(Updated with quote from BC Cancer Agency, more media links.)
“Our priorities therefore must be to maintain and optimize traffic flow for our Vancouver Cancer Center and BC Cancer Research Centre to facilitate patient drop-off and pick-up, accessible parking and timely delivery of essential supplies and services. We recognize that any design of public space is met with competing interests. However, we appeal to the City of Vancouver to put the needs of cancer patients — particularly in this health precinct — above those needs that may normally take priority in other areas of the City.”
Excerpt of letter from BC Cancer Agency, 2-May-2017 (Appendix C, p2/39)
Under the title of “10th Avenue Health Precinct Street Improvements,” big changes are being proposed for 10th Avenue on one side of Vancouver General Hospital, to feature a bicycle lane, major changes to access to health facilities off 10th, and increased traffic and turning on nearby arterial roads including Broadway and 12th Avenue. The proposed bicycle land crosses emergency vehicle crossings and semi-trailer truck entrances to the health facilities. Does the proposal give adequate consideration to safety, and to the special needs of this, a premier health district in western Canada?
Aside from having a better cycling route, there could be major implications on mobility for patients and other users of all the health facilities in this area. Changes like these could create winners and losers, benefits and costs, positives and negatives. Are the positives being overemphasized and have the negative impacts been given adequate consideration? Will our elected officials ultimately be wise in their final decision?
A staff presentation is slated for the Regular City Council meeting that starts at 9:30 am on Tuesday, May 16, 2017, and speakers who sign up to address Council will likely have the opportunity to address council at the Standing Committee on City Finance and Services on May 17. Citizens may also e-mail their comments to City Council (see instructions and web video info on the agenda pages).
Agenda for Council meetings: http://vancouver.ca/councilmeetings
The staff relevant report (PDF, 220 pages including all appendices): http://council.vancouver.ca/20170516/documents/rr4.pdf
Further information on this matter: Lon LaClaire (604-873-7336)
More info on the meetings: Clerk (604-873-7269)
Communicate with Mayor and Councillors: Visit vancouver.ca/your-government/contact-council.
From staff report introduction: 10th Avenue through the Health Precinct between Oak Street and Cambie Street is a unique street in Vancouver. It serves as a critical access point for Vancouver General Hospital and other health institutions, including emergency room access. It is also a busy walking street and the second busiest local street bike route in the city. Over recent years, the experience for all users of 10th Avenue has declined as the street has gotten busier with more people walking, cycling, and driving in the area.
Below are links to previous media coverage (in 2016) on the topic, plus a list of the top ten recommendations in the staff report going to Council on May 16, 2017.
PAST MEDIA ON THE TOPIC
Vancouver city staff want fewer cars and more bikes on 10th Avenue in the health precinct (by Matt Robinson, Vancouver Sun, 15-Nov-2016). Excerpts: Less stressful for drivers, safer for cyclists, and better access for emergency vehicles heading to Vancouver General Hospital….That is the pitch city staff are making to garner support for proposed and sweeping changes to West 10th Avenue, where it runs through Vancouver’s health precinct. Those changes, set to go out for a round of consultation later this month, include separated bike lanes on either side of the avenue, raised pedestrian crossings, passenger drop-off zones near arthritis and eye care centres, and improved signage….But all that comes with a cost: nearly 100 metered on-street parking spaces will be cut in the shuffle. The loss of parking in the health district is something that had drawn hefty concern from some seniors and people with mobility challenges in recent weeks, and since that time, staff have increased the number of curbside spaces that are on the chopping block.
A comment by S. Fraser to that article is symbolic of the tradeoffs involved. The first priority should be to accommodate people with health and/or mobility issues. Cyclists do need a safe street, but it should not run right through the middle of the healthcare district. 8th Avenue or 13th Avenue would make sense between Oak and Cambie, and given the steep slope on the north side of Broadway, my vote would be for 13th. November 2016.
NPA councillor Elizabeth Ball wants city to reconsider separated bike lane behind Vancouver General Hospital, by Charlie Smith on October 28, 2016, Georgia Straight.
Jill Weiss: Something is wrong with the West 10th Avenue bike lane changes in Vancouver, Georgia Straight, November 21, 2016
10th Avenue redesign not just about bikes, say Vancouver city planners: Seniors advocate says proposed bike lane is not compatible with elderly pedestrians (by Jen St. Denis, Metro News Vancouver, 15-Nov-2016)
Vancouver rolls out plans for 10th Avenue bike lanes: Proposal includes separated bike lanes and one-way traffic along the existing bike route (by Justin McElroy, CBC News, 15-Nov-2016)
Request for input on Vancouver bike lane ignites bitter chain reaction among councillors (by Matt Robinson, Vancouver Sun, 1-Nov-2016)
TOP TEN RECOMMENDATIONS OF STAFF REPORT GOING TO COUNCIL MAY 16, 2017
- Action 1: Create “Hospital Zone” signage, pavement markings, and other treatments, reinforced through a road user education campaign
- Action 2: Improve safety and comfort for patients and other vulnerable pedestrians by installing new sidewalks, shorter crossings, marked crosswalks, lighting, and
- Action 3: Enhance pick-up/drop-off areas for patients, including longer raised passenger zones in front of the Eye Care Centre and Mary Pack Arthritis Centre
- Action 4: Ensure convenient parking is available for patients with mobility challenges, while collaborating with health partners to improve the area’s general visitor parking
- Action 5: Improve alternate bike routes to 10th Avenue, including 14th Ave, Off Broadway (e.g. 7th Ave), and a north-south bike route west of Oak Street, to allow people reasonable alternatives to more easily bypass the Health Precinct
- Action 6: Create an environment where people of all ages and abilities feel safe and
comfortable cycling by installing raised uni-directional protected bike lanes on
both sides of 10th Avenue between Oak Street and Cambie Street, improved
street crossings, and treatments to encourage slower speeds
- Action 7: Convert 10th Avenue to one-way for westbound vehicles from Cambie Street to Ash Street to reduce vehicle volumes and maintain the tree canopy east of Ash Street
- Action 8: Enhance accessible transit options by installing new bus stops for the #17 bus route at Oak Street and 10th Avenue and improving HandyDART and patient
- Action 9: Facilitate local resident access by retaining permit parking on the 900 10th Avenue block, where possible, and reassign this block to the Oak West Residential Parking Permit Zone
- Action 10: Commit to ongoing improvements and issue resolution, including establishing a 10th Avenue Health Precinct Evaluation Committee to evaluate the
project’s impacts following implementation and recommend spot improvements
The rest of the report outlines the recommended plan for these improvements to 10th
Avenue through the Health Precinct, for implementation in two phases with the first phase being completed in 2018.