Viaduct removal: send more parks

Illustration of Main Street with viaducts removed

Without a doubt the prospects of the removal of the Viaducts has the ability to provoke much anxiety in some folks. While tthe removal of the Viaducts has the potential to have a significant impact to improve the city and to restore the policy debacle of the attempted highway construction, much still needs to studied and understood about the proposition.

At Wednesday, June 26, City Council is considering a report on the removal of the Viaducts. Council is  being asked in principle rif the proposal  should go to a more detailed planning phase for two more years. You can read the report here:


The report outlines the detailed work and consultation that needs to be undertaken to plan for new traffic patterns and to plan for what will fill the space when the Viaducts are removed.

The report starts of with bold statement of intent:

 “In every city’s evolution there are rare opportunities to take bold city-building steps toadvance the city’s goals and liveability or correct a past planning wrong. The potential removal of the viaducts provides an opportunity for the City of Vancouver to do both. The opportunity presented by the removal of the viaducts includes increased waterfront parkland, opportunities for affordable and subsidized housing on city land, connections between Vancouver’s historic neighbourhoods to False Creek, and restoration of the gap created by the viaducts on Main Street. The viaducts removal also eliminates a physical and psychological barrier and erases an urban scar from a rapidly urbanizing part of the city. Removal of the viaducts would allow for improved street connectivity which will offer a new balance between mode shares that supports our Transportation 2040 goals and will integrate the development of Northeast False Creek into the fabric of the downtown.”

viaductparkspaceThe most exciting prospect resulting from the viaduct removal is the huge potential to build a whole new part of the city with more park space. Reconnecting Chinatown to the False Creek basin would right a previous significant planning mistake. With the removal of the viaducts and changes to the streets, at least 13% more park space could be added to this area that is already park-deficient. Presently, the area is home to some intersecting park features like the skateboard park under the viaduct and some of the water features of Andy Livingston Park are interesting green space. Currently, much of the area is an asphalt wasteland that is owned by both private owners and the public.

Check out these photos to see the current state of the area: photos from around and under the viaducts

This area has the potential to have one of the next great parks in the city. There are many issues with traffic patterns, the form of development, density levels, public amenities and residents’ feedback to the project that will need to be sorted by the city, but the prospects for this area are exciting.

One Response to “Viaduct removal: send more parks”

  1. Kyle says:

    As I wrote about here, I believe that there is simply too much park space if the city decides to proceed with the plan above. As much as the viaducts have a blocking divisive effect on a neighbourhood, an empty park can be just as draining. It may be ironic, but a large swath of grass is lifeless and cuts communities apart.

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