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

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  #41  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2009, 1:27 AM
geoff's two cents geoff's two cents is offline
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But using tolls or building/removing roads to engineer people's wills and eliminate free choice is beyond socialist, it's a form of fascism.
Good lord! The reason I pay taxes on things like cigarettes and alcohol must be because [lightbulb!] my government is fascist! Thanks for sorting that out for me.

Except for your rather selective application of Marx (a discussion of which would be off-topic here; time permitting, I'd be happy to debate this with you in the proper forum, if you'll direct me), the rest of your post is well-taken, though I disagree with much/most of it. I think my previous post(s) show where I stand on these issues.

As for tolling/taxing, mezzanine points us, I think, in a more fruitful direction for discussion and debate. My hunch is that there are precedents for this already somewhere. . .
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  #42  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2009, 1:59 AM
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Originally Posted by geoff's two cents View Post
Good lord! The reason I pay taxes on things like cigarettes and alcohol must be because [lightbulb!] my government is fascist! Thanks for sorting that out for me.

Except for your rather selective application of Marx (a discussion of which would be off-topic here; time permitting, I'd be happy to debate this with you in the proper forum, if you'll direct me), the rest of your post is well-taken, though I disagree with much/most of it. I think my previous post(s) show where I stand on these issues.

As for tolling/taxing, mezzanine points us, I think, in a more fruitful direction for discussion and debate. My hunch is that there are precedents for this already somewhere. . .
Yeah, it is a bit fascist, the government is trying to control my choice by punishing me for making the wrong one. I don't smoke, but it makes me sad to think that people are driven into the poorhouse by their chemical dependence on a substance like alcohol or nicotine, and our solution is to punish them financially. I'm not going to say it's right or wrong, but it is a form of choice control that is external to the free market.

Same with removing the Viaduct. The only purpose removing the viaduct can serve society as a whole is to inconvenience travel into downtown. This is a form of scocial engineering to force people into choosing to take transit, not by making transit better, faster or cheaper, but by making everything else worse. It is degrading the quality of life, to make something else look good by comparison.

I'm not saying transit is horrible, in fact it's great... if you live in the right areas. And because the overall footprint of rapid and mass transit is still rather small, there is a premium on the cost of living near a station that a lot of people can't afford.

It's great that you can afford to live where you do so you can take transit. Not everyone can. And if everyone actually tried to, I doubt you could afford to as others would be able to outbid you on your life style.

So in fact you can thank the people who chose to live in a house in the burbs, because if we all wanted to live in boxes downtown, there is no way in heck you could afford to live where you do now. There is not enough supply for us all to live as condo dwellers, and if we all tried to live walking distance to skytrain there would be a lot of empty space in the lower mainland.

We all have a choice, and if someone wants to live in Cloverdale and have 3 kids, a dog, a yard, a patio, a garden, media room, home office, work shop, and a car and drive to work downtown...

instead of 2 bedrooms+den, 1 kid, no garden and no car for the same cost of living, who are you to take it away? Sure a lot of those people who drive downtown could actually afford to live downtown or at least closer to transit... but if they did they would have to make sacrifices, sacrifices they would rather not make.

That might be an exaggeration (or not), but there are things out there that you might not even care about, that would be impossible for other people to give up if they HAD to live your lifestyle. For me, driving = freedom, and where ever I live, I will always want a personal vehicle, so it will always be factored into my cost of living, regardless if I take transit or not.

I'm just curious, what does Vancouver gain by removing the Viaducts that offset the costs inflicted to people who use them?
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  #43  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2009, 2:04 AM
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This is a form of scocial engineering to force people into choosing to take transit, not by making transit better, faster or cheaper, but by making everything else worse.
I agree with this 100% I hate the idea here to simply make road infrastructure worse to get people to use transit.

Sorry, the attitude should be to make transit faster and better to get people to switch.

That way we can have an excellent transit system and a good road system. people and goods win win!

Also, when Boston and San Fran tore down their viaducts, they were replaced with even better road infrastructure, such as the Boston big dig. And a good chunk of the double layer central viaduct in San Fran was replaced with a wider freeway, closer to ground level, in the space where the double-decked road had been.

Also in Soul they have an amazing amount of elevated roadway and tunnels, and they are currently constructing more, despite taking one down. Also Seattle plans to replace their viaduct with a tunneled freeway.
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Last edited by Metro-One; Oct 18, 2009 at 2:19 AM.
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  #44  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2009, 2:11 AM
EastVanMark EastVanMark is offline
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"Same with removing the Viaduct. The only purpose removing the viaduct can serve society as a whole is to inconvenience travel into downtown. This is a form of scocial engineering to force people into choosing to take transit, not by making transit better, faster or cheaper, but by making everything else worse. It is degrading the quality of life, to make something else look good by comparison."

Very well put BC Phil. Forcing people to do things never works and only takes away from the city, and adds nothing to it
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  #45  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2009, 2:44 AM
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Considering the thoughts here... the viaduct shouldn't go because of the potential snarls of traffic that such a removal could create....

On the other hand, developing between them is going to be extremely difficult.

I think there will need to be some reconstruction of the viaduct and SkyTrain tracks to fit in some developments in the viaduct voids... if that doesn't occur then I can't see how some of the space will be effectively used.
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  #46  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2009, 3:25 AM
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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.
The hyperbole isn't necessary.

If you understood the regional development plans, you would know that the goal is in fact to create decentralized town centres where people can live, work, and play in the same community. So yes, downtown isn't nearly as important as the other town centres become more complete. We are not attempting to be Toronto or any other number of cities where people live in the burbs and travel into downtown for work everyday.
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  #47  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2009, 3:40 AM
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but it is important to have a centralized core that is the strongest and most affluent of the bunch when it comes to Business and Entertainment, if not all we will have is a bunch of Saskatoons strung together with no true heart to our region that represents our population size. To me that would simply make us a Phoenix with towers and trains (both being equally boring and both being equally lacking in a true urban heart) There are many cities in this world that have several smaller city centers in their metro-areas, but there is always one that rises far above the rest. Also, those cities often have population above 10 million and their residential sections are more lively than our most urban area.

Again, it is a good idea to have smaller cores in the suburbs (such as Richmond and Metrotown and Coquitlam) but these should always remain secondary to the primary core, downtown Vancouver. If not, Vancouver is essentially wishing to commit business suicide and our region will continue to fall behind in attracting/generating major companies
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  #48  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2009, 4:10 AM
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1. Where is all this traffic everyone speaks of? Every time I travel east to Hwy 1, there's nary a car around. The whole Stadium station area is usually pretty dead.

2. It may only be my perception, but don't the viaducts simply duplicate the street network that is provided at-grade by Expo and Pacific Boulevards?

3. Why would we have a section of an elevated expressway cutting through the eastside of the downtown when there's nothing to exactly be zooming past? The whole area is an industrial wasteland! It's an old remnant of the 70's freeway proposals and does not fit in with the urban fabric of the city.

4. Where did this whole, we can't build a sloping road, come from? The escarpment isn't exactly steep and it wouldn't be difficult to continue Dunsmuir to connect with Expo Bl.

5. If the question came down to keeping and maintaining the viaducts, or demolishing them and developing the land, thus creating enough profit to build the Downtown Streetcar (not to mention destroying the physical and psychological barriers between NEFC and the DTES), I for one would choose the latter.
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  #49  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2009, 4:14 AM
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but it is important to have a centralized core that is the strongest and most affluent of the bunch when it comes to Business and Entertainment, if not all we will have is a bunch of Saskatoons strung together with no true heart to our region that represents our population size. To me that would simply make us a Phoenix with towers and trains (both being equally boring and both being equally lacking in a true urban heart) There are many cities in this world that have several smaller city centers in their metro-areas, but there is always one that rises far above the rest. Also, those cities often have population above 10 million and their residential sections are more lively than our most urban area.

Again, it is a good idea to have smaller cores in the suburbs (such as Richmond and Metrotown and Coquitlam) but these should always remain secondary to the primary core, downtown Vancouver. If not, Vancouver is essentially wishing to commit business suicide and our region will continue to fall behind in attracting/generating major companies
Vancouver's core will always remain *the* downtown of the region, whether or not it has viaducts. It has the historic build up, it has the geography, it has the name. The town centres will never compare. But that doesn't mean that we should be trying to put all the region's jobs into the downtown - that just doesn't make sense.

Each core should be self-sustainable. Small local firms that need cheaper office space should locate in the regional town centres, while national/provincial corporations should locate in downtown Vancouver. Hopefully, those who would downtown will locate close to it, while those who live in Surrey and Richmond work in their respective town centres. Obviously it's not as clear cut as that, but I believe that should be the goal.
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  #50  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2009, 4:17 AM
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God, what forum am I on? Whatever happened to all the people who actually cared about the urban fabric of a city?
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  #51  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2009, 4:47 AM
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1. Where is all this traffic everyone speaks of? Every time I travel east to Hwy 1, there's nary a car around. The whole Stadium station area is usually pretty dead.

2. It may only be my perception, but don't the viaducts simply duplicate the street network that is provided at-grade by Expo and Pacific Boulevards?

3. Why would we have a section of an elevated expressway cutting through the eastside of the downtown when there's nothing to exactly be zooming past? The whole area is an industrial wasteland! It's an old remnant of the 70's freeway proposals and does not fit in with the urban fabric of the city.

4. Where did this whole, we can't build a sloping road, come from? The escarpment isn't exactly steep and it wouldn't be difficult to continue Dunsmuir to connect with Expo Bl.

5. If the question came down to keeping and maintaining the viaducts, or demolishing them and developing the land, thus creating enough profit to build the Downtown Streetcar (not to mention destroying the physical and psychological barriers between NEFC and the DTES), I for one would choose the latter.
^^
1) IMO, there is a lot of traffic on the viaducts, but the viaducts move traffic out of DT very well. usually, you would see traffic downstream, like eastbound on venebles at clark, or turning left from main onto terminal.

2) I think the viaducts had more usefulness before, when the area had railyards.

3) although the downtown freeway is dead, the viaducts make the malkin st overpass more useful to build.

4) from the ground floor of spectrum to the roof of costco is ~?30 metres? you would have an awkward at best and unsafe at worst (snow) ramp if you build short ramps from say the east end of GM place to the top of the escarpment. don't forget that the ramp of the viaduct at the east runs for 1 block, from prior to main in order to get to that height, with a slight curve.

5) IMO the viaducts have found a place in the fabric of downtown. I would rather they make improvments to expo blvd, which I think is more of an impedement to the pedestrian realm (as with the lack of development) than the viaducts are.
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  #52  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2009, 4:55 AM
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^ I've always felt that viaducts ARE part of the urban fabric of a city. I love the interplay of buildings, roads, people and events that take place around them -- whether it's the megacities of Asia, the bigger U.S. cities, or our mini-viaduct section in Vancouver.

We are a city, and the city cannot and should not be a social-engineered blandville like Yaletown. Especially when it comes at the expense of all of us, for the benefit of the wave of gentrifying yuppies.
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  #53  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2009, 4:57 AM
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The hyperbole isn't necessary.

If you understood the regional development plans, you would know that the goal is in fact to create decentralized town centres where people can live, work, and play in the same community. So yes, downtown isn't nearly as important as the other town centres become more complete. We are not attempting to be Toronto or any other number of cities where people live in the burbs and travel into downtown for work everyday.
Start of tirade.

No we are not attempting to be Toronto and I am aware of the decentralized plan for our development. However, I am not sure that that is much of a plan. To me it looks more like acknowledging the status quo and placating the local mayors as being a mayor of a town center sounds better than being a mayor of a suburb.

Everyone on this forum is well aware of the fact that by catering to condo developers Vancouver downtown is being turned into a resort/burb. While the number of commuting trips downtown is declining or stagnating, the number of trips that downtown residents take to work in the burbs is on the rise. Nobody wants to invest any money in commercial buildings downtown as it is more profitable to build condos and high end hotels. Any time developer shows up and suggests to build a new condo, city council backs down as developers throw a few goodies their way - a city plaza here, a restored old building facade there, a new fountain somewhere else and the rezoning permit is granted. Now you have a central business core with condos popping up at every corner. As a result you have daycares next to liquor stores and clubs, office buildings next to co-ops and so on. That is not planning -that is crap. As new residents move in (and especially as they age and have kids) they will demand piece and quiet and eventually they will win thus making pressure on businesses to get out of the area. So what is the point of this? To turn downtown into a new residential area by continuing to erode the business infrastructure downtown? Or was the idea to provide a balanced environment that would encourage people to live/work in close proximity?

Another thing is that this idea that everyone is going to live, work and shop in their own little town center is at best Utopian. Do you know how much people change jobs in this country? So every time I get a new contract or change a job am I supposed to move? Or does this mean that I cannot freely travel from one location to another to shop or to be entertained just because some geek city planner had this fantasy about how we should live our lives? The freedom of movement, travel and trade had made the Western world what it is today. That does not mean that I am saying we should build highways and overpasses over the entire city. But as other posters said, I think that we need great public transit and the best road-network we can afford.

The biggest problem above all is that we tend to elect small minded Vancouver mayors who need a map to find the Main street and who think that Vancouver consists roughly of Shaughnessy, Kits and Downtown. And to whom City of Copenhagen is a mythical example of how things need to be done (incidentally, did you know that roughly 60% of adults in Denmark are either employed by some level of government or are supported by some form of government payments. I bet that our mayor or Stephen Rees fail to mentioned that little fact when they show up all spandex-up to talk about Copenhagen and their great bike network and how we should build one. They also fail to mention the 25% VAT tax plus the 43% to 63% income tax. Yes, I bet that everybody is riding a bike because they are all on welfare and can't afford anything else). And yes, in that world you can travel everywhere by a bike and you don't need overpasses as you have all the time in the world. But guess what? Vancouver and its suburbs is a bit bigger than that and are not a welfare state.

End of tirade.
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  #54  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2009, 5:00 AM
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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.
And the traffic all just disappeared huh? Riiiigggghhhht.

Got a link or any proof of this?
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  #55  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2009, 5:03 AM
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Thinking about it, the viaduct gains a lot of elevation alon g its length. After 1 block, trolley wires clear the bottom of the viaduct (~1-1.5 stories high). at Costco, trolley wires will not be able to touch the road deck, it must be ~ 4 stories high at that point.

ie. to build a new access road to dunsmuir/georgia to replace the viaducts you would have to go almost to quebec st to get a safe, functional road. you also have to account for the skytrain track if you get that far.
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  #56  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2009, 5:12 AM
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1. Where is all this traffic everyone speaks of? Every time I travel east to Hwy 1, there's nary a car around. The whole Stadium station area is usually pretty dead.
I think this situation is good. No? It just seems like there aren't cars because they actually move in that part of town. Its actually really busy, it just actually flows. The traffic isn't that bad because we have several ways out of downtown. Traffic is never bad on the Granville bridge, only on Seymour, and the bridge sees more cars than the road that has the traffic jams. If we funnel traffic onto one road, with one way out, with more traffic lights, we'll get more traffic. The Viaducts do their job. They keep traffic flowing with speed on the viaduct and under. Why mess with that?

The argument: "we have no traffic so lets remove some roads to make traffic", doesn't seem logical.

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2. It may only be my perception, but don't the viaducts simply duplicate the street network that is provided at-grade by Expo and Pacific Boulevards?
Sort of, but not really. The viaducts allow travel from the two main downtown core roads, Georgia and Dunsmuir, without passing at ground level. Expo/Pacific connect Yaletown to Chinatown or Quebec street. The Viaducts separate the traffic going to 2 different places, using a rather small footprint. It is like 4 major one way roads in the space of 2. The viaducts wouldn't be necessary if false creek wasn't there and Terminal could continue and intersect at Nelson.

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3. Why would we have a section of an elevated expressway cutting through the eastside of the downtown when there's nothing to exactly be zooming past? The whole area is an industrial wasteland! It's an old remnant of the 70's freeway proposals and does not fit in with the urban fabric of the city.
The viaducts were born out of necesity. They used to fly over a polluted wasteland of industrial land and rail yards. If we actually built more buildings around them, especially on the waterfront and the empty parking lots, then the roads would be flying past development. Right now they allow the free flow of traffic out of downtown during a Canucks game or other event. Without the viaducts, Georgia street would be 100% closed after a game.

And it's not the viaducts fault there hasn't been more development there. It just takes time, priorities were elsewhere. There are 2 brand new buildings on Abbott st at Expo. The Viaduct wasn't holding back their development. It just takes time. When Concord Pacific goes up, the Viaducts will be a blessing for commuters and people living in the neighborhood, as they won't have to compete with each other for roadspace.

There could actually be a vibrant street scape under the viaducts if we tried.

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4. Where did this whole, we can't build a sloping road, come from? The escarpment isn't exactly steep and it wouldn't be difficult to continue Dunsmuir to connect with Expo Bl.
There are things on either side of Dunsmuir there. One one side is the Skytrain station, on the other are townhouses that use the street at frontage. Same on Georgia. GM Place is also connected with major entrances on the Viaduct.

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5. If the question came down to keeping and maintaining the viaducts, or demolishing them and developing the land, thus creating enough profit to build the Downtown Streetcar (not to mention destroying the physical and psychological barriers between NEFC and the DTES), I for one would choose the latter.
That is a hard call. But why can't ANY land sale be used to fund the street car? Why not the sale of the sites to the west of the Olympic Village? It's just using the promise of a reward to justify doing something harmful.

Also, without the viaducts, the streetcars would be crossing what would be the busiest road in Vancouver instead of going under a fairly busy road. The crossing would slow down the speed advantage the street car could currently offer. As well, if the streetcar is sent down Expo/Pacific to Yaletown, it would have to cross even more intersections that will be as busy as Georgia/Howe/Dunsmuir/Burrard where there are currently no intersections (again impacting its speed).
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  #57  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2009, 5:15 AM
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The viaducts are not the issue, the area is dead today because there is nothing there. The city is allowing NEFC to be zoned and built out indepently of the viaducts. That means the city could still tear them down at a future date w/o impacting what will be built there. That is the safest approach to take. Let the area develop and then we can examine if it's fine or if something needs to be done with them. Personally I don't like them, but I don't see a better solution so I'm for letting them stand and working with them.
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  #58  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2009, 5:30 AM
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Another thing is that this idea that everyone is going to live, work and shop in their own little town center is at best Utopian. Do you know how much people change jobs in this country? So every time I get a new contract or change a job am I supposed to move? Or does this mean that I cannot freely travel from one location to another to shop or to be entertained just because some geek city planner had this fantasy about how we should live our lives? The freedom of movement, travel and trade had made the Western world what it is today. That does not mean that I am saying we should build highways and overpasses over the entire city. But as other posters said, I think that we need great public transit and the best road-network we can afford.
Brilliantly said.

And what about couples? What happens when one works in a medical clinic in Surrey and the other is middle management downtown? Should one of them quit? Break up? The choice of where to live is up to them, be it downtown, south Surrey anywhere in between. It's up to what they can afford and the sacrifices they chose to make, not up to some social engineer behind a desk.

And the side affect of creating these urban centers is it spreads downtown pricing. Now everywhere is a premium place to live as everywhere is the same. But it's not the same because few people are lucky enough to engineer their lives so perfectly to live and work in the same area and be able to afford it. Most people settle down and buy a home they can afford and be happy in, and then work wherever they can find it.

Removing the viaducts and selling the land as housing will further alienate business from downtown, further spreading the cost of living outwards from the core.
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  #59  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2009, 5:40 AM
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The viaducts are not the issue, the area is dead today because there is nothing there. The city is allowing NEFC to be zoned and built out indepently of the viaducts. That means the city could still tear them down at a future date w/o impacting what will be built there. That is the safest approach to take. Let the area develop and then we can examine if it's fine or if something needs to be done with them. Personally I don't like them, but I don't see a better solution so I'm for letting them stand and working with them.
Exactly. Why remove them now when there is plenty of land around them (and between them) left to develop first. Build up the area and then we'll really see if we really do need them or not instead of tearing them down on an idealogical dream.

I personally think we'll find we would miss them if they weren't there and replaced with a busy traffic snarled yuppie neighborhood. But there is a lot we need to build first before we can really judge.

For me, the only real counteroffer they can make to tear down the Viaducts is to build Skytrain under Hastings into Burnaby. It's the only thing that might alleviate traffic in the area enough to help the new neighborhood cope.
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  #60  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2009, 6:54 AM
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Raggedy's most recent photo thread has actually given me a new appreciation of the viaducts:
http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=174493

Quote:




They really aren't that bad and it would not take all that much to further integrate them into the urban fabric. With dynamic lighting, painted murals and extensive landscaping, the city could turn the area underneath the viaducts into a vibrant mutipurpose park for a relatively low cost. I'd even be in favor of a 'viaduct park' replacing the proposed park in NEFC.
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