Presentation 1 City of Vancouver

SFU City Conversation: Future of Our Downtown Waterfront Hub
June 4, 2015

The Central Waterfront Hub Framework
Steve Brown, Manager of Traffic and Data Management, and
Anita Molaro, Assistant Director of Planning,
City of Vancouver

Below: Slide show of presentation with text
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Anita: Thank you everybody for coming. The Waterfront Hub Plan was approved by Council 2009. Steve and I were both intimately involved with its creation and development. </p><p>
So we are happy to be here to present the Waterfront Hub Plan and to give you an overview of the goals and the objectives set out within it. </p> <p>The vision for the Waterfront Hub Plan is for a world class transportation interchange and dynamic new downtown extension in the central waterfront area. </p> <p>The hub study area included the Waterfront Station, Granville 200, and over the rail tracks and the Seabus area. </p><p> From a transportation perspective looking at this as a transportation hub, this area basically has all modes of transportation in it. I challenge you to find a place in the world that has all of the transportation modes that are in this location. We have air and rail. We have freight movement and that's a big one. When we were doing this study, I couldn't find a location that had an active freight rail yard underneath the hub development. And seaplanes, and helicopter and cruise ship terminals. Basically all modes are there.  </p> <p>
Land ownership of this area is quite complex. You can see by the diagram here that the track lands that we were looking at were actually owned by the Vancouver Whitecaps. Previous to the hub plan, the Vancouver Whitecaps were looking to locate a soccer stadium there. They still own the land, and the rails have the right to operate within those lands. </p><p>
The Waterfront Station and Granville 200 are both owned by Cadillac Fairview. The Federal Government owns Sinclair Centre, and the Vancouver Whitecaps are the owners of the recently approved tower at 320 Granville. The Port owns land in this area, as well. </p><p>
The City does not own any land in this area. However, we do have some rights of access. Over the east end of the Waterfront Station site, we have a right of access to create a road through that parking lot that exists today. That road has been called the Cordova Connector. </p> The urban design and transportation objectives for the plan have three main pieces: connect the City with the waterfront, introduce a high-quality new development integrated with the transit hub, and create a world class transportation interchange. On the first one, connect the City with the waterfront: How do we do that? <p>Connect the City with the waterfront:</p><p>
The first thing that we looked at was to extend Granville Place Road. And, because we also have a goal in conjunction with the Port who were also partners in this exercise, to link Canada Place Road down to Waterfront Road in order to connect the Port lands with the City. We also have as goal to create the Cordova Connector. </p><p>
These diagrams show roads that are elevated at the grade height over the railway tracks. </p>
<p>Another objective was to try and achieve a long-standing City urban design principle to create street-end views in order for pedestrians to be able to see the water or the mountains beyond. </p><p>

We certainly can achieve that with the Cordova Connector, but one of the big challenges we have is how do we do that with Granville Street? </p> <p> 
That was an idea that we thought was important to pursue and understand how we could achieve it. So the plan actually looks at how can we get what we call the Granville Street extension, and at what elevation it would connect with the Canada Place extension. </p><p>
Another road in there is a hub street. Later Steve is going to talk a little bit more about the transportation needs of the area and why these series of roads and how they are configured are critical for serving the area, not only the development, but also the transportation hub. </p> <p> 
Another key goal in connecting the City to the waterfront is to extend the waterfront walkway that goes around the edge of the City. </p><p>
Also, to look at open space opportunities, particularly at those street-end views, and to provide people places to look out over the water and to the mountains beyond, instead of being held back from the water as we are today by the current parking lot plaza and because of the rail tracks. </p><p>
Also, to look at open space linkages within the plan to help facilitate transportation movement between the different modes. </p> The next piece of the urban design objectives was to introduce high quality new development integrated with the transportation hub. And that is to create high-density commercial and mixed-use development that takes advantage of excellent transit accessibility for increased transit riders, to extend the central business district, as well as complement the activities of Gastown. The architecture of the area would be of exceptional quality reflecting the prominence of the setting and respecting the existing heritage buildings, with a commitment to environmental sustainability in all aspects of the design and construction of the buildings. <p> 
From a transportation perspective, there were a number of goals within this area. Regarding the passenger concourse, what is there right now doesn't really respect the movement that's required in that area, do having a more grand passenger concourse where you could have all those movements happen and not feel constrained was a goal. </p><p>
Regarding a marine transit terminal, right now there is the Seabus. In the past we've had various forms of passenger ferries, and we could see that happening again in the future for connecting to a lot of the islands and elsewhere. There have been a number of tries in the past and at some point it will be successful. </p><p>
We want clear and direct and attractive links. If you have a transit hub and you have all of these inter-connections, you need to have the ability for big movements to happen in those areas so that you know how to way-find. Any major transportation hub in the world would have that kind of facility. </p><p>
And the other thing is to look long-term, not just at what's there now, but what's going to be coming in the future. For example, increased passenger rail. Right now we've got Westcoast Express that comes into that area, but the other passenger rail ends at the Flats, but  in the future we could see that coming right into downtown and connecting into this hub. What does that look like? Here are some good examples of what a world-class hub would look like from other areas in the world. In Berlin and London they have these facilities with these connections in between and it doesn't feel cramped. More examples of this - wide open spaces, with the ability to make those connections. What we have starts pretty well at the street with the heritage building. But when you go in there, it's a cramped space. Have you ever been there when a Westcoast Express train comes in? Good luck trying to connect between any of those areas. And the same with Seabus, coming across those narrow walkways. This shouldn't be something that happens at a world-class transportation hub. <p> Michael mentioned earlier about tens of thousands of people going through this area. Actually it's close to about 100,000 that enter into the hub daily and then connect to all the different modes. </p><p>
These projections for 2011 were done when we did the hub planning. Today when we look at boardings, the number is well over 100,000 connecting between these areas daily. </p> <p> 
So looking at the components, you can see we need to have a good connection between the marine terminal and the land terminal, and also the ability to both have all the connections at the land terminal and also connect to them in a way that can act as a fare-paid zone so you don't have to go in and out of fare gates as you make connections. </p><p>
There is also the existing heliport and we want to explore how that can continue in the area. </p> <p> 
Turning to some of the challenges of the street network:
Looking at the existing network that surrounds the building, we have Cordova Street and Howe Street. Howe Street is the entrance to the cruise ship terminal, which shuts down that area on very busy days. It doesn’t work to have Howe Street as the main entrance into this area. </p><p>
The Cordova Connector is really important for providing the transit circulation between Granville Street and back, but it would be only a Right in-out connection because it fed only from Water Street in the east. </p><p>
So the Granville extension is really important to be able to have that full movement connection for all the buses that want to come in here and connect to the hub street. In the recent downtown transit plan review survey, everyone said it's really hard to connect into Waterfront Station. So that was a big theme that came across in that consultation. </p><p>
And Canada Place would provide the extension of the greenway network and eventually connect down to Waterfront Road in the future. </p><p></p><p>
On the Granville Street extension. What we learned in the study was that one thing that we really wanted to fix was the elevated structure of Granville 200 and how it's disconnected from the rest of the city, the public realm. The bridge connection that goes along Granville Street is something that really impacts on Sinclair Centre and we'd love to see that removed. </p><p>
So we did a structural study to look at removing the upper level of the parking in the plaza of Granville 200 and allowing the road through. What we learned was because that facility was originally built to support fire trucks, it has been built to road capacity. So that was a very interesting understanding that the road could go through, with some upgrade to the existing structure. And by removing that upper level of the parking structure, the road would come through more naturally. </p> <p> 
At the next level down, the transit concourse is below grade but it allows for connections for Canada Line instead of what we have right now where you go up and through the Waterfront Station and have to go back down again. This would allow for a more level connection in the transit concourse, a below-grade connection underneath the hub road and Canada Place extension.  </p><p>
And we also looked at how we would support additional building structures on either side of that transit concourse. </p> <p> In this cross-section you see Waterfront Station on the right. As you come through Waterfront Station, you are dropping down to a new transit concourse level, one that is connecting below grade. But it also allows a connection at the hub street level, which is also important for where the buses will come into this facility. </p> Then we move through the potential development area, those other buildings… And eventually out to the Marine Terminal – all this with an opportunity of taking a choice out of making a connection on below grade, or coming up at various points to making that connection at grade. <p> 
Here are some illustrative concepts about how the massing of this area would unfold. You can see on the right a sketch of the concourse itself opening up and exposing the north side of Waterfront Station, enhancing it, we believe. </p><p>
And the lower sketch at the bottom showing how Granville Street would actually come through, opening up the western edge of Waterfront Station and exposing that elevation, and the removal of the elevated bridge along Sinclair Centre. </p> To finish, some of our challenges are the impact on the freight rail yards, development funding, achieving the Granville Street extension. And managing and dealing with dangerous goods. Thank you.
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Turning to some of the challenges of the street network: Looking at the existing network that surrounds the building, we have Cordova Street and Howe Street. Howe Street is the entrance to the cruise ship terminal, which shuts down that area on very busy days. It doesn’t work to have Howe Street as the main entrance into this area.

The Cordova Connector is really important for providing the transit circulation between Granville Street and back, but it would be only a Right in-out connection because it fed only from Water Street in the east.

So the Granville extension is really important to be able to have that full movement connection for all the buses that want to come in here and connect to the hub street. In the recent downtown transit plan review survey, everyone said it's really hard to connect into Waterfront Station. So that was a big theme that came across in that consultation.

And Canada Place would provide the extension of the greenway network and eventually connect down to Waterfront Road in the future.

On the Granville Street extension. What we learned in the study was that one thing that we really wanted to fix was the elevated structure of Granville 200 and how it's disconnected from the rest of the city, the public realm. The bridge connection that goes along Granville Street is something that really impacts on Sinclair Centre and we'd love to see that removed.

So we did a structural study to look at removing the upper level of the parking in the plaza of Granville 200 and allowing the road through. What we learned was because that facility was originally built to support fire trucks, it has been built to road capacity. So that was a very interesting understanding that the road could go through, with some upgrade to the existing structure. And by removing that upper level of the parking structure, the road would come through more naturally.

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