Comox-Helmcken Greenway

Illustration of proposed Comox Helmcken Greenway

The Comox-Helmcken Greenway is an important east-west connection through Downtown from False Creek to Stanley Park for pedestrians and cyclists of all ages and abilities. 

The greenway is being developed in two sections with Section 1 of the greenway now complete. Section 2 will take additional time to design due to the complexity of the project.

Benefits of this project

The Comox-Helmcken Greenway project:

  • Connects parks, schools, community centres, neighbourhoods, and retail areas
  • Encourages people of all ages and abilities to explore their city by foot, bicycle, wheelchair, and stroller in a comfortable, convenient, and interesting way
  • Improves pedestrian and cyclist safety
  • Beautifies the street with gardens and trees
  • Provides places to sit, rest, and socialize

Recent developments with this project

Section 2 route

Development of section 2 from Hornby St to the False Creek Seawall is a medium-term priority. It will take additional time to propose a design for this route due to the complexity of the project. The rescheduled project timeline will allow us more time for additional listening and learning through extensive consultation with external partners and stakeholders.

Studies confirm multiple health benefits from completed greenway

May 4, 2016 - We commissioned a study by the UBC Health and Community Design Lab and partnered with the centre for Hip Health and Mobility on another study entitled, "Active Streets, Active People". Both studies examined the effects of improved access to walking, cycling and opportunities for social connection along the completed greenway. Results included:

  • 16% increase in the number of moderate physical activity
  • 9.8% decrease in the number of days of poor mental and physical health
  • Cycling trips increased 49% and auto trips decreased 35%

Read the news release and the two research reports for more details.

Once the full Comox-Helmcken Study research findings have been published the full report will be available on our website.

June 2013 - Section 1 of Comox-Helmcken Greenway is now completed.

Reports and documents

Research reports

Maps and details of the Section 1 design

Section 1 of the Greenway includes Comox and Helmcken streets in the West End (between Stanley Park and Hornby Street). It is a walking and cycling route. Section 1 of the Greenway was completed in June 2013.

Area Map with design details
Comox Street: Stanley Park to Gilford View map
Comox Street: Gilford to Bidwell View map
Comox Street: Bidwell to Nicola View map
Comox Street: Nicola to Jervis View map
Comox Street: Jervis to Thurlow View map
Comox and Helmcken Streets: Thurlow to Hornby View map

2040 Transportation Plan

The City’s Transportation 2040 Plan envisions an efficient transportation system to support a thriving economy, a healthy, safe, accessible and vibrant city, and an improved natural environment.  Specific targets include having two-thirds of all trips in Vancouver by sustainable modes by 2040 and eliminating traffic-related fatalities.

Transportation 2040 includes visions to make walking safe, convenient, comfortable, and delightful; and cycling safe, convenient, comfortable, and fun for people of all ages and abilities (AAA), including seniors and children.

2002 Downtown Transportation Plan

The 2002 Downtown Transportation Plan included recommendations approved by Council to guide development of the Greenway along the preferred route alignment of Comox and Helmcken streets. This was a result of feedback from the community about the quiet, well treed residential character of Comox Street with its important connections to historic Mole Hill and Nelson Park and Yaletown, Seaside Greenway and False Creek Ferries.

Project details

The Greenway is being developed in two sections:

  • Section 1: Comox and Helmcken streets in the West End (between Stanley Park and Hornby Street) is a walking and cycling route. It was completed in June 2013.
  • Section 2:  Hornby Street to the False Creek Seawall. It is a medium-term priority for the City, and will take additional time to propose a design for this route due to the complexity of the project.  

Maps with further design details for Section 1 are available in the Documents tab.

Section 1 

Comox Street: Stanley Park Drive to Burrard Street

  • Improved intersections with corner bulges and curb ramps to provide a shorter and safer crossing as well as places for neighbours to garden, sit and socialize
  • Improved sidewalks and lighting
  • Traffic restrictions for traffic calming
  • Bicycles share the street with cars except for two blocks where there are higher vehicle volumes and specific requirements for the hotels and hospital.

Burrard Street: Comox Street to Helmcken Street

  • The sidewalk has been widened on the east side of Burrard. Cyclists can use the sidewalk and are separated from pedestrians.
  • A new traffic signal and bike signals for the Burrard Street and Comox Street intersection to improve circulation for pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles

Helmcken Street: Burrard Street to Hornby Street

  • A two-way separated bike lane on the south side of the street to separate cyclists from vehicle traffic

Work leading up to the proposed design plan for Section 1 of the Greenway

Comox-Helmcken Greenway artist rendering of Denman and ComoxThe Comox-Helmcken Greenway is part of the City Greenway network, connecting Stanley Park to False Creek. The Greenway route was approved by Council as part of the 2002 Downtown Transportation Plan.

In the fall of 2011, City staff consulted with businesses, seniors, children, youth and others and took into consideration their feedback in the proposed Greenway through open houses, walking tours (guided and self guided), workshops with youth and seniors, a survey, and community and stakeholder meetings. We wanted feedback from people of all ages in order to develop a successful greenway project that would serve the needs of the community and the city as a whole.

In total, 619 people participated in the consultation process:

  • 224 residents responded to the survey, which was available online and in hard copy at events.
  • Approximately 300 students participated in children and youth workshops.
  • 65 seniors participated in the walking tours and seniors workshops.

What we heard during public consultations

The following information was collected at the open houses, workshops, meetings, walking tours and the online survey.

Top five topics from the general public

Topic   Description
On-street parking On-street parking is important to residents.
Access to residence, business Many residents would like to maintain vehicle access to their front doors while some would like to see streets closed.
Less traffic Most residents would like to see less traffic on their streets.
Change to neighbourhood, streets While some residents want their street to remain as is, others would like to see improvements, including a greenway.
Separating bikes from traffic and pedestrians While some residents are concerned about bike lanes, other want bikes off the sidewalk and safer cycling to school for children.

Biggest potential concerns

When asked to imagine using the Comox-Helmcken Greenway people ranked the following as their biggest potential concerns:

  • Increased pedestrian/ cyclist traffic
  • Reduced emergency access
  • Traffic impacts on adjacent streets
  • Temporary construction impacts
  • Project costs
  • Landscape maintenance
  • Reduced number of vehicle lanes

Features for promoting active lifestyles

When asked to imagine using the Comox-Helmcken Greenway to promote an active lifestyle people ranked the following features as contributing to this vision:

  • More people walking and cycling
  • Separating cyclists from vehicle traffic
  • Trees and gardens
  • Less vehicle traffic
  • Even sidewalks

Features residents liked along the Comox-Helmcken Greenway

Along Comox: Stanley Park to Burrard:

  • Trees
  • Gardens
  • Mini-parks
  • Shade
  • Sun

Obstacles for those travelling along the Comox-Helmcken Greenway

Along Comox: Stanley Park to Burrard:

  • Vehicle speed
  • Parked cars and opening car doors
  • Crossing a busy street
  • Uneven sidewalks
  • Too many cars traveling on the street
  • No public toilet facilities

Learn more about the Transportation 2040 plan

Transportation 2040 Plan

Our plan provides a vision for how people and goods move in and around Vancouver for the next 30 years.

View a detailed map of the Greenway

Comox-Helmcken Greenway Detailed Map

Download map