Something new on Granville Island — at least, new to me.

It’s a pop-up eatery: the Popina Canteen.  A new and highly attractive people place transforms precious space.

Much better than average food, unexpected variety, in a spectacular location.  It’s west of the market, in a former motor vehicle storage area. Views of False Creek, two bridges, marinas and towers. Easily accessible by foot, bike and from the ferry dock. It’s a contender for the best patio in Metro Vancouver.

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This looks like a part of the Granville Island 2040: Transportation Strategy, which among other things, seeks to expand visitor numbers on a limited land area:  ” . . . involves the reduction of surface parking in order to provide the necessary space for critical new developments that will continue to support tenant operations while attracting more visitors.

Here’s a more in-context quote:

Central to the Granville Island 2040 vision is the idea that Granville Island’s long term success will require increasing visitor numbers while decreasing the number of cars.

This view is based on the observation that, given the Island’s limited road network, car-dependent visitor growth is not physically possible, especially at peak times of the year when the Island’s roads and parking lots are near full capacity.

And over time, the Granville Island 2040 vision involves the reduction of surface parking in order to provide the necessary space for critical new developments that will continue to support tenant operations while attracting more visitors.  To achieve this vision, future growth in visitor numbers will have to be largely accommodated by travel modes other  than the automobile – walking, cycling, transit and ferry use.

It seems to me that this pop-up restaurant and patio, which replaces around 10 free (and coveted) motor vehicle storage spaces, is the first nudge of many to come, intended to help attract more visitors while repurposing the space now gobbled up by motor vehicles that dominate the island.

It’s also an object lesson that there’s only so much space on an island or in a city.  How you use the space determines what kind of island or city you create. It’s a fundamental and far-reaching decision. Truly strategic.

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