Granville facelift planners ready choice of four futures

Sunday, April 3rd, 2005

Among the ideas is one that would bring automobiles back

Wendy Mclellan

CREDIT: Jason Payne, The Province Along with major redevelopment, Granville Street faces a redesign from bridge to waterfront.

It has been three years since Vancouver city councillors agreed downtown Granville Street is in desperate need of a facelift, and later this month, the public will get a first look at the four options under consideration.

The redesign, from the Granville bridge sidewalks to Waterfront Station on Cordova Street, includes new sidewalks, street furniture, lighting and trees.

But it also could bring cars back to Granville Street for the first time in 30 years.

– Concept 1 — Granville Street is reconfigured with the bus lanes moved off-centre on the west side with a treed boulevard separating the buses from a single lane for vehicle traffic.

The idea is the traffic lane, with some on-street parking and loading zone areas on the west side of the travel lane, would be a “flex sidewalk” built at the same grade as a wide sidewalk. The lane could be blocked to vehicles to accommodate crowds or for special events such as street markets and parades.

The flex sidewalk would also keep vehicles at pedestrian-friendly speeds, more like Granville Island than a typical downtown street.

Granville would be open to vehicles from the bridge to Robson Street, and from Dunsmuir to Hastings. But,, between Robson and Dunsmuir, only buses, taxis, bicycles and authorized vehicles would be allowed on the street.

– Concept 2 — Wide sidewalks and transit-only lanes alternating every other block with vehicle traffic. Buses would travel in the middle two lanes of Granville with the outside lanes for vehicles, or sidewalk cafes and street entertainment, depending on which block you’re in.

With cars forced to move off Granville at every other block, it would keep traffic light and possibly be used to drop off and pick up passengers rather than as a through street. No on-street parking would be allowed.

The street would remain open only to buses, taxis and authorized vehicles from Robson to Pender.

– Concept 3 — Granville remains a transit and pedestrian mall from Smithe to Hastings, but the street looses its curves and gains a double row of trees. From the bridge to Smithe, on-street parking and taxi zones would be built at the same grade as the sidewalk so they could be closed to handle more pedestrians at busy times.

– Concept 4 — Although it is not supported by city planners, the concept put forward by the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association will be presented to the public during the open houses this month. It is essentially the same as Concept 1, but permits single-lane vehicle traffic the full length of Granville Street.

© The Vancouver Province 2005

Comments are closed.