Strathcona Residence Association News
Hello friends and neighbours. Just a friendly reminder, that the Strathcona Residents Association AGM is this next Wednesday, October 3 at 7:15 PM at the Strathcona Community Centre.
We are looking for people willing to stand for Chair, Secretary, and there is an opening on the Zoning Committee as well.
AGENDA is as follows:
Community News & Announcements:
Reconnect Strathcona Update
We will be asking the membership to vote to reimburse Graham Elvidge $217.84 for printing costs for the Reconnect Strathcona Presentation made at the community meeting with Councillor Geoff Meggs
Election of SRA officers
ALSO PLEASE READ THESE TWO IMPORTANT PIECES OF INFORMATION BELOW:
Thanks! James Johnstone, Chair
1. DTES LOCAL AREA PLAN On Friday, September 28, 2012 from 11:30 to 16:30 there will be a DTES Local Area Plan Workshop open to the general community taking place at the Japanese Hall at 475 Alexander Street. “Check in on the Downtown Eastside Local Area Plan's progress so far, including achievements and draft outputs, at this workshop. Find out what's been happening in the process and share your ideas to help create a vision for the Downtown Eastside.”
For more information: http://vancouver.ca/news-calendar/downtown-eastside-local-area-plan-workshop.aspx
This is a free event open to all people in the community. People thinking about participating are encouraged to register (for seating and catering arrangements).
2. UPDATE ON RECONNECT STRATHCONA – NOTES FROM A RECENT MEETING WITH CITY STAFF AND STRATHCONA RESIDENTS ABOUT PRIOR STREET AND MALKIN AVENUE CHANGES
September 18th 2012 @ City Hall (10:30 am - noon)
Attendees from City: Kirsten Robinson (Planning), Lon LaClaire (Engineering), Karis Hiebert (Planning) Devan Fitch (Engineering), Kevin McNaney (Planning)
Attendees from Strathcona: Graham Elvidge, Pete Fry, Elana Zysblat, James Johnstone
Karis (CoV) defined the meeting goals:
1. to follow up on conclusions from the July 24th Council Meeting regarding the Viaduct Removal Plan
2. to continue discussions between representatives from Strathcona and City Staff regarding work to date and future plans for Malkin Avenue and Prior Street.
As per the Mayor’s instructions at the July 24th Council Meeting, “...the residents along Prior Street have made a very compelling case in addressing their longstanding concerns about traffic and I believe that some immediate improvements are warranted, reinstating the parking being one of them, looking at traffic calming options like speedbumps is another, but I think that addressing that is overdue and certainly that needs to be addressed with the decisions going forward...”
and “..We need to pursue the Malkin Street connection. It's been in the background for years and it's time to act on it and I think there's an opportunity with the viaducts and the Eastern Core plan to fast track the Malkin Street connection, to look at the federal infrastructure funding that's coming down the road so to speak and make sure that that becomes a top priority as part of this initiative."
Devan (CoV) reported that Engineering has carefully considered the 10 steps proposed by Strathcona Residents in Reconnect Strathcona for calming Prior Street. He acknowledged that staff feel most of the steps proposed are appropriate and consistent with other CoV initiatives, such as the proposal for a greenway along Prior, although not all can be implemented as they would not work together. Step # 1 (reinstating parking on Prior Street) has already been implemented as per the Mayor’s instructions, allowing parking all along the north side of Prior Street except between the hours of 7-9:30 am.
Another measure suggested by Strathcona residents (at the July 12th meeting with the same attendees) already approved but not yet implemented is the increasing of cross walk times on Prior between Clark & Gore. The cross walk lights will be upgraded to countdown signals (like the one at Union and Gore) and will give pedestrians a longer crossing time than the current cross signals. This has been approved and will happen as soon as the road work crew’s schedule permits it. Devan will let us know by how much walk times have been increased.
The suggestion that there be a 30kph speed restriction along Strathcona Park to reduce speed etc. is not an easy thing to implement. It is, until the Malkin Ave connection goes through, an “arterial street” and designated truck route, and as such Translink has a significant interest in the performance of this street.
One option for getting more police attention to speed infractions on Prior/Venables is to get people in the neighbourhood to get involved in the Speedwatch Program. It would be useful if we could collect data from rush hour as well as non-rush hour times to compare data.
Staff have also noted the communities concerns with regard to safety at the Campbell and Prior intersection, and have been studying what further improvements to safety can be made there beyond increasing the cross walk time. They are looking at opportunities for larger, better placed signage and traffic lights and removing any view obstructing elements that can be identified.
Graham (Strath) remarked that we hope the City doesn’t intend on cutting down trees for this purpose.
Devan (CoV) replied that they may be looking at measures like branch trimming.
Devan (CoV) explained that all the remaining 9 steps in the Reconnect Strathcona proposal cannot be implemented until an alternate arterial & truck route can be introduced, as without a new arterial significant changes to Prior St. would adversely affect access to downtown for goods and people movement. The City’s preferred arterial to Prior Street is Malkin Avenue, as specified by the Mayor at the July 24th Council Meeting. Malkin is the key to traffic calming Prior. A grade separated Malkin Avenue connection is also a significant component of the grade separation strategy for the Burrard Inlet Rail line, identified as a priority by the Federal Government (Port and Rail).
Creating an east-west arterial on Malkin Avenue is the City’s #1 priority to connect the downtown core to the east and to separate train tracks from the road grid. This is called a grade separation strategy.
Planning and implementing an arterial on Malkin Avenue will thus have to precede any further traffic calming measures on Prior Street (such as introducing a bike route onto Prior, creating pedestrian & bus bulges, banning truck traffic on Prior, making Prior a greenway like Carrall etc...) The City deems that a bike lane is needed on Malkin as well as on any future Prior Street Greenway. And even if a Prior Street Greenway is established, the Union Street bike route will be maintained.
Lon & Kevin (CoV) On a practical design level, the plan for Malkin Avenue is:
1. A four lane arterial & truck route which would also incorporate a dedicated bike lane (it is now a policy of the CoV to include bike lanes on any new street).
2. To accommodate the current and future need for warehouse trucks to pull in and out of the existing Malkin Avenue businesses, additional road allowance on the south sideof Malkin is being considered.
3. The street design will include sidewalks and larger than standard curb lanes (to accommodate trucks and busses).
The areas to the north and south of Malkin Avenue were given a significant right-of-way in the 1960s when a highway was planned for the area to accommodate expansion of the road. This right-of-way is much larger than needed for the plans for Malkin. Rumors of a 12 lane highway on Malkin are completely false and the City has no intention of creating the scale of arterial planned for the area in the 1960s.
Some of this right-of-way will be needed to ensure truck turning movements, the bike lane and the large curb lanes & sidewalks. This ‘expansion’ of Malkin to the ‘approximate size of a six lane arterial’ will impact both the businesses and gardens along Malkin. The City is looking for ways to meet their needs and make sure both types of activities (warehouses & gardening) will be able to continue and thrive in the area.
Pete (Strath) Reiterated the importance of Cottonwood Gardens to the community.
Kirsten (CoV) The staff at this meeting have already scheduled meetings with the business owners, Cottonwood Gardens and Parks Board to discuss these plans and explore options.
Once City Staff has met individually with all the impacted groups around Malkin Avenue (including Fire Hall #1 which will need to change its road access orientation, Animal Control which will be relocated and Providence Health) they will set up a multi- stakeholder meeting. This is estimated to happen in about 2 months (mid November). The multi-stakeholder meeting will provide an opportunity to gather feedback including suggestions for solving issues related to the plans for Malkin.
Karis (CoV) A conceptual design for Malkin Avenue will be presented to stakeholders sometime this fall. The City expects a total of six months of planning time including pricing and funding research.
Graham (Strath) We hope the language you use when this design is presented and proposed is better than the language used when you presented the Viaducts Removal Plan. We felt blindsided by that ‘concept’ which appeared more as a conclusive plan.
Kirsten (CoV) We heard your input and reaction from that experience and will do a better job to convey our openness to public and stakeholder input when we present the next stage of design.
Graham (Strath) What kind of timeline are we looking at?
Kevin & Devan (CoV) Jerry Dobrovolny (Head of Engineering & Transportation) has made it very clear that the Malkin Avenue connection to downtown and Clark Avenue is to be fast tracked and prioritized. He has gone as far as estimating that if all the expected funding from the Port, Feds and Translink is in place soon, this could be planned and constructed within 5 years. This is the earliest timeline possible if all goes smoothly.
Elana (Strath) We have already seen a positive impact on Prior due to the new parking regulations. Residents are slowly beginning to park their cars on Prior (although many are still hesitant) and this creates a slower speed, one lane scenario during most of the day. Is it possible to further improve the safety on Prior by working with the VPD to enforce speed limits on Prior during the two rush hours rather than on the viaducts?
Lon (CoV) Police will enforce speed limits where there is a case. If 85% of drivers are following the speed limit than it is considered unnecessary. We will be monitoring the situation on Prior now that new parking regulations are in place to see if speed and accidents numbers go down. Please let us know if there are still problematic areas or intersections we should be more aware of.
Elana (Strath) We will e-mail these suggestions to Devan. Are these new parking regulations permanent?