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Vancouver city councillor tabling proposal to repurpose streets amid physical distancing era

Last Updated May 12, 2020 at 5:22 pm PST

(Photo credit: Dustin Godfrey for NEWS 1130)

City Councillor is tabling a proposal to quickly repurpose the streets

Coun. Lisa Dominato says the motion will help revive businesses and facilitate safe outdoor fun

Dominato says the idea could have staying power beyond our post-pandemic reopening

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — As typically-dense communities across Canada try to figure out how to operate in the era of physical distancing, a Vancouver councillor thinks the city’s road space could be better used.

Coun. Lisa Dominato has tabled a motion that would instruct city staff to find ways to reallocate some streets and greenways temporarily.

“For example, things like our existing bikeways or designated cycling routes. Could we put some signage on those that say, basically, shared use pedestrians welcome cyclists welcome and local traffic only?” she asked.

A similar action is already being done along Beach Avenue, where one lane has been blocked to cars to allow more space for pedestrians and cyclists.

Dominato adds the motion will help businesses, which are going to need room to spread out their wares and allow customers to queue up.

“The other element of this motion is also looking at how do we reallocate street use as well to support people as they become consumers again so as our retail stores reopen restaurants, bars, other things. We’re going to have people limited number of people going into stores. So how do we support queueing on the, on the road or the sidewalks?”

Dominato is also asking the city to look at expending the concept even beyond the end of the pandemic.

“Also think it is raising a bigger question about urban planning and what kind of city we want to have and so I think there may be some things that carry on the long term,” she tells NEWS 1130.

Her motion builds on past efforts by council to support slower residential streets and to make shared use safer. and a motion by Coun. Sarah Kirby-Yung to allow patios in more areas.