Herb Auerbach, real-estate development consultant and author of “Placemakers” responded to this piece in the Sun on the Arbutus Greenway by Cheryl Chan:
“PLANS FOR ARBUTUS GREENWAY LACKS VISION AND IMAGINATION”
For over 10 years I have urged the City of Vancouver to recapture the Arbutus Right of Way from
CP Rail who I believed then, and believe now, that once they ceased running trains on it they were obliged under the Transportation Act to cede the rail right of way to the Crown.
So I was pleased to learn the City had finally acquired the right of way but was disappointed to learn that they had to pay for it. I was also glad to hear that the current installation of a pathway and bike lanes is temporary and plans are afoot to permanently enhance what is now dubbed the “Arbutus Greenway”
So I went by Point Gray School to view the results of the “Design Jam” and speak with a number of the City representatives there.
I found little inspiration, and was further disappointed to learn that the project is in the hands of the City’s Engineering Department and not the City Planning Department. When I asked, “why not the Planning Department?” I was told this is just a narrow strip and has little effect on the abutting property. Of course it has effect on the abuttifng proiperties, and the Planning Department should be taking the lead on a project of this magnitude and import.
I was also disappointed to learn that the City has not given up on the idea of developing a portion of the Greenway to generate income , and I was further disappointed to learn that the City deal only transferred the CP right of way to the Fraser River and not all the way to Steveston. The whole approach to dealing with this extraordinary opportunity to create something unique and grand, seems lacking innovation, inspiration, vision and imagination.
Imagine a vintage trolley car (not rapid transit) running from Science World to Steveston (and not just Granville Island as it does now or to the Fraser River as planned) and the positive impact it would have on points along the way and the attraction it would have for tourists, and like the street cars in San Francisco would pick up and transport commuters along the way.
Imagine this right of way planted with 10,000 cherry trees and walking or riding along it and under them when they are in bloom.
Imagine the Greenway having special illumination, walkable and rideable by day and night, with points along the way for cafes where folks can rest, meet and converse.
Imagine a design which is the product of more imagination. …