A collection of comments on the Comox-Helmcken Greenway (open houses continue Oct 1, 3, 4)

The official City web page for the Comox-Helmcken Greenway is http://vancouver.ca/streets-transportation/comox-helmcken.aspx. Open houses remaining include:

1 October 2011
Engine 374 Pavilion at the Roundhouse Community Centre, 5-8 pm
181 Roundhouse Mews (entrance from the plaza on Davie Street)
3 October 2012
Coast Plaza Hotel & Suites, 5-8 pm
Barclay Room, 1763 Comox Street
4 October 2012
West End Community Centre, 12-3 pm
English Bay Room, 870 Denman Street

WEN welcomes comments on the Greenway if you’d like others to see them. This allows a quick sharing of questions, opinions and information — to complement what is going directly to City staff. Below are some comments received so far, based on the first Open House, at the Farmer’s Market on Sept 29.

  • Overall the design seemed acceptable. City staff did a pretty good job of explaining the design at each spot and reasoning behind it.
  • Taxpayers should ask about the cost and timing of this project — competing with other priorities of the West End community and the entire City. 
  • It seemed no major loss of existing street trees, including that nice tree in the traffic circle at Jervis and Comox.
  • Some people are concerned about the impact of traffic diversion from Comox to lanes and other streets. Staff said that Comox now takes an average of 1,400 vehicles per day, and much of this would be diverted — to Nelson Street, Pendrell Street, etc. The staffer said that the City would monitor traffic changes and impacts after the Greenway is installed.
  • Some residents are concerned about the bike path going right past driveways (e.g., Cardero to Nicola section), creating collision hazard. Staff said that the cyclists already go past those same driveways.
  • This proposal is set to go to Council on November 14, and construction to start in early 2013 if approved.
  • Perhaps this relates to timing, but what about conflicts between the Greenway and construction at 1401 Comox. If it begins it is rumoured to be scheduled for November 2012. Will construction schedules and traffic conflict? How will the thousands of trucks over the next few years deal with the Greenway? Will they all be routed down the lane between Nelson and Comox? And what about Comox greenway cyclists,  pedestrians, and scooters during 2.5 years of construction at 1401 Comox? It won’t be pleasant for them to navigate around a major construction site. Why not build the greenway after 1401 Comox is completed? What consideration has been given to all of this?
  • A staffer was overheard saying the biggest single cost of the Greenway is street lighting improvements.
  • People should ask about the cost of the Greenway. Staff avoided giving any concrete numbers and said that would be analyzed and reported to Council in November with the final staff report. The cost of the plan appears to be one of great secrecy — at every stage of the consultation process, though we heard guesses of the number $3 million months ago, but that is unconfirmed.
  • The City needs to look at financial priorities, and perhaps do the work in stages depending on cost. For example, last year the public narrowly averted the loss of several lifeguards at Vancouver beaches to save a few hundred thousand dollars. The City’s budget for the entire West End plan through autumn 2013 is a few hundred thousand dollars. Where are the priorities of the politicians versus the priorities of the residents? The cost, urgency/importance and benefits deserve careful scrutiny. The Comox Greenway is nice and we could say important, but how urgent is it, or any specific component? Planning staff say the City cannot pay the cost of mailing every household a notice of the West End Community Plan process (probably just $30,000 or so), and the same reason to reject requests for a comprehensive survey to gauge support for the final community plan draft in 2013. 
  • If you have more comments to add, please e-mail info [at] westendneighbours.ca. 
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