Mayor Gregor Robertson has five key demands, including the start of discussions around the long-sought Malkin Connector, before council votes in the fall on whether to demolish the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts.
Strathcona residents got council’s attention earlier this month with protests calling for traffic calming measures along Prior Street before any decision on the viaducts is made, and Robertson said it’s high time for the city to start acting on their demands.
“I believe that some immediate improvements are warranted,” he said, “reinstating the parking being one of them, looking at traffic calming options like speed bumps as another, but addressing that is overdue, and certainly that needs to be addressed with the decisions going forward, but those immediate changes I think can start to happen.”
The residents have been seeking the completion of the Malkin Connector, linking Malkin Avenue to Clark Drive, as part of a 10-point plan they submitted to city planners earlier this month. Their proposal estimates that it could cost in the range of $50 million.
Transportation director Jerry Dobrovolny agreed with the mayor that the residents’ concerns are legitimate, and said the report he presents in the fall will contain preliminary information on the costs and benefits of completing the Malkin Connector.
“That work is contingent on bringing on senior government funding,” he said. “So there won’t be a final project approved, but certainly we’ll have made a lot of progress, and better understand what the Malkin Connector looks like.”
Dobrovolny estimated the viaducts removal project would cost $80 million to $100 million.
Robertson’s third demand was that staff’s proposal answer questions about the timeline for the delivery of promised park space and affordable housing, as well as the options for a phased or partial removal of the viaducts.
He also asked them to factor in the city’s goals of increasing job density, particularly in clean technology and digital media industries, in False Creek flats and along Great Northern Way.
Lastly, he said he wanted guarantees there will be clear measures to ensure the flow of commercial goods into downtown.
“It’s great to see the Board of Trade has given conditional support to the proposal, but more work needs to be done to ensure the flow of goods is addressed in any changes that we approve,” he said.
Councillors asked staff to also come back in the fall with a cost-benefit analysis of moving forward with the plan versus not moving ahead, estimates of how much property values in the area might be affected, and a detailed analysis of funding options.