What should the City of Vancouver’s new Arubuts Greenway look like?
That’s the question being asked as the city launches public consultations on the permanent version of the former rail corridor, now reenvisioned as a green transportation corridor.
A temporary, paved path along the 9 km stretch of land is currently under construction and should be done by early spring.
Now, the city is asking residents for input on what they’d like the path to look like in the long term – a process that could take up to two-and-a-half years.
“We want to see big ideas,” says Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, adding the city is open to all kinds of suggestions from the public, from what the greenway will look like to how it is used.
Residents can weigh in through a survey on the City of Vancouver website, or through three public meetings that kick off in the first week of February.
But Tanya Paz with the city’s transportation policy council already has concerns.
“Vehicles that are used to crossing the railroad tracks don’t necessarily stop at the stop signs anymore, they’ve been doing it for over a decade, and they’ve been just going because there is no train anymore. So the city needs to make sure that it’s safe, that people are stopping at stop signs.”
Paz adds she’s concerned that some pedestrian areas are only a meter and a half wide in some of the early plans.
The Greenway runs parallel to Arbutus Street and West Boulevard from the Fraser River to Granville Island, and will plug into the existing seawall network.
Vancouver bought the strip of land from CP Rail for $55-million last year.
That move capped a bitter multi-year dispute that saw the rail company remove community gardens from the property and threaten to reactivate train service on the tracks.
The city had hoped to have the temporary path complete by the end of last year, but ran into trouble when the weather deteriorated. It is currently 60% complete.
With files from Emily Lazatin