Vancouver panel to get leeway in search for new arterial road through False Creek Flats

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      A community panel starts its work in January 2019 to look for a new arterial road through Vancouver’s False Creek Flats.

      The City of Vancouver earlier identified three alternatives to the current Prior/Venables street connection.

      These are National Avenue, Malkin Avenue, and William Street, which would connect Main and Prior streets on the west to Clark Drive on the east.

      The road will be separated from the rail line corridor with either an overpass or an underpass.

      The then city council in 2015 decided that the Prior and Venables will be converted into a local serving street after a new alignment has been completed.

      It also determined that a community panel will make a recommendation to council and park board.

      The city has chosen the Minnesota-based Jefferson Center as convenor of the panel, and the nonprofit’s executive director, Kyle Bozentko, as project principal for the False Creek Flats community panel.

      As of Monday (December 3), 135 people have applied so far for the 42 spots in the panel, according to Bozentko.

      Bozentko said that the group will have latitude in examining options for an east-west connection through False Creek Flats.

      In addition to the three alternate routes identified by the city, Bozentko said that the current Prior/Venables alignment will also be presented for consideration by the panel.

      “Each of those alignment options will have a range of possible variations within them, and those to the extent that is feasible and practical will be presented to the greatest degree of accuracy possible,” Bozentko told the Georgia Straight in a phone interview.

      Bozentko said that if the panel is unable to choose a new different route, it may have to consider the existing Prior/Venables connection.

      According to him, there will be an “examination of here are the implications of nothing happening or a different route not being selected”.

      In September this year, the Strathcona Residents’ Association came up with a study proposing a fourth alternative.

      The report prepared by the association presented the National Avenue-Charles Street route as an option that avoids a number of impacts associated with the three alternatives identified by the city.

      These impacts include effects on Strathcona Park, the Strathcona and Cottonwood community gardens, and wholesale produce businesses on Malkin Avenue.

      The grassroots-based Grandview Woodland Area Council has passed a motion requesting that the residents’ association’s proposal be given equal standing with the other options to be considered by the panel.

      Eastbound traffic from the Georgia viaduct is fed to Main and Prior streets. The previous council has approved a plan to demolish the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts.

      The city is accepting applications to join the community panel until Monday (December 10).

      The panel will have the first of its eight full-day sessions on January 19. The last will be held on April 6, 2019.