As part of its covid response, the City is providing “Room to Queue” – the reallocation of curb lanes next to essential businesses like grocery stores that use adjacent sidewalks for line-ups. As seen in this example, sent in by Dianna, the lane in front of Urban Fare in Yaletown allows pedestrians enough distance to bypass the otherwise crowded sidewalk.
Here’s a video of the queue lane in front of Urban Fare in Yaletown: UF queue (1)
The use of your basic traffic barriers allows a quick if not exactly aesthetic response in an emergency. Here’s an opportunity for Jimmy Pattison’s chain, Urban Fare, to commission artists, as did the Downtown Vancouver BIA with those plywood window hoardings, to add some fun, colour and comment to the street.
Notice, as well, the signage on the parking meters, providing a self-evident notice that they aren’t going to be in use anytime soon. Maybe never.
This is a space that’s not likely to return to its pre-March-2020 condition. Urban Fare may expand their outdoor seating and display spaces more comfortably on the sidewalk now that there is breathing room. Maybe an outdoor art gallery? E-bike charging? They, along with their customers and neighbours, may decide that this makes far better use of the asphalt than redundant car parking. (There’s more than the store actually needs in the underground garage.)
A return of the taxi stand is in order, but now there’s room for many of the other increasing demands on curb space. Indeed, that one parking lane, as lucrative as it is for the City in meter revenues, is far more valuable for current and coming uses* that will need curb access.
Put it on the list of ‘things that we need to do in a post-covid city’: The curb lane is no longer for parking of vehicles by default – one use among many that may be of greater importance to the community.
* Here’s one that also comes to mind: If the current bus fleet loses capacity due to distancing requirements, buses could make up some of the difference with transit-only lanes that have in the past been resisted (West Vancouver R2, Georgia Street permanently, not just in rush hours).