One City Councillor wants the municipal government to consider building a Greenway corridor for East Vancouver, akin to the UBC Seaside Greenway and Comox-Helmcken Greenway.
A motion by Andrea Reimer that is seconded by Mayor Gregor Robertson calls for a City Greenway somewhere in the “northeast quadrant” of Vancouver, which is the area framed by Main Street to the west, Boundary Road to the east, Grandview Highway to the south, and Burrard Inlet to the north.
Such Greenways are essentially dedicated arterial corridors for “comfortable” cycling and walking, and may include public realm improvements such as enhanced greenery, landscaping, public art, and public spaces. They also establish connections to parks and neighbourhoods.
“The northeast quadrant of the city has the lowest per capita open space in Vancouver, the least percentage of tree canopy cover at almost half that of the city-wide average, and the eastside generally has significantly less plazas, parklets and neighbourhood public spaces,” reads the motion written by Reimer.
“The northeast quadrant has the lowest per capita incomes in the city and the highest number of renters: both demographics are least likely to have access to private green space, most likely to use active transportation, and receive the greatest benefit from the health and social aspect of greenways.”
The motion makes no specific suggestions for the routing, but it would add the so-called East Van City Greenway as a priority in the citywide Greenway program and in the upcoming 2019-2022 Capital Plan. The municipal government has a goal of ensuring there is a Greenway no more than a 25-minute walk or a 10-minute bike ride from every home in the city.
It is highly unlikely the East Van City Greenway would be able to parallel the rail corridors on the Grandview Cut and along the shoreline of Burrard Inlet given their private ownership and highly active use.
Other more likely options would revolve around an on-street design and route, just like the UBC Seaside Greenway on Point Grey Road, Comox-Helmcken Greenway in downtown, and the Ridgeway Greenway between UBC Pacific Spirit Regional Park and Burnaby’s Central Park.
City Council will consider Reimer’s motion on Tuesday, and then on Wednesday it will deliberate on the permanent design and construction phasing of the nine-km-long Arbutus Greenway, which will not only be a greenway for cycling, walking, and public spaces but also a reserved space for a future streetcar line. The current bike and pedestrian paths on the Arbutus Corridor are intended to be temporary.