Car-free Granville Street? Vancouver council to consider a pedestrian-only zone for weekends
VANCOUVER -- Vancouver city council is debating giving the Granville Entertainment District a whole new look, at least for the summer.
Coun. Sarah Kirby-Yung put forward a motion recommending all vehicle traffic be prohibited to give businesses in the area a boost.
Kirby-Yung says the change would give restaurants hard hit by the pandemic a chance to expand their outdoor patio space.
"Granville Street has been one of the worst impacted areas and when you have more people in an area that's good for business, that's good for everybody, it brings some life and some positive energy back to the street," she told CTV News Vancouver.
Restaurateurs on the street are in favour of the proposed change, but say they wish council though of it sooner.
The exact details would still need to be worked out, but the proposal would shut vehicle traffic down in the area from July to September, between Smithe and Helmcken streets on weekends, including Friday night.
There could also be opportunities for local artists, who Kirby-Yung says are "dying to see an audience," to perform.
TransLink and the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association say they're on board with the idea, which is being brought to council next week.
It's certainly not the first time a section of Granville Street has been pedestrianized. From 2009 to 2014, several summer events were held as part of Viva Vancouver, an annual initiative meant to reallocate street space to public gathering space.
That program typically ran from late June to early September and saw blocks of the street closed on weekends. Buses were rerouted to Seymour and Howe streets.
With files from CTV News Vancouver's St. John Alexander