“Long term, it will provide a lot more flexibility for the corridor as a whole,” he said.
“This is going to be different than any other street,” added Deputy Director of Economic Development Teresa Brum. “It’s a social place, and people of all abilities, from all walks of life, can mingle together.”
Design work and community outreach will continue through the summer with construction scheduled to start in early 2024.
Parking on lower Main Street is inconsistent; some blocks have it, some do not. Some parts have diagonal parking; others have parallel parking. Under the redesign, every block on Main Street will have parallel parking. There will be no net loss in parking.
This allows for enhanced storefront visibility and for wider sidewalks.
“Over the next few decades, businesses will change, properties will change, things will be redeveloped and the streetscape will provide for the best activation in the long term,” said Michael Walker, the executive director of Vancouver’s Downtown Association.
Some attendees were quick to note that the redesign did not include designated bike lanes.
Irving said that although there won’t be dedicated lanes, by slowing vehicle traffic down, bicycle riders will feel safer being in the roadway. He added that Columbia Street, two blocks to the west, has dedicated bike lanes and will function as a sort of bike arterial, moving bike traffic north and south.
Keeping the corridor vibrant during construction is top of mind for planners and those involved.
“Sometimes people tend to shy away when there’s construction,” Irving said. “And that’s the time when those businesses need that the most.”
During construction, the city plans to host promotional events to attract people to the corridor.
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