September 8, 2019

West Pacific: Where We Gather

The Blue Parrot, Granville Island

A fall afternoon in 1979; Granville Island had recently opened.  A year earlier I had arrived from Victoria.

Sitting exactly here with an unexpected view, sipping one of my first espressos, looking out on to a still-industrial creek False Creek, watching boats and people, I thought: Yup, this is the right place.


(For full image, click on title.)

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Pan flutes by Edgar Manuela, Granville Island.

The sound of Muenala`s pan flutes vibrating in the reverberating spaces of the Granville Bridge will always be the sound of Granville Island for many. The Ecuadorian has been playing those spaces below the bridge for … how long?

(For full image, click on title.)

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November 23, 2018

This sign is on a main motor vehicle thoroughfare on Granville Island.

It’s a bit ambiguous, but judging from recent pedestrian campaigns, the administrators are aiming the message at those oblivious waddlers among the duck population.

They’re probably colourful enough, what with the fancy feathers and all, so no earnest exhortations about wearing neon-lime-green vests.

But I am surprised that the ducks aren’t pictured waving little flags in their bills.

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From Granville Island 2040:

Help Shape the Future of Transportation on Granville Island We want your input as we develop a transportation strategy for Granville Island.
CMHC-Granville Island is moving forward on a key pillar of the Granville Island 2040 vision that aims to “Improve Access” to the island. In order to realize this vision, we are creating a transportation strategy that will outline a set of coordinated policies to increase access and convenience for all modes of transport.
We have prepared a draft version of this strategy and are now sharing it with the public in order to solicit their feedback, which will be incorporated into the final version.
We encourage you to read the draft Transportation Strategy and tell us what you think by completing the survey before April 8, 2018.


Gord Price: Having been a member of the advisory council for GI2040 with a particular interest in transportation, I confess that I’m a bit disappointed with the draft.  My particular and emphatic input was on the need to rethink the street design of Granville Island.  This is as much an urban- design question as transportation management – but it is essential in thinking about some predictable changes on the Island.
Granville Island, when it opened in 1979, had a startling street design by the standards of the time: no curbs, no sidewalks, no painted lines, no separation of modes; piping and street furniture were used to define space. It assumed people and vehicles could mix if everyone used common sense.
It would never have been approved by City Engineering, but GI was under the control of the Feds.  Hotson and Bakker, the young architects assigned on the project, argued that their approach would maintain the tradition of the Island, save money – and anyway, it wasn’t likely that many people would be on the Island at any one time.  But even with GI’s huge popularity, the design still worked.  With few accidents, it arguably may be even safer than tradition design.
Today, that achievement still needs to be acknowledged – but it may not work for the future of the Island as new pressures and others changes are implemented.
Here are some of the issues:
(1) Granville Island is still car-centric.  The one-way triangle for vehicles may be necessary to handle traffic, but it means bicycles must take long out-of-the-way routes rather than go directly to a destination – for instance from the Anderson Road entrance to the Public Market.  Or cycle against vehicle traffic, presumably illegally.
(2) With the upgrades of greenway routes to the island, particularly South Shore Seaside and Arbutus, GI will be an anomaly.  Parents, in particular, who may feel comfortable having their kids cycle to the Island on safe and separated routes will find they have to navigate mixed congested traffic when they get there – particularly on Anderson, with its complicated entrance, cross traffic and too-narrow lanes.  

(3) With the construction of the Alder Bay Bridge on the east, connection to the Arbutus Greenway on the southwest and Burrard Bridge/Kits to the west, GI will no longer be a destination cul-de-sac; it will be part of a high-traffic interchange with a need for two-way passage, particularly on Cartwright.
The question of how Granville Island can adopt its street design for this new scale of use goes unaddressed in the draft plan.  Presumably, the conflicts will be addressed as they emerge, particularly with the design of the Alder Bay Bridge.  But it would be better to at least identify the issue and begin to explore some options.

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A vision for Granville Island’s future is emerging. This Open House is your opportunity to learn more about it and provide your feedback.

Saturday, December 3
Drop in to view information boards: 10:30 am – 4:30 pm
Live presentations / Q & A sessions with our project planning team: 11 am, 1 pm and 3 pm.
Granville Island Revue Stage (east side of Public Market)
If you can’t attend in person, watch the presentation via live feed here. A Facebook account is not required to watch.
Click here for more details.

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Saturday, October 15
10 AM to 4 PM
Roundhouse Community Centre
181 Roundhouse Mews Attend Event CMHC Granville Island has recently launched Granville Island 2040, a planning initiative that will set out a comprehensive direction and dynamic vision for the future of Granville Island. We want your input and ideas at an upcoming workshop: Imagining the Future for Granville Island in 2040.
At this day-long, hands-on design workshop, we are going to share with you the research, precedents and exciting design ideas for Granville Island that the Granville Island Vision 2040 team have been inspired by so far in their work and outreach.
Participants will be asked to review, respond to, and build upon the ideas and work carried out so far, and to share any new ideas for the future of Granville Island. This is an opportunity for you to consider and critique the concepts that are currently being developed, and contribute your ideas of how Granville Island should look in 2040 through a collaborative workshop with members of the design team and other participants.
This event, led by HCMA Architecture + Design and MODUS Planning Design & Engagement, is your opportunity to help co-create the future of Granville Island. Ideas gathered by the team as part of the workshop will be used to inform the future vision of the Island to 2040, and to shape the team’s work moving forward. This is an exciting time for Granville Island, and we hope you’ll be a part of it!
Space is limited so be sure to RSVP soon! Read more »