Speaking of Granville (below), congrats to the City and the Downtown Vancouver BIA on their programming of the mid-town blocks. Love the green carpets.
Given the apparent success of a fully pedestrianized street prior to the return of the trolleys in September, it’s time once again to consider the fate of Granville. Could it be a ped-only street at appropriate times? Say, summer afternoons. On weekends and holidays. And late at night, when the police close it off to give the drunken louts a little room to breathe.
The problem is, where would the surface transit go? For most of the time (rainy days in November), transit should be on Granville, allowing for short and seamless transfers among different routes and with SkyTrain and Canada Line. A possible solution: variable routing, so transit can continue to use Seymour and Howe, now that the wired infrastructure exists, during times when Granville is closed.
But how would transit users know? The clear need is for information of a very high quality. Every bus stop would have to have electronic signs, indicating on which street the trolley or bus is going to arrive – high-quality signage with maps that show where the stop actually is in relation to where the viewer is at that moment.
More than that, there need to be big screens on Granville, showing the condition of the transit system, with clear directional information – sign boards that could be used, as in places like Paris, for city announcements of general interest and even public art.
Everything, of course, should be on GPS, with real-time info, just as you’d expect in the Canada Line. Users would know, with greater accuracy, where and when the next bus will arrive.
That seems to me to be the trade-off. Transit users will have less locational certainty, but in return they get more accurate and frequent information. And everyone benefits from a revitalized Granville.