Following the examples set by the Central Valley Greenway and the Seaside (Point Grey Road) Greenway, here comes the Arbutus Greenway.  A safe and delightful way for people on foot and on bike to get somewhere and enjoy their trip and the city.

Thanks to the Courier and Naoibh O’Connor: City crews have already laid asphalt down on a chunk of the Arbutus Greenway — from 16th to about 25th.
The next goal is to pave the segment up to 41st over the next few weeks, and ultimately the whole nine-kilometre route from False Creek to the Fraser River.
Jerry Dobrovolny, the city’s general manager of engineering, said the temporary path is meant to encourage the public to travel along the route in preparation for the launch of the visioning process this fall, which will examine what the corridor can become. “The goal is to get people using more of the corridor. We’ve heard from people who’ve lived next to the corridor for decades, but still may have walked only one or two blocks,” said Dobrovolny during a Tuesday press conference at the portion by Fir and West Fifth.
He noted Canadian Pacific contractors finished removing the track ahead of schedule and the asphalt is being put down where the rail used to be. It will be open for public use as each section is completed.
“Our goal is to get people walking much more of it. If you’ve walked two blocks, walk two kilometres. If you’ve walked two kilometres, walk eight kilometres. Experience it, see it and use it. And use that experience when you come to our open houses and involve yourself in our consultation process to design what will be a spectacular facility for the City of Vancouver.”

The article touches on the breadth of issues and the varying constituencies that will form part of the consultation and decision-making process. It’s a daunting task for City staff. Dare I say that not everyone will be happy, no matter what the outcome and final design will be?


  1. It looks great! That particular section of it is higher than the surrounding land giving nice views of the mountains. Also check out all that space on the right side. Lotsa room for all sorts of things.

    1. Are you kidding? It looks horrendous! Just black-top thrown down as fast as possible with no finesse, no attention to design or aesthetics whatsoever. It’s a disgrace. I assume it is the usual Vision hasty attempt to bull-doze through without due consultation and proper engineering design procedures. The result: ugly black-top without any integration to the area.

      1. Cutline that accompanies the Courier article’s image:
        “A temporary asphalt path is in the process of being put down along Arbutus corridor to encourage more people to use the route in anticipation of this fall’s visioning process for the land.”
        Actually reading the linked article before rendering an opinion is a great approach IMO.

        1. I said it was likely “temporary” Chris, if you took the time to read my comment, and that is the point: here we go again, paying for both a temporary bandaid and later the preferred design — absolute waste of taxpayers’ money by Vision.

        2. Your comment makes no reference at all to the temporary nature of the work Susan. What a bizarre claim. Please don’t insult the intelligence of the other readers of this blog.

        3. Chris,
          Look up the word “hasty”; it means fast and temporary, not well thought out or for long-term use. Try investing in a dictionary.

        4. Look it up? OK!
          Full Definition of hasty
          a archaic : rapid in action or movement : speedy
          b : done or made in a hurry
          c : fast and typically superficial
          : eager, impatient
          : precipitate, rash
          : prone to anger : irritable
          ADJECTIVE (hastier, hastiest)
          1Done with excessive speed or urgency; hurried:
          a hasty attempt to defuse the situation
          hasty decisions
          More example sentences Synonyms
          1.1Acting with excessive speed or insufficient consideration:
          don’t be too hasty in criticizing a colleague
          More example sentences
          1.2 archaic Quick-tempered.
          Zero reference to temporary. Thanks for playing Susan. Better luck next time.

      2. Yeah it’s pretty plain but it’s temporary. It’s being done quickly so that people have a chance to try it out this summer and are ready to give input in the fall.
        On March 12th there was a “pop up city hall” to get the discussion going.
        They expect at least two years to get the whole design figured out. In the meantime we can’t just have gravel.
        I hope that integration to the area is a big part of it.

      3. Some people are what we say, a bit slow. We must show some compassion otherwise their blood pressure pushes their envelope.

    2. 4 METRES of black top. This if for a police patrol?
      They only need some gravel in patches, but that gravel is the former railway roadbed.
      Awful Vision

  2. The article states that they have completed 16-25th avenue and continuing south. What about north of 16th? or will they do that part last?
    Seems like a strange order.

  3. And while the West Side gets this near $100 million extravaganza I see the east side (well east of Cambie) are getting a new park at 17th and Yukon the size of one city lot. Yippee!

    1. Wouldn’t the 7-11 trail under the Expo Line and Central Valley Greenway (both in existence for some time now) be comparable amenities? Further, where would you identify similar opportunities on the east side in terms of available land?
      I’d love to see more parks and active transportation facilities on the east side, esp. given some of the ongoing grousing we are subjected to when City Hall decides to spend big money west of Ontario St. on bike/ped facilities, but pretty clearly the Arbutus Corridor is a singular opportunity that has lain fallow for far too long (a situation I suggest rests fully at the feet of the company which was given this land so very long ago).

  4. Black top, black top, and more black top…the Vancouver cyclist fraternity is rejoicing: A new cycle track built at no expense of Motordom, and dooming any prospect of a tram: what not to love?
    For once Susan is right: Why take the expensive way to go all the way to blacktop?
    City around the world doesn’t need black top to encourage people to walk in their parks …the excuse is silly (*): compact gravel or dirt could have been largely sufficient and even better for walkers and runners (not counting more environmentally friendly)….blacktop benefit only to people on wheels and that is the whole point!
    Susan is right: the narrative “build it first consult after” is absolutely ludicrous…(not sure who is the more crazy: people believing in this fairytale or Suzan? )
    Where I am not sure I understand Susan; The obvious alternative (and much better in my opinion) option, could have been to transform this part of East Boulevard in the way Point Grey road is being transformed, this to preserve as much as green space, and allocate this specific location of the arbutus ROW (doubled by the East bld) to thing such as community garden, sport field (basket, volleyball, tennis court all fit), kid playground, …or just contemplative greenery…effectively making the Arbutus ROW a greenway.
    Could the Vancouver cyclist lobby accept that ever more black top is not necessarily always a good thing?
    (*)Yes Bob, In the meantimes, walkways, when paved, in East Van looks like as below (at Killarney park) more often that not:
    (the city repaved the road a couple of months ago-it is on a bikeway-but not the sidewalk…here the blacktop seems much more precious than on the West side…).

    1. Voony, you seem to know a lot about transportation. What volume of people could a streetcar carry along the Arbutus Corridor if some of the segments were single tracked? Single tracked since there is not enough room for twin rail and separated pedestrian and cycling paths of reasonable width. Reason I ask is that I believe that a suitably wide cycling path could carry way higher volumes and at a significantly lower cost.

      1. Thanks for the info. But:
        – How do bike lanes compare to streetcar with single track segments?
        – What if a green wave were implemented for cycling?
        – What about total trip time? Already a person on a bike can easily beat out a bus on a trip from Kerrisdale to Downtown.
        – What about the cost differences. Bikes would beat out bus or streetcar by a significant margin.
        I am not convinced that a streetcar service on the Arbutus Corridor would be superior in terms of cost and performance to a decent bike path.

    2. Almost every street has sidewalks on both sides, so pedestrians have been very well served. Also, most sidewalks have drop downs so the mobility impaired are able to use the sidewalks. This is as it should be. However, a few years ago Councillor Meggs asked engineering how much cycling specific infrastructure the city had compared to driving infrastructure and it was 0.5%! It may be a tiny bit bigger today, but considering the fact that 7% of trips by Vancouver residents are made by bike, this is an amazing deal for the taxpayers of Vancouver. So, I wouldn’t complain about a few extra crumbs being tossed to those cycling.
      Also, the sidewalk looks to be a concrete sidewalk, so why should it be paved?
      And finally, the 4m paved path is to be a temporary shared path for those walking and cycling – not to mention skateboards, wheelchairs, mobility scooters etc. Would the alternative of leaving this amazing right of way fallow for two years have been better? I am so happy that the city is putting in this paved path prior to going through an extensive consultation process on the future of the Arbutus Corridor.

  5. Asphalt, also known as bitumen. The components of asphalt are Naphthene aromatics, consisting of partially hydrogenated polycyclic aromatic compounds. Polar aromatics, consisting of high molecular weight phenols and carboxylic acids Asphaltenes, consisting of high molecular weight phenols and heterocyclic compounds.
    You could lose some brownie points Gregor, not very Green. In fact the sulphur gassing off could be considered a nasty GHG.
    Laying this down with no compacted base will mean certain heaving and cracking and unless a powerful chemical herbicide killer was used first, we shall see weeds growing through and further cracking and breaking it up. Either way, this is not kale-friendly at all.
    I guess it makes a good track for the critical mass of Lycra speed cyclists. And, it will probably last until the election is over, so splurge now and re-do later.

    1. The small amount of paving needed to accommodate bicycles is very kale friendly compared to the massive swaths required to accommodate cars. Your comments should be tongue in cheek but unfortunately they are not.

      1. Arno,
        You (and the rest of the fraternity) don’t need to constantly put yourselves in a competition with other, but can try to exploit complementarity:
        Ii is precisely because a paved street (East Bld) is adjacent to the corridor, that the corridor itself doesn’t need to be paved.
        A good example of how such complementarity work are the Richmond Dykes, especially the South dyke, where lycra/spandex cyclists will speed on the road, while more leisury cycling and walking take place on the gravel path.
        Similar things could have happen on the Arbutus corridor (albeit with a re-qualification of East bld on the model of Point Grey rd)….where rather than the dyke, the Richmond Shell Rd trail could have been a more apropos inspiration:
        the Richmond city website (where the picture come from) states:
        The Shell Road Trail is long interior trail that runs north/south along the Shell Road corridor from Alderbridge Way to Williams Road. This interior trail has a distinctly rural feel to it with tall trees and shrubs lining both sides of it, making it a unique trail experience in an urban City Centre.
        The rural feeling in an urban setting is also what was looking to be preserved in this greenway in Paris area, where you will notice it has been judged important to preserve the historical connections (at the difference of the Arbutus corrdior)
        A rural feeling in an urban setting was also the main asset of the Arbutus corridor, an asset able to give more texture and experience diversity in the city but that has just been purposely destroyed by the city….

        1. Vooney, I somewhat agree. However, my experience is a bit mixed on this. Way back when the BC Parkway was created mostly under the SkyTrain, there were separated paths constructed for those walking and cycling – namely the paved 7-11 path for cycling and the gravel Molson path for walking. So what do we see? Almost everyone uses the paved path and the gravel path has all but disappeared. Just north of Marine drive, there is a paved cycling path and an equally wide concrete sidewalk. So why is it that almost everyone uses the paved path?
          The plan is to have separated walking and cycling paths for the Arbutus Corridor. This is as it should be, however the cycling path should be paved. I am sure that if the ped path is gravel, almost everyone will use the paved cycling path. And what about those using wheelchairs and mobility scooters? This is not as simple as it looks.

        2. for the french greenway, in despite of the picture showing an unfortunate impediment (the rail is not flush and this could be in need of a fix), yes
          for Shell road, it is as much as most of the park in the region, but the more compact and finer gravel used in french park (including the Colombes park I have pictured), makes it a better experience for wheelchair or stroller (as well as bike) than here.
          Looking for a picture to illustrates my propos on the gravel type used in french park: I got this one:

          The specificity of this one, is that the gravel is purposelly installed in a old age house park: which has different textures for different sensation (dixit the link)
          So the issue of accessibility while important, is here used as a red-herring.
          funny enough when the argument come from of people whose have dismissed concern of people with mobility impairment, when it was time to close Robson square

        3. “So the issue of accessibility while important, is here used as a red-herring.”
          or, you know, some of of us might consider it an important consideration. It’s kind of insulting to be accused of using other people’s misfortunes as a bargaining chip in an online conversation that’s gone downhill awfully fast.

    2. Eric,
      Exactly. Wear lycra, receive Vision privileged treatment. Similar to, place elephant statue to save front yard from bulldozers.

  6. My knowledge of railway construction is mostly limited to what I’ve learned from repeated listening to Johnny Cash’s ‘The legend of John Henry’s Hammer’… but aren’t railway lines typically constructed on a bed of compacted ballast? It looks to me like the temporary path is on top of the path of the old rail bed.

    1. The asphalt has been put down over a new layer of “compacted ballast” (I’m guessing that’s the proper term, it’s a dense white rocky material).

      1. Not ballast, just road bed. Ballast is when it is used as a base for railways. A compacted base, which Eric will appreciate. No organics, to control weeds. And no tree roots nearby, to avoid what happened in Voony’s photo.

        1. Surely you’re not suggesting professionals used their experience and training to construct a suitable temporary path with an eye to the typical problems and issues associated with such a project? How’d the Kool-aid taste Jeff? 🙂

  7. Well, it must be an okay project if the best that people can come up with to criticize it is that the temporary path is too nice.

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