Mo’ Bikes On The East Side

April 23, 2018

As previewed at the last GWAC meeting, we now have more details on the expansion of the MOBI bike sharing system to more of the East side.  The Vancouver Courier reports that:

“Fifteen new bike share stations have been installed in the Mount Pleasant and Commercial Drive area. It’s part of an overall expansion of the bike rental system into East Vancouver that will see another 35 stations in place by summer, for a total of about 50 new stations and 500 bikes being made available in that part of the city.”

In Grandview, the new stations are at:

  • Woodland and 10th
  • Commercial and 10th
  • Commercial and 8th
  • Grandview Hwy (near Commercial)
  • Commercial and 4th
  • Commercial and 2nd
  • Commercial and Grant
  • Commercial and Charles
  • Commercial and Napier

The Courier adds that two more stations will be installed in East Vancouver next week at these sites:

  • Commercial and Adanac (bike route)
  • Adanac and McLean (bike route)

The Mobi by Shaw Go service area now includes the Downtown Peninsula, roughly bounded by Victoria Drive, Arbutus Street, 16 Avenue, to the Burrard Inlet and into Stanley Park.  With the present expansion, they are clearly making sure they catch the influx of commuters at the ever-growing Broadway & Commercial transit nexus.

More importantly, I think it is a signal that this kind of integrated mobility system isn’t going away anytime soon, and will only get better as innovation and feedback drive the process forward.

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Closing First Avenue

April 5, 2018

Fortis BC have announced that First Avenue will be closed entirely between Clark Drive and Nanaimo Street for most of the summer for the laying of new natural gas pipes.  The closure will start in mid-June and is scheduled to end on 31 August.

Their notice says we “understand local residents and commuters will experience traffic delays.”  You can say that again!


Free Art Studio: Opioid Crisis

March 19, 2018


Major Development at Clark & E. 1st

February 22, 2018

The block of E. 1st Avenue from Clark to McLean Drive on the north side has been owned by the City for quite some time now, and many of us have wondered what might be its ultimate fate. Now we know. According to a release dated 16th February:

“The Province is working with the City of Vancouver and Vancouver Coastal Health to build approximately 100 affordable rental homes, as well as a new withdrawal management centre for people seeking treatment for addictions …

A new evidence-based withdrawal management centre within the planned complex will replace Vancouver Coastal Health’s current withdrawal management services facility on East 2nd Ave. It will include a range of enhanced services such as inpatient and outpatient withdrawal management, and sobering and at-home withdrawal management, which are trauma-informed and culturally appropriate …

The proposed mixed-use redevelopment, located at 1636 Clark Dr. and 1321–1395 East 1st Ave., is a collaborative response to the housing crisis and the health-care needs of the community. It will serve low-to moderate-income people, and include a social enterprise space for local residents, focusing on Indigenous healing and wellness through employment and alignment with culturally informed treatment…

The Province, Vancouver Coastal Health and the City of Vancouver will work with existing tenants on site and the surrounding community to share project details. The proposed project is subject to a rezoning approval by Vancouver city council and a development permit approval process.”

I haven’t seen any design plans yet, but this sounds like a very good use for that space.  More information on the project will be posted at BC Housing website.


Important: Overnight Warming Centre Open

February 16, 2018


Grant Street Development: The Neighbours Speak

February 6, 2018

I attended the February meeting of the Grandview Woodland Area Council last night. There was a full house and a lot of intelligent community discussion.

The scheduled speaker was Malcolm Bromley, general manager of Vancouver Parks. However, for the second month in a row he cancelled his appearance at the last minute.  It is as if Grandview and the east side doesn’t count for anything in his mind. I doubt he will be invited again.

In Bromley’s place, three neighbours of a proposed development on Grant Street, two of whom are professional architects, gave a presentation in opposition to the project as currently designed.

The developer has purchased four lots — 1535, 1545, 1549, and 1557 Grant — and proposes to demolish the 1½ -3 storey heritage houses on those lots and to build a 6-storey secured rental apartment complex of 40 units. Four of the units will be 3-bedroom, 12 of two bedroom, and 24 with one-bedroom.  They claim that this will be a “family-oriented” development even though the majority of units are unsuitable for families with children.

The zoning under the Community Plan allows for a 6-storey apartment building (although formal approval and a public hearing is still required) but the developer will be seeking a number of zoning changes including a significant reduction in parking requirements. They wish to supply just 19 automobile spaces for the 40 apartments.

This proposal is one of the five allowed under the Pace of Change regulations in the first three years of the Community Plan. Because it will be secured rental, the developer will have the Community Amenity Charges (CACs) waived, saving considerable expense.

The presenters have written to the Planning Department with their concerns. They explained that a large 6-storey building in the middle of this block of 2-3 storey houses would be out of place, especially as there is no planned transition between the smaller houses and the apartment building. They note that there are considerable slopes both east-west and north-south, and no lane, making access to the new building and along the narrow Grant Street very difficult, especially for emergency vehicles.  The shadowing of the neighbouring houses is expected to be extreme. There are also issues of noise and the loss of heritage trees.

It was noted that these will be market rentals (one-bedroom suites starting at about $1,800 a month) and so will add nothing to affordability in the neighbourhood.  The four houses being demolished are all currently rentals and most have basement or other additional suites.  It was pointed out by several members of the audience that in Grandview there are virtually no “single family houses”; most so-called SFHs have additional suites and are therefore twice or more as dense as some might think.

Several other audience members called the project a “block buster” which will inevitably lead to more such projects in similar low-rise streets and blocks.

The neighbours are now awaiting the developer to make a formal application to the city for rezoning. The GWAC Board will consider their position on the development.

 


Bank Robberies On The Drive

February 4, 2018

Yesterday there were two bank robberies on Commercial.  The Royal at First & Commercial was hit first at about 1:00pm, followed by the Commerce at Broadway & Commercial half an hour later.

Not being the brightest bulbs in the chandelier, the alleged robbers took off in a stolen Porsche Cayenne (how inconspicuous is that?) which they immediately crashed causing a four-car pileup at Clark & First, injuring four innocents.

At the scene of the crash, the police blocked them in and they were taken into custody. According to the CTV report, the take down was dramatic:

“Ryland Chernomaz was on Clark Drive at the time of the incident. He said he saw the police vehicles do U-turns and hit the Cayenne, then saw officers get out with their guns drawn. ‘He’s on the ground, there’s another girl with him, crying,’ Chernomaz said of the moment of the arrest. ‘I’ve never seen anything like it. Crazy stuff’.”

None of the news reports I have seen mention how the bank staff are or how much was stolen.