1060289-c

The summer of 2012 saw Pop Rocks take over Robson

Public support for this initiative has continued to be strong.  In 2011, the VPSN conducted two surveys – designed to measure public support for keeping Robson Square car-free.  Over 1800 signatures were gathered in support of the expansion of Robson Square, while just over 40 indicated opposition to the move.

Take a moment to share your thoughts on this issue:  consider writing a short email to Mayor Robertson (, Penny Ballem (City Manager) ( or Peter Judd (City Engineer) (  Voicing your support for the expansion of Robson Square will be critical to moving this project forward.


Robson St. pedestrian plaza to remain open;
City staff consulting on longer street closure

The 800 block of Robson Street, between Hornby and Howe, will remain closed to vehicles until the end of the year following another very successful summer as a popular pedestrian plaza.

City staff will continue to discuss a permanent closure of the block with key stakeholders, including the DVBIA and TransLink, before reporting to Council later this fall on a permanent closure.

“For the past two summers, and during the Olympics, this block of Robson has proven to be a hub of activity,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “It’s been a very popular destination for people to enjoy music, impromptu performances, creative types of outdoor seating and a place to relax and enjoy our downtown.

“We have an opportunity to create an important new public plaza in the centre of the Downtown and have a timely opportunity to consider this option.”

The recently installed Pop Rocks seating, part of the VIVA Vancouver summer streets program, will remain in place in the 800 block of Robson through September or as weather permits.

Over the past two summers, VIVA Vancouver has helped bring liveliness and fun to Robson, Granville and other locations around the city with pop-up parks, creative seating installations and local arts and culture activities.

VIVA Vancouver has facilitated the closure of Granville St., between Smithe and Hastings, to create a pedestrian and event corridor featuring special sports and dancing activities, displays, music and places for locals and visitors to relax and enjoy the surroundings.

In December 2010, Vancouver City Council directed staff to examine the creation of a public square in the 800 block of Robson St.

LINK – Gregor Robertson – Mayor of Vancouver Blog



  1. […] the south end, the popular 800-block of Robson Street has been temporarily closed for several months now, and the City is studying the possibility of improving this gathering area by keeping the street […]

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