Advocacy, education and outreach in support of Vancouver's public spaces

By VPSN

August 16, 2011 at 2:31 AM

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Expanding Robson Square – the 800-block Petitions

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Robson Concept Susan Milley 2

UPDATE: For those of you interested in our Robson Square petitions, please check out our newly created on-line versions. The “yes” petition started late yesterday, the “no” petition today. Here’s your chance to participate in the discussion:

YES, I support the expansion of Robson Square and the closure of the 800-block to vehicular traffic.

Or,

NO. I want vehicles back on the 800-block of Robson. Please DO NOT expand Robson Square.

If you haven’t already done so, please consider taking two minutes to have your voice heard on this initiative. The street is scheduled to be opened to vehicles on September 5 – at which point many of the great activities now taking place on the street will be removed. The VPSN supports the permanent closure of the space, but want to make sure that all sides are represented.

A quick recap on the issue and the VPSN’s position. The 800-block of Robson Street – located between Hornby and Howe – is one of Vancouver’s preeminent public spaces. Adjacent to Robson Square, and nestled between the Vancouver Art Gallery and the Law Courts, the block is one of the most frequented pedestrian routes in the city. But it’s also a lot more than that. The space contributes substantially to the public life of Vancouver, serving as a backdrop for public gatherings, celebrations, protest rallies, cultural activities and more.
For the past two years, the 800-block has been closed to vehicles. Cars and buses have long since been re-routed. And in recent months, now that renovations have been finished, Robson’s role as a public gathering place has become further enriched through buskers, community markets and other activities. The temporarily ‘expanded’ public space has enlivened the downtown core.
Sadly, much of this positive change is about to be lost.
On September 5, 2011, the 800-block will be re-opened to vehicles, and the chance to expand Robson Square – taking in the 800-block street area – will be set back.
We’re asking residents and visitors to sign our petition and show your support for keeping the 800-block closed to vehicles. At the moment there are some excellent contributions to public life taking place – many of these supported through the Viva Vancouver program. City Council has also said that they support the creation of an expanded Robson Square but want to defer any formal activity until an undetermined later date.
We feel the best time to start the process is now. Signing this petition will help to guage public support for this important initiative… especially at a point when people can experience the space vehicle-free.

The cost to expand Robson square would be next to nothing. The benefit would be a brilliant public gathering space for all.

For those of you who have signed our paper petition or sent us an email of support – thank you! We’ve recorded your signatures and are grateful for your help.

Once again, even if you don’t like this idea we also want to hear from you. We will presenting Mayor and Council with the full range of feedback that we get on this issue. You can email any questions, concerns – or other Robson-related comments – our way at robsonsquare [at] vancouverpublicspace.ca.

(A side note: we’re testing out the online software at change.org. Let us know what you think!)

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