The Vancouver Sun and writer Harrison Mooney outline the Strathcona Business Improvement Association’s (SBIA) plan to make East Hastings Street Vancouver’s most walkable within the next four years.
“The campaign intends to transform East Hastings into a pedestrian destination by making it more walkable,” the association said in a news release. “The SBIA will improve walkability on East Hastings by enhancing amenities, comfort, access and sociability and promoting local business.”
With stated goals improving health, environment and economy, the intent is to make the area more attractive for inhabitants and visitors. What is missing from the statement and the news release is that this section of East Hastings is already the living room for a significant part of the population who live in smaller units along the street. While street beautification does include public art, murals and sculptures, I’d argue that benches are not beautification but should be a necessity in any commercial street area, especially one with a population that is using the street. By raising the bar on street furniture and enhancing cleanliness you are also saying that you care about the local inhabitants too.
There was push back in the design and development of the Carrall Street Greenway in this section of the downtown where benches were placed for local residents and are actively used by locals and visitors alike. The benches are now an accepted part of the community, and universally used.
The business association who will be launching a Walk Strathcona Summer Series with pop up shops next week and a street party on June 24.
Carrall Street at East Hastings Street installation-Carrall Street Greenway
June 15, 2017