Sept 8, 2021. SRA Meeting Minutes
Chair – Dan Jackson
Guests – City of Vancouver
Paul Storer, Director of Transportation, Megan Tate, Transportation
Jessica Land: Manager of Recreation Services, Park Board
Karla Klepper: Supervisor of Recreation Services, Park Board
Traffic Calming on Prior:
Megan provided background information on the pilot project undertaken 2 years ago to reduce traffic and speed on Prior Street.
Low cost methods were employed to calm traffic and monitor the impact on Prior and other side streets.
To date, the following actions have been completed:
- Creation of a 30km/hour zone with signage including painted street signage;
- Creation of all day parking to reduce number of lanes for cars
- Installation of Art Cars (2);
- Parking at night allowed (RV’s have been removed) – will be monitored;
- Lighting along Prior replaced with LED;
- Parking regulations on Malkin changed to allow trucks to better maneuver – eliminated parking to allow for more efficient flow of trucks and keep them off prior;
- Upgrading of Bus Stops – shelters and seating installed
- Re-do of asphalt and curb ramps; new paint lines; creation of right turn on Prior to direct trucks directly to Malkin;
- Barriers on N. side of Prior between Campbell and Raymuir to reduce # of vehicles using 2 lanes;
- Speed Reader Boards Westbound;
- Temporary curb bulges at Dunlevy & Heatley to encourage one lane use;
- 2 Painted cross walks indicating park area – visual cue to encourage slowing down;
Monitoring occurred in February 2020 showing 20% decrease in traffic, 5-7% increase in Parking, and 10% decrease in speed.
More data will be collected soon for post covid results, and before St. Paul’s closes down lanes on Prior to better understand the benefit of the calming measures.
A new Transportation engineer has been hired and will be looking at traffic calming on other streets, i.e. Glen and Campbell and other streets to the North that need some attention. This will start later this month and will be a priority; the community will be engaged.
Strathcona is one of the neighbourhoods out of two that needs calming and there is an outstanding commitment to get going on it.
Question: Understanding that Council’s decision was that Prior was a no through street – why is it still a truck route?
Answer: Prior has been designated a truck route for possibly more than a decade. Translink handles regional administration of truck routes. Biggest reason is because of industry on produce Row; important for trucks to get into the area.
There will be an opportunity to go back to Council in terms of direction meanwhile, factors such as St. Paul’s, the fact it is a bus route; all needs to be taken into consideration
Q.: Council agreed that Prior was to be a “no through” street not a commuter street and there was to be a diversion. We would like a comment on whether the agreement that Council made is going to be adhered to.
A: The City has some work to do and look at that before we go back to Council with anything – we’ll come back and talk to you about it and dig into exactly what we’re planning on taking back to council.
Q. Now that St. Paul’s construction is in full force – aren’t some of the solutions moot because of all of the construction?
A. Concerned about access to St. Paul’s in a general way – it’s an important regional destination – working to get some traffic thru seems important which doesn’t work well now because of the tracks and how they operate – looking at how we can design Prior in it’s final form i.e. lower traffic and speed and provide access for ambulances to get to hospital – in terms of actual traffic to St. Paul’s, there is the construction aspect which the team is working on with the St. Paul’s group in terms of trying not to use Prior and looking at the impacts and minimizing them – in long term – a lot of that access is coming from the west – it is the primary hospital for a lot of downtown – the way we’re thinking about Prior
St. I guess – is as council directed more local, lower speed etc. those are not necessarily in opposition – it’s about the long term design of Prior and how we make it work for the neighbourhood and hospital and improving access.
Question: Huge trucks are coming into the neighbourhood and not slowing down – many cars speeding thru to avoid trains – cars and trucks on the bike route – very dangerous. There will be a big accident there – warning – we need better traffic calming like particularly from Prior to Hastings.
Q. re Enforcement – what does it take to get enforcement for cars that rush through the speed limit especially during rush hour
Answer: Staff take speed readings – if it appears problematic, VPD will do standard enforcement – Can be part of our fall monitoring, but usually a short-term solution – long term is street design which we’re working on. Long term goal to change driver behaviour.
Question: Produce Row has multiple access from Parker, Raymuir, Malkin and National, so why is Prior a truck route? Have asked repeatedly to consider Hawks not be an entry and exit for large trucks – could this not be done?
Answer: When underpass and redesign of Strathcona Park are in play, will be an opportunity – now not the time with St. Paul’s construction – Trucks taking up space on Prior is not a bad thing for calming – and need to talk to Produce Row and the neighbourhood re the bigger picture.
True the City recommended Hawks closing should be explored – but as part of the underpass discussion items but that was envisioned as a longer-term piece as opposed to pilot which the City is able to deliver now. Don’t want to make a permanent closure and then have to reverse it.
Thanks to Paul and Megan – who will report back in a month after traffic data collected.
Strathcona Park Update:
Jessica Land and Karla Klepper (Karla is the new supervisor of recreation services. Former director of Carnegie CC)
Jessica: Remediation near completion discussions have begun around how to respectfully re-open the space using a trauma and harm reduction lens in a way that is meaningful and acknowledges some things that went on there and to create a safe and welcoming space for people to come back to.
Question: Please clarify – what does the priority of making the space safe and respectful mean?
Answer: Many elders would like to see a ceremony; possibly a cultural ceremony after fencing comes down – we need to make this right.
Unsure of timing but sometimes these things can happen quickly so definitely next month or two.
Update on reactivations – Karla
Pow wow and west coast family nights Tuesday nights led by community organizations over the summer were well attended; many people were excited to attend – those have ended for the summer.
Skateboard host program – led by staff connected to youth services and Strathcona Community Centre takes place until October – 3 drop in activations per week
Food sovereignty and Land Based work
In conjunction with Environmental Youth Alliance – work is being done around the field house
Planning for Heart of City Festival which will feature activations in the neighbourhood including salmon caravan activation and food sovereignty event in the Park November 6th.
Would like Feedback if you have things you’d like to do -or see or celebrate.
The make-up of the neighbourhood is represented by people from many economic and ethnic backgrounds, including a significant immigrant population, all of whom have been deprived of the use of the Park for more than a year.
Following many discussions and the completion of a survey conducted by the Strathcona Residents association, we would like to see:
- The Park become a local park instead of a regional one;
- An activation/welcome back celebration that is not focused on one population (indigenous) but on all the residents who have been deprived of their park for more than a year; and
- Assistance on how we successfully lobby the Park Board Commissioners on the need to upgrade the Park going forward sooner rather than later.
The SRA was included in discussions with Park Board during and after the encampment however the pandemic, staff shortages and a delay in getting the new staff position (Karla) delayed the discussions and what we hoped to do which included lots of things for a much broader audience.
Survey is great – we think it’s a great lead-in to the capital planning process. Currently dealing with indoor recreation and new provincial regulations.
Had hoped to work with local indigenous groups and they are neighbours as well – some of the sensitivities are around large celebrations – the perceptions of those given what has happened on that site and we need to be sensitive how we move forward. Carla will help with that as we move forward.
Appreciates the work and feedback from survey – uncertainty around covid has affected community partners and groups – hadn’t expected the 4th wave.
Question: The issue of dogs – currently the area set aside in Strath Park for off-leash is very close to Prior in busy area that’s not safe for dogs to run. In 2017 the off-leash area included baseball diamond on west side – was changed without informing residents.
What steps can be taken – given that with a large area fenced during games there is no place to walk dogs? Lots of housing is being built, lots of social housing and many who don’t have amenities and require access to green space – we’re all fighting for it.
Answer: Have heard some similar sentiments – will forward to planning department – Jordan Lipke is the lead on the planning side. Will reinforce that the community is waiting for a response re the dog area and indicate the current area is not acceptable – people are expecting more.
Question: Lots of shrubs, bushes and small trees on the N.W. side and larger trees on the East side were removed due to the encampment. Will they be replaced and upgraded given what the community had to endure?
Jessica: – it’s operations team – will ask them and get back to Dan.
Question: With 4th wave of covid is outdoor programming going to be considered in Strathcona Park?
Answer: working on fall and winter activities that can be covid safe – if there are things of interest, let Carla or Jessica know your suggestions.
Q. Will the Park be improved and not just remediated given what we’ve gone through?
Later this fall, capital planning process – potential places and parks for renewal will be put forward for renewal between 2023 and 2026. Park Board Commissioners will make that decision. The opportunity to have those discussions is coming up soon – Jordan Lipke is the main contact for that type of work.
There is Q and A around the capital planning process – Jessica will share it.
Dan: We need to hear the message from Park Board that we are all part of the same community – a huge range of people – so while we all recognize the importance of including the indigenous community, it’s concerning to see the amount of energy put into one community compared to lack of what’s going into the rest of the community and encourage you to find a way to send a message to welcome everybody back to their park.
Park Board staff were asked to consider climate change in the discussions.
Jessica and Carla left the meeting.
Discussion on how we move forward to ensure we are on the Capital Plan – Kelsey offered to participate in the discussions. Dan will follow up with a working group.
Next Meeting: Wednesday, October 6, 7:30 p.m.