Last year the City of Vancouver developed several programs to adapt the public streets and spaces of the city to the stark realities of physical distancing during Covid.

The City’s three pronged approach included  “Room to Move” which included the Slow Streets rollout and  “Room to Queue” which  provided expanded street space for people to queue outside of businesses.

This involved  taking over the parking lane if needed outside of businesses for line ups. And to facilitate deliveries, “Room to Load” provided  special priority loading zones for business deliveries. Perhaps the extension of restaurant space onto the sidewalk can be included here too.

Let’s get back to that “Room to Move” option. Mike Barrett Bryan-Soron at @MikeSoron on twitter was walking on Broadway at Cambie Street when he took the photo featured above. He posted it on twitter and wondered why during a time of physical distancing sandwich boards were protruding on the sidewalk. Indeed the city’s policy on the placement of sandwich boards on sidewalks has surprisingly lax wording on it. Business owners are “asked to refrain” from placing the sandwich board on the city sidewalk. Add in the Covid pandemic and a row of parked cars and busy Broadway, and pedestrians are pretty well constrained in a stressful narrow available sidewalk.

The City of Vancouver twitterperson got back to Mr. Soron and cheerily asked him to report the situation. Mr. Soron responded “I expect city staff and elected officials to implement existing policies and prioritize pedestrian accessibility without my block-by-block reporting”.

For Mr. Soron that means the City getting serious about  ensuring sandwich boards are  out of the way so people can safely walk, and looking at  widening the sidewalk to include the parking lane of Broadway.

But much like the Slow Streets large white plastic jersey barriers which have been kicked to the curb like yesterday’s fish sandwich lunch, there’s really no follow up to ensure that sidewalk users can comfortably and conveniently walk, access businesses and maintain that two meter physical distance.

As Mr. Soron states, “this is Broadway and Cambie, in B.C.’s second largest employment centre, on one of the busiest transit corridors, across from a major rapid transit hub”.

He forgot to say the situation is easily seen from City Hall too.



  1. Nor to even mention the parking meters and bike racks that impede pedestrians on the other side of the walkway! Even those of us supportive of active transportation can appreciate that bike racks should probably be located in roadway space even if it’s at the expense of parking revenue from a few street spaces – a la Robson Street.

    1. reducing the number of parking spots makes the remaining ones more valuable_—market driven user fees
      on the remaining ones would increase revenue not reduce it —– people need room to sit down as well as room to walk

  2. That block will probably take a while to redevelop (and provide w wider sidewalk), as it’s a shallow series of parcels, with an alley to the north.

    Th headscratcher (even pre-Covid) is the very narrow sidewalk on the east side of Richards St. between Robson and Georgia along the L’Hermitage development. It’s even narrower than the one depicted above.

  3. Broadway and Cambie is a planning disaster that city officials were warned about long before it happened and yet they paid no mind and did what they wanted anyway. Three big-box stores, high-rise residential and office development, narrow side streets and a major transit stop were all jammed in without any thought as to what might happen to traffic flow of any sort. Immediately after the Rise was permitted, the planner’s insistence that no stoplights at 8th and Cambie or anywhere on Yukon would be required was broken and within three years all intersections had lights, slow traffic and streets dangerous to bikes and pedestrians.
    Comment deleted as per editorial policy

Leave a Reply to zalm Cancel reply