Consultation on future of Gastown and Water Street begins

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Condition of Gastown streets
Credit: City of Vancouver

The City of Vancouver has begun consultation on the future of Gastown’s streets, exploring options which could include removing cars from Water Street.

The city asking residents for their thoughts through the Talk Vancouver online community, and will also hold an engagement session on Saturday, October 21 at the Woodward’s Atrium.

“We have an opportunity to build on the strengths of Gastown and design the streets in a way that better serves the area. We want to work with the community to achieve the best outcome,” says Lon LaClaire, director of transportation for the City of Vancouver.

“As part of our community engagement, we will be exploring whether Water Street could become car-light, but it is important to us to work closely with businesses in the area to see how the streets can continue to support loading and movement needs.”

The city says the consultation process will inform a draft proposal for the Gastown street network, which will be put to further community consultation in early 2018.

The city says will be working closely with community organizations and businesses in the area to ensure that a range of experiences and opinions are considered.

“The Gastown BIA sees this as an opportunity to look at different options of how we can add some flexibility to how we use our streets while responding to the varying needs of our businesses,” says Leanore Sali, president of the Gastown BIA.

Potential car-light street

Water Street was identified in the Downtown Eastside Plan and Transportation 2040 plan as a potential car-light street and a missing link within the east-west bike network.

Car-light refers to a street design that reduces the number of vehicles travelling through an area.

The city says any car-light street will need to balance mobility and access needs for local businesses, residents and visitors with the desire to create an interesting and welcoming place for people to be.

The study area is bound by Cordova Street to the south, and Main Street to the east.

Gastown streets map
Map of Gastown streets under consideration. Credit: City of Vancouver