Broadway to be redesigned as a 'Great Street' in conjunction with subway construction

Oct 7 2019, 4:04 pm

Could Central Broadway become Vancouver’s equivalent of Toronto’s Bloor Street?

The City of Vancouver has big aspirations to redesign Broadway as a “Great Street,” catalyzed by both the underground Millennium Line Broadway Extension to Arbutus Street and the future Broadway Plan.

In a recent update on the ongoing planning process for the Broadway Plan, a city staff report highlights the proposed principle of turning the east-west arterial street into an attractive corridor in Vancouver’s urban landscape from both changes to the public realm, including street design, and how new developments and businesses activate the street.

“Broadway should be enhanced as a street of special significance — a Great Street — with a series of unique and vibrant places to live, work, visit and play,” reads the report.

“Street design, new development, public spaces, and businesses should contribute to a delightful experience for everyone and lively gathering places, and help create distinct character areas along Broadway that also serve the local neighbourhoods.”

West Broadway Granville Street

West Broadway looking east from Granville Street. (Google Maps)

During the initial public engagement phase for the Broadway Plan this year, respondents told the city the street needs more greenery and street trees and public spaces, including a reallocation of road space to allow for a wider sidewalk.

“Broadway, for the most part, is unappealing and needs to be improved aesthetically,” reads the engagement report,” adding that “improving the street to create a destination will help the local businesses attract people.”

“Buildings along Broadway should be appealing and interesting. Broadway needs to be more vibrant, with shopping and a vibrant public life.”

A redesign of much of the segment of Broadway within the Broadway Plan’s designated planning area is expected to be performed in conjunction with subway construction, similar to the work that was conducted a decade ago to redesign Cambie Street, No. 3 Road in Richmond, and Granville Street in downtown alongside the Canada Line’s major construction.

The Broadway Plan’s area covers most of the area framed by 1st Avenue to the north, Clark Drive to the east, 16th Avenue to the south, and Vine Street to the west.

Similar to the work conducted for the Cambie Corridor Plan, the Broadway Plan will provide the Central Broadway Corridor, a part of Metro Vancouver’s Metro Core, with a long-term master plan for new density, new housing types and employment opportunities, new public amenities and facilities, new public spaces, and new transportation.

Broadway Corridor Plan

Broadway Corridor Plan Study Area. (City of Vancouver)

Further phases of the planning process between Fall 2020 and Summer 2020 will refine the plan’s directions.

The plan will be finalized throughout the third and fourth quarters of 2020, with implementation beginning in 2021.

Upon city council’s approval of the plan, the interim rezoning policies enacted in April 2019 to limit rezoning and speculation during the planning process will be dismantled.

Construction on the Millennium Line extension is expected to begin in late 2020 for an opening in 2025. Six new subway stations will be built at the corner of Thornton Street and Great Northern Way, and where Broadway intersects with Main Street, Cambie Street, Laurel Street, Granville Street, and Arbutus Street.

The city is also conducting a planning process for redesigning West Georgia Street, between Stanley Park and Broughton Street, in downtown.