Proposed greenway upsets residents

Proposed greenway upsets residents >> Vancouver Courier, June 17, 2009.

Along 59th Avenue - proposed North Arm Trail
Along 59th Avenue - proposed North Arm Trail

I must say that this isn’t the greenway along 45th Avenue that I was hoping for; however, any greenway crossing South Vancouver would be welcome.  Especially with the Canada Line’s new pedestrian and cyclist bridge about to open, there will be some opportunities to link up that bridge traffic to the proposed greenway along 59th Avenue.

Most residents have voiced their support (about 80% according to the article), while some have voiced their opposition.

“My main concern is really the waste of the taxpayer’s dollar putting in the greenway when we don’t really need it,” Shong said. Shong and her husband attended an open house in November for the North Arm Trail, a proposed 11-kilometre greenway and bikeway along or near 59th Avenue from Vivian Drive in southeast Vancouver to Angus Drive in the southwest.

She said other area residents were irate about the plans because they don’t feel it’s needed. Shong, a resident of the area for 45 years, says a greenway won’t curtail traffic along East 59th Avenue. “They’ll just come down our [paved] laneway like they do at our friend’s place.”

Her concerns are not at all unfounded.  I drive through that area quite often and see a lot of northbound traffic along Knight turn right onto the small streets instead of heading up all the way to 57th Avenue.  A greenway along 59th would probably ensure that 59th stays quiet, but the surrounding streets from Marine Drive up to 57th will see traffic diverted onto those roads.

Probably diverters and speedbumps along these other small streets would help to relieve the traffic issue on the local streets.  The problem of traffic going through these streets is not new and does need to be addressed with consultation.  That whole section from Marine Drive to 57th Ave and from Knight St. to Argyle Dr. needs to be redesigned as a whole.

In the article, it’s unfortunate that the negative view seems to get most of the airplay when the majority of stakeholder residents seem to support the proposed project.  Greenways can do a lot for a city and it’s residents.  Local residents will be encouraged to walk along their local streets a little more.

Shong said her street has sidewalks, curbs and pretty trees and doesn’t need to be esthetically improved, and she doesn’t want a bench in front of her property just east of Knight.

“I don’t want loiterers out there,” she said. “You know, people who sit down, eat a chocolate bar, and drop a wrapper.”

I don’t think most people are that bad, but it could happen.  Perhaps Ms. Shong is a little too focused on the potential negative of the project.  Most people who use the greenway will likely be bicycle commuters, weekend leisure types, and local residents.  These people would likely feel like they have a stake in the amenities built along the greenway and not want to desecrate it.  However, there’s always a few bad apples in every bunch who will do exactly as Ms. Shong described.  😦

Further reading:

City of Vancouver: Greenways – North Arm Trail

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