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N eighbour hoods , Par ks , P lan n ing and Tr ans por t at ion
e cit y
What You’ll See
This tour of Vancouver on public transit outside the downtown core takes you around several Vancouver residential neighbourhoods. You’ll see some of the results of the City’s community and transportation planning, as well as a transit-oriented development and several City parks. The main section of the tour, between the Arbutus Neighbourhood and Collingwood Village, takes about 3.5 hours, including travel time and strolling. This brochure also describes some side trips you can take in addition to the main tour.
Taking the Streetcar to Growth
Vancouver’s population ballooned from about 5,000 in 1887 to 100,000 in 1900. The streetcar routes, nearly invisible today, played a vital role in how the city grew. Streetcar expansion and residential development often went hand in hand. As rail lines pushed into the forest, they allowed average citizens to buy lots at affordable prices beyond downtown and still commute to work. Along with local routes, North America’s earliest Interurban line opened in 1891, connecting downtown Vancouver and New Westminster. The Interurban opened vast tracts of land for agricultural and residential development. The first transit portion of the tour takes you along the old Broadway streetcar route and part of the old Interurban route to Collingwood Village. Electric trolley buses began replacing the streetcar system in 1948. Today, Vancouver is one of seven cities in North America still operating quiet, pollution-free trolleys. The regional transit authority, TransLink, has committed to fully replacing the aging trolley fleet with zero-emission, low-floor trolleys by 2007.
The tour starts at the Arbutus Neighbourhood. From downtown, take bus #16 Arbutus and get off at Broadway and Arbutus. You can also start the tour at any one of the sites throughout the tour. Just follow the transit directions from where you start. See centrefold for map.
Site 1: Arbutus Neighbourhood
• From Broadway, walk two blocks south along Arbutus Street
Planning on Display
This tour will show you how planning has helped shaped Vancouver’s residential communities. The City’s planning programs include area planning and Community Vision implementation. In 1995, CityPlan was adopted as a broad vision for Vancouver. Community Visions bring CityPlan policies to life at the neighbourhood level. You will see examples of the City’s general policy directions for communities, such as strengthening neighbourhood centres, reducing reliance on the car, increasing housing variety and affordability, and involving residents in planning their communities.
to the W. 11th Avenue greenway and park, a focal point for the community. This 10-hectare (25-acre) site originally contained a brewery and factories. Today, it is a mediumdensity, low- to mid-rise residential precinct that will eventually house 2,100 residents. About 145 non-market housing units (10 per cent of the total units on the site) are fully integrated with market housing. City-required amenities provided by the developer include a seniors’ housing project, the retention of a learning institution, and one hectare (2.2 acres) of park.
Wayfinding: Walk back north along Arbutus Street and turn right at W. 6th Avenue. Walk one block and turn left at Maple Street.
• The community gardens next to the railway tracks along
CityPlan: Directions for Vancouver (1995) • Create and strengthen neighbourhood centres • Improve safety and better target community services • Reduce reliance on the car by locating jobs, shops, and services near housing • Increase the variety and affordability of housing • Define neighbourhood character • Diversify parks and public places • Involve people and redirect resources
W. 6th Avenue are a few of many throughout the City that showcase gardening’s recreational and community building value. Community gardening brings people together for a common purpose, raises environmental awareness and teaches people valuable skills. Local residents volunteer to plant and tend these gardens.
• The Vancouver Compost Demonstration Garden at 2150
Maple Street showcases a variety of “green technologies” that city dwellers can use for food, waste and water conservation. This public garden includes a large organic food and flower garden, a composting system, a waterwise garden, rain barrels, a compost toilet, and sustainable buildings including a cob shed. Funded by the City, the garden embodies Vancouver’s support for environmental conservation. Staff are in the garden Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., but you can enter the side gate and tour the site anytime. www.cityfarmer.org
In transit: At Broadway and Arbutus Street, take the #9 or #17 bus west along Broadway to Macdonald Street and transfer to the #99 B-Line westbound to UBC.
• The lane east of Maple Street, between W. 5th and 6th
Avenues on the City Farmer property, is one of the City’s earliest examples of sustainable “country lanes.” Two narrow bands of hard surface are surrounded by a structural component that can support vehicles as well as accommodate topsoil planted with grass. Country lanes absorb rainwater thereby helping to reduce surface runoff and associated discharges into the City storm/sewer system. They are an innovative alternative to asphalt lane paving.
In transit: At Broadway and Arbutus Street, take the #9 or #17 bus east to Granville Street and transfer to the #99 B-Line eastbound. Get off at Cambie Street.
University of British Columbia (UBC) (#99 bus stop: UBC) Founded by the provincial government in 1908, UBC consistently ranks among the top 50 universities in the world. A research-intensive university, UBC has more than 50,000 undergraduate, graduate and international students and has an economic impact of $4 billion on the local economy. UBC is evolving from a traditional “commuter campus” into a more self-contained “University Town.” The university is engaging the campus community in a planning and visioning process to help create a sustainable new mixed-use community. This, in turn, supports and strengthens the university’s academic mission. Attractions at UBC include the Museum of Anthropology, the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts, and the Japanese Nitobe Memorial Garden. Spectacular views of the Gulf Islands can be seen from the Rose Gardens at the intersection of Main Mall and Chancellor Boulevard. www.ubc.ca
Note: #99 B-Line: a popular route that cuts cross-town travel time The #99 B-Line express bus service travels along Broadway between UBC and the Commercial Drive SkyTrain station. Launched in 1996, this limited-stop service has become heavily used, with ridership increasing from 10,000 passengers daily in 1996 to over 30,000 passengers daily today. Many of them are students travelling to UBC. A universal transportation pass program called U-Pass encourages university students to take public transit. Students pay a mandatory fee with their tuition in exchange for unlimited transit services in the Greater Vancouver Regional District. www.translink.bc.ca Trips on buses, rapid transit, SeaBus and the West Coast Express account for approximately 20 per cent of all trips within the City of Vancouver.
• As you ride along W. Broadway, take note of the housing
above the shops in these commercial districts. Designed to be compatible with the commercial uses, the dwelling units contribute to the city’s sustainability by being close to shops and services.
• The tree-lined streets south
Side trip: City Square is located
Site 2: Broadway and Cambie (#99 bus stop: Cambie)
• This intersection is the location of a future station for the
on the northwest corner of of Broadway contain many W. 12th Avenue and Cambie. examples of infill housing, This development exemplifies in which smaller houses urban design strategies including are built behind existing heritage preservation, tree houses to add residential retention and architectural density while respecting the character while adding density to neighbourhood’s character the site. Two turn-of-the-century (e.g. 2632 Alberta St., 174 school buildings are integrated W. 11th Ave.). Appropriate with retail, office and educational setbacks and use of the roof facilities. Pedestrian linkages throughout connect people to space over carports create opportunities for open space project components as well as and sunlight. Many homes in to the surrounding community. this area are on the City’s heritage register. The new houses reference the older houses in their massing and architectural form.
• Vancouver’s public streets are lined with more than 124,000
Canada Line (rapid transit), to be completed by 2009. The Canada Line will reduce travel time between downtown and the airport and Richmond to 25 minutes. It will serve one-third of the region’s workforce and 20 per cent of its population. The station at this intersection will serve those who live and work around City Hall, Vancouver General Hospital and the Broadway corridor. www.canadaline.ca
Wayfinding: Walk up Yukon Street (one block east of Cambie St.) and turn left on W. 10th, 11th, 13th or 14th Avenues.
boulevard trees that are cared for by Vancouver Park Board staff. Arborists at Vancouver’s own tree nursery grow and plant thousands of new trees each year to enhance and diversify the urban forest. In this Mount Pleasant community, you will see species ranging from oaks and maples to the Japanese flowering cherry. The Vancouver Tree Bylaw limits tree removal on private properties and mandates that replacement trees be planted whenever trees are removed.
• Vancouver City Hall will be on your right as you walk up
the hill toward W. 12th Avenue. Opened in 1936 and designated a heritage building in 1976, the building’s style stands at a transitional point between the vertical, highly ornamented Art Deco style and the simpler, more horizontal Moderne.
Wayfinding: Continue along E. 10th Avenue to Windsor Street and turn left. Walk to E. 12th Avenue. Return to the bus stop at Clark Drive.
• The City’s Green Streets Program offers Vancouver residents
• Between E. 12th and E. 41st Avenues on Windsor Street is the
an opportunity to become volunteer street gardeners in their neighbourhoods by sponsoring a traffic circle or corner bulge garden. This creates not only a more colourful and interesting street and a more personalized neighbourhood, but also encourages and promotes a sense of community pride and ownership that ultimately benefits the entire city. Examples of Green Streets projects are found at the intersections of Alberta and W. 10th Ave., Ontario Street and W. 16th Ave., and Quebec and W. 10th Ave.
Wayfinding/In transit: You can either walk back to Yukon Street to catch the eastbound #99 B-Line at Broadway, or continue walking several blocks east along the landscaped streets to catch the #99 B-Line at Main Street and Broadway to Clark Drive.
Windsor Way Blooming Boulevards Demonstration Project. More than 40 residents have helped beautify Windsor Street by planting gardens in the area between the curb and sidewalk. Launched in 2001, the Blooming Boulevards project is partially funded by the City through the Park Board. City staff coordinate the project and arrange for the delivery of City compost. Community members promote the project and residents maintain their own gardens. This demonstration project is an example of the Community Visions Program bringing to life some of the goals identified in CityPlan. The success of Windsor Way has led to policy changes that allow residents to garden boulevards throughout the city.
• Vancouver has developed many policies that encourage
Site 3: Blooming Boulevards (#99 bus stop: Clark Drive)
Wayfinding: From the bus stop, walk west to Clark Drive. Cross Clark and walk one block south. Turn right at E. 10th Avenue to get to China Creek Park.
walking and cycling. Vancouver’s city-wide network of commuter and recreational bikeways is an example of how such policies can help produce results on the ground. Here on Windsor Street – a recent addition to the bikeway network – you’ll see traffic calming measures and improvements to traffic signals that help improve the environment for cyclists and discourage non-local drivers. These include curbside push buttons at pedestrian/cyclist signals, painted bicycle logos on the roadway, traffic circles, diverters and medians.
• China Creek Park takes its name from the creek that once ran
through the area. Named for Chinese pioneers who farmed here in the 1880s, the creek was home to coho and chum salmon. It was given to the City to settle an unpaid tax bill in 1923, though construction of the park did not begin until 1951. The park has one of the region’s oldest skateboard bowls, while on the north side of Broadway, the King Edward campus of Vancouver Community College sits on the site of the velodrome built for the British Empire Games of 1954.
Site 4: Broadway/Commercial SkyTrain Station (#99 bus stop: Commercial Drive; SkyTrain stop: Broadway/Commercial)
• The Broadway/Commercial SkyTrain Station is a terminus
City Policies to Promote Walking and Cycling • A walkable and accessible Central Area (Central Area Plan, 1991) • Transit, walking and biking as a priority (CityPlan, 1995) • Expand opportunities for urban recreation and the experience of nature and city life (Vancouver Greenways Plan, 1995) • Share the road network: Allocate space for cyclists and improve pedestrian comfort and safety. (Vancouver Transportation Plan, 1997) • Promote a walkable downtown – "Pedestrians First Policy" – and create a network of downtown bike lanes (Downtown Transportation Plan, 2002)
for the #99 B-Line bus service and a major transfer point for people going to and from downtown on SkyTrain. Plans to improve this “Transit Village” are underway through the Urban Transportation Showcase Program, a partnership between the City, the federal government, the regional transportation authority and other municipalities. The project will integrate the two SkyTrain stations and improve safety, circulation, and access for pedestrians, passengers, and cyclists. It will also determine how new development and commercial activity around the stations can support even higher transit use and provide ongoing benefit to the community. www.translink.bc.ca
Wayfinding: From the bus stop, walk north to Grandview Highway North and turn right.
In transit: From Clark Drive, take the #99 B-Line east to Broadway/Commercial Drive. The Broadway/Commercial SkyTrain Station is a terminus for the #99 B-Line bus service and a major transfer point for people going to and from downtown on SkyTrain.
• From where the bus stops, you have a good view of the
Grandview Cut, a manmade ravine that runs parallel to Grandview Highway North. When the Great Northern Railway dug the Cut in 1913, it used the excavated material as fill under rail tracks in the eastern basin of False Creek. The City bought the north and south banks of the Grandview Cut in 1990 as a transportation corridor. Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway owns the land at the bottom of the ravine. Its trains, along with those of VIA Rail and Amtrak, still run through the Cut today.
• The first phase of the Central Valley Greenway runs along
Grandview Highway North between Commercial Drive and Slocan Street. Greenways are linear parks or street improvements that favour cyclists and pedestrians while discouraging motor vehicles. The multi-use, landscaped paths
Site 5: Collingwood Village (SkyTrain stop: Joyce-Collingwood)
Wayfinding: Leave the SkyTrain station, walk to the southeast corner of Joyce Street and Vanness Avenue, then walk east to the Collingwood Village development.
accommodate pedestrians, cyclists and other wheeled users. Narrow street widths and other traffic calming measures contribute to a pleasant walking and cycling environment. When complete, the Central Valley Greenway – one of sixteen routes in the city – will span four Lower Mainland municipalities following the SkyTrain Millennium Line from Vancouver to Coquitlam. Walk two or three blocks to view the various treatments along this greenway.
In transit: Catch the SkyTrain at Broadway Station eastbound in the direction of King George. (From Commercial Station, walk up the stairs to Broadway Station.) Ride three stops to Joyce-Collingwood Station.
• Originally settled by farmers and orchardists in the 1880s,
Collingwood is a long established community. Collingwood Village is a prime example of transit-oriented development in the City of Vancouver, focusing residential, commercial and recreational uses within easy walking distance from a rapid transit station. The developer assembled about 11 hectares (27 acres) of former industrial land that was comprehensively rezoned in 1993. The City required the developer to provide a range of amenities, including a Neighbourhood House, a community gymnasium, a childcare facility, an elementary school and 3 hectares (7.4 acres) dedicated to public open space. Once completed, Collingwood Village will be home to about 4,500 new residents in an active, pedestrian-friendly environment. The housing mix combines affordable market housing and rentals, with 20 per cent of all residential units designed for families with children. Housing types include townhouses, mid-rise apartments and high-rise towers to a maximum of 26 storeys.
• SkyTrain travels along much of the route of the original 1891
Interurban line between Vancouver and New Westminster. From the train there are good views to the north of the mountains, downtown and Burrard Inlet.
The tour ends here.
Take the SkyTrain back downtown (Expo Line westbound in the direction of Waterfront), or to Broadway/ Commercial Station where you can hop on the #99 B-Line bus westbound back to UBC. Or, take a side trip.
a natural area, lake and forest. Year-round uses such as a skateboard park have also been added. The City continues to work on accommodating the annual fair, sports (the park is home to the horse racing industry in Vancouver), and special events within the park while providing a green space for the
You may choose to take the following side trips. 1. Metrotown. From Broadway/Commercial SkyTrain Station, ride SkyTrain eastbound two stops to Metrotown in the City of Burnaby. Metrotown is one of eight regional town centres that, along with the Metropolitan Core of Vancouver’s Central Area, help to create a compact, livable metropolitan region. Town centres feature a concentration of jobs and housing, a variety of shopping, services and community facilities, and serve as hubs for road and transit connections to the rest of the region. The province’s largest retail and entertainment centre, located next to the SkyTrain station, is the heart of the Metrotown regional centre. www.gvrd.bc.ca/livablecentres/metrotown.htm To view the region, continue riding SkyTrain to Surrey. On the way back, you can take the Millennium Line past Lougheed Mall and through Central Burnaby to Broadway and Commercial, where you can transfer to downtown. 2. Hastings Park Area. From the 29th Avenue SkyTrain Station, look for bus #16 Arbutus. Ride the #16 north to Hastings Park at Renfrew and Hastings. The Pacific National Exhibition (PNE) at Hastings Park is a Vancouver institution dating to the late 1800s. It is one of North America’s few remaining urban agricultural summer fairs. In 2004, the City of Vancouver acquired responsibility for the fair and the grounds. Significant greening of the property has taken place with the creation of
neighbourhood. www.vancouver.ca/pnepark From Renfrew and Hastings, walk down Renfrew Street to McGill, head east and look for the parking lot signs pointing to New Brighton Park. Follow the road under the rail tracks. Set on the waterfront, the park has great views of downtown and the working harbour. The Port of Vancouver, with one of the world’s best natural harbours, is the largest in Canada and one of the busiest in North America.
Note: The Vancouver Park Board manages Vancouver’s parks and recreation system. The Park Board is one of the only elected bodies of its kind in Canada. The Board’s mission is to provide, preserve and advocate for parks, open spaces and leisure services to enhance the well being of individuals and communities. Since Stanley Park became Vancouver’s first park in the late 1800s, the parks and recreation system has grown to include more than 200 parks (1,298 hectares) with community centres, swimming pools, skating rinks, golf courses, food concessions, marinas and street trees among its many features.
In transit: It is about a ten-block walk south through the Beacon Hill neighbourhood (Renfrew or Kaslo St.) to return to Hastings Street. On Hastings, the #10 Granville and #16 Arbutus buses westbound will take you to downtown.
453 West 12th Avenue Vancouver, BC V5Y 1V4 For more information on any of the topics below, visit
• Blooming Boulevards • Country Lanes • Cycling • Green Streets Program • Greenways • Hastings Park • Parks and Recreation • Planning • Tree Bylaw • Urban Design
Other self-guided tours in this series:
Printed on recycled paper
• Coal Harbour • Downtown • Downtown Eastside • False Creek
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?