News / Vancouver

Arbutus Greenway expected to provide business boost to Kerrisdale and Marpole

City of Vancouver invites residents to have their say on the long-term future of the Arbutus Greenway, a former rail line on Vancouver’s west side

Walkers stroll on the Arbutus Greenway, a refurbished rail line in Vancouver

Jen St. Denis

Walkers stroll on the Arbutus Greenway, a refurbished rail line in Vancouver

Some Vancouver residents have been excited to be able to bike the length of the Arbutus Greenway, while others have been alarmed by the city’s decision to pave the path.

But for Claudia Laroye and Terri Clark, the transportation corridor is an opportunity to bring more business — by foot and by bike — to the charming, but sometimes quiet, shopping areas of Kerrisdale and Marpole.

“For Kerrisdale, this is a huge opportunity to revitalize the area,” said Terri Clark, coordinator of the Kerrisdale Business Improvement Area, characterizing the rail line as it was as an overgrown, “rat-collecting” area.

While the Arbutus corridor doesn’t run right through Marpole as it does through Kerrisdale, the opportunity to better connect Marpole to neighbourhoods like Kitsilano is exciting, said Laroye, executive director of the Marpole BIA.

Claudia Laroye and Terri Clark of the Marpole and Kerrisdale Business Improvement Areas hope the refurbished Arbutus Greenway will help revitalize neighbourhood shopping districts

Jen St. Denis

Claudia Laroye and Terri Clark of the Marpole and Kerrisdale Business Improvement Areas hope the refurbished Arbutus Greenway will help revitalize neighbourhood shopping districts

The city purchased the nine kilometre-long former rail line, which stretches from False Creek to Marpole, from CP Rail in 2015 for $55 million. Crews have removed the rail tracks and laid down what the city says is a temporary asphalt path down most of the length of the corridor. Work to pave the rest of the path, add lighting and some landscaping is still continuing.

The city is now starting public consultations on how the transportation corridor should be built out long-term. Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson says the city is seeking some “creative ideas” from residents on the future of the line.

Current city plans envision a shared bike and walking path, with park-like areas and benches, and a possible streetcar 10 to 20 years from now. But there could also be opportunities to host public art events or “nighttime parades,” according to the city’s website.

The city will be holding several open houses in February, as well as pop-up kiosks on the Arbutus Corridor and an “Ask Me Anything” web forum on the Vancouver Reddit page on Jan. 24. Visit vancouver.ca for more information.

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