July 9, 2018

East Van City Greenway — a Proposal

Vancouver is a city with a world-wide reputation for rising mode share for transportation by bicycle and by walking.

More people continue to realize that walking or taking a bike is the easiest and best choice for some of their trips. The person and the city get major health improvement as strong side effects, and this weighs in political decisions.  And Greenways are part of the plan.

Here’s a proposal for the East Van City Greenway, which will join infrastructure like the Central Valley Greenway, 10th Avenue, Union/Adanac and others.  However, it will focus on north-east Vancouver, extending the reach of Greenway infrastructure to yet another part of the city.

The proposal is in the form of a motion sponsored by Mayor Robertson and Councillor Reimer, now on the agenda for the July 10 council meeting, starting at 0930.

The north-east part of Vancouver currently has cycling mode share of 8-13%, and walking 17-29%, despite infrastructure being limited. A Greenway would likely increase mode share for both, and promote healthy living through active transportation and increased opportunity for social interaction.

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Following the examples set by the Central Valley Greenway and the Seaside (Point Grey Road) Greenway, here comes the Arbutus Greenway.  A safe and delightful way for people on foot and on bike to get somewhere and enjoy their trip and the city.

Thanks to the Courier and Naoibh O’Connor: City crews have already laid asphalt down on a chunk of the Arbutus Greenway — from 16th to about 25th.
The next goal is to pave the segment up to 41st over the next few weeks, and ultimately the whole nine-kilometre route from False Creek to the Fraser River.
Jerry Dobrovolny, the city’s general manager of engineering, said the temporary path is meant to encourage the public to travel along the route in preparation for the launch of the visioning process this fall, which will examine what the corridor can become. “The goal is to get people using more of the corridor. We’ve heard from people who’ve lived next to the corridor for decades, but still may have walked only one or two blocks,” said Dobrovolny during a Tuesday press conference at the portion by Fir and West Fifth.
He noted Canadian Pacific contractors finished removing the track ahead of schedule and the asphalt is being put down where the rail used to be. It will be open for public use as each section is completed.
“Our goal is to get people walking much more of it. If you’ve walked two blocks, walk two kilometres. If you’ve walked two kilometres, walk eight kilometres. Experience it, see it and use it. And use that experience when you come to our open houses and involve yourself in our consultation process to design what will be a spectacular facility for the City of Vancouver.”

The article touches on the breadth of issues and the varying constituencies that will form part of the consultation and decision-making process. It’s a daunting task for City staff. Dare I say that not everyone will be happy, no matter what the outcome and final design will be?

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We may have the chance to use the Arbutus Greenway sooner than I had thought.  Watch out, though, for crews along the way.

Mayor Robertson says, in an e-mail newsletter:

Arbutus Greenway
Construction work to remove the rail tracks on the Arbutus corridor has begun and will work from the north to the south end of the corridor over the next several months at the rate of about one kilometer per week. The City will be following behind the removal crew with asphalt paving to create a temporary pathway, allowing people to walk, cycle and experience the corridor throughout construction.

From Facebook:

The first spike was removed today as construction started on the North end of the Arbutus Corridor. CP will remove a total of 809 tons/53,962 feet of rail and the City will remove rail at 39 street & 5 lane crossings along the corridor

And CoV’s website says:

Please avoid construction zones

The first important step toward building a new green transportation corridor for the future is getting under way with the start of the removal of train rails and ties.

Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. (CP) is responsible for all rail removal along the corridor, with the exception of street crossings, as part of our land purchase agreement announced in March 2016. We are responsible for removing the rails at street crossings.

Canadian Pacific estimates their rail removal work, which is starting at the north end during the week of June 6, 2016, will proceed at the rate of about one kilometer per week.

Rail removal will be completed using heavy equipment. Work will take place during permitted construction hours. Temporary fencing and construction signage will define the areas under construction.

The removal of the rails and ties must be completed before any of our construction work can begin on the greenway. It is expected that all rail removal work will be complete by the end of 2016.

Here’s a video of the existing Arbutus Greenway:

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