West End residents want to know how the Robson bus would be re-routed if a public plaza on the 800-block of Robson Street is made permanent. The 800-block was closed to vehicle traffic during the 2010 Olympics, during the last two summers and will remain closed until the end of the year.
Spencer Chandra Herbert, MLA for Vancouver-West End, has heard from residents who are excited about the idea of a permanent plaza in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery.
But he’s mostly heard from Vancouverites who are “somewhat supportive… but have decided to be against it because the bus rerouting is so inconvenient.”
Instead of trundling straight down Robson Street, the No. 5 bus now jogs over to Burrard Street.
“I’ve heard with seniors in particular, but also people just with young kids or mobility issues, that for them they feel it’s kind of shut them out of that central downtown core because they used to be able to take the bus from Denman [Street] straight up Robson to the library or to Granville Street, and even a couple of blocks difference for some is a really big change that they can’t handle,” Herbert said.
He reported the West End Business Improvement Association has called for its members to speak in favour of short-term closures for festivals only. Residents can say what they’d like to see happen to Block 51, as the 800-block and the plaza on the north side of the art gallery is called, in an online survey until Nov. 12.
Water is leaking into the underground spaces of the art gallery so the membrane beneath the north plaza needs to be fixed. The Block 51 survey acknowledges problems with the Robson bus reroute. “…Regardless of council’s decision on creating a permanent public space on 800-block Robson Street, TransLink is currently planning an improved re-routing to the #5 Robson bus,” it states. “TransLink will be conducting a service review of their entire downtown network that may help guide improved bus routes.”
Herbert said residents want to see the reroute before council votes on the closure. A report on the 800-block is slated to go to city council by the end of the year.