Arbutus track removal ahead of schedule as city starts work on bike path
'People will be able to be on the path earlier than planned,' says city official
The City of Vancouver is ahead of schedule on its plan to remove train tracks from the Arbutus corridor on the city's West Side.
Crews have already begun installing a temporary asphalt path along the route, said Lon LaClaire, the city's director of transportation.
That path will allow cyclists and pedestrians to use the route until a permanent greenway is complete, LaClaire said.
Work to remove the tracks began in June and was expected to last a couple of months, but crews finished removing the last rails last week.
As a result, parts of the pathway will be open to the public possibly as early as next week, LaClaire said.
"The key thing is that people will be able to be on the path earlier than planned," he said.
The transformation of this coveted stretch of land was the result of a historic deal reached earlier this year between the city and Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd..
Under that agreement, the city bought the land from CP for $55 million, ending a bitter dispute between the two.
- Railway removal starting along Arbutus greenway
- Vancouver Mayor muscles 1st spike out of Arbutus Corridor
The former transportation corridor runs nine kilometres through the city's West Side from False Creek to Marpole.
It's been years since trains have used these tracks. Beds of community gardens have since sprung up on either side of the idled tracks.
Track removal ahead of schedule
CP Rail was responsible for the rail removal along the corridor, with the exception of street crossings.
Construction of the path will take place between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. PT Monday to Saturday,, and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays and holidays.
Prior to the agreement, CP Rail had owned the land for more than a century, but hadn't run trains on it for about 15 years. Vancouver had previously offered to buy the land, but the two sides could never agree on a price.
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson described the final arrangement between the city and CP 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.
Beginning this fall, the city will hold public consultations for input on the greenway's design. Plans for the new route also include a streetcar.