Removing the eastbound Georgia Viaduct back to Pacific Boulevard would free up land between an existing park and a parksite, as well as park land east of Main Street. It removes a dividing barrier between Chinatown and the end of False Creek. At the same time west bound cars and bicycle traffic from Strathcona and Grandview heading to Downtown can still travel along Venables and ramp up to Dunsmuir Street.
While there are many good reasons to tear down all or part of the viaducts, there are also some good reasons to revisit their function and reconfigure parts of them.
Any discussion about removing the viaducts must acknowledge their current utility:
1. The west bound viaduct and Dunsmuir Street is the main route into downtown for people driving from Grandview and other nearby areas to the east.
2. For many westbound travellers on the Trans-Canada Highway, the route to downtown Vancouver from the high¬way is along First Avenue, Victoria Drive, Venables and onto the Dunsmuir Viaduct.
3. Georgia Street and the east bound viaduct is the route out of downtown Vancouver for many eastbound travellers—commuters heading home to East Vancouver and Burnaby, and others heading further east on to the Trans-Canada Highway.
4. Removing both viaducts completely would divert traffic into a long and circuitous route, adding to traffic congestion and pollution.
Not much is gained by having both viaducts cross Main Street, rather the two viaducts serve to create a dead zone that pedestrians are reluctant to cross. They also visually separate Chinatown from the rest of Main Street, Thorton Park and the east end of False Creek.
There is a good case for removing most of the east bound Georgia Viaduct back to Pacific Boulevard, but allowing Georgia Street to ramp down to Pacific Boulevard:
1. This would free up land between the end of Carrall Street (Taylor Street) and Quebec Street, an area between a large existing park and a large parksite. It also frees up park land east of Main Street, and removes a dividing barrier between Chinatown and the end of False Creek. At the same time west bound cars and bicycle traffic from Stathcona and Grandview heading to Downtown can still travel along Venables and ramp up to Dunsmuir Street.
2. Georgia Street traffic heading through the east side of Vancouver would be diverted from Venables Street to First Avenue, by way of Pacific Boulevard and Quebec Street. This new route is all four-lane streets, lessening traffic through the old route where it traversed residential areas on two-lane roads.
3. Very little is gained by removing the section of the Dunsmuir Viaduct west of Main Street, silice for most of this distance it is paralleled by the even more invasive and immovable Skytrain line.
Revisiting the Viaducts presents an opportunity to make a direct pedestrian access route from Georgia Street to False Creek. Georgia Street has landmark Stanley Park at its western end, but at at its eastern end its path gets diverted away from the landmark sitting directly ahead—the striking sphere of Science World. The sphere marks the east end of False Creek as well as the egde of the seawall and a stop on the False Creek ferry system.
The solution for pedestrians would be a safe and direct pedestrian ramp going straight down from Georgia Street, over Expo Boulevard and Pacific Boulevard, to the shore of False Creek, connecting with the seawall and a new False Creek ferry stop.
For the people living around the rim of False Creek a direct pedestrian link from the seawall and the False Creek ferry system would provide a pleasant route to Queen Elizabeth Theatre, BC Place, Rogers Arena, and nearby stores and businesses.
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