New observation tower among first permanent redesigns of Arbutus Greenway

May 29 2019, 7:14 pm

Vancouver city council has set into motion the detailed planning process for the first two sections of the new permanent design for the Arbutus Greenway.

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Earlier today, following a procurement process, city council approved a contract award for PWL Partnership Landscape Architects to provide consultant services for the detailed design of the greenway’s character zones three and eight.

Their work, worth a contract value of about $2.6 million, also includes preparing construction documents and construction management for these zones. City staff are required to seek city council’s final approval for contracts worth over $2 million.

Zone 3, called “The Ridge,” is the wide greenway section running between West 16th Avenue and King Edward Avenue, while Zone 8 runs between Southwest Marine Drive and Milton Street.

The existing nine-kilometre-long greenway — running from West 6th Avenue to Milton Street — currently has a temporary asphalt path and finishings.

Zone 3 of the Arbutus Corridor between West King Edward Avenue and West 16th Avenue. (Kenneth Chan / Daily Hive)

The permanent design concept, approved by the previous city council, calls for high-quality pavings, physical separation of bike and pedestrian paths, street furniture, landscaping, community gardens, public amenities, lighting, community event infrastructure, and public art. Zone 8 would also see one of the greenway’s most unique installations: a multi-level observation tower that provides views of the Fraser River Delta, Vancouver International Airport, and the San Juan Islands.

However, the required funding for actual construction is dependent on further city council approvals. The municipal government’s 2019-22 capital budget currently allocates $5 million for the first phase of the greenway’s permanent design.

In the future, according to the approved 2018 plan, the greenway will be further extended north to False Creek and south to the Fraser River.

Furthermore, the entire greenway will be designed in a way that sets space aside for a dedicated right-of-way for a future streetcar line.

According to the city staff report on the contract award, the current temporary greenway on the former railway corridor sees over 2,700 users per day on average.

Here are more details and early conceptual renderings of the Arbutus Greenway’s first two zones:

Zone 3: “The Ridge” – 16th Avenue to King Edward Avenue

South of West 16th Avenue, the greenway widens considerably and provides users with mountain views to the north.

“The distinct landscaping in this area is a defining feature with nooks to sit and relax or socialize,” reads the city’s description. “The landscaping also doubles as a place for urban ecology, including pollinator gardens and habitat boxes for birds, bees, and bats.”

Features include angular promontories for seating and public art, benches, a public washroom, and rain gardens.

At the West King Edward Avenue end of this zone, there will be a small grassy knoll.

First phase design

Artistic rendering of the Arbutus Greenway. (City of Vancouver)

Artistic rendering of the Arbutus Greenway. (City of Vancouver)

Artistic rendering of the Arbutus Greenway. (City of Vancouver)

Future phase design with streetcar

Artistic rendering of the Arbutus Greenway. (City of Vancouver)

Zone 8: “The Lookout” – Southwest Marine Drive to Milton Street

The southernmost and final zone of the Arbutus Greenway will boast a multi-storey observation tower near William Mackie Park. It is intended to provide views of the Fraser River Delta, Vancouver International Airport, and the San Juan Islands.

This observation attraction will be fully accessible, and the zone will also feature community gardens.

First phase design

Artistic rendering of the Arbutus Greenway. (City of Vancouver)

Artistic rendering of the Arbutus Greenway. (City of Vancouver)

Future phase design with streetcar

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