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.
Grade-separating streets from the rail line is important because it will:
- Improve the safety for people walking, cycling, and driving across the rail line
- Reduce traffic disruptions and short-cutting 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 Powell Street Overpass was the first grade separation project completed by the City in 2014.
In 2015, Council directed staff to explore alternate routes to the current arterial on Prior/Venables for the grade-separated street. Technical study and engagement on alternate routes began during the False Creek Flats planning process and continued through the Flats Arterial Community Panel.
Each alternate route had significant challenges. After 5 years of study and engagement, no alternate route was found that was both cost-effective and supported by the community.
Prior St enhancements and pilot
Starting January 27, the first steps in a pilot project to address long-standing traffic safety concerns along Prior/Venables St will be taken.
The pilot is part of a Council direction in October 2019 to pilot measures to improve walkability, reduce vehicle speeds, and carry out traffic calming and is expected to be in place for approximately one year, to capture the changes in travel patterns and seasonal differences.
Prior St between Gore and Raymur avenues now have one travel-lane in each direction throughout the day including weekday mornings and afternoons. Previously, two travel lanes were available during peak times.
A reduction in speed to 30km/h has been implemented adjacent to Strathcona Park between Raymur and Hawks avenues.
We're working closely with Translink and Vancouver Fire Rescue Services to monitor and maintain service reliability and emergency response times in the area.
Underpass and traffic calming approved
Council approved an underpass on Prior/Venables St and a series of measures aimed at calming traffic on Prior St.
We will work with project partners such as the railway and the port to build an underpass at no cost to the City. Once completed, the new underpass will provide a safe and accessible connection under the rail line for people walking and biking, and a reliable route for people taking transit and driving.
Council also directed staff to calm Prior St and work with the community to make improvements to the street and the local street network. This includes improvements to crossings, reducing the speed limit to 30/km hour near Strathcona Park, and a pilot on Prior St that will reduce the street to one lane in each direction at all times of day.
The illustration below shows the potential enhancements at Hawks Avenue, to be discussed with park staff and the community.