It’s been a summer inconvenience to some, an anticipated public square to others.
Now, the closure of Robson Street between Howe and Hornby will be a permanent move.
The City of Vancouver says council has approved ending vehicular traffic on the one-block stretch, in order to create a public square.
In a news release, Mayor Gregor Robertson says a permanent plaza will be a mainstay that enhances the city’s walk-ability, culture and live-ability
“Transforming Robson Square into a traffic-free, permanent public plaza will bring vibrancy to an underutilized space in the city year round, Robson Square is a natural gathering hub at the centre of downtown where residents gravitate to socialize, engage and creatively express themselves.”
The decision comes at the same time as the re-development of the Vancouver Art Gallery’s North Plaza begins. The north side of the VAG will be closed beginning in July, and is expected to be complete by December 2016.
Currently city workers are removing old trees, which will ultimately be replaced with more trees.
For that reason, the VIVA Vancouver public space program will not take place along that strip of Robson this summer. The city wants to avoid more disruptions to the North Plaza project.
Instead, the city intends set out tables and chairs for people this summer.
The city says it will seek public feedback on the design of 800-block Robson, as well as i implement a stewardship program that would oversee funding and programming of the area.
The Robson Square complex will be the largest public space downtown, aside from the Seawall and Stanley Park, providing approximately 121,000 square meters for public use.