City reopens Robson Square to cars
It is pretty sad when the City thinks that a small piece of road is so vital to transportation, that it gets in the way of Vancouver finally getting the central public square it needs.
A report on the future of the 800-block of Robson Street and the expansion of Robson Square goes to City Council today. The report follows a public consultation process (the most popular on-line survey the City’s ever done) that indicated strong support for a permanent pedestrianization of the space.
The City still appears interested in expanding the plaza. Unfortunately, they are also planning to re-open the space to vehicles on December 1, and haven’t attached any resources to resolving outstanding issues around transit, design and programming.
While I totally agree that there are issues that need to be resolved, particularly the #5 Robson bus that has been rerouted and is dropping off seniors several blocks away from their desired destinations (it is not acceptable to make those with mobility issues walk any further than they already do), this is solvable and should not deter the City from closing the 800 block and creating a permanent public square.
I also have had mobility issues this year due to a virus that left me with fatigue that makes me unable to walk very long distances. I have had to rely on my car to get around at times and have had to “circle the square” as one columnist calls it. But the fact of the matter is, I am sitting - in a car. It is really not a big deal for me to drive a bit longer if I am sitting down. My rights as a driver should not take away from the potential benefits to Vancouverites as a whole if we were to have a large central pedestrian oriented public square.
The Vancouver Public Space Network has written an excellent letter in response to the City’s recent report. I highly recommend reading it here. They strongly encourage you to tell Mayor and Council what you think:
If you’ve got an opinion on this issue, we would strongly encourage you to write an email or letter to Mayor and Council (email@example.com, copied to firstname.lastname@example.org). This is an important issue, and your voice can make a difference.