Narrow Streets, More Housing

Vancouver City’s ReTHINK Housing competition has thrown up at least one winner that I can fully support — the idea of reducing roadways from 66′ wide to 33′ and using the new found land to build affordable housing.   The housing would be affordable because the city already owns the roadway and so the cost of land in this proposal is essentially zero.

The proponents suggest three different types of housing usage for the recovered strips. They estimate that the City could gain 10,000 ground level housing units and a $2 billion fund from just 50% of the possible space using the least dense type “without demolishing a single unit of existing housing, or undertaking a single rezoning.”

I would suggest that along some of these recovered areas we could also place new transit services of various types, while leaving the remaining roadway for walking, cycling and, I suppose, cars.

Here in Grandview we are used to 33′ lots (even many that are just 25′) and there seems to be no difficulty in creating a very livable community under such conditions.  This is a creative idea that conjoins the idea of affordable housing with a less-cars-is-better sensibility, and I am glad to hear via Twitter that it is an idea that is being considered seriously at City Hall.


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