Agenda Index City of Vancouver


Date: November 17, 1997

Dept. File No. 090 650

CC File No. 5761-1

TO:Vancouver City Council

FROM:General Manager of Engineering Services

SUBJECT:Left Turn Bay at Arbutus and 12th


A.THAT Council approve the design of the left turn bay on Arbutus at 12th as described in this report, and further, that Council approve construction subject to approval of the 1998 Streets Basic Capital Budget.

B. THAT the Manager of Real Estate Services proceed with the necessary property acquisition for report back to Council; and

C.THAT Council approve the landscaping of the centre median, with the addition of $2,500 annually to the Streets Operating Budget without offset for maintenance.


Council has adjusted the Arbutus building line pursuant to a public hearing in June 1994 to accommodate the design proposed in this report.

Council approved the Transportation Plan in May, 1997. A principle of the plan is to not increase overall roadway capacity and to calm traffic in neighbourhoods to discourage short-cutting.

Council approved the Arbutus Neighbourhood Greenway and Streetscape Plan in May, 1997.


The purpose of this report is to explain the design of the proposed left turn bays on Arbutus at 12th Avenue, to discuss the proposal in the context of the Transportation Plan and to present citizen reaction.


The Arbutus Neighbourhood is located between Vine and Maple Streets and West 10th and West 12th Avenues. The land uses in the area are changing from industrial and service to predominantly residential with retail and service on Arbutus Street.

The left turn bay at Arbutus and 12th was proposed by the area residents in response to the development of the Arbutus Neighbourhood. The philosophy behind the project is to provide a more attractive arterial network in order to prevent on-going short-cutting problems.

The redevelopment of the area included an extensive public process. In November, 1992 Council approved the Arbutus Neighbourhood Policy Plan which stated:

"Review and recommend adjustments to the building lines on Arbutus Street to respond to Council's decision to maintain current street width and not to widen to six lanes, while recognizing the need for intersection improvements."

Preliminary designs were presented to Council in March, 1994 and the narrowed building line (from 100 to 83 feet) was approved at a Public Hearing in June, 1994. This would allow properties on either side to develop in a retail/service function.

Throughout this process, both residents and fronting landowners were consulted.



The left turn bay design is illustrated in Figure 1. This design conforms to the Building Line that Council approved at the Public Hearing in June, 1994. The following design criteria were achieved:

-four lanes that accommodate bicycles plus left turning lanes in both directions

-13-foot boulevards with sidewalks and tree planting

-centre median with landscaping

-allows east side sites to achieve close to full allowable density.


Existing on-street parking regulations will continue; i.e., parking is allowed except during rush hours. This is consistent with the Transportation Plan and is important that off-peak parking be retained to sustain the emerging retail function of these block faces.

Similarly, traffic signal timing has been reviewed and no initial changes to the timing are anticipated.


The table below summarizes the recent accident history at Arbutus and 12th. The history is edited to show only accidents in the north/south direction and, of those, only accidents attributable to left turn movements. Property damage and injuries relate only to those accidents.

Left-Turn Related Accident Summary 1990-1996

Incidents Injuries Property Damage

68 22 $158,000

It is conservatively estimated that one-third of these accidents will be eliminated by the proposed project. With independent analysis, ICBC has established that the medical care to treat an injury sustained in urban conditions costs approximately $23,500. Accordingly, considering the seven year history above, annual savings of $23,500 in health care costs and $7,500 in property damage could be expected from this project. Some additional accident savings are expected by eliminating conflicts by means of the raised median in the design.

The Insurance Corporation will be requested to undertake an independent analysis of this intersection to determine whether they will contribute to capital funding.


The Transportation Plan recognizes that left turn bays may be required to improve safety but they should be designed to not increase capacity and wherever possible should be accommodated within the existing road width. The Transportation Plan also emphasises the need for safe, quiet neighbourhood streets.


With the addition of left turn bays on Arbutus the capacity of the intersection is increased. For example, in Figure 2 this increase is shown by the hatched area. However, as redevelopment of the Arbutus Lands continues and the local population increases and traffic volumes increase as a result, all approaches to the intersection will fall in terms of level of service. It is expected a left turn phase, westbound to southbound would soon be required on 12th Avenue. This would have the effect of reducing the recently gained capacity on Arbutus Street since less green time would be available to it.

Corridor Implications

The initial capacity increase described above should also be considered relative to other intersections on Arbutus. Figure 2 illustrates the capacity of the corridor between Broadway and King Edward before and after the proposed construction. As can be seen, the 12th Avenue intersection, together with Broadway, are the constraints in the corridor. This is why adjoining neighbourhoods have been experiencing short-cutting. The improvement at 12th initially raises the capacity of the intersection enough to provide an alternate route for shortcutting traffic, but not enough to attract significant traffic from adjoining corridors.

The intersection at Broadway is also scheduled for improvement, subject to a future Council approval. The timing will be dependent on the following factors:

·440·redevelopment of properties on the east side of Arbutus between 11th Avenue and Broadway·440

·440·the introduction of on-street LRT on Broadway (to UBC)·440

During this future stage an important design consideration will be to preserve the local collector nature of Arbutus north of Broadway in order to protect those neighbourhoods.

Modal Split

A common assumption is that left turn bays generate additional auto traffic, thus negatively affecting the transit/auto mode split. To test this, the regional transportation model was employed to measure the change in modal split before and after construction of the turning lane. The result was no change. There are reasons for this:

·440·the change in capacity is negligible in the corridor context ·440

·440·the location affects a very small proportion of trip- making in Vancouver ·440

·440·the time savings, for those that choose the route, is small in relation to the entire journey·440

·440·any travel time savings are shared equally between bus and auto ·440

A capacity improvement such as this may affect the route choice of those already in cars. However, shortcutting traffic that will now use the intersection will mitigate this. The model is not sensitive enough to detect this kind of change, however, and it is believed that these kind of effects are lost within the larger factor of growth in the immediate area in particular and the west side population in general.

Goods Movement

The original decision to "let-go" this small industrial area and the closing of the former Carling Brewery means this area is not now a significant goods movement generator. Goods movement that remains is more related to serving the local retail and residential population. Smaller two-axle trucks account for 4 percent of daily traffic here and this proportion will continue in the future.


Arbutus Neighbourhood Greenway

The Arbutus Neighbourhood Greenway, located on 11th Avenue, will eventually link Connaught Park and Kitsilano Community Centre to Lord Tennyson School. Construction of the first phase of the Greenway, between Vine and Yew Streets, will begin in the spring of 1998. The community has, throughout the extensive planning process, requested the installation of a pedestrian activated signal at the intersection of the 11th Avenue and Arbutus to facilitate safe use of the Greenway. The left turn bay plans incorporate the future installation of this signal. The cost of the preparatory work is funded through development levies.


Property owners and residents were provided further opportunity to comment on this project at a public information meeting on April 23, 1997. Notification was by advertisement in a community newspaper, supplemented with a sign on site and direct notification of owners. Three owners and two residents attended this meeting and they expressed generally favourable support. Subsequently, one letter has been received objecting to the cost and priority of this project.

Specifically, owners were interested in such issues as access, parking configuration and future development potential. Owners of the automotive service shops with front yard parking on the eastern side were particularly concerned about parking loss. However, although less than now configured, the remaining parking, resulting from the widening, iseither equal to or greater than the amount which recent development permits allowed these owners. These issues will be resolved in the next, property negotiation, stage.


The total estimated cost for this project is $1.4 Million. Council approved $450,000 for property acquisition as part of the 1997 Streets Basic Capital Budget. Funding of $950,000 for construction will be included in the 1998 Streets Capital Budget submission.

Median landscaping will incur an on-going operating budget increase of $2,500 per year.


As part of the planning process leading to the rezoning of the Arbutus Industrial lands, the community to the south and west of the intersection of Arbutus and 12th had requested the construction of left turn bays to eliminate short-cutting through their community. The area is redeveloping with over 1,000 new residential units proposed and the concern is that the residential short-cutting problem will increase. Left turn bays on Arbutus would decrease left turn related accidents by about a third and address the shortcutting problem.

The project is consistent with the Transportation Plan. Modal splits will not change, the project will furnish travel time savings to transit and this project will assist in eliminating short-cutting traffic.

Upon approval, property acquisition ($450,000 approx.) will proceed this year. Construction, at an estimated cost of $950,000 could commence next summer at the earliest.

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