Robson Street Plaza design focuses on pedestrian access, connectivity
Construction on the new permanent public plaza slated to begin in spring 2017
The City of Vancouver's proposed concept for a new public plaza on Robson Street includes year-round public furniture and automated public washrooms.
The plaza would be built at street level to provide easier north-south movement for pedestrians through the plaza.
Council will be reviewing the concept today, after approving a plan to convert the 800-block of Robson Street into a permanent public plaza in April.
According to a report from the city, construction on the plaza will begin in spring 2017, and is anticipated to be complete by early 2018.
Margaret Wittgens, the city's director of public space and street use, said the project is expected to cost $6.5 million. It will also include improvements to the 700 and 900 blocks of Robson Street, as well as the Hornby Street bike lane.
The report does not address bike traffic through the plaza, though it does include plans for additional bike parking.
Wittgens said bike traffic would not be prohibited, but that anyone moving through the plaza on wheels "should be moving at a pedestrian-compatible speed."
An important central hub
The report also includes the results of public questionnaire the city conducted on the proposed plaza earlier in the fall.
Respondents to the questionnaire found the pedestrian focus of the area to be one of its most positive and unique aspects, viewing it as an important central area of public life in downtown Vancouver.
"The most popular comment about the space is that it is a central location or heart in the city that is both a hub and an oasis," the report reads.
Concept drawings also show trees, planters, public furniture and street lights. Respondents to the questionnaire identified all of these as things they would like to see in the new plaza.
"People described 800 Robson as a place to gather, including for demonstrations, to watch or meet people, to relax, and to enjoy the sun."
The questionnaire also reiterated concerns about the effect on traffic on bus service as a result of permanently closing the block to vehicles.
When the block was closed earlier this year, the #5 Robson Street bus was rerouted north, up Burrard Street to West Pender Street.
With files from CBC Radio One's The Early Edition.