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

By Karen Quinn Fung

June 20, 2014 at 11:07 AM

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Transportation News: downtown buses, Robson Square, community health and regional transit vision

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Sharing a few items of note for those interested in our work in transportation before you head out into this weekend.

The City of Vancouver and TransLink’s Downtown Local Bus Service Review embarked in a series of activities to consult the public on its proposals emerging from its second phase of activites, back in April of this year. They have now made available a report on what they heard in the course of that consultation for Phase 2.

(Haven’t heard about the review? This review is meant to address the impacts on bus transit of changes in travel patterns on the downtown peninsula since service was last reviewed as part of the Local Transit Plan in 2005; and to anticipate the effects of proposed projects like the removal of the Dunsmuir Viaduct. The second, most recent phase of consultation involved 3 potential alterations: the first change had two proposed routes involving the 5, 6, and C23 buses; two possible re-routings of the 17 bus; and buses heading to East Vancouver and regional destinations to the east.)

Owing to our interest and the VPSN’s past work in Robson Square, we have been particular interested in the proposed re-routings that seek to take into account ongoing seasonal (and potentially permanent) pedestrianization of the 800-block of Robson.


L-Shaped Loop concept from Downtown Local Bus Review Phase 2 consultation materials.

Here is what the consultation report has to say about what they heard from people on those two proposals:

  1. The L-shaped Loop concept received much more support than the Rectangular Loop concept for its enhanced ability to connect neighbourhoods and regions in the downtown to each other. The Rectangular Loop concept, while easy to understand, was said by almost half of respondents (46%) to be worse or much worse than what exists now.
  2. Many remain concerned about being able to continue accessing regional rapid transit or the impact of new routes on bus service reliability.
  3. The report also highlights concern that pedestrianization of Robson Street impacts access to destinations near Granville and Robson; and that travel times on transit are impacted.

Rectangular Loop concept from Downtown Local Bus Review Phase 2 consultation materials.

We look forward to continuing to follow the City and TransLink’s work on this topic as they perform final evaluations on the concepts they have identified, and put forth their recommendations for implementation to improve bus service.

Relatedly — this weekend’s Vancouver International Jazz Festival activities also serve as a kickoff to the seasonal pedestrianization for Robson Square. The folks at Viva Vancouver will be putting into place Urban Reef, the winning design from this year’s Robson Redux competition. If you are looking for information about how the 5 bus will be affected, here is the information we have on this, as it’s slightly different from years past:

During events at Robson Square, the 05–Robson/Downtown bus will operate via Burrard and Pender Streets. Also, the necessary trolley overhead work has been completed to allow for the new left turn from eastbound Robson Street to northbound Burrard Street. This service change is scheduled to take effect on June 21st, 2014 and will resume in early September.

Please note that TransLink’s official quarterly service change signage will not be present at affected bus stops until June 23rd, however there will be temporary event signage for notification of this detour on June 21st and 22nd as the 800-Block of Robson Street will be closed for the Vancouver International Jazz Festival.

You can also download a map showing the re-route.

If you are interested in active transportation (walking, cycling and transit) and its impact on health, take a look at the My Health, My Community survey. It’s a research project involving two regional health authorities (Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health) in collaboration with UBC’s Faculty of Medicine to examine the role community planning plays in our physical health

The My Health My Community survey is an exciting opportunity to learn how our lifestyle, our environment, neighbourhood characteristics and daily interactions affect our health over time.

Their survey is open until June 30 and they are seeking as many and as diverse a range of a participants as possible. Check out their video (embedded below) to learn more and we encourage you to share the survey around. The video is also available on YouTube with Punjabi or Chinese subtitles. (And there is a chance to win a prize for taking the survey too!)


And finally… the big news from late last week was that the Mayor’s Council of TransLink released their vision for the future of regional transportation investment. A lot of interesting and insightful commentary on the plan is out there, both locally and from further afield:

Check out the Mayors Council’s vision (involving both what to build and how it will be paid for) online at A summary of the process of coming up with the vision and the problems it is trying to address is also available in this video below.

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