For the past three summers, its been a gathering place, complete with park benches, bean bag chairs and patio umbrellas. But whether the 800 block of Robson street will become a permanent public square, or revert to a transit arterial, is still up in the air.
The city wound down the last of this summer's Viva Vancouver events last weekend, an initiative aimed at promoting use of public space around the city, and reopened the 800-block of Robson street to vehicle traffic. Viva Vancouver, which debuted in 2011, has seen the Robson block and parts of Granville Street closed to vehicles from June through September. The area was originally closed to traffic during the Olympic Games. In December 2010, former NPA councillor Suzanne Anton put forward a motion calling for a permanent traffic closure in the area — "a good location for a major public square." The matter was eventually put to more studies.
City council was expected to make a decision on the permanent closure of the 800-block last summer, but deferred until a review of transit service in the downtown core could be carried out.
"A permanent closure as well as implications are being considered as part of the Downtown Vancouver Bus Review," said TransLink spokesperson Jiana Ling in an email."No decision has been made as we are going through a technical analysis of, and public consultation input toward, the implications of a possible closure of 800 Robson block."
The number 5 bus route, which runs along Robson, has been detoured during the closure.
TransLink and the city conducted two open houses on downtown bus service in June, and will continue to collect input into the fall.
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