Key Decision Due Over Fate of Vancouver's Viaducts

The movement to dismantle the twin viaducts that hover over Vancouver's downtown reaches a crucial milestone today, as the City Council votes to fund the study of how to transform "the last, large, under-utilized area close to the city’s core."
June 26, 2013, 2pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"The bold proposal to tear down Vancouver’s twin viaducts, which have carried traffic to and from the downtown for more than 40 years, is gaining significant steam," reports Rod Mickleburgh. "Council is expected to vote Wednesday to give city planners a green light to proceed with serious studies and public consultation for the project, with once-loud opposition increasingly muted as the idea takes hold."

“'This is a turning point, not just a small step,' said senior planner Brian Jackson, as he discussed details of a comprehensive staff report outlining the many benefits of demolishing the busy, elevated structures."

"The decision would free up five city blocks for renewal, providing space for increased parkland and as many as 1,000 new housing units, including 300-400 subsidized apartments," notes Mickleburgh. "It would also re-connect neighbourhoods to False Creek and revitalize a section of Main Street lost when the viaducts went up."

In an opinion piece for HuffPost British Columbia, Brent Toderian, the city's former Director of City Planning and long-time advocate of viaduct removal, urges the Council to "approve the removal 'in principle' subject to the further work outlined in the report, rather than the recommended up-to-two-year delay in decision-making."

"Ultimately," he says, "this powerful decision isn't about cars or concrete. It's about making a more connected, sustainable, resilient downtown and city."

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Published on Tuesday, June 25, 2013 in The Globe and Mail
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