History – There once was a highway proposed through downtown Vancouver just like every other major city. This highway would have reshaped the city and region. As a first step the mayor built the two viaducts. In the election that followed he was voted it out and the highway was stopped. Sometimes decision cause reactions. The political reaction from this decision is still shaping Vancouver’s development and its politics to this day.
The viaducts are estimated to last until 2055 – 40 more years. Mayor Robertson wants to tear down this infrastructure now and replace it. His plan is simple – allow the development community to build more to pay for this road replacement 40 years early, misdirecting a massive amount of capital spending. I am certain the Mayor and his NDP council know that this is a bad use of our development capital but politically popular because capital planning is not sexy.
Since 2010, the city has invested considerable time and money studying this issue and delaying any kind of development in the area. In this case they are willing to have development pay for transportation infrastructure but claim we can’t fund transit/road from development. Yes we can! Developer pays is the primary rule in BC but Mayor Robertson prefers this money be used for social housing & would rather new taxes paid for transportation infrastructure.
The viaducts bring about 15% of the traffic to downtown Vancouver used primarily by people in East Vancouver and Burnaby.
The province is a major land owner in this area. The plan presented by the city is interesting but not a good deal for the Province. Waiting 40 years would be better for the province and taxpayers of BC.
- Leave the viaducts up and invest the development funds in
- Downtown Street Car – this would benefit many more people and make the city very Green.
- Connecting VCC SkyTrain to Main Street SkyTrain station. – This would help reduce the congestion at the Commercial/Broadway SkyTrain station, reduce long-term demand on the viaducts and improve SkyTrain operations.
- Build a community centre and high school to support urban families
2. Convert the viaducts to bike, streetcar & pedestrian uses as demand changes.
3. Take down the viaducts in 2055 and let the votes in 2045 decide.
Other benefits to my approach
Allows us to get on with the development process now. The Mayor’s plan will delay this all another 3 years or more.
We have a lot of capital needs in this world but tearing down good infrastructure seems like a waste of money, time and valuable staff resources. Besides, we need to get the current users of the viaducts out of their cars first and my options will get that job done.
I also like the idea of letting the future local area community residents decide what to do with the Viaducts.
The City is looking for input prior to making this major decision. Help them make a responsible choice and make your voice heard.