Many Kitsilano residents are becoming increasingly frustrated with Councillor Suzanne Anton’s continuing attempt to resurrect an issue that has been studied and debated for years and rejected by previous City Council members.
The closure of Waterloo Street through McBride Park does not contribute to increased public safety. On the contrary, its experimental closure demonstrated the increased likelihood of accidents between athletes and automobiles. A blocked Waterloo Street increases park perimeter traffic almost threefold, all while playing field users pursue frequent stray balls onto the streets.
Naturally, if Kitsilano residents with no direct knowledge of the blockage ramifications are asked if they favour a “greener” park with no intersecting road, they will be receptive – who wouldn’t? But after closer study, the negative consequences of such proposed changes quickly become clear to a reasonable and unbiased mind. That is precisely why the local neighbourhood has repeatedly voted in favour of an open Waterloo Street through the park. Sadly, after 25 years of arguments, debates, letters, phone calls, petitions, surveys, emails, council presentations, and trial closures, Councillor Anton still doesn’t get it.
Last modified: February 7, 2010
Thanks for this article. I’m fairly new hear and was stereotypically receptive to the idea when I heard it a couple months ago. If the issue has been seriously debated and the facts and evidence is against closing the street (as is suggested here) then I concede and stand with leaving the road open. Ensuring drivers obey playground zone speed limits would likely be more effective to promote safety.
Can you cite a source regarding the results of previous experiments? You may well be correct but I’d rather not just take your word for it. Thanks.
Mark– Report & Stats from: ADMINISTRATIVE REPORT – McBride Park Traffic – Waterloo Street Closure (October 2006) Administrative Report, transportation and traffic, november 14 2006, mcbride park, traffic, waterloo street, closure (access through City of Vancouver site). Report cites 1300 to 1900 autos per day at Blenheim, but no stats for Collingwood! The obvious fact not reported is that these diverted autos must then traverse and entire city block plus an end of a city block to reach 4th Ave, i.e. threefold increase in distance and time bordering the park, and on a narrower road!
Easier access to report:
It does seem clear that people living close to the park were overwhelmingly against the closure, so perhaps that should be the end of it.
I think your logic on the “threefold increase in traffic” is a bit shaky and not supported by the report though. 500 cars per day is still 500 cars per day, even if they travelled 300m instead of 100.
Thanks for the feedback, Mark.
I believe the last measured increase at Blenheim was 614 autos per day. In defence of my logic, “cars” and “traffic” are not quite the same thing, “traffic” referring to the distance, time taken, and path of the diverted “cars”, i.e. The passage of people or vehicles along routes of transportation. So, 600 cars travelling an end of a city block is significantly less “traffic” than 600 cars travelling an entire city block plus an end of a block.
Dictionary definition: Traffic, The passage of people or vehicles along routes of transportation.
I believe the last measured increase at Blenheim was 614 autos per day. In defense of my logic, “cars” and “traffic” are not quite the same thing, “traffic” referring to the distance, time taken, and path of the diverted “cars”, i.e. 600 cars travelling an end of a city block is less “traffic” than 600 cars travelling an entire city block plus an end of a city block.
Rather than argue about definitions of the word “traffic”, I’ll just refer you to the exact wording of the report, which says:
“Approximately 500 vehicles per day have been diverted to Blenheim Street with a traffic volume increase from 1300 vehicles per day to 1800 vehicles per day”
So in the sense that the words “traffic volume” are used by the City, the increase on Blenheim was 38% and not “threefold”.
BTW, I’m guessing that your argument about a threefold increase applies to traffic on 5th avenue: it could be that there were 600 cars a day using Waterloo that travelled down 5th Ave to Blenheim, adding to 300 cars a day already using that stretch of 5th.
But you could argue in response that 600 cars going around the edge of a park is better than 600 going through the middle of a park. Local homeowners of course are not going to buy this argument because it’s 600 cars going past their house, where they spend most of their time, rather than through the park which they visit only occasionally. Park users unlike the local residents seemed to be in favour of the plan, according to the report.
If you continue on to the next paragraph of the report you will find
the latest Blenheim St. count:
“Traffic volumes on the 2000 block of Blenheim Street were still significantly increased compared to pre-closure volumes. Approximately 600 vehicles per day have been diverted to Blenheim Street with a traffic volume increase from 1300 vehicles per day to 1900 vehicles per day as result of the closure.”
To my mind, the advantage of the Waterloo St. crossing is the uncommon width of the road, providing much greater separation from playing areas. Also, from my viewpoint overlooking the park, the “reminder” speed hump turning onto Waterloo from 4th has been very effective.