The City of Vancouver issued an 89-page RFP on March 1, 2017 for the next stage of the Greenway — final design, to take the form of a Master Plan.   It’s a map of many words to describe the Greenway’s transition from yesterday (derelict railroad), to today (the temporary corridor) to tomorrow:  the Arbutus Greenway.
At this moment, the CoV should be in discussion with it’s short-listed proponents.  Or perhaps wrangling out contracts.
The RFP contemplates timing (selected excerpts):

  • Design workshop (charrette)  October 27-29, 2017 (optional – to be confirmed)
  • Preferred concept  December 22, 2017
  • Public Engagement Begins  Feb 15, 2018 (to be confirmed)
  • Draft Master Plan  April 9, 2018
  • Final Master Plan Report May 11, 2018

And effort (10,000 to 12,000 hours of work over 12 to 18 months).
The preliminary Project Objectives (page 17, B-8) are still subject to more public consultation, but today look like this (excerpted):

a) Enable people of all ages and abilities to safely and comfortably travel using a variety of non-motorized means between False Creek and the Fraser River: The Arbutus Greenway represents a unique opportunity to introduce safe, comfortable, and barrier-free pathways that will provide connections across the City and have limited encounters with motor vehicles. Safety and accessibility for all users will be key design outcomes against which the project will be measured.

(b) Provide opportunities for a future streetcar to be incorporated into the greenway: The City’s Transportation 2040 Plan envisions a local streetcar service using the corridor and, although it may not be added for many years, the design of the final greenway should anticipate and, to the extent possible, incorporate the physical requirements for a streetcar line. Several alignment options will need to be developed and assessed through the greenway planning process, and the greenway should be designed to minimize extensive reconstruction at the time of streetcar implementation. It is envisioned that this streetcar will be integrated as part of the region’s transit system.

(c) Provide a range of public spaces for people to gather and socialize, support community events and enable artistic expression: In addition to supporting active transportation and a future streetcar, it is envisioned the Arbutus Greenway will become a compelling linear public open space with places for people to pause, sit, gather, socialize, celebrate and recreate. Major public open spaces are expected at Broadway and in Kerrisdale, with minor public spaces where major roads intersect the greenway. Additionally there are significant opportunities to enhance public space and provide diverse gathering and socializing experiences where the greenway meets the seven adjacent parks. Art is also envisioned to be a significant element throughout the greenway. The design process will contemplate opportunities for public spaces and art on City lands both within and adjacent to the corridor.

(d) Improve connections within and across neighbourhoods adjacent to the greenway: The Arbutus Greenway project presents an opportunity to provide walking and cycling connections to and from adjacent neighbourhoods and community destinations (e.g., schools, community centres, etc.) that were discouraged, and in many cases prohibited by the former rail operation. A key component of this work is to develop context-sensitive relationships between the greenway and the seven city parks it abuts.

For me, the most fun part is in Part B (City Requirements). Starting with teasing apart the project into sections:  and adding the concept of “precincts” and specific planning areas.

Quoting the RFP:

Kerrisdale Precinct (between W 37th and W 49th Ave) —  this area is the primary village node along the greenway, and is layered with First Nation and European settlement history. It once served as the administrative office for the Point Grey Municipality, before Point Grey amalgamated with the City of Vancouver and South Vancouver. And during the 1960s, Kerrisdale was considered one of Vancouver’s ‘complete communities’ due to its mix of commercial and residential development, cultural amenities, recreation facilities and transit connections, including the former ‘Sockeye Special’ interurban.
Broadway Precinct (between W 7th and W 10th Ave) —  this area will eventually become a key transit hub with the future streetcar line along the greenway connecting to the Arbutus Station of the Millennium Line SkyTrain extension that will run underneath Broadway. This will be a major transfer location for transit users and a hub of activity for foot and bike traffic. The public space here will need to reflect emerging plans for the Millennium Line Broadway Extension and integrate the various transportation uses and any opportunities for gathering space as well.
There are two planning areas outside of the core boundaries (Figure B-1) that frame the former rail corridor but are considered part of the study area for the design work. Understanding how the greenway extends through these areas will play an instrumental role in how well connected the greenway will be with other parts of the City:

Northern Planning Area: This zone includes the area generally from Burrard Street to Granville Street and from W 5th Avenue to False Creek. The master plan will need to include a design for high-quality greenway connections to the South False Creek
Seawall, Granville Island, Granville Bridge (including a proposed Granville Bridge
greenway) and other existing bike routes, and concepts for how the future streetcar
will link to Granville Island and points east; and,

Southern Planning Area: This zone generally covers an area from Fraser River Park, south to the Fraser River, north to Marine Drive, and east to the Oak Street Bridge. Key considerations include how the greenway meets the Fraser River, future
trails/greenways east and west along the river and how the streetcar line extends to
the east towards the Canada Line and possibly further east. This area is also of
significant cultural importance to the three Nations and a location at which they have an extended historical presence, which the greenway design must acknowledge and respect.

A few random snippets from here and there in the RFP, giving hints of scope and design for the project and the resulting Greenway:

  • Raised crossings, grade separation
  • Connections and linkages to parks, schools, neighbourhoods, businesses, transit and related Greenways (both north and south)
  • Both major (@ Kerrisdale, Broadway) and minor (@ major road intersections) public space designs
  • High quality landscape furniture (seating and tables), weather protection
  • Washrooms, fountains
  • Interactive play, fitness, etc.
  • Multi-modal network planning
  • Integration of public art (optional)
  • Heritage landscape planning (Ed: those blackberry bushes?)
  • Integrated commercial activity (patios) — Ed: but no mention of special status for Creme de la Creme retail outlets — a.k.a. Smug Shoppes.