Carnarvon between 8th and 10th is a mess for pedestrians and stressful for drivers. What solutions have been considered, and has anything been decided? Any timeline?
Ugh. It is a mess. I see several problems:
The exit from the Shops at New West Station is wide and friendly, then hits a relatively narrow sidewalk, with a strangely-conceived planter as one tries to get to the crossing at 8th. The other direction takes you past one parking entrance, then the gaping maw of the “breezeway” where drivers, busses and pedestrians all routinely ignore their respective and confusing red lights, until the least-functional three-way stop I have ever seen (one that is completely overwhelmed by the number of pedestrians the crosswalk accommodates) leads to a roundabout the functioning of which seems to confound the common sense of BC drivers which provides bad sightlines to another crosswalk on 10th. The sidewalk is congested with waiting bus passengers and street furniture, made less appealing by the looming (almost overhanging) 60 foot sheer grey sun-blocking wall that rises straight up over the entire 500 feet, while crossing to the sunny side of the street is perilous what with traffic back-ups, confused turns at those aforementioned driveways or three-way stops attempting to get through any opening that may occur in the line of cars and busses only to get to a sidewalk that is more driveway that crosswalk for most of its extent…
From an urban planning perspective, the Plaza 88 complex was a bold and brilliant idea, but from an urban design perspective, the result is close to a disaster. And I really don’t know how to fix it.
I have heard a few radical suggestions: make the road one-way eastbound (although it is generally thought that one-way streets make situations worse if pedestrian safety is your goal, which is why many urban centres are now removing them). Closing the street to traffic between McInnes and the Parkade exit has been suggested (which would only help with a few of the many issues, some locals would complain loudly, and I don’t think our traffic engineers would take it seriously). Removing street parking would impact a few local businesses, although there is always parking available in the public lots in Plaza88, and would allow a better traffic-calmed street profile with wider sidewalks and better sightlines (but the back-ups would continue).
But no, I have not heard any serious plans, or timelines to implement them.
One thing I don’t want to do right now is make it worse. During recent discussions at Council about the “4th tower” at Plaza 88, this topic was raised numerous times. With another parking entrance on Carnarvon between the roundabout and the three-way stop, with another 6-story podium rising straight up from the sidewalk, with worsened sightlines and more pressure on the street – this is going to be a much harder building to approve until we recognize that Carnarvon is not working well now, and the addition of a stop light at McInnes is not going to solve the problems.
I am open to suggestion.