Granville Island (GI) has been a wonderful place for locals and visitors alike since the 1970’s, when it was resurrected from a solely industrial place into a mostly people place. The time has come for another resurrection that goes way beyond a lick of paint and new lights.
Granville Island 2040 (big PDF), commissioned by the powers that rule GI (CMHC), looks broadly at GI’s present and way off into its future. Some guy called Gordon Price is on the Advisory Board that guided this report’s creation.
I count 9 separate consultation initiatives, reaching around 10,000 people by a variety of means, and with varying degrees of intensity.
The big ideas:
- Improve Access: elevator to Granville Bridge, Alder Bay ped and bike bridge, Arbutus Greenway connection, streetcar, more ferry access, Anderson St. complete street
- Expand the Public Market & create a market district
- Embrace arts and innovation
- Restore and sustain the public realm — central plaza, east end public space, floating platforms.
And the big challenges currently facing GI:
- Demographic Change — GI is near the centre of Vancouver population growth, creating an opportunity to become a central focus for people if the right things are done right
- Economic change — support the shift to tech, knowledge and creative economy
- Climate change — vulnerability and mitigation.
For me, though, the most serious of these challenges is this one (below), which also carries the opportunity for the greatest improvement in peoples’ experience at GI.
Challenge: Traffic Congestion & Parking
Quote from Granville Island 2040:
The most serious of these challenges is the combination of the dominance of the private automobile as a mode of access to the Island, along with the traffic congestion and demand for parking that has accompanied the Island’s popularity.
The single largest use on the Island is now vehicular circulation and parking, which occupies over a quarter of current land use. These pressures threaten the freedom of movement across the entire public realm and the pedestrian-friendly character of the Island, and risk the further erosion of public space.
The extent of the transportation challenge is evident in public opinion, which is more or less equally divided between those who want to decrease or eliminate private automobile access and those who call for an increase in parking to facilitate their personal access to the Island. Despite the latter resistance, it is not possible to address the challenge of climate change or create new opportunities that respond to changing generational, cultural and economic interests without the reduction of automobile traffic and parking.
The questions facing Granville Island 2040 are, therefore:
- How much and how fast can parking be reduced?
- How best can the minimal necessary traffic and parking be managed?
- What are the alternative modes of access to the Island which will substitute for private motor vehicles?