HomeDiagramsDatabaseMapsForumSkyscraper Posters
     
Welcome to the SkyscraperPage Forum.

Since 1999, SkyscraperPage.com's forum has been one of the most active skyscraper enthusiast communities on the web.  The global membership discusses development news and construction activity on projects from around the world, alongside discussions on urban design, architecture, transportation and many other topics.  SkyscraperPage.com also features unique skyscraper diagrams, a database of construction activity, and publishes popular skyscraper posters.

Go Back   SkyscraperPage Forum > Regional Sections > Canada > Alberta & British Columbia > SSP: Local Vancouver > Transportation & Infrastructure

Reply

 
Thread Tools Display Modes
     
     
  #1  
Old Posted Oct 16, 2009, 7:01 PM
David's Avatar
David David is offline
David
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Vancouver Island, British Columbia
Posts: 1,394
Time for Vancouver to Tear Down Its Viaducts?

Time for Vancouver to Tear Down Its Viaducts?

surprised this wasnt posted yet....

Quote:
Time for Vancouver to Tear Down Its Viaducts?

Removing leftover chunks of freeway could transform part of the city.

By Geoff Meggs, Today, TheTyee.ca

On or about Feb. 12, 2010, security personnel preparing for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games will close the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts, shutting down the last elements of what city fathers once believed would be a massive inner-city freeway system.

The freeways were defeated in the 1960s in an all-out citywide debate that saved Chinatown and Strathcona and turned Vancouver away from the destructive development embraced by so many American cities.

But the two viaducts remain, pumping traffic through eastside neighbourhoods and bisecting what could be a new, sustainable North False Creek neighbourhood in the heart of the city.

Now, at last, the Olympics will close them.

When other cities picked the car in the 1960s, Vancouver picked community, neighbourhoods and sustainability.

The Olympic shutdown, as well as pressure for development on the north side of False Creek, challenges us to ask if it's time to make that choice again. Are the viaducts pointing to the future or holding us in the past?
Michael Ableman in person. October 21st, 2009

San Francisco's experience

If an earthquake shook the viaducts down, would we rebuild them?

If our future looks better without them, should we continue to assume they must remain?

San Francisco confronted this question when the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake knocked down the Embarcadero and Central Freeways. Although voters had just rejected a 1986 plan to tear it down, fearing gridlock, drivers soon adjusted to its absence.

The Embarcadero's removal in 1991 revitalized the city's waterfront: part thoroughfare, part parkway and part park, it began to revive a neighbourhood damaged from decades of neglect triggered by the freeway.

A redesigned False Creek road system, without the viaducts, could transform today's landscape of asphalt and freeway pillars into a new neighbourhood. Up to five city blocks -- each with the potential of another Woodwards project worth hundreds of millions of dollars -- could be freed from the concrete and opened up for people.

Idea backed by architect Bing Thom

That's why many of the city's leading planners and architects keep returning to this problem as major developments around False Creek move forward.
YES, TEAR IT DOWN

Vancouver area blogger Paul Hillsdon uses historical photos and maps in making his own case for demolishing the viaducts. Find his post here.

Notable among them is architect Bing Thom, who gathered expert engineering and traffic analysis that supports the feasibility of removing the viaducts, as well as the potential revenue that could flow for taxpayers.

This new neighbourhood would not only connect Yaletown, Chinatown, City Gate and the Downtown Eastside with each other, but opens the door to a careful long-term planning process for the East False Creek Flats, the city's last major brownfield development opportunity.

How planners and engineers solve the complex road and traffic issues on the Flats –- with its rapid transit, passenger and freight rail links as well as its incredible development potential –- will have an impact on neighbourhoods all the way to Boundary Road.

But any solution is likely to be second-best if we fail to test the options for the viaducts first.

Vestiges of a rejected freeway

The viaducts remain a dark force in an otherwise blossoming downtown. Despite the 1968 decision against freeways, they continue to shape the development of the city.

No major development around or on the north False Creek lands can go ahead without confronting the viaducts, with their massive bulk, traffic and noise.

A case in point is a report expected to come before council on Oct. 22, when Vancouver city council will consider proposals for a major increase in density around BC Place, GM Place and the Plaza of Nations.

These new developments, if approved, would be in addition to long-anticipated projects by Concord Pacific on the remaining Expo Lands, adding thousands of new jobs and residents to the area.

For residents on all sides of northeast False Creek, who have been waiting a long time for a promised Creekside Park in the middle of the area, this is all disturbing news.

It seems to them that parks and other amenities generated by Concord's plans may also be forced to meet the needs of the new residents in other projects. The park will be asked to bear a bigger load even before it is built.

Park development will only come when two conditions are met: Concord is ready to develop two parcels on the future park's western edge and the province has delivered on its commitment to clean up contaminated soil. Could the park design being changed achieve a better community resource, reduce the cost of clean-up and move forward the day it is built? There is compelling evidence it could, but planners still have their backs against the wall formed by the Georgia Viaduct.

Explore the options

Infrastructure like the viaducts can't be discarded lightly. New road connections would be needed. But the purpose of infrastructure is to support sustainable development, not hold it back.

The viaducts are the remnant of a road strategy citizens rejected 40 years ago, but they remain in place, reducing Vancouver's opportunities to grow.

A council decision on the northeast False Creek proposals doesn't need to wait for the fate of the viaducts to be resolved.

But the Olympic closures are a good time to ask some basic questions.

Do the viaducts help us ensure a better future for Vancouver?

Or is it time to replace them with something better?
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #2  
Old Posted Oct 16, 2009, 7:12 PM
Yume-sama's Avatar
Yume-sama Yume-sama is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Vancouver / Calgary / Tokyo
Posts: 7,525
Down with cars! Except the big polluting trucks that deliver my MacBook to the Apple Store, and coffee beans to the Starbucks.

I really don't have any other opinion on this But, any time there's a chance to illogically bash cars...
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #3  
Old Posted Oct 16, 2009, 7:12 PM
Metro-One's Avatar
Metro-One Metro-One is online now
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Japan
Posts: 8,331


Honestyl?

They are essentially the only good option downtown for anyone driving a commercial vehicle. Also, my favorite part of downtown is where the stadiums, the skytrain and the viaducts meet, it is the only spot in our region where one can find a true "urban" beauty. In that one spot it feels so busy, two levels of roads (one serving local, one serving regional), trains, pedestrians, stadiums, towers, LED signs, it great! In fact, such a feature can force developers to be more creative in their designs, creating far more enticing neighborhoods than Yale Town, it also gives a little bit of shove to actually build something besides condos near the ducts. The skate park is another example of a true urban vibe not found elsewhere in this city. There is no reason why night market grounds, more park space or even a multi-story parking garage for the stadiums can not be built under these viaducts! How about even creating a funky urban art gallery? Also, is it not a prime spot to place city work utilities?

Honestly, I don't want every corner of this city to be a Yaletown for developers to ching ching on.

I am probably the minority in this case, but oh well, I can always go back to Asia where one can find elevated highways and train structures that are so well implemented into the urban fabric, that they themselves become an attraction.

Again, I like them, because they add just a little bit or urban variety in a city that while amazing, can become somewhat repetative.
__________________
Bridging the Gap
Check out my video production website at: http://www.hailstorm-media.com
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #4  
Old Posted Oct 16, 2009, 7:28 PM
WarrenC12 WarrenC12 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: East Yaletown!
Posts: 3,545
Ya, this treehugger doesn't see the big picture. Those routes are pretty busy right now.. where would the traffic go? It won't disappear.

Although the Dunsmuir viaduct is a little awkward with the entrance off Main, it still takes traffic away from Pacific Blvd.

It does present some interesting challenges for the city's NEFC plan, but just makes it more interesting IMHO.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #5  
Old Posted Oct 16, 2009, 7:29 PM
Yume-sama's Avatar
Yume-sama Yume-sama is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Vancouver / Calgary / Tokyo
Posts: 7,525
Quote:
Originally Posted by WarrenC12 View Post
Ya, this treehugger doesn't see the big picture. Those routes are pretty busy right now.. where would the traffic go?
Helium powered personal balloons.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #6  
Old Posted Oct 16, 2009, 7:37 PM
deasine deasine is offline
Vancouver Moderator
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 5,521
Paradigm4 had this idea earlier but this isn't as easy as it sounds. There is quite a bit of change in height (totally the wrong word, but I can't figure out the word I'm looking for). The urban fabric is built around the viaducts: developments like Spectrum have designed their streets around the viaducts. It's better to further design buildings around the viaducts, making them more like streets, rather than tearing them apart.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #7  
Old Posted Oct 16, 2009, 7:48 PM
BCPhil BCPhil is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 1,714
I think they should stay too. At least for now. It is one of the most effective ways to get rush hour into downtown, and if it wasn't for the size and speed of the viaduct, rush hour traffic heading out of town would clog streets in the downtown.

Just like how the Granville bridge keeps traffic moving on Howe, the Viaduct keeps it moving on Georgia. Losing the Dunsmuir Viaduct might not have much of an effect (Except increase volume on Expo 3 fold) but I think losing the Georgia Vaiduct would be akin to making the Lions Gate Bridge a single lane out of downtown 24 hours a day. Traffic on Georgia would be so bad it would block the flow South towards the bridges.

People complain about traffic downtown, but I think when all the lanes are open without lazy construction closing them, traffic flows into and out of downtown really well to the east.

If there is a problem with the viaducts, it's not the viaducts themselves, but the intersections on Main street. A single left turn lane from Main onto Terminal just isn't enough. The Viaduct needs to go someplace better, not a freeway, but something better than Prior street. I think if they built the Malkin overpass and build a very elegant intersection at Clarke, it would really help the situation.

On top of it, I don't think much space could be reclaimed if you tear them down. You could only reclaim about a 2 blocks worth. That would be what, 3 buildings for the wealthy to move into? Making the commute for the working class worse is a high price to pay so a few hundred can get luxury condos.

I think the parking lot between Abbott and Carrall could be put to good use even with the Viaducts there. Imagine something along the lines of the Van City building, but better.

I think with some good urban design, NEFC can be a good neighbourhood incorporating the Viaducts.

Think of it like this, if the Vaducts go, that means ALL traffic leaving downtown would be a street level, clogging intersection and making crossing the street a challenge. Now couple that with a Canucks game. It would be a disaster.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #8  
Old Posted Oct 16, 2009, 8:35 PM
Zassk Zassk is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 2,162
We are finally on the verge of building a Malkin connector and overpass which will connect these two viaducts with Clark. Why would we simultaneously contemplate tearing down the viaducts? It defies logic. It's just one person's pipe dream.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #9  
Old Posted Oct 17, 2009, 12:47 AM
DKaz DKaz is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Fleetwood, Surrey BC
Posts: 2,970
There is real potential with the real estate between the viaducts that have not yet been realized. I wouldn't tear them down although they are beginning to sag a little bit.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #10  
Old Posted Oct 17, 2009, 1:36 AM
officedweller officedweller is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Vancouver
Posts: 17,123
I wouldn't tear them down.
Traffic would hit a major snarl at the escarpment.
The viaducts actually have a pretty sleek design.
They don't use bents so they aren't as obtrusive as say the approaches to the Burrrad Bridge, Granville Bridge or the viaduct between Terminal Ave and 1st Ave.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #11  
Old Posted Oct 17, 2009, 3:10 AM
The_Henry_Man The_Henry_Man is offline
HA
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: St. Cloud, MN/Richmond, BC
Posts: 834
Quote:
Originally Posted by WarrenC12 View Post
Ya, this treehugger doesn't see the big picture. Those routes are pretty busy right now.. where would the traffic go? It won't disappear.

Although the Dunsmuir viaduct is a little awkward with the entrance off Main, it still takes traffic away from Pacific Blvd.

It does present some interesting challenges for the city's NEFC plan, but just makes it more interesting IMHO.
Well you know TheTyee.ca is probably the most left-wing of all media outlets in BC (and BC is generally already left-wing socialist), a haven for all types of far-left extremists (union appeasers, tree huggers you know it). Anyone except them would know that development needs to be balanced.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #12  
Old Posted Oct 17, 2009, 3:16 AM
geoff's two cents geoff's two cents is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 504
I'm of two minds on the issue.

On the one hand, the viaducts do constitute a viable means of entry into the downtown core for commercial and trades traffic, which as much as possible should not be hindered.

On the other, the rest of the "working class," who can apparently afford to drive to work every day and live in the suburbs, but apparently cannot afford to live closer to downtown (trust me: If I can afford to live here, most people people who drive into downtown certainly can), should be discouraged from driving and encouraged to use what amounts to pretty excellent transit infrastructure - all the way out to the god-forsaken burbs.

As a preliminary measure, perhaps tolls for non-commercial and -industrial traffic could be instituted on major entry-points to downtown. Given that driving and parking in Vancouver is ridiculously cheap compared to many other large cities, this would give us a more realistic picture as to how badly those viaducts are actually needed.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #13  
Old Posted Oct 17, 2009, 5:12 PM
lightrail lightrail is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 776
Quote:
Originally Posted by WarrenC12 View Post
Ya, this treehugger doesn't see the big picture. Those routes are pretty busy right now.. where would the traffic go? It won't disappear.

Although the Dunsmuir viaduct is a little awkward with the entrance off Main, it still takes traffic away from Pacific Blvd.

It does present some interesting challenges for the city's NEFC plan, but just makes it more interesting IMHO.
Yes the traffic will disappear. In Seoul, South Korea, they removed an elevated freeway (which used to carry 180,000 vehicles a day) that bisected the dense city, replacing it with park and a day lighting a buried river. No new roads were built. When asked where the traffic went, planners shrugged. They had no idea. Traffic on other roads was no worse than before the viaducts were demolished.

Quote:
Of course, this evidence doesn’t suggest that all road expansions are unnecessary, or that all highways should be removed. All of the highway demolitions cited above are in densely packed urban areas where other highways and reliable and convenient public transportation options are available. But the lesson is clear: If a major road is making a city a less livable and vital place that it would otherwise be, in many cases everyone benefits when politicians have the vision and guts to tear it down.
Source: link below

The opposite of "If you build it they will come" is "If you remove it they will go".

BTW - it will be a mistake to try to replace the capacity by widening or improving other roads. Best bet, just tear it down and replace the grid for dense development and parks

Check out this link for more information:
http://www.infrastructurist.com/2009...p-save-a-city/
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #14  
Old Posted Oct 17, 2009, 6:12 PM
WBC WBC is online now
Transit User
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Metrotown/Downtown
Posts: 414
And if you keep going down that path you will slowly but surely turn downtown into a suburb. Actually more of a resort than a suburb. And that process is already taking place given that new office space is being added along the Broadway/Lougheed corridor and in Burnaby, Surrey and other places. Who knows, maybe one day in not too distant future Metrotown becomes the new business center/downtown of Metro Vancouver.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #15  
Old Posted Oct 17, 2009, 6:24 PM
Distill3d's Avatar
Distill3d Distill3d is offline
Glorfied Overrated Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Vancouver (Burnaby), British Columbia
Posts: 4,151
So, uh, if we tear down the Viaducts, are we going to tear down the SkyTrain and put it all underground as well? And while we're at it, lets reroute the bloody Trans Canada Highway to 0 Avenue, and tear down the Port Mann Bridge just so we can reclaim the land and rebuild Port Mann. Lets not stop there though. How about we invent the 0 emission, electric hover car, make it free for everyone to own one, and then we wouldn't need roads at all! We could just fly everywhere.
__________________
The Brain: Pinky, are you pondering what I'm pondering?

Pinky: I think so, Brain, but this time, you put the trousers on the chimp.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #16  
Old Posted Oct 17, 2009, 6:46 PM
whatnext whatnext is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 3,828
Quote:
Originally Posted by WBC View Post
And if you keep going down that path you will slowly but surely turn downtown into a suburb. Actually more of a resort than a suburb. And that process is already taking place given that new office space is being added along the Broadway/Lougheed corridor and in Burnaby, Surrey and other places. Who knows, maybe one day in not too distant future Metrotown becomes the new business center/downtown of Metro Vancouver.
Agreed. Just another idiocy from Gregor and his Green Goons, in their attempt to make downtown Vancouver as relevant and vibrant as Brentwood Mall.

Couple that with the assinine idea of removing the ramps from the Granville Street bridge.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #17  
Old Posted Oct 17, 2009, 6:57 PM
mr.x's Avatar
mr.x mr.x is offline
with glowing hearts
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: █♣█ Vancouver, British Columbia
Posts: 12,806
I think a good compromise would be to develop between the viaducts, the space between (a development like Toronto's Maple Leaf Square next to the ACC would be quite ideal)....especially the massive lot east of GM Place just across the street. And the Canucks should definitely get going with their office/hotel tower as part of the GM Place complex.


Maple Leaf Square

According to MLSE (though others sources cite slightly different figures), the two glass and precast concrete towers will be 65 stories, containing 872 residential units, a 169-room Hotel LeGermain Boutique Hotel, 230,000 square feet (21,000 m2) of office space, 110,000 square feet (10,000 m2) of retail space, a 7,000-square-foot (650 m2) daycare centre, a High-Definition theatre that will broadcast Leafs TV and Raptors NBA TV 24-hours a day, and four levels of underground parking with nearly 900 spaces. The retail complex will include a Longo's grocery, a 24,000-square-foot (2,200 m2) sports bar, a sports retail store, and a fine dining restaurant.[2] For residents, there will be a rooftop garden and swimming pool.




The developments between the viaducts would go a very long way to fill the void. And the viaducts could also be given some aesthetic improvements....it'll go a long way. For instance, some special lighting like what we're doing for the Canada Line guideway on No.3 Road or the Cambie Bridge lighting.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #18  
Old Posted Oct 17, 2009, 7:32 PM
Vancity's Avatar
Vancity Vancity is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Richmond, BC
Posts: 1,445
Quote:
Originally Posted by mr.x View Post
I think a good compromise would be to develop between the viaducts, the space between (a development like Toronto's Maple Leaf Square next to the ACC would be quite ideal)....especially the massive lot east of GM Place just across the street. And the Canucks should definitely get going with their office/hotel tower as part of the GM Place complex.


Maple Leaf Square

According to MLSE (though others sources cite slightly different figures), the two glass and precast concrete towers will be 65 stories, containing 872 residential units, a 169-room Hotel LeGermain Boutique Hotel, 230,000 square feet (21,000 m2) of office space, 110,000 square feet (10,000 m2) of retail space, a 7,000-square-foot (650 m2) daycare centre, a High-Definition theatre that will broadcast Leafs TV and Raptors NBA TV 24-hours a day, and four levels of underground parking with nearly 900 spaces. The retail complex will include a Longo's grocery, a 24,000-square-foot (2,200 m2) sports bar, a sports retail store, and a fine dining restaurant.[2] For residents, there will be a rooftop garden and swimming pool.




The developments between the viaducts would go a very long way to fill the void. And the viaducts could also be given some aesthetic improvements....it'll go a long way. For instance, some special lighting like what we're doing for the Canada Line guideway on No.3 Road or the Cambie Bridge lighting.
I agree. Maple Leafs Square is quite a wonderful project that Toronto's got. We do need to do something similar with our viaducts. I'm not so sure that demolishing the viaducts is such a good idea, it is, as one poster pointed out, one of the major routes in getting to downtown. With this being said, though, I noticed that some developers are beginning to built around the viaducts. I noticed much more condo development near and around the Granville bridge

I haven't actually seen any pictures of the special lighting for the Canada Line guideways. I think that was an experiment a while back ago, but I don't think they've installed those special lighting effects on the guideways, just yet (unless I'm incorrect, and they already have installed them). As for the Cambie bridge lighting - I haven't seen pics of that, either. Do you have any pics you could provide for us?

I've always found it interesting how we don't use the spots below the viaducts as basketball courts, or outdoor hockey rinks. They would provide shelter. I noticed that when I was in HK a number of years ago, they had many basketball courts built beneath their viaduct(s), to provide a place to play while it's raining. It would be a nice thing. Most of the basketball courts here are outdoors, and that doesn't help people if they want to play, and it's raining (and it often does here in our city).
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #19  
Old Posted Oct 17, 2009, 7:39 PM
WBC WBC is online now
Transit User
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Metrotown/Downtown
Posts: 414
I thought that that was always the plan...
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #20  
Old Posted Oct 17, 2009, 8:09 PM
BCPhil BCPhil is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 1,714
Outdoor hockey would be a great idea. So would lighting them up. I think once you build a few developments right on the water to the south of the viaducts on Concord pacific land, the viaducts will have a completely different feeling. Right now they just feel a little isolated, but once they are surrounded it will be different. And they provide a good excuse to have ground level parks, greenspace, and activities (like the skate park).

The other problem is GM Place is built into the Viaducts. Its a major way of getting to the game: walking on the Georgia Viaduct. And all those brand new townhomes next door use the Viaduct as street access. Without the Dunsmuir viaduct, if you live in one of those townhomes, watch that first step, it's a doozy.

As much as some people would like to use the land for yuppie condos and inconvenience the working class all in the name of sustainability, the Viaducts are a part of this city. Taking them out now would be like removing a few ribs so you can fit in your favorite dress.
Reply With Quote
     
     
This discussion thread continues

Use the page links to the lower-right to go to the next page for additional posts
 
 
Reply

Go Back   SkyscraperPage Forum > Regional Sections > Canada > Alberta & British Columbia > SSP: Local Vancouver > Transportation & Infrastructure
Forum Jump


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 6:32 AM.

     

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.