Last week Vancouver city council announced that Granville Street between Dunsmuir & Smithe Street will be closed to traffic every weekend during the summer months of July and August. This is a great idea as last summer the street closures really added to the vibrant atmosphere downtown, especially along the entertainment district.
Look for more festivals, buskers, food carts and spontaneous moments of joy on Granville Street. One thing I would like to see is large screens that play the Vancouver Canucks play-off games. I know this doesn’t necessarily coincide with the street closures but it would be nice. They did that for the World Cup last year and surely our Canucks deserve to be on the big screen as well!
Once neglected, Granville Street is definitely coming back as a major destination street for locals and tourists alike. Although some of the seediness has left, the neon legacy (see our two series here and here) remains and is growing.
Further, city council is also looking into other street closures as well. My preference would be to close Robson from Granville to Hornby. This would allow Robson Square to actually realize it’s full potential and truly become a public gathering place. Besides, Robson Square has been under renovation so long that traffic patterns have already adjusted to a new reality. Water Street in Gastown may work well too.
Translink will most likely reroute bus service to Howe Street and Seymour Street.
The cost of the street closure is around $650,000.
Image: Susan Gittins