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Road through the park and upcoming September AGM

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

New SRA Social Media

New resident Laurel Murray has offered to help us improve our social media out reach. Please check out – and contribute to – the sites she’s set up on TwitterFacebook and Instagram. It’s a great way to stay informed and connected, offer feedback and just celebrate what makes Strathcona such a vibrant neighbourhood.

Save the date: September meeting and AGM

Our next meeting will be our AGM on Weds. Sept. 6, 7 PM at the Community Centre. We still have two open seats on our board and welcome anyone interested in getting more involved in the neighbourhood to run.
If you’re intrigued, contact chair@strathcona-residents.org

Update on proposed “road through Strathcona Park”

We’ve been tracking what’s happening with the proposed “road through the park” and have posted an update on our website along with a detailed description of the “4th Way.” Go to http://strathcona-residents.org/blog/fourth-way

The city has announced that they want to close off the at-grade railroad crossings at Prior and Union, closing off both to car traffic. To allow traffic to connect between Clark and Main, they want to build an overpass and a new four lane arterial road. They’ve proposed three options: National, Malkin and Williams. http://vancouver.ca/files/cov/false-creek-flats-plan-2017-05-17.pdf Page 81

City Engineering seems resigned that the National option is unworkable due to overpass cost, the connection to Clark being too close to Terminal, the adverse impact on VFD Training Facility, and the need for turns at Thornton St. They also concede that the Malkin option will have too adverse an impact on Produce Row and Cottonwood Garden.

Their preferred option seems to be extending Williams St. through the park. The city has not released a detailed plan of what this would look like, but said the overpass would cut off Glen and reach grade at Raymur, which is where trucks and cars would access it - an awkward traffic light at the bottom of a steep grade. Potential upside: It would include a bike lane which will divert bike traffic from the Grandview corridor off Union.

One big obstacle stands in their way: The Parks Board has to approve allowing the city to take away greenspace for a road. They have brought in a consultant to assess the impact and possible mitigations. They have announced a public open house tentatively for Sept. 9. Strathcona resident Jan Marie Martell is circulating a petition opposing any road through the park. If you’d like to sign, contact her at janmariemar@yahoo.com

If the Parks Board does nix extending Williams – or if local push back becomes too strong – the city now claims to be exploring building the overpass at Prior. Calming Prior has been a high priority for Strathcona residents for years, a traffic study has found it unfit to be an arterial, and the city has promised to restore it as a residential street. Nonetheless, it has been a de facto arterial since the viaducts where put in. Are they bluffing? Maybe. But what’s the alternative?

We’ve suggested a 4th Option (see below for a detailed description).

We’ve met twice with members of the Flats Engineering team and both times they’ve dismissed our “4th Option” as unworkable. They’ve given four reasons:
• The new road needs to be 30 meters wide to accommodate sidewalks/bike lane/trees.
• The overpass would be too expensive.
• The city works yard cannot be reconfigured.
• The VFD Training Facility would need to be moved.

We remain skeptical that these objections are insurmountable. Prior St. is only 15 meters wide, including sidewalks (at our last SRA meeting, Engineering lead Jerry Dobrovolsky said 30 meters was still negotiable). The overpass will be largely paid for by port, railroad and Federal government. The only part of the Works Yard that would be impacted are a row of storage sheds that could be relocated to National, which could be closed at Thornton. The VFD training yard already has a road where the 4th Option would go. We met with new VFD Chief Darrell Reid who said the training yard is already too small, but he’s not entirely opposed to the idea and open to a little horse-trading.

Our conclusion: We doubt that the 4th Option has ever been seriously considered. But not having an engineer on our side, it’s a tough to argue (any engineers out there?) The city has promised to give us a tour of the site sometime in August. So there’s hope.

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