A major entrance to Pacific Centre Mall off Dunsmuir Street:

Scaffolding clutters the space, but that’s temporary.  The real problem is permanent: the ramp to the underground parking:

It must have seemed like a small intervention when Pacific Centre was being designed in the sixties.  The project was three blocks long; underground parking spaces numbered in the thousands.  Taking up so much sidewalk space for a necessary exit wouldn’t have been a serious worry.

On the Dunsmuir Street of 2019, it looks like a scar.



  1. At least it puts motorists in dark smelly holes instead of transit riders.

    It’s true that they don’t look great but would you rather have those thousands of cars cross crowded sidewalks? There are much worse. Several of these eyesores are set behind the sidewalk so you get the crossing *and* the ugly hole: Robson and Howe, Robson and Hornby, Howe and Smithe, Costco entrance off of Beatty and the ugliest of them all, Nelson and Smithe at Cambie at the SAP building. The worst of both worlds.

    As long as we have so many cars we’ll have all of the negatives associated with so many cars. When they were first built I thought the better of these entrances (like this one) were a good solution. Not sure I disagree with my younger self. Certainly much more care should have gone in to landscaping etc.

    So long as we have cars that need parking the best solution might be to connect the various underground parking lots and reduce the number of entrance and exit points.

  2. Turn south from here and you’ll find that it’s worse yet on the east side of Howe Street. The entrance and exit to the same parkade dominates nearly the whole length of the block between West Georgia and Robson – a disruption that completes a pedestrian nightmare that begins as you try to get around the obnoxious driveway to the Four Seasons.

  3. From the “I can’t believe they let teenagers drive” files, in the early 80s we used these to shortcut through traffic, or just for James Bondian fun — at the bottom of the ramp you take a right bypassing the parking entrance and go through service / loading bay corridor. Get in at Howe at Dunsmuir, come out at Howe at Smithe.

  4. Reduce traffic volumes by repurposing these downtown parking lots—– people will use transit if they don t think that they will find affordable parking—– less traffic & less ugly ness—– C O V could start with the downtown library parking to a higher & better use

    1. And who cares if you kill the businesses or cultural institutions that need those horrible people driving in from the suburbs? To the ramparts, raise the drawbridges!

  5. Two places that are worse:
    – Robson Street (north side) just west of Richards outside the Jinya Ramen restaurant, where Jinya has a patio railing (and a line-up), there is a washroom kiosk, a new digital sign has been installed, and the Telus garden office building has a glass sidewalk which some people avoid walking on.
    – Granville Street (east side) just north of Robson where Cafe Crepe has a patio railing, there is a poorly placed bike rack , often a sidewalk vendor with a table and a metal Canada Line ventilation grill in the sidewalk that some people avoid walking on.

  6. PS – Compare the above noted ramp entrance to the driveway/porte corchere of the Four Season Hotel in the same complex, and tell me which is safer for pedestrians?
    I would guess that the ramp is much safer.

  7. Any of the above mentioned parking entrances, designed decades ago when design guidelines did not prioritize the pedestrians, are all much safer than the intersection of Main and Union.

    That intersection, the closure of the west block of Union, and addition of the bike lanes, dedicated and shared, alternately protected and not, islands lost in the middle of nowhere, two lanes turning onto the viaduct with one ending within a car’s length, non-orthogonal bike lane, unclear direction and movements and bizarre light sequencing, make the intersectio much more dangerous than probably all the ramps mentioned, combined! I’m sure ICBC’s and the ER reporting statistics will back than claim up in spades.

    That bikeway and intersection was configured in the last decade with cyclists and pedestrians as a priority. It has also been showcased by CoV as a great example of “mobility improvements”.

    OK, so it’s not downtown and it’s not a sidewalk but if you’re going to point out bad design, let’s start with the worst and most unsafe, not just the car-centric.

    And while we’re ripping Pac Centre and pedestrian priorities, how about bemoaning the loss of the rotunda at Georgia and Howe and the plaza! Or the lost plaza at Hastings/Seymour.

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