The first phase of construction is underway for Vancouver’s redesigned 10th Avenue Health Precinct, and it could mean traffic snarls for the foreseeable future.
The precinct runs along 10th Avenue from Oak Street to Cambie Street. Phase one of the overhaul, which will address the stretch from Oak to Willow Street is budgeted at $2.5-million.
The city says the area was not originally built for the large volume of people accessing hospital services, and that work is needed to improve safety in the area, while improving both accessibility and parking.
A report presented to Vancouver City Council last spring found the area handles about 4,500 vehicles and up to 3,000 bicycles a day, on top of pedestrians, deliveries, HandyDART drop-offs and emergency vehicle arrivals.
Vancouver’s manager of transportation design Paul Storer said that currently it’s not clear enough to people that they’re driving, cycling and walking in a hospital zone.
“One of the key pieces of the project is changing the design of the street to really respond to that and let people know they’re entering a different space and they should behave a little differently.”
The design changes include raised crosswalks and intersections, enhanced pick-up and drop-off areas for patients and new separated bike lanes on both sides of the street.
However, the city has pulled back on a controversial proposal to make 10th Avenue a one-way street west of Ash Street.
The changes will also include a significant decrease in on-street parking.
Metered parking spaces on 10th avenue will be slashed form 77 down to two, while metered parking on the adjacent side streets will drop from 80 to 62 spaces.
In place, the city is more than doubling passenger loading spaces from eight to 20 and is adding 10 new disability parking spaces.
It is also adding a new parking lot with an additional 116 spaces.
The work will also mean significant of construction, noise and potential traffic backups along other major arteries.
Storer said the city is working to try and ensure problems will be kept to a minimum.
“The construction staging is very deliberate in terms of trying to hit one area at a time. Parking removals near the residential buildings will be inevitable, so that’ll be something that we’ll work with residents to mitigate the impacts on.”
Cyclists will be encouraged to use parallel detours along 7th and 14th Avenues while the work takes place.
Phase one of construction is expected to last until June of 2018.