City of Vancouver proposes development of Southwest Granville Loop

Nov 6 2021, 12:22 am

The City of Vancouver is eyeing the development of the Southwest Granville Loop, located at the southern end of the Granville Street Bridge.

Based on the newly released directions for the Broadway Plan, the municipal government states it is considering mixed-use development for the city-owned site.

Currently, this is a semi-circular shaped block with a large grassy area enclosed by a looping roadway for an exit from the bridge’s southbound direction, with one general traffic lane reaching West 4th Avenue, and a separated bus-only lane to the intersection of West 5th Avenue and Fir Street. The loop also has landscaping, trees, pedestrian paths, and a super-sized “100” granite text public art sign from Expo ’86 that celebrates Vancouver’s centennial.

While it may appear to be a park-like space, it does not have a formal park designation and is not part of Granville Loop Park (southeast loop) on the east side of the bridge. The bridge’s former southeast loop was demolished in the late 1990s and replaced with a reconfigured block and new public park space.

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Southwest Granville Loop in the Broadway Plan. (City of Vancouver)

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The green space within the southwestern loop of the Granville Bridge. (Shutterstock)

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The green space within the southwestern loop of the Granville Bridge. (Google Maps)

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The green space within the southwestern loop of the Granville Bridge. (Google Maps)

The city is proposing to rebuild the roads surrounding this block so that it is more of a “regularized block configuration,” squaring it to include the creation of a new additional signal-controlled traffic intersection for the south end of the bridge at West 5th Avenue with a “gateway feature.”

The newly created parcel for development could include residential uses such as the potential for affordable rental housing, as well as retail and restaurant spaces, community amenities such as childcare or a cultural facility, and a public plaza.

Southwest Granville Loop within the Broadway Plan falls within Granville/Burrard Slopes’ Area C, which calls for building heights of between 15 and 25 storeys for mixed-use stratified ownership housing, with a minimum 20% of residential floor area for affordable housing and/or community amenities, plus at least ground-level commercial space.

The site’s development potential is limited by View Cone 20 emanating from the intersection of Granville Street and West Broadway.

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Southwest Granville Loop in the Broadway Plan. (City of Vancouver)

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Concept rendering of the development of Southwest Granville Loop in the Broadway Plan. (City of Vancouver)

“Through the Broadway Planning Program there is opportunity to explore potential uses to shape the future of the site,” reads the city’s consultation materials.

“A reconfigured block with new mixed-use development could help stitch the south Granville bridgehead back into the urban fabric, improve walking and cycling connections, and help meet community needs for housing, local shops and services, and amenities such as public open space.”

Over the interim, until the future of the Southwest Granville Loop is determined, the city is planning to make temporary changes to the south side of the loop to establish a direct connection for pedestrians and cyclists between the new Granville Connector walking and cycling pathway across the bridge and the northernmost end of the Arbutus Greenway, just to the west at Fir Street.

Some area residents previously expressed concern over the possibility that the Broadway Plan could call for the development of the bridge’s remaining loop, given the informal green space it provides. However, the immediate area is set to gain a significant new public park; just to the west, the city is moving forward with plans to provide the area with a new and expanded block-sized park, framed by West 5th Avenue to the north, Fir Street to the east, West 6th Avenue to the south, and Pine Street to the west.

Temporary changes to Southwest Granville Loop as part of the Granville Connector:

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Interim changes to the southwest loop for the Granville Bridge Connector. (City of Vancouver)

Potential permanent changes changes to Southwest Granville Loop as part of the Granville Connector:

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Future permanent condition of the southwest loop for the Granville Bridge Connector. (City of Vancouver)

The city’s details on its latest work and directions on the Broadway Plan are currently up for public input until November 30, 2021. After another round of public consultation is held in early 2022, the final Broadway Plan will be presented to city council for their review and approval in the spring.

The Broadway Plan is proposed to result in the densification of the Central Broadway Corridor with an additional 50,000 residents and 42,000 jobs within towers up to 40 storeys. The tallest buildings would generally be located in very close proximity to the future subway stations of the SkyTrain Millennium Line Broadway Extension.

At the northern end of the bridge, the city is also pursuing the demolishing of both existing north loops between the bridge and Pacific Street — to be replaced with a street grid and as many as six towers.

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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