Gaetan Royer, having moved from City Manager in Port Moody to Metro, floats an audacious idea:
Imagine an aerial park perched above the Fraser River featuring two kilometres of trees and green space with meandering pedestrian paths and a public plaza in the middle.
It’s an alternate vision for the Port Mann Bridge, which is now slated to be demolished once the new 10-lane toll bridge rising beside it opens just over a year from now.
The idea of saving the old bridge as a unique park was quietly floated by a Metro Vancouver manager at a regional parks committee meeting Wednesday.
SFU City Program director Gordon Price rates it a long shot – but a fascinating one.
“Wow – that would be spectacular,” he said. “I love the idea. It’s just so audacious and jaw-dropping to think of what the possibilities might be.” …. People love this stuff,” he said. “If it’s going to cost a lot to tear it down there might be an argument to leave it for now. Maybe it could be done over time.
“People might look back in 50 or 60 years and say this was a stroke of genius.”
Old bridges and railway viaducts have been turned into elevated parks elsewhere in the world.
Paris has the Promenade Planteé, the world’s first elevated parkway converted from an unused raised railway in the 1990s.
New York has the High Line Park, a similar rail viaduct in Manhattan that was saved from demolition and transformed into a popular linear park and public space.
“It’s been spectacularly successful, generating billions of dollars of associated development,” Price said. “It’s one of the best things that’s happened in New York.”
And click here for a Price Tags on the Promenade Plantee and Parisian parks.