A one-km-long stretch of Point Grey Road between Alma Street and Macdonald Street has reopened with a reconfigured design consisting of new bike paths and a widened sidewalk.
The City of Vancouver’s controversial $6.4-million public realm project reached completion earlier this month as part of Vancouver’s 28-km-long Seaside Greenway – a walking and cycling route that begins at the Vancouver Convention Centre and traverses the Stanley Park seawall, English Bay Beach, False Creek seawall, and ending at Spanish Banks.
The municipal government says the project was necessary to bridge the gap between Burrard Bridge and Jericho Beach Park.
The new sidewalks on Point Grey Road are wider than some of the busiest sidewalks for pedestrians in downtown Vancouver.
Prior to the upgrades, the north sidewalk in front of Vancouver’s most expensive homes – including Lululemon founder Chip Wilson’s mansion – was 1.8 metres wide, but they have since been expanded by 1.2 metres to 3 metres.
For cyclists, the bike route west of Macdonald Street now transitions from the recently-built dedicated bike lanes to the roadway.
Other improvements include over four dozen additional trees, water fountains, and new lamp posts with LED lighting.
To accomplish the street reconfiguration, some of the landscaping on City-owned land performed by homeowners had to be removed.
For years, residents in the area have been fuming over not only the closure of the road but the perceived unnecessary expense of the project over other priorities elsewhere in the city.
Closure to vehicles since 2014
It was not that long ago that this stretch of Point Grey Road was a busy arterial road used by 10,000 vehicles per day.
At an initial cost of $6.5 million as part of the municipal government’s bike lane project spanning Cornwall Avenue from Burrard Bridge, the road was closed to vehicles in 2014, diverting vehicle traffic to mainly West 4th Avenue and Macdonald Street.
According to the City’s own estimates prior to the closure, traffic on Macdonald Street would increase from 10,000 to over 17,000 vehicles per day.
But the municipal government says cyclist and pedestrian numbers on Point Grey Road are up since the initial closure, with cycling trips growing from 600 to 2,700 per weekday and walking trips from 600 to 900 per weekday.
Furthermore, now that the route has been converted into a neighbourhood side street, vehicle traffic has fallen to just 300 vehicles per weekday.
Approximately $13 million has been spent on bike land and pedestrian paths on Cornwall Avenue and Point Grey Road between the Burrard Bridge and Jericho Beach Park since 2014.
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