Aerial view of West Georgia Street at entrance to Stanley Park causeway. Credit: Ruth Hartnup/Flickr

The City of Vancouver has announced a round of consultation towards improving the travel experience along Georgia Street near Stanley Park.

The new initiative, dubbed ‘Georgia Street Gateway West,’ involves the section of Georgia between Chilco and Nicola Streets, and aims to make the street more safe, enjoyable, and efficient for those using it.

This section of street has been prioritized, the City says, because it is a high growth area, and the street is not working well for many users currently.

The neighbourhood is certainly poised for significant growth in the near future.

At least six new condominium and rental towers — including projects from Bosa, Westbank, Landa Global and Brilliant Circle — are in various stages of approval along Georgia and Alberni. Two towers are also proposed for the White Spot restaurant site, and Anthem is expected to reveal the design soon for the former Chevron gas station site — a residential tower designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox of New York.

Improvements to tackle existing challenges

As users of the corridor have likely experienced, Georgia Street faces many challenges in this section.

Current issues include frequent vehicle collisions at Denman and Pender Streets, uncomfortable intersections for pedestrians, limited separated cycling infrastructure, bus delays due to vehicle traffic, complicated signage, and shifting travel lanes that confuse some motorists, according to the City’s report on the topic.

The intersection of West Pender and West Georgia Street can be challenging and uncomfortable for cyclists.

City staff state that vehicle traffic along this stretch of Georgia Street has remained mostly stable over last decade, mostly because there is no more room for cars at peak hours on the Lions Gate Bridge. Acknowledging the unlikeliness that the Lions Gate will see an increase in vehicle capacity any time soon, the City is looking for ways to make alternative modes of transport more ‘attractive and realistic.’

This is the goal of a complete street, according to the City’s report.

Such streets are ‘designed to thoughtfully integrate neighbourhood context, transportation, vibrant public space, green infrastructure & sustainability.’ Most importantly, it goes on to say, they must be ‘comfortable and safe for people of all ages and abilities across all modes of travel.’

The City is hoping the Georgia Street Gateway West will help achieve not just transportation goals, but also placemaking and green infrastructure priorities.
Rendering of how a redesigned West Georgia Street could look, with a separated bike lane.

Improvements to make this section of Georgia a ‘complete street’ could include:

  • Public art
  • Improved crosswalks
  • Enhanced greenspace and landscaping
  • Separated bike lanes
  • Expansion of HOV lanes or bus-only lanes

At this time, the City is in the early stages of consultation, and is looking for feedback from residents regarding their experiences along this section of the Georgia Corridor.

While the open house on the topic already took place on November 18, the City’s online survey is live until December 2, 2017.

Area of West Georgia proposed for Complete Streets initiative.
Traffic heading north to the Stanley Park causeway.

Similar improvements to take place at other strategic locations around Vancouver

The Complete Streets initiative is a component of the City’s long term transportation plan, Transportation 2040, which aims to make travel around easier and more sustainable around the entire city.

Other priority areas for complete street improvements already announced include Water Street in Gastown, Commercial Drive, and the Cambie Street corridor, south of King Edward Ave.