The Eastern Core Strategy is a transportation and land use strategy for the lands surrounding the Georgia and Dunsmuir Viaducts and False Creek Flats.
A concept plan for the Viaducts
The viaducts (two elevated roadways connecting the Eastern Core area to downtown Vancouver) are remnants of a 1970s freeway system that was abandoned after public opposition. The viaducts now act as dividers between neighbourhoods, and reduce the connectivity of the community below.
A team of urban design, transportation, and structural engineering consultants - working in collaboration with City planning and engineering staff - have developed a bold, city-shaping concept plan for the viaducts land.
This concept plan proposes the removal of the viaducts structures.The road network would then be reconfigured at grade, which would unlock the potential for more park land and mixed-use development.
At the same time, the plan would ensusre that transportation routes to and from downtown, for both people and goods, remain.
Strategic planning for the Eastern Core
The City’s overall review of the viaducts land is part of a strategic planning review for the Eastern Core, the area that stretches from Northeast False Creek to Clark Drive.
The Eastern Core strategy will connect the area to its neighbouring communities, creating opportunities for pedestrians and cyclists, while keeping its industrial and transportation functions. The strategy aims to transform the Eastern Core into a "green enterprise zone" with a focus on sustainable jobs.
Staff will report back to Council before the summer break (July 2012) on the public comments collected through the public survey and open houses held in June 2012.
The City held a survey to gather public feedback. The survey closed on Wednesday, June 13 2012.
The City held three public open houses in the first week of June 2012 to give the public a glimpse of the future of the viaducts with a concept plan for the structures and the surrounding Eastern Core.
New concept slideshow
City staff created narrated slideshow summaries of the proposed new concept for the land under the viaducts. These slideshows walk you through the history of the viaducts and outlines both the City and community perspective.
Part 1: Exploring a New Direction
Click the lower right-hand corner of the video to view it full screen.
Part 2: Engineering Analysis
Click the lower right-hand corner of the video to view it full screen.
Public ideas competition
From September 22 2011 to November 4 2011, the City's public ideas competition called on Vancouver residents to join with local and international designers to dream up new possibilities for the viaducts and Eastern Core. The response was overwhelming, with over a hundred unique submissions.
The competition was divided into three categories, with two unique streams: a free stream and a fee stream. In addition to the selections from the jury, there was one week of online voting to select a people's choice winner in each category.
City staff have been studying the area around the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts and the greater Eastern Core since 2010. To develop strategies around the best way to use this area many studies, policies, and reports have been developed and referenced to help City planners.
Studies and analysis
Here are some of the key documents staff used when creating the viaducts and Eastern Core strategy:
The City’s key objectives for the Eastern Core are to:
Focus on green jobs and green economy in False Creek Flats, exploring a range of development potential in the west and south
Maintain and improve the light industrial and transportation focus of the area
Maintain or improve existing rail functionality and goods movement capacity
Improve street, pedestrian, and cycling connections in the area and between neighbouring communities
Respond to the challenges of climate change affected by sea level rise, increased rainfall, and storms in this area
The City will present final reports to Council about prefered viaduct options, future land use, and transportation planning in the summer of 2012.
The Eastern Core strategy will be developed through a combination of studies, public input, and recommendations from an urban design team.
The proces will consist of five stages:
The City gave members of the public two opportunities to have a say in the future of False Creek Flats: an ideas competition and a series of public workshops.
re:CONNECT public ideas competition
In September 2011 the City launched a public ideas competition to generate fresh ideas for alternate uses of the viaducts and the Eastern Core. The competition had three areas of focus: connecting the core, visualizing the viaducts, and the wildcard.
Connecting the core considers the big picture - a plan for the viaducts and all of the Eastern Core.
Visualizing the viaducts considers the land currently occupied by the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts.
The wildcard considers ideas that push the envelope. Applicants were encouraged to propose an idea that could revolutionize the way people think about the area.
The purpose of the ideas competition was to encourage the public, as well as urban designers, to think creatively about the future of the viaducts. The best ideas were selected by a panel of experts in architecture, urban design, academia, and sustainability.
Members of the public were encouraged to vote online for a people's choice winner.
Staff will consider the best and most relevant ideas when drawing up the final plan.
After considering the information from the design competition, studies, and stakeholder consultation, the City gave the public another chance to comment on the draft plan.
The City will host a series of public workshops, and use the feedback when creating the final detailed plan.
The City started the Eastern Core strategy by studying the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts.
The viaducts were originally built in 1915 to bypass the tidal waters, rail lines, and industry below. They were rebuilt in the 1960s, as the first step in a proposed freeway system that was planned but never built.
Land use around these structures has changed a lot since the 1960s, leaving the viaducts as physical and visual barriers. As a result, the City looked into the impact of removing them.
The first study revealed that removing the viaducts was possible with minimal impact, provided that the City continues to invest in transit, walking, and cycling in the area.
The report recommended a more detailed study of the viaducts, including an analysis of land use, cost, development potential, and structure reconfiguration options.
The False Creek Flats were originally tidal mud flats that were filled in during the early 20th century.
1913 - The Great Northern Railway was extended along the shores of False Creek Flats. Primarly built on piles and low trestles, it formed the foundation for the filling of the flats.
1917 - The flats had been filled in as far east as Main Street.
1920 - False Creek Flats was an established rail corridor, with a passengar rail station on Terminal Avenue.
1960s - Residential, retail, and commercial growth around the flats increased dramatically, and many commerical and industrial suppliers were established along Terminal Avenue.
1980s and 1990s - The City began to create new policies to support False Creek Flats' industrial potential.
There are a number of heritage buildings in the area, including:
Thornton Park: Built around 192A3, and named after Henry Thornton, general manager of CN rail
CN Railway Station: 1919 Class ‘A’ neo-classical building that serves as a civic landmark and functions as the passenger rail/bus depot
750 Terminal Avenue: 1937 Class ‘A’ Industrial-Modern building
242 Terminal Avenue: 1937 Class ‘B’ Industrial-Modern building
250 Terminal Avenue: 1924 Class ‘B’ industrial-Modern building