The City of Vancouver is launching public consultations as it develops a new area plan for the Broadway corridor in preparation of the new subway megaproject.
The proposed plan would cover an area running fro Clark Drive in the east to Vine Street in the west, and from 1st Avenue in the north to 16th Avenue in the south.
The Broadway subway SkyTrain extension will be a massive undertaking, and is expected to involve a tunneling operation similar in respects to the Evergreen Line extension, rather than the disruptive “cut and cover” tunnel used to build the Canada Line.
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“We have no preconceptions about what the plan ought to be except that it needs to acknowledge there will be a subway in that corridor,” said Vancouver’s general manager of planning Gil Kelly.
“So the engagement is quite wide open.”
The planning program will be spread across two years, over which the city will attempt to engage with the public in a variety of ways.
The first chance for the public to be involved will begin on Thursday as the city launches a series of open houses.
Broadway plan open houses
- March 7, 3-7 pm City Lab, 511 West Broadway
- March 8, 3-7 pm City Lab, 511 West Broadway
- March 9, 12-4 pm City Lab, 511 West Broadway
- March 13, 3-7 pm Kitsilano Neighbourhood House, 2305 West 7th Avenue
- March 14, 3-7 pm Kingsgate Mall, 370 East Broadway
The city says it is not expecting major traffic headaches once construction for the subway begins next year. Construction of the Clark Drive to Arbutus subway extension is slated to take five years.
Over that time, buses that use the busy Broadway corridor will be rerouted to 12th Avenue, Oak Street and other nearby streets.
Steve Brown, Vancouver’s manager for rapid transit, says there will be pockets of gridlock, but not that much more than that.
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“When you look at the traffic that’s on Broadway, it’s generally destined to areas along Broadway. There’s not a lot of traffic that goes along the main corridor, it’s like mainly five percent,” he said.
“For people travelling to their destinations, they may go through one or two stationary areas… delays would be isolated.”
Kelly added that the city is cognizant that the stretch from Clark to Arbutus is the second largest job contraction in B.C. aside from downtown Vancouver.
“So we think its an important aspiration of the plan to continue to provide job space. It’s also home to a lot of affordable rental stock, so the chief concern there is how do we protect those rentals.”
Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart says he believes the area will grow exponentially, but that he’s confident the city is ready.
“That not only counts for the Jericho Lands, but also for the SkyTrain out to UBC.”
Vancouver city council is also set to consider a motion to freeze re-zonings along the Broadway corridor from Arbutus Street to UBC on Tuesday, amid fears of “land rush” which could cause property values to skyrocket along with a SkyTrain extension.