Discovering the new Arbutus asphalt path – almost road-width – is like revisiting the 1990s in Vancouver, when the City was opening stretches of new seawall, particularly along North False Creek and Coal Harbour.  A time of discovery – new routes, more connections, an expanding network for alternative transportation.
The first extension of the seawall was also a temporary path, just asphalt and a chain-link fence, strung along the shoreline of the Expo site prior to its sale, laid down around 1990.  It stayed that way until the development of David Lam Park – when we experienced the new standard of active-transportation planning: a separated cycle track.
More kilometres of the now-named Seaside route followed, connecting False Creek to Coal Harbour – all built to the highest standards then devised.
Arbutus is in that tradition.  The finished design will come, and it will likely be terrific.  But in the meantime … immediate access, and a new mental map of our city and its neighbourhoods.


I discovered the latest expansion of the Arbutus pathway north from Broadway when cycling uphill on up Burrard past 4th on the separated lane snuck in by the engineers – and there it was.  Fresh asphalt!  The shock of the new. So perfect in its unflawed inky blackness.
Not even technically open, it’s too enticing not to be explored.

The new will fade, softened by nature, cultivated by the gardeners who are already colonizing the verges.

The future of the greenway as a cross-city corridor is settled.  The Arbutus Greenway isn’t going to become just extensions of the surrounding neighbourhoods, limited in use and accessibility.  Other people from other places, all part of a connected network of greenways, will be flowing through, on their way to other places.

Comments

  1. “The Arbutus Greenway isn’t going to become just extensions of the surrounding neighbourhoods, limited in use and accessibility. Other people from other places, all part of a connected network of greenways, will be flowing through, on their way to other places.”
    As well it darn well should be, considering that all the ratepayers in the City paid for it. It’s a terrific amenity for EVERYONE to enjoy, whether they do so by walking, wheelchairing, scootering or biking.

  2. A true gem for Vancouver.
    Needs more E-W road closures though in many places benefitting local residents and hikers, joggers, strollers and bikers alike using the new pathway.

  3. It’s turning out really nicely. I especially like the process of having consultations and workshops. Many great ideas have come out of those as well as having some sense of common desires.
    I wasn’t aware that the Seawall was so recent. It seems so natural to me that it’s like it must have always been there.

  4. Great perspective, Gord. Wouldn’t it be great if the CPR trestle over the Middle Arm of the Fraser could connect the Arbutus Corridor with the historic extension of the line in Richmond, which is now a wonderful public path across Lulu Island,all the way to Steveston?

  5. Interesting idea, Bob. At the other (north) end of the former CPR right of way, the Kitsilano Trestle was the earliest victim of what became the Expo 86 site. It sure would have been useful for many present-day uses.

  6. Is the rail line still be in use there? CP said one train per week back when the trestle caught fire in 2014.
    Could be a challenge with the swing span. There is regular marine traffic there. And there is a new pedestrian/bike bridge very close by, the Canada Line bridge. See the photo. The CL Bridge is already connected with paths on both sides. What we need to complete is the link from Milton, at the current end of the Arbutus Greenway, along to the CL Bridge at Kent Ave. This weekend I noted abandoned tracks had been removed on the 75th Ave ROW from Milton to Hudson, so there may be progress. This is a City street ROW, so no CP land purchase required.
    http://i349.photobucket.com/albums/q367/jcleigh/Posts/Marpole%20Rail%20Trestle%20Bridge_zps33c1xxg4.jpg

  7. To complete the Greenway to the south, and reach the Fraser instead of just ending at Milton as the Greenway does today (temporarily), the CP ROW is still a rail line. But just south of it is an undeveloped road allowance, already City property. Here it is, 75th looking west from Hudson. It needs a multi-use path.
    http://i349.photobucket.com/albums/q367/jcleigh/Posts/IMG_2008_zpsobszqqjs.jpg
    There used to be a rail siding in this City ROW, but it has been removed. Here is the view from the existing CP track, showing the ex siding.
    http://i349.photobucket.com/albums/q367/jcleigh/Posts/IMG_2009_zpsp8rpwcy6.jpg
    Urge the City to push through the Arbutus Greenway to Hudson, and then to figure out the best combination of paths and protected lanes to get to the Canada Line Bridge (to cross to Richmond) and to the Kent Ave Bikeway which starts at Ontario.
    This route will provide a continuous connection right along the Fraser, to Boundary Road/Burnaby and points east.
    That will greatly increase the number of users from other neighbourhoods, as described in the post, and compound the utility of the Greenway as a cross City corridor.

  8. Jeff Leigh wrote: “Urge the City to push through the Arbutus Greenway to Hudson, and then to figure out the best combination of paths and protected lanes to get to the Canada Line Bridge (to cross to Richmond) and to the Kent Ave Bikeway which starts at Ontario.”
    We can call it the Kent Corridor!

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