As soon as Oct. 2, City Council will vote on where to put the False Creek Flats Arterial. Even though the Community Panel overwhelming chose the National-Charles (NatCha) option, Prior is back on the table and is likely to be the option recommended to Council by city staff.
Here's what you need to know:
The Flats Arterial is part of a federally funded National Trade Corridor project. Its primary purpose is to facilitate the movement of shipping containers in and out of the expanding Centerm Port. The project also includes twinning the current single track, building an overpass/underpass, and then closing off all the remaining at-grade crossings (at Parker, Union, Raymur) to car, bike and pedestrian traffic. This will give CN Rail unrestricted 24/7 access to the tracks that run directly through Strathcona and split our neighbourhood in two.
The Panel chose NatCha because it routes business, hospital and commuter traffic through an industrial area, it works for Produce Row, it preserves the park and gardens, improves access to greenspace and calms Prior. It’s worth noting that City Council has also voted, twice, to calm Prior (and spent over $200K on the Community Panel so the community could decide.)
If despite all this, Prior is chosen anyway, this Federal project will be a one-two punch for Strathcona. ONE: We get all the diesel pollution, noise and safety risk from trains running directly 24/7 beside heritgage homes, social housing and the new senior's tower. TWO: Prior Street, which isn't safe now, will have to absorb all the extra traffic from the closed streets, including 4000 trucks a week going to and from Produce Row.
The big objection to NatCha is that it's too expensive. The reality is that the Feds are paying for most, if not all, of this project. Which means that this Council vote will be the City's only chance to get federal funding to ensure that this federal project will be designed and built in a way that mitigates its impacts on our health, safety and quality of life. Communities are the heart and soul of a city and shouldn't be circumvented to benefit big business.
We need to send our representatives the message that COMMUNITIES MATTER, especially a thriving community that is the City's oldest, most historic and most diverse.
To get involved and learn more, come to the SRA meeting tomorrow night, Weds. Sept 4, 7-9 PM at the Strathcona Community Centre. If you can't make it, here are some actions you can take (click for a How To): Send an e-mail. Post on social media. Speak before City Council. Or e-mail us at email@example.com.
It's your neighbourhood and your future. Own it. Join the SRA at strathcona-residents.org.