NEWS

Plan to scrap viaducts presented by Vancouver staff

07/24/2012 06:52 EDT | Updated 09/23/2012 05:12 EDT
City of Vancouver staff presented a concept plan Tuesday to be put in place if the downtown viaducts are removed.

Staff says 69 per cent of the people surveyed at an open house earlier this year supported the removal of the viaducts.

"Our report today clarified that the traffic modeling shows that with this new roadway connecting Georgia [Street] through to Quebec, Main and Prior [streets], it’s expected the number of vehicles on Prior would reduce from what we see today," said transportation director Jerry Dobrovolny.

One plan presented Tuesday would see the Georgia viaduct torn down, with Georgia Street going straight to Pacific Boulevard, while the Dunsmuir viaduct would connect to Rogers Arena.

Mayor Gregor Robertson said the fate of the eastern core and viaducts is a "key decision" that shouldn’t be rushed.

"Any change must ultimately benefit the citizens who live and work in the area, and ensure good traffic connections," Robertson said.

"The neighbourhoods near the viaducts will clearly need to benefit from such a proposal, whether it’s through more park space, affordable housing, calmer streets, or new jobs."

Robertson also plans to look at speed bumps and other calming measures along Prior Street, and pursue the Malkin connector to divert traffic off residential streets and onto designated routes.

The report indicates removing the viaducts would increase parks and open space by 13 per cent.

But Shachi Kurl with the Canadian federation of Independent Business says there needs to be more consultation with businesses, and major concerns haven't been addressed.

"Flow of traffic, congestion and access to their storefronts, among other things, but those are the main things," Kurl said. "Mainly it's about consultation and information at this point."

Staff will report back to council with more options and information in the fall.

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