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Vancouver engages public in connecting bridge project

The Granville Bridge Connector aims to provide more travel options to and from downtown that don’t contribute to congestion or pollution.

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Proposals for the Granville Bridge Connector include wide, accessible sidewalks
Proposals for the Granville Bridge Connector include wide, accessible sidewalks

The Canadian city of Vancouver has revealed its preferred design for a major upgrade to the Granville Bridge that will give people more travel options to and from downtown that don’t contribute to congestion or pollution.

 

In a separate announcement, the Vancouver Park Board has announced the development of the city’s first new park in eight years.

 

Pedestrian pathways and bike lanes

 

Chosen from six shortlisted design configurations, the “West Side Plus” option for the Granville Bridge Connector features pedestrian pathways on both sides of the main span of the bridge, and a two-way bike lane.

 

Almost 8,000 survey responses were received from the public and city staff. From 24 January, the public will have the opportunity to share final feedback before a decision is made.

 

“West Side Plus was by far the most popular option with the public during two previous rounds of engagement,” said Paul Storer, manager of transportation design, Vancouver.

 

“People also shared ideas, many of which we’ve been able to incorporate, for improving the design to ensure it offers the best possible experience for users.”

 

The proposed design for the West Side Plus option also includes safety improvements at ramp crossings, and improvements at each end of the bridge to link the connector to the rest of the area’s walking and cycling network.

 

The proposed design leaves the bridge with enough capacity to accommodate transit vehicles and motorists.

 

In 2016, 18,000 residents and 17,000 jobs were within a five-minute walk of Granville Bridge and 90,000 residents and 125,000 jobs were within a five-minute bike ride.

“People also shared ideas, many of which we’ve been able to incorporate, for improving the design to ensure it offers the best possible experience for users.”

Despite being a direct route to and from downtown, few people bike or use the bridge’s sidewalks because they feel unsafe and uncomfortable or because it’s not accessible.

 

Once the Granville Bridge Connector is completed, all three False Creek bridges will offer safe and accessible options for walking, rolling, and biking to and from downtown.

 

The proposed design represents a vision for the long-term configuration of the bridge and will cost $30-40m, excluding means prevention fencing. The city reports, like many capital projects, the project would likely be delivered in phases and through partnerships.

 

New green space

 

The new park at Smithe and Richards streets will provide almost an acre of new green space in the heart of the dense downtown core. It’s the first park in downtown Vancouver since the final phase of Emery Barnes Park opened eight years ago.

 

Described as a “distinctive and dynamic multi-layered park” the intention is for it to become a haven for nearby workers at lunchtime and an oasis of green for residents living nearby.

 

 

Vancouver Park will provide almost an acre of green park in the city
Vancouver Park will provide almost an acre of green park in the city

Some 30,000 people live within a five-minute walk of the park and more than 100,000 within a 10-minute walk.

 

“Our diverse population expects more from our parks,” said Camil Dumont, chair of Vancouver Park Board.

 

“They must offer respite, recreation, and social interaction, as well as unique experiences. The design of this new park reflects residents’ requests for a park that is bolder and forward thinking.”

 

The new park is expected to open in early 2021.

 

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