It’s been fascinating to watch Granville Street between Cordova and Smithe. Even though the street is still closed off to traffic, pedestrians assiduously keep to the sidewalks. They go to the corners to cross. They wait for signals. They don’t take the diagonal at Georgia, even though there’s no reason not to.
We are so well trained. Ever since the public-safety campaigns of the 1920s (bringing in the use of the pejorative “jaywalker”), people are programmed not to walk on the roadway, to wait their turn, to assume that streets are first of all for moving vehicles.
Granville is scheduled to be returned to trolley-bus and taxi traffic in the fall. In the meantime, pedestrians will have the use of the entire right-of-way – if they choose to use it. Some think it’s time to consider what we learned from the Olympics, and reconsider the plan to bring back traffic . Rather, make Granville ‘a street for people.’
The prolific Paul Hillsdon thinks so. That bright young guy from Surrey even has a Facebook site for just this purpose.
Granville was a bustling gathering place for people during the Olympics, featuring public art, food vendors, street performers, pin traders, and hockey games! Let’s keep that spirit alive and demand that Granville remain not for cars or buses, but for us the people!
1. Keep the buses on Howe and Seymour. Nearly bankrupt TransLink plans to spend $10 million to move buses back onto Granville. The buses are operating just fine on the parallel roads. We should put that money elsewhere!
2. Relax the bylaws. Burdensome city restrictions are keeping Granville from having more outdoor seating or street vendors. Wouldn’t it be great to have people spill out onto the street from restaurants, making Granville more lively?
3. More events and activities! The City and its partners need to run more events, festivals, programs, and activities to keep the street bustling. How about street hockey tournaments, an international buskers festival, an outdoor fashion show, yoga lessons, dance parties, or a permanent art walk?
Check it out, and see if you agree.