East Of The Viaducts: The Question Still

May 2, 2018

Five full years ago, I wrote about the stupidity (or crass profiteering) of demolishing the viaducts without having any real idea of what happens to the traffic east of Main. In his haste to bring down the viaducts in the service of his developer cronies, I likened Geoff Meggs to Wile E. Coyote, always running off the edge of a cliff in his eagerness to do evil.

I was reminded of this when reading today’s Tyee article about the City “Offloading” the traffic decision to a “Community panel” based on GW’s discredited Citizens’ Assembly.

From what I can gather from the article, the demolition of the viaducts is a done deal (subject of course to the upcoming election) but the vexing matter of what then happens to the east end traffic is being punted not to the elected Councilors, not to the experts we already pay in Planning and Transportation, not to expensive outside experts, but “to a community panel who may or may not have knowledge of transportation planning, and who may or may not have access to the amount of detailed information needed to make such a complex decision.”

This panel is to be given three options for getting traffic from Main to Clark, each of which includes a major negative issue:  1.  William Street, cutting through Strathcona Park; 2. Malkin Avenue, the original contender but subject to destroying the successful Produce Row industry; and 3. National Avenue, considered by many to be too far south, emerging too close to First and Clark.

The writer in the Tyee is clear that in her opinion, the decision should be made by experts (“Let’s not put a panel of community members into the uncomfortable and unpaid position of choosing one of the three evils.”).

My opinion is that we need to start again, revisit the whole question of the viaducts and their viability, ignore the nagging from the Aquilini’s and others who are impatient to build more towers there, and use a working group of interested residents from each of the neighbourhoods affected, assisted (but only assisted) by professional planners, to create an overall plan with or without the viaducts as they so determine.

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