Days after the City of Vancouver announced it had solved a 20 year impasse over the Arbutus Corridor with Canadian Pacific Railway for $55 million, it's now selling its big ideas for the 42 acres of space that runs nine kilometres from the Fraser River to False Creek.
"Over the next year we are going to design walking, cycling, and corridor and leave room for street car one day in the future and identify if there is any excess land for planning process to see what to do with it," said Jerry Dobrovolny, general manager of engineering services for the city.
Dobrovolny was part of a pop-up city hall event at the intersection of West 41st Street and West Boulevard on Saturday to engage with residents over plans to transform the corridor.
"It just really connects up Richmond to Vancouver to downtown and creates a real safe space," said Mike Lang, who attended the event. "I think it is something that is a long time coming, being able to ride your bike in a safe environment is great and for pedestrians, I think it is a win-win. "
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Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson described the agreement with Canadian Pacific Railway as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, saying the planned greenway — designed for cyclists and walkers — will enhance Vancouver's international reputation as a tourist destination.
"It's about time, yeah I think it is great and I cannot wait to use it," said Calvin Chinn. "Anything is better than what it is now, it's not safe."
Some at the pop-up event did express concern that the corridor is not big enough to accommodate both a street car and a cycling and walking path..
Meanwhile the city says in the short term there will be no changes impacting the 320 community gardens near the existing rail line, but that permitted gardens must be maintained within their existing footprint as CP removes rail ties from now until 2017.