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False Creek Flats view of the tracks

False Creek Flats Arterial

As part of our Transportation 2040 Plan and False Creek Flats Rail Corridor Strategy, we are seeking opportunities to separate our streets from the Burrard Inlet Rail Line that runs north-south between the False Creek Flats and the Port, west of Clark Drive.

We have been working with project partners to research a potential new arterial to replace Prior Street through False Creek Flats.

A new arterial street will allow us to build a safe and cost effective overpass above the rail line.

Consultation and engagement began during the False Creek Flats planning process. We are continuing to gather community input to find the best possible solution. 

Arterial options

In the False Creek Flats planning process, we explored three possible options: National Ave, Malkin Ave, and William St.

The options present challenges for various project partners.

Consultation process and documents

Get involved and provide feedback about the Flats Arterial. Learn more about the consultation process.

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National Avenue

The National Avenue option runs along the north edge of the new St. Paul’s Hospital site, past Trillium Park and along Thornton St, onto National Ave to Chess Dr.

The overpass begins at Chess Dr, through the Fire Training Facility, overtop the railway track, Vernon Dr, and aligns with Grant St to connect with Clark Drive.

Key challenges

  • Requires a longer structure to span the rail yards
  • Wouldn't operate well for driving, cycling, walking, or transit, due to the proximity to E 1st Ave at Clark Dr
  • Impacts the National Works Yard and requires relocating the Chess Street Fire Training Facility and Heavy Urban Search and Rescue site. These facilities would be expensive to relocate and rebuild and no suitable alternative properties have been identified.

Malkin Avenue

The Malkin Ave option runs along the north edge of the new St. Paul’s Hospital site and on the existing alignment of Malkin Ave.

The overpass begins at Raymur Ave, passes over Glen Dr, the railway tracks, Vernon Dr, and aligns with Charles St to connect with Clark Dr. 

Key challenges

  • Removes part of the Cottonwood Community Gardens that are within the street right-of-way
  • Restrict truck operations of several Produce Row businesses that currently back-in to loading bays and block the street

William Street

The William St option was dismissed in an early phase of exploration due to its impact to Strathcona Park. During engagement on the other options, project partners impacted by the Malkin St option requested that we consider it as an option.

This option runs along the north edge of the new St. Paul’s Hospital site, on the existing alignment of Malkin Ave, and through Strathcona Park between Chess St and Raymur Ave.

The overpass begins at Raymur Ave, passes over Glen Dr, the railway tracks, Vernon Dr, and aligns with William St to connect with Clark Dr.

Key challenges

  • Splits the southern portion of Strathcona Park
  • Requires a Park Board decision whether the reconfiguration of the park boundaries and facilities is possible
 

Prior Street as an arterial today

During consultation and assessment of each option, Prior Street will remain as an east-west arterial through False Creek Flats. 

Although the increase in rail activity has disrupted the neighbourhood, Prior/Venables Street and the current rail crossing continue to operate safely. 

Improvements to transit, walking, and cycling, such as the Hastings B-Line (Route 95) and increased service on the Expo SkyTrain, will provide more choices for people to get around and are anticipated to reduce traffic volumes on Prior/Venables Street and reduce the disruption felt by the community. 

Safety improvements along Prior Street

In 2015, we completed an In-service Road Safety Review and a Livability Assessment. These studies showed that the type and frequency of collisions on Prior/Venables Street compares with similar corridors in the City. 

We have implemented the recommendations of the studies and addressed community requests to improve safety, including:

  • Installation of ten pedestrian countdown timers
  • Increased pedestrian crossing time at four signals
  • Improved visibility by removing vegetation and installing more visible signal heads at Raymur & Venables
  • Implementation of a left turn ban during the afternoon peak at Venables St and Vernon St
  • Installation of speed reader boards on Prior St 
  • Replacement of signs to warn drivers approaching Strathcona Park 

A new pedestrian/bike signal at Venables St and Vernon St will be installed in 2018.

Key issues

During the False Creek Flats planning process, we heard from many stakeholders about what needs to be taken into consideration when deciding on an arterial and overpass route. 

New St. Paul’s / Providence Lands

Strathcona Park and Trillium Park

Community gardens

Produce Row

Industrial businesses

Changes to Prior Street and Atlantic Street

What is the Rail Corridor Strategy

The Burrard Inlet Rail Corridor connects the False Creek Flats railyards with the Port of Vancouver container terminals on the south shore of the Burrard Inlet. Vancouver is part of Canada’s Asia-Pacific Gateway and these rail lines play a vital role in moving goods that support the local, regional, and national economy by connecting British Columbia and Canada to Asia and the world.

Grade-separating Prior/Venables Street from the rail line is important for many reasons:

  • Improve the safety for people walking, cycling, and driving across the rail line
  • Reduce traffic disruptions and shortcutting through neighbourhoods
  • Support local jobs and the economy by moving people and goods more efficiently
  • Move goods with fewer greenhouse gas emissions by trains rather than trucks

The need to build an overpass in the Flats was identified in the False Creek Flats Rail Corridor Strategy (1.25 MB) in 2008. Constructing the Powell Street Overpass in 2014 was the first phase of the strategy. The last remaining arterial street that needs to be separated from the rail by an over or under-pass is Prior/Venables Street.

Rail corridor strategies are an important component of Transportation 2040 to support Vancouver’s role as a major port and gateway and to maximize the opportunities to move goods and people by rail.

Consultation process and documents