Memorandum: Arbutus Greenway Temporary Path

On November 22, 2016, the Vancouver City Planning Commission submitted a Memorandum to Council on concerns about the safety of the Arbutus Greenway temporary path where it intersects with major streets.  Here is the text of the memorandum.

Photograph by the Vancouver Public Space Network.

Arbutus Greenway Temporary Path

The VCPC appreciated receiving the October 18, 2016 report on the Arbutus Greenway temporary path consultation and design. VCPC strongly supports the City’s purchase of these lands and commends the City for their foresight in adding to Vancouver’s public space.

In discussions at the Commission and at previous transportation stakeholder advisory group meetings we have raised questions about the safety of places where the greenway crosses the street grid. From what we have seen of the temporary plan, this matter has not been adequately addressed and we remain concerned that detouring Arbutus Greenway users to existing traffic signals at major road crossings may create unacceptable safety risks.  Some segment of the path’s new users will not make the detour to Arbutus Street traffic signals, but will instead seek an unprotected straight-line crossing of the intersecting roads to remain on the Arbutus Greenway Path. As the permanent greenway will not begin construction until 2019, we wish to bring this matter to Council’s attention now.

While there may be many ways to deal with this, one option is for pedestrian and cyclist activated crossing lights along the length of the Arbutus Greenway, so that motor vehicle traffic would normally cede their priority to crossing pedestrians and cyclists.  In certain cases where vehicle flow would otherwise be seriously disrupted, there could be a standard traffic signal that is synchronized with the crossing of Arbutus Street.

We fully support further engagement of the public in the long-term plans for the corridor. We respectfully submit that the Arbutus Greenway needs to be developed as an integrated corridor in which the green(er) modes of mobility are given priority over motor vehicles crossing this right of way.  Over the long run the value of this infrastructure to our City will be greatest if it is recognized and developed as an integrated corridor in keeping with the City of Vancouver’s overarching transportation strategy of giving planning and design priority to pedestrians and cyclists.

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