July 12, 2018 7:06 pm

Vancouver moves forward with final Arbutus Greenway design

Zone one of the greenway, dubbed "Harvest Table" will integrate community gardens and is themed around urban agriculture and food.

City of Vancouver
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Vancouver city council has unanimously approved the final design for the new Arbutus Greenway.

The nine-kilometre route currently runs from Milton Street near the Fraser River to 6th Avenue and Fir Street, near Granville Island.

The new design includes eight distinct “character zones” with themes such as “The Lookout,” and “Harvest Table” aimed at making the path a jewel in the city’s park system.

The Arbutus Greenway.

City of Vancouver

City of Vancouver transportation director Lon Leclair said the pathway will have a “wow” factor much like New York’s elevated High Line park.

“At the big bend, you do get a big lookout. It’s the highest point of the greenway which occurs at 37th Avenue, sort of the ridge of our city,” he said.

“On the route there from the north, you get a really great view out towards English Bay and the mountains, and it’s just surprising because typically, the corridor doesn’t have really long distance views except in front of you.”

Designers say once the route is completed, it will allow “safe and comfortable” travel between False Creek and the Fraser for people of all ages and abilities, including those who walk, cycle or use wheelchairs.

Zone three of the greenway, dubbed “The Ridge.” The entire route is being designed with space for a future streetcar.


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The greenway design also incorporates space for a future streetcar.

“Our hope is that the Arbutus Greenway will take on that kind of allure and character that it becomes a destination within itself, that people want to experience it,” Leclair said.

The city bought the land for the greenway from CP Rail in 2016 for $55 million, after a long-running dispute over the future of the land. CP had threatened to restart train operations, and removed a number of community gardens during the conflict.

After acquiring the land, the city laid down a temporary paved path while it went through the final design process.

Construction on the first phase is slated to begin this year and wrap in 2022. It will include a southern extension of the greenway to Hudson Street at the Fraser River, and a northern extension to the False Creek Seawall.

Zone eight, dubbed “The Lookout” will include a fully accessible lookout tower.

City of Vancouver

The city will also complete two character zones in the first phase. Zone three, dubbed “The Ridge” runs between West 16th Avenue and King Edward Avenue, while zone eight, dubbed “The Lookout” encompasses the greenway’s southern tip between Southwest Marine Drive and the Fraser.

Completion of the entire project is not anticipated until 2034.

The cost of the first phase is pegged at about $30 million, with funds coming from higher levels of government, TransLink and developments being built in the region.

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