The City of Vancouver is taking its first steps in a pilot project to address long-standing traffic safety concerns along Prior/Venables street. The pilot is part of a Council direction in October 2019 to pilot measures to improve walkability, reduce vehicle speeds and carry out traffic calming.
Starting on Monday January 27, 2020, changes on Prior Street between Gore and Raymur Avenues will begin with one travel-lane retained in each direction throughout the day including weekday mornings and afternoons. Previously, two travel lanes were available during peak times. In addition, a reduction in speed to 30km/h will be implemented adjacent to Strathcona Park between Raymur and Hawks Avenues.
As part of the pilot, staff will be monitoring the impacts of traffic potentially shortcutting on local streets in the Strathcona and City Gate communities. Vehicle speeds, truck route traffic and access to the industrial area and businesses will also be monitored.
Expect delays and plan ahead
As this pilot gets under way, drivers may expect possible delays on Prior/Venables during peak times and are encouraged to plan ahead.
City staff are working closely with Translink and Vancouver Fire & Rescue Services to monitor and maintain service reliability and emergency response times in the area.
Additional low-cost safety measures will be implemented including temporary curb bulges, street lighting upgrades, and pavement markings. Bus stop amenities such as upgraded shelters, benches, and litter containers will be implemented in spring 2020.
The pilot will be in place for approximately one year, to capture the changes in travel patterns and seasonal differences and to inform future permanent changes to the area.
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Council’s decision follows more than five years of technical study and engagement with the community and stakeholders to identify and evaluate alternate arterial routes to replace Prior/Venables Street.
The alternate routes were explored extensively during the False Creek Flats Area Planning process. Most recently, a 42-member Community Panel played an important role in assessing nine alternate route options and guiding City staff’s final evaluation leading up to Council’s decision.
Staff could not recommend the Community Panel’s preferred route option of the National-Charles overpass, which is estimated to cost over $400 million. An underpass on Prior/Venables would cost $125 million, and is supported by potential funding partners.