Date: March 7, 2000
RTS NO. 01331
CC File Nos. 5767/1375
Council: May 2, 2000
Vancouver City Council
General Manager of Engineering Services in consultation with the Director of City Plans
Greenways - Ontario Route Approval, Greenways & Bikeways Staffing
A. THAT Council approve the route of the Ontario Greenway along Ontario Street from False Creek north of 1st Avenue to Kent Avenue South and instruct staff to begin a public consultation on the greenway design with a report back to Council for design approval.
B. THAT the existing CUPE 15 positions: Temporary Full Time Landscape Architect in the Greenways Branch and the auxiliary Engineering Assistant III in Neighbourhood Transportation be confirmed as Regular Full Time, and costs for both positions continue to be recovered through Engineering overhead with no increase to the operating budget.
The General Manager of Engineering Services and the Director of City Plans RECOMMEND approval of A above.
The General Manager of Engineering Services RECOMMENDS approval of B above.
On April 27, 1995 Council approved the Ontario Bikeway.
On July 18, 1995, Council adopted the Vancouver Greenways Plan with Ontario Street identified as one of the routes.
On May 27, 1997, Council approved the Vancouver Transportation Plan.
Establishing of new positions requires Council approval.
PURPOSE and SUMMARY
This report seeks approval for the proposed route for the Ontario Greenway that extends from False Creek at the north end along Ontario Street to Kent Avenue South at the south end. This proposed route is favourable because Ontario Street has numerous schools, parks and community facilities that make it an ideal route for a greenway. A greenway along this route would enhance the existing Ontario Bikeway through beautification and added amenities. Also, it would increase pedestrian safety and provide the neighbourhoods along the route with an opportunity to implement further traffic calming measures if required.
This report also seeks Council approval to change the status of two temporary full time positions to regular full time at no additional cost.
In July of 1995, Council adopted the Vancouver Greenways Plan. Greenways are "green" routes through the city for pedestrians and cyclists. Within this plan, fourteen City Greenways are proposed, including the Ontario route, which link important destinations such as parks, shopping areas and community facilities. On-street greenways are generally located on quiet streets where vehicles and bicycles share the road and pedestrians use the sidewalks. Pedestrian and cyclist safety features, amenities, beautification, and traffic calming changes are incorporated into the routes.
The proposed route for the Ontario Greenway follows the existing Ontario Bikeway, approved by Council on April 27, 1995. This bikeway has been well received by the community and provides an important north-south connection for bicycle commuters. A map of the proposed route for the Ontario Greenway is attached as Appendix A.
Once Council adopts the route for the Ontario Greenway, work will begin on public consultation and design of the greenway. Ideas for the preliminary design will be generated at a series of public open houses. Continuing feedback from the community will be used to modify the design. The final design will be presented to the public at another series of open houses followed up by a survey that will determine the level of support for the final design. Staff will report back to Council with the results of the survey and the preliminary costs for implementation.
Ontario Street has 4 schools, 3 parks and 2 community centres that make it an ideal route for a greenway. A linear connection that links all of these community facilities and connects to False Creek and the Ridgeway Greenway will be an invaluable public amenity.
For residents along Ontario Bikeway, the addition of the greenway provides an opportunity for:
· beautification, through planting, public art and diverse streetscapes;
· increased amenities, such as plazas, improved lighting and special places along the route;
· further traffic calming with the support of the residents, both on and adjacent to the route; and
· increased pedestrian and cyclist safety.
Since the approval of the Greenways plan in 1995, a landscape architect has worked in Greenways initially as a part time temporary and then as a full time temporary employee. This position has become a vital part of Engineering Services, not just for Greenways, but as a landscape resource for the department. In addition to providing landscape design for City and Neighbourhood Greenways, this position is responsible for the management of all on-street landscaping and providing landscape design and advice to other branches. For example, this position provided in-house landscape design, tender specifications, plans and construction quality control for the City's new asphalt plant. The landscape design work for Greenways and other branches in the department has over the years saved the City an estimated $120,000 in consultants fees.
With the approval of the 2000-2002 capital plan, Greenways funding has been confirmed at the same level as previous years. Given the continued role of greenways and the continued need for in-house landscape expertise within engineering, it is recommended the existing Temporary Full Time Landscape Architect in Engineering Greenways be confirmed as Regular Full Time.
Similarly, funding for cycling initiatives has been a stable component of the previous and current capital plans. Cycling has been identified as a priority in the 1997 Vancouver Transportation Plan and continued capital funding is expected. An Engineering Assistant III staff person in the Neighbourhood Transportation Branch has been funded as an auxiliary for several years in order to do design work for the cycling network. This position would continue to be staffed as Council funding dictates, currently at the 80% level. Becausecycling will continue to be a transportation priority, it is recommended that this position be confirmed as Regular Full Time, to be funded through capital overhead.
Design details and funding requirements for the Ontario Street Greenways will be reported back to Council following public consultation.
The existing Temporary Full Time Landscape Architect in Engineering Greenways and the auxiliary Engineering Assistant III in Neighbourhood Transportation are currently funded from engineering operating recovered from overhead on capital projects. Conversion to Regular Full Time will be at no cost to the operating budget, and costs will continue to be fully recovered through engineering overhead.
Greenways benefit the environment by enhancing and encouraging opportunities to walk and cycle in the city. As well as increasing the number of trees and other plants along the greenway routes, civic environmental initiatives are promoted, such as the composter and down spout disconnect programmes.
Greenways contribute positively to society through the provision of increased opportunities for active and passive recreation, community interaction and healthier lifestyles.
A greenway along Ontario Street would connect numerous parks, schools and community centres and would provide many social and environmental benefits for the residents of Vancouver. The residents along this route support the existing traffic calming measures and would benefit greatly from the opportunity to further calm traffic in their neighbourhood and increase the pedestrian safety on their streets. As well, the residents would benefit from the added beautification and amenities provided as part of the greenway.
With the continuing need for landscape expertise and cycling design in engineering, it is appropriate for the existing Temporary Full Time Landscape Architect in Engineering Greenways and the auxiliary Engineering Assistant III in Neighbourhood Transportation be confirmed as Regular Full Time.
A copy of this report has been forwarded to CUPE local 15, which may wish to comment.
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(c) 1998 City of Vancouver