Speed limit on all of Cornwall Avenue in Kitsilano could be cut to 30 km/hr

Apr 19 2023, 11:59 pm

OneCity councillor Christine Boyle and Green councillor Pete Fry are proposing a driving speed limit reduction for the entire length of Cornwall Avenue in Kitsilano.

The speed limit on Cornwall Avenue is currently generally 50 km/hr, but as a measure to improve road safety — particularly for pedestrians and cyclists — they want the speed limit reduced to 30 km/hr.

The reduced maximum speed of 30 km/hr would apply to all of the 1.4 km long, eight-city-block stretch of Cornwall Avenue between Burrard Street and Trafalgar Street — where Cornwall Avenue transitions into Point Grey Road and then Macdonald Street. The municipal government classifies Cornwall Avenue as an arterial road.

Their proposal includes further reductions on the one city block stretch of Cornwall Avenue — between Cypress and Maple streets — outside Henry Hudson Elementary School, where the speed limit was recently reduced to 40 km/hr as part of the municipal government’s recently launched City-wide pilot project of eliminating traffic-related injuries and fatalities near elementary schools.

cornwall avenue kitsilano vancouver

Map showing the entire 1.7 km long, eight-block length of Cornwall Avenue between Trafalgar and Burrard streets in Vancouver’s Kitsilano neighbourhood. (Google Maps)

In their member motion, Boyle and Fry state their proposed expanded speed reduction changes to Cornwall Avenue follow the July 2022 collision at the intersection of Cornwall Avenue and Arbutus Street, which seriously injured a five-year-old girl. They state the expanded, reduced speed limit on the street would benefit not only the elementary school students but also the area’s childcare facility and pedestrians accessing Kitsilano’s beach and outdoor pool areas.

“The Schools on Arterials Slow Zones pilot presents an opportunity to pilot an expanded reduced speed pilot further along Cornwall, from Burrard Street to Trafalgar, improving safety for thousands of residents, as well as thousands of visitors to the area during the summer months, and to collect data to inform longer-term safety improvements for drivers, passengers, pedestrians, people on bikes, and micromobility users,” reads their motion.

If approved, the motion directs City staff to reduce the speed limit to 30 km/hr by July 2023, just in time for the peak season, as an additional pilot project. The results of this pilot would be evaluated in Spring 2024.

They also suggest adding bollards/barriers next to the elementary school, childcare facility, and the sidewalk at the intersection of Cornwall Avenue and Arbutus Street and working with TransLink on potential bus-priority measures. As well, the motion asks for the consideration to ban left turns along Cornwall Avenue from 7 am to 7 pm, except in areas with a dedicated turning lane and turn signal or an intersection with stop signs.

City staff are already planning on making some active transportation improvements to the eastern end of Cornwall Avenue before Burrard StreetĀ as part of the street changes to accommodate Squamish First Nation’s Senakw redevelopment.

In April 2022, the previous makeup of the Vancouver Park Board approved a new bike lane through Kitsilano Beach Park, starting from Balsam Street, passing by Yew Street, and then running along Arbutus Street. This is intended to be a permanent purpose-built section of the Seaside Greenway.

Construction is also currently underway on a new seismic replacement building for Henry Hudson Elementary School. The new school building will be built on the existing field on the west side of the school block, allowing students to remain in the existing building during construction. The new building is targeted for a Spring 2025 completion.

kitsilano beach park bike lane february 2022

February 2022 concept: Kitsilano Beach Park bike lane on Arbutus Street north of Creelman Avenue. (Vancouver Park Board)

Henry Hudson Elementary School 1551 Cypress Street Vancouver

Artistic rendering of the new Henry Hudson Elementary School at 1551 Cypress Street, Vancouver. (HCMA/Vancouver School Board)

On the western end of Cornwall Avenue, significant alterations were made starting in 2014, when Point Grey Road at the intersection of Macdonald Street was permanently closed off, eliminating Point Grey Road’s thru-traffic collector road configuration between Macdonald and Alma streets.

In 2017, the Seaside Greenway’s permanent walking and cycling route along Point Grey Road west of Macdonald Street reached completion.

Prior to the closure, Point Grey Road west of Macdonald Street saw 10,000 vehicles per day on average. City staff previously suggested vehicle traffic due to the localized Point Grey Road would be transplanted onto West 4th Avenue, with traffic on Macdonald Street growing from 10,000 to over 17,000 vehicles per day between West 4th Avenue and Cornwall Avenue.

Previous 2012 design of Point Grey Road west of Macdonald Street:

point grey road macdonald street vancouver 2012

2012 configuration of Point Grey Road/Cornwall Avenue at the intersection of Macdonald Street before the street closure changes. (Google Maps)

Existing design of Point Grey Road west of Macdonald Street:

point grey road macdonald street vancouver 2022

2022 configuration of Point Grey Road/Cornwall Avenue at the intersection of Macdonald Street after the street closure changes. (Google Maps)

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