Protest on Prior: Residents demand traffic calming as staff report goes to City Council

(Update – Council approved of this report, with amendments. Please refer to the meeting minutes for details.)

Vancouver City Council may decide on the East False Creeks arterial route on Wednesday, October 2nd. A staff report was presented to Council on October 1st (agenda page here). On the morning September 30th, a demonstration took place on Prior and Hawks. Residents rallied and called on the City to respect past commitments to traffic calming for Prior Street and also to respect the recommendation by the Community Panel on the preferred arterial route.

City staff have recommended an option that was not endorsed by the Community Panel process (namely, a 4-lane underpass beneath the railway tracks at Glen Drive and Prior Street). Photos of the demonstration are included below:

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One way that the City could have tried to calm Prior would have been to put forward a proposal that would only allow for two lanes of traffic in the underpass (one lane in each direction). Such a move could have also facilitated a host of other traffic calming measures such as on street parking on both sides and curb bulges (modified illustration below).

One of the difficulties with an underpass that’s so close to sea level is ground water. It could flood frequently during storms. The staff report only mentions flooding once, as highlighted below.

A few open questions: Why did the City initiate a Community Panel and engage a group of dedicated volunteers to come up with a recommended False Creek Flats Arterial route when staff put forward their own recommendation instead? Does the City of Vancouver intend to keep Prior Street a major arterial for the foreseeable future?

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