Agenda Index City of Vancouver


Date: 17 October, 1997

Dept. File No. 224 564

CC File No. 5761

TO:Standing Committee on Transportation and Traffic

FROM:General Manager of Engineering Services

SUBJECT:Improved Port Access at Victoria Drive


THAT an eastbound left-turn bay from Powell to Victoria be installed (YD652) in conjunction with reconstruction of a section of Powell Street at an estimated cost of $315,000, with funding provided from Streets Basic Capital Accounts 12/31/2823/999 and 12/31/9831/999.


Council has recently approved the Transportation Plan and the following principles from the Plan are applicable to the report:

-Changes to the road network should be designed so as not to increase road capacity

-Access to the Port should be improved (as long as it can be achieved without unreasonable impacts to neighbourhoods)

-Ensure that quality of access for goods movement is maintained, especially the routes that are essential for access to the Port.


Access to the Port has been reviewed and it is recommended that, with Rogers Street being closed, alternative access should be provided. Victoria Drive provides this access, but not for eastbound left turns in the morning and afternoon rush periods, so an eastbound left-turn bay from Powell to Victoria is proposed.

There are only minor impacts and measures can be taken in the design and construction to limit these. Some of the concerns expressed by local businesses, such as high truck volumes, will be addressed by the Port roadway improvements. The short term reduction in boulevard space is being addressed through property acquisition, and in the longer term, the boulevard will be widened.

There will be positive impacts to the nearby residential neighbourhoods because there will be some decrease in traffic using the Dundas/Nanaimo/McGill corridor. The impact to safety is also expected to be positive.

The cost for the left-turn bay is $215,000. The cost for pavement reconstruction is $100,000, which is needed whether or not the left-turn bay is built. Therefore, the total estimated project cost is $315,000.


To obtain approval to construct an eastbound left-turn bay on Powell at Victoria as a replacement for Rogers Street, which is scheduled to be closed early next year.


On June 14, 1996, Council approved the Port roadway connection at Rogers Street (see figure 1) which involved the relocation of a section of Powell Street and the CP Railway. This relocation work has already started, and once complete, a new Port roadway will be built in front of Rogers Sugar. This will link the major port activities, including Vanterm and Centerm, the primary terminals at the Port.

As part of this work, Rogers Street will be closed to increase safety and reduce interference with rail operations. This closure was approved by Council following concerns raised by West Coast Express, and discussions with the Vancouver Port Corporation and businesses along Commissioner Street.


The new Port roadway connection will accommodate trips from one side of the Port to the other. This will reduce the amount of port-related traffic using Powell Street and other City Streets. However, the closure of Rogers Street will reduce access to the Port (Figure 1 shows access to the Port between downtown and the Second Narrows Bridge). Currently, Rogers Street and Victoria Drive are the only access points from Powell Street to the Port, between Heatley and the new Port overpass being constructed on McGill near the Second Narrows Bridge. As well, access at Victoria is limited because eastbound left turns from Powell are prohibited in the morning and afternoon rush periods.

An eastbound left-turn bay on Powell at Victoria will allow Victoria to adequately replace Rogers Street. Victoria Drive would provide the only full-time access from Powell Street to the Port, between Heatley and the new Port overpass on McGill (a 4 km distance). The left-turn bay will reduce the need for non-local truck and car traffic to circulate on local streets to access the Port. It may also reduce travel along Nanaimo and McGill, through the residential neighbourhoods to the east.

Travel Study

A travel study was conducted to determine the use of Rogers Street and the importance of finding a replacement.

The travel study found that approximately one half of the vehicles that turn left from Powell to Rogers will need alternative access once Rogers is closed. These vehicles, many of which are trucks, will be able to use Victoria Drive, but not in the peak periods because left-turns are banned. The left-turn bay proposed on Powell at Victoria would allow these peak-period turns and would provide an adequate replacement to Rogers Street.

Neighbourhood and Business Impacts

The Transportation Plan supports improved access to the Port, as long as neighbourhoods are not unreasonably affected. Since Powell Street near Victoria is in an industrial/commercial area, there are no adjacent residential neighbourhoods. However, residents along Dundas/Nanaimo/McGill are affected by the large number of trucks through this corridor. This truck volume is expected to decrease when the Port roadway improvements are complete (the new roadway connection and the new overpass on McGill). A left-turn bay at Victoria would also reduce truck traffic using these streets, particularly in the peak periods, because it would allow eastbound traffic to turn left at Victoria, rather than travelling through the residential area to turn at the new overpass on McGill.

Businesses along Powell were informed about the proposed left-turn bay by letter (see Appendix A). The businesses along the south side will be impacted somewhat because the proposed bay will require a reduction in the existing boulevard space. At the southwest corner of Powell and Victoria, the sidewalk will be reduced to a 2.0m minimum. However, the City has been acquiring a strip of property along Powell Street and in the long term, the sidewalk and boulevard will be widened. A few were concerned about parking and other design issues, and these have been addressed through discussions and the business owners are satisfied.

Businesses along Commissioner Street between Rogers and Maple Leaf Storage (see Figure 1) and the Vancouver Port Corporation were sent letters explaining the left-turn bay proposal (see Appendix A). All responses from these businesses supported the left-turn bay (these included the Port Corporation, West Coast Reduction, Coastal Containers and Vanterm).

Safety and Capacity

There have been approximately 7 accidents per year at Victoria and Powell over the past 5 years. This accident rate is not high compared with other signalized locations, largely because conflicting volumes are lower than at other locations. An eastbound left-turn bay would allow left turns during the peak periods. A bay would be expected to reduce existing accidents in the off-peak periods and allow safe turns in the peak periods. A bay would also provide a more direct access to the Port, which would reduce circuitous trips and therefore could reduce accidents at other locations.


This design is compatible with the provisions of the Transportation Plan, as approved by Council in May:

Changes to the road network should be designed so as not to increase road capacity. Overall, road capacity will not change because Rogers Street will be closed and replaced with a left-turn bay at a signalized intersection.

Access to the Port should be improved (as long as it can be achieved without unreasonable impacts to neighbourhoods). This project does improve port access. It also reduces truck volumes on City streets, and through neighbourhood areas.

Ensure that quality of access for goods movement is maintained, especially the routes that are essential for access to the Port. Closure of Rogers Street, in isolation, would reduce access to the Port, in contravention of the plan. This project would replace that access and ensure that access for goods movement is maintained.


The left-turn bay is estimated to cost $215,000. Reconstruction of Powell, which is also needed and can be done in conjunction with the left-turn bay, is estimated to be an additional $100,000, for a total project cost estimated to be $315,000. Funding for this work has been approved in the two categories as part of the 1997 Streets Basic Capital Budget 12/31/2823/999 and 12/31/9831/999).

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