Media have periodically covered the construction and changes to Point Grey Road in Kitsilano, Vancouver. Here is a fresh report from April 2017 on the status, with commentary and photos submitted by Lisa Towers, a resident of Kitsilano living on West 4th Avenue (four blocks away). She questions the costs, City budgeting priorities, and negative impacts. Reformatted for CityHallWatch. For the City’s official web page on “Point Grey Road Seaside Greenway completion and water/sewer construction” click here.
Vancouver is one of the most beautiful cities to live in, and I feel fortunate to live in such a naturally attractive and environmentally forward-thinking place. As stewards, we have a responsibility to protect and preserve Vancouver’s unique qualities.
I can’t emphasize enough my frustration with the process of construction currently taking place on Point Grey Road.
A couple of years back, the City spent approximately $6.5 million (Phase 1) to close down Point Grey Road for the purpose of creating a bike route, even though there was (and still is) a designated and popular bike route on nearby 3rd Avenue, which runs parallel to Point Grey Road.
The closure of Point Grey Road as a vehicle route resulted in:
- Increased traffic on 4th Avenue and Macdonald Street;
- The loss of a major artery for motor-vehicle traffic;
- Increased traffic lights and crosswalks on 4th Avenue and Macdonald Street (creating gridlock), with many residents from 1st Avenue to 4th Avenue now having to use 4th Avenue and/or Macdonald Street to get out of the area;
- Increased idling of cars at traffic lights on 4th Avenue, concentrating harmful emissions along 4th.
In 2016, the City further endeavoured to improve the closed down road by expanding the already-wide sidewalks, narrowing the road in some blocks, widening it in others and “greening” the space (Phase 2). The City moved telephone poles and rewired connections for utilities to replace “new green space” after removing the existing green space. Finally, they are still in the process of pouring extensive concrete foundations (sidewalks, curbs, raised crosswalks and boulevards) after having removed the existing foundations. The extensive new infrastructure is intended to close permanently what was previously a through-road for all citizens, all modes of transportation, including cars.
To do this, the City removed existing trees and green space:
The City also had to move existing telephone poles and rewire the connections for utilities to replace “new green space” after removing the existing green space:
Finally the City has been pouring the foundations that will permanently close the through road for good.
Phase 2 was budgeted at another $6.4 million, and the cost is rising. The total cost of the changes to Point Grey Road in the past two years is approximately $15 million. Why is all this attention and public money going toward this eight-block section of Point Grey Road? How does this compare to other streets of the city? Why all the attention, money and beautification for one local street? Why are motorists excluded from enjoying the “improvements”?
I live on 4th Avenue, not far from this construction work. I have noticed a doubling of vehicle traffic as well as the loss of the convenience and driving access down Point Grey Road.
During the process of the construction, I have never received any notifications in the mail, or otherwise, regarding this major “upgrade.” I was not invited to participate in any consultation. Nor did I see any signage erected at either end of Point Grey Road prior to or during the work to advise residents and citizens of what was being planned and implemented in this area, though it’s possible I may have missed the scant notification somewhere. Regardless, surely any required improvements in cycling and pedestrian routes could have been accomplished without shutting down this important route.
With all of the needs of the city, should the $15 million have been spent on more pressing matters, and in other, less affluent, areas of the city. Do we really need to shut down an entire city arterial for the exclusive use of pedestrians and cyclists? How is that fair and equitable?