Council narrowly voted last night (5 votes versus 4) to go ahead with removal of the Dunsmuir and Georgia viaducts. Just past noon today, people on the e-mail list of Vision Vancouver (that’s the political party, not the City of Vancouver) received the an e-mail from “Vote Vision.” Signed by “Gregor Robertson, Mayor, Vision Vancouver.”
One might have thought that he was Mayor of Vancouver. Not so. The fact the political party sent out this message today is one thing. But what catches the eye is the signature, those last three words. One could assert that, at least from the perspective of the political party and its top representative, this e-mail exposes the true answer to the question asked in this article: “The City of Vancouver’s Viaducts Removal Initiative: Urban Planning or Political Campaign?”
Tellingly, the vast majority of the other questions in the article remain unanswered — the ones relating to urban planning. And we have more questions: Are the mainstream media asking enough of the right questions? And are they pursuing the answers?
Date: Wed, Oct 28, 2015
To: [Vision Vancouver e-mail list]
Last night, City Council voted to proceed with plans to remove the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts.
This is an exciting city-building opportunity that only comes along once in a generation.
Here’s five reasons why I voted to take down the viaducts:
1. Earthquake preparedness. A seismic analysis shows that the viaducts would likely collapse in an earthquake, and the City needs to spend close to $65 million to make the viaducts earthquake resistant. By building a new road network at ground level, we save that money.
2. Better traffic flow. Staff have done extensive traffic analysis of the new road configuration that will replace the viaducts. It can handle 100% of the car volumes and will reduce car traffic in Strathcona.
3. Affordable housing. The city owns the majority of land under the viaducts. The two sites on either side of Main Street give us the opportunity to add a mix of low and modest income housing.
4. Bigger Park. Removing the viaducts means we can create a new 13 acre park along False Creek. How many times do we have an opportunity to create such a huge amount of green space in the heart of the city?
5. Reconnect Chinatown. We can repair a major planning mistake from 40 years ago. There is simply no scenario where we would ever contemplate today creating an elevated freeway that would divide and isolate Chinatown from False Creek, and dump thousands of cars into Strathcona. For too long, we’ve accepted the status quo. It’s within our power to change it.
We heard from more than 50 speakers over two days. The Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association supports removal. So does the Vancouver Public Space Network. So do the City’s former Directors of Planning.
This was a big decision for our city. Vancouver has benefited from forward-looking decisions in the past, whether it was densifying the West End, building the seawall or preserving Stanley Park.
With this decision to remove the viaducts, we can build on those successes and create a better city for our residents, now and in the future.
Thanks for your continued support,
Vision Vancouver · Canada
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