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Timeline of Viaducts Developments

1958 City planners declare Strathcona a slum and decide upon a course of urban renewal that would have seen about 30 acres and over 600 homes and businesses cleared to make way for a freeway and housing projects.

 

1963 Despite the rejection of two city plans by the local community, Phase II of the Strathcona Redevelopment Project proceeds with work on the block bounded by Keefer, Jackson, Georgia and Dunlevy Streets.

 

1968 Grass-roots resistance. Local residents including Mary Chan and Harry Con found the Strathcona Property and Tenants Association (SPOTA) to fight city plans to build a freeway through Strathcona. They are joined by a diverse group of citizens including Mike Harcourt, Walter Hardwick and Shirley Chan and hundreds of Vancouver residents who successfully thwart city plans to bulldoze large parts of Gastown, Chinatown and Strathcona. By this time, however, the City had already purchased and cleared 15 blocks of Strathcona for urban redevelopment.

 

1971 Another act of grass-roots resistance: twenty five women, the "Militant Mothers of Raymur," blockade the train tracks between Raymur and Glen demanding a safe crossing for Seymour students who have to cross the busy and dangerous tracks every day to get to school. Their intermittent train stopping blockades prompt the city to build an overpass at Keefer later in the year.

 

1972-3 The only remaining vestige of the freeway that didn't happen — the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts — are built. In the process Strathcona's historic black neighborhood, Hogan's Alley is leveled.

 

2009 Strathcona Residents' Association resolves
to support the Venables Prior Greenway Project

May 6, 2009, SRA Resolution on VPGP:
Moved: Graham Elvidge, Seconded: James Johnstone

Be it resolved that The SRA supports the Venables Prior Greenway Project (VPGP) as described below:   The Venables Prior Greenway Project (VPGP) proposes to traffic calm and beautify Venables/Prior Street from Gore Avenue to Commercial Drive, with the ultimate goal of returning these streets to their former status as neighbourhood streets. The aim of the VPGP is to proceed incrementally:   1. to reduce traffic lanes from four to two by reinstating 24-hour parking; 2. to introduce further traffic calming measures such as corner-curb bulges and bus bulges; 3. to address safety issues and wheelchair accessibility and; 4. to provide additional trees, plantings, public art, and historical markers.   The purpose of this project is to enhance the livability of the historically linked neighbourhoods of Grandview-Woodlands and Strathcona by favouring pedestrian, bicycle, and transit over automobile traffic, and provide improved opportunities for commerce along Venables.  Some of the many City of Vancouver precedents for this type of greening, traffic calming, and street improvement include Carrall Street Greenway, Victoria Drive traffic calming, Blenheim Street re-designation to Local Area Feeder, and Crown Street Sustainable Streetscape.

 

2010 Vancouver's Winter Olympics see the closure of the viaducts and with it, virtual elimination of traffic on Prior. Apparently, Vancouver commuters and truckers can function just fine without Prior Street.

 

2010 May: Strathcona Residents' Association resolves
to request Prior / Venables be downgraded from truck route to local collector

May 6, 2010 SRA Resolution on Prior Street Truck Route: Moved: John Atkin, Seconded: Graham Elvidge

Be it resolved that the SRA request that Prior / Venables Streets be downgraded from truck route to local collector street between Main Street and Clark Drive, and that the City of Vancouver provide an alternate truck route from Main Street, via National-Thornton-Malkin-Raymur-Parker. And be it further resolved that the SRA supports the City of Vancouver’s plan for a bridge connecting Malkin Avenue to Clark Drive.

 

2010 November: Vancouver City Councillor Geoff Meggs visits Strathcona Residents' Association to present his vision of viaduct removal. Key points include: Olympics showed that the viaducts could be closed with few affects on traffic in the area. Traffic on the viaducts is dropping year to year. 7200 new residents in the area around arenas and 5000 new jobs. Significant Development coming to the False Creek area (22 towers). The possibility of a Hogan's alley commemoration if the viaducts are removed. Of particular interest to Strathcona, on the subject of Prior Street and how traffic is managed post viaducts, the Malkin Bypass was deemed most likely. A powerpoint presentation reveals a two phase project of traffic and soil review followed by urban design, land use issues and more detailed structural analysis.

 

2012 May: Strathcona Residents' Association resolves
to offer conditional support of viaducts removal

May 2, 2012 SRA Resolution on Georgia & Dunsmuir Viaducts: Moved: Graham Elvidge, Seconded: Jack Fraser

Be it resolved that the SRA supports the City of Vancouver’s removing the Georgia & Dunsmuir Viaducts with the following conditions: that local area collector status and improved amenity are provided to Prior/Venables Streets; that a plan to stitch the urban fabric of Main Street back together is developed; that safe, quality connections are provided to False Creek and Strathcona Park; that traffic be routed around, not through Strathcona; that affected existing bike routes be re-established; that the City of Vancouver think creatively about solutions that mitigate the affect of traffic along Powell and Hastings Streets.

 

2012 June: City of Vancouver reveals it's Vancouver Viaducts Study The study does not include any traffic calming of Prior Street, but rather: an extension of Prior as a six lane street from Gore linking to Main, Quebec and a new Pacific Boulevard. The new Pacific Boulevard will merge former Expo Boulevard and is to function as a collector for former downtown viaduct traffic (via a new Georgia ramp), Yaletown, False Creek and the new post-viaducts developments. Prior Street is identified as "a direct east-west link to the downtown for commuter vehicles and large goods-movement trucks."

 

2012 June 29: Strathcona resident members of the ad-hoc Viaducts/Prior working group meet with city staff including engineering, planning and the Director of Transportation to explain and discuss neighbourhood concerns.

 

2012 July 5: Grandview Woodland Area Council issue a letter of support for the Strathcona and SRA position on Prior Street and request the City take immediate action to calm traffic on Prior / Venables

 

2012 July 6: Reclaim Prior! Between three and four hundred Strathcona residents of all ages and backgrounds take to the intersection of Hawks and Prior to protest the City's failure to address Prior Street in their viaducts plan and demand immediate traffic calming. Event organizers vow to continue and even ramp up the protests until safety and livability improvements are made.

 

2012 July 24: City Staff presents plan for viaduct removal. Mayor Gregor Robertson directs staff to return in the fall with revisions to include immediate traffic calming of Prior and fast-tracking of Malkin Connector. Read the transcript of his speech here