News / Vancouver

Vancouver conducts 'design jam' for Arbutus Corridor

City staff will present draft plan in spring 2018

Members of the public join Vancouver city planners in &quotdesign jam" sessions for the Arbutus Corridor in October 2017.

Submitted / City of Vancouver

Members of the public join Vancouver city planners in "design jam" sessions for the Arbutus Corridor in October 2017.

The city is calling three days of public consultation for the Arbutus Corridor a success – dubbing it a "design jam" – after 100 participants covered 30-metres worth of wall space with design ideas.

The ‘design jam’ format is a first for the city, but Paul Storer, manager of transportation design, said the Arbutus Corridor presented a unique opportunity for staff to facilitate a collaborative session with residents from all 22 neighbourhoods.

“One thing that stood out to me was I heard almost unanimous excitement about being involved in the process for the people who came to participate,” he said.

“We were looking for a range of representatives from across the city and we got really good representation from a broad demographic.”

About 100 participants were split into working groups that focused on different sections of the 9-kilometre long Arbutus Corridor. What works for one part of the corridor won’t necessarily fit with another, explained Storer.

But what all working groups heard in common was that staff are reserving part of the corridor for a streetcar the city hopes to build in the future, pending funding from provincial and federal governments.

“One of the things that we’ve been talking to people now is we have this space that we’re going to be setting aside for the street car. How do we use the space in the meantime?”

Ideas included setting aside spaces along the pathway for interactive lighting, do-it-yourself workshops, and food trucks.

Staff will now work on including the public’s ideas in a design draft.

“The project team and consultant team will take those [ideas] and figure out which are the pieces that we can incorporate into the final design, said Storer.

Staff are aiming to come up with a preferred design by spring 2018. That design will undergo public consultation before staff present a master plan to council later that year.

Construction won’t begin until late 2019 or early 2020, said Storer.

The City of Vancouver purchased the Arbutus Corridor from the Canadian Pacific Railway in 2016.

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