Archive for the ‘Rental 100 / STIR’ Category

4459 Rupert Street

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The following formal comment has been submitted to City of Vancouver following the 8 November 2017 open house on 4459 Rupert Street. Although this particular rezoning proposal falls outside the boundaries of Norquay, the issues that it raises, and the precedents that it seeks to set, should concern all Vancouver residents, particularly those who live in East Vancouver. Many unhappy local area residents showed up for the open house. We hope that the details provided in this comment will inspire others with less “schooling” in the details of what the City of Vancouver is prepared to take into account. Comments can be made through the online feedback form that is linked to the rezoning and permit development application materials that are posted to the City of Vancouver web site (link below).


Comment on Application to Rezone 4459 Rupert Street from C-1 to CD-1

http://rezoning.vancouver.ca/applications/4459rupert/index.htm

 

 

9 November 2017

 
The design of the proposed building at 4459 Rupert Street is said to be adapted from the original “Monad-on-Fourth” building at 3351 West Fourth Avenue. Both buildings are 4 storeys high, with 3 storeys of residential units over 1 storey of commercial space. Both buildings are on a single lot (33 x 112 ft. on Fourth Avenue, 38 x 112 ft. on Rupert Street). But while the building on Fourth Avenue provides 4 spacious residential units, the proposal for Rupert Street anticipates 12 cramped residential units.

We oppose the current rezoning application for these reasons:

 
1.  Excessive Building Height, Density and Massing

This application proposes a building height of 14.9 m. and an FSR of 2.4. Maximum allowable height in C-1 zoned areas is 10.7 m. and allowable FSR is 1.2. Although the project is eligible for increased floor area under the Secured Rental Housing Policy, to increase the zoned density by 100% is excessive and unprecedented for a Rental 100 development. Compare this with the recently approved rezoning of 2153 Kingsway under the same policy: an FSR increase from 2.5 (C-2 zoning) to 3.37, an increase of approximately 35%. The much larger Kingsway project locates 101 units across from a 14-storey development with three towers. This proposed 4-storey development will be conspicuously out of scale in the middle of a block of single-family houses, especially since there is minimal front yard setback and zero setback of the upper storeys at the front of the building. No development proposal should be permitted to apply abstract specifications to a single parcel with such severe disregard shown to the local area context of the site (as has caused great difficulties at 105 Keefer Street).

 
2.  Substandard Size of Residential Units

The unit density for the three residential storeys in this project works out to more than 300 units per hectare. By way of contrast, the maximum unit density for residential 4-storey apartment buldings in the RM-9A zone of nearby Norquay is 140 units per hectare (and for a single lot, considerably less at 100 per hectare).

The proposed units are tiny, especially the 1-bedroom units. A comparison of average unit sizes with two current Rental 100 projects on Kingsway yields these statistics:

                  Studio           1 Bedroom         2 Bedroom


4459 Rupert St       379 sq.ft.       410 sq.ft.        663 sq.ft.

855 Kingsway         376 sq.ft.       529 sq.ft.        699 sq.ft.

2153 Kingsway        435 sq.ft.       562 sq.ft.        767 sq.ft.                 

 

Most of the 2-bedroom units are less than 700 sq.ft. with small living areas, and thus are not suitable for families.

 
3.  Unacceptable Residential Unit Design for 1-Bedroom and 2-Bedroom Units

Studio Units (2)  — The studio units are small but well designed, with two light exposures for each unit.

One Bedroom Units (4)  — These units do not contain an actual bedroom. They have the same basic floor plan as the studio units. Two of the “one-bedroom” units are approximately the same size as the studio units; the other two units are only slightly larger. The main distinguishing feature seems to be that “one-bedroom” units contain a sliding wall that is able to shut off the area where the bed is located. This design cannot accurately be described as “one-bedroom.”

Two Bedroom Units (6)  — These units are inappropriate for families. The second bedroom is often less than 80 sq.ft. (Units 201, 202, 401, 403), too small for children to play or even to do homework. Some units do not have functional balconies (Units 204, 305, 403). There is no common indoor or outdoor play space for children. The drawings show some units without bedroom doors or closets, but this may be an oversight.

 
4.  Inadequate Parking and Lane Access

The only parking for this development is one car share space. This is grossly insufficient. There are 47 tenant parking spaces in the approved 101-unit Rental 100 development at 2153 Kingsway, even with a 20% transit reduction. The Rupert Street site is much less well served by transit.

Two of the four parcels in the block between East 29th and East 28th Avenues are 119 ft. long, exceeding the characteristic 112 ft. Consequently, the width of the lane is reduced to 13 ft. behind these two parcels. One of the long parcels is immediately to the north of the subject site. It is difficult to see how garbage trucks or emergency vehicles would be able to service a 12-unit building adequately.

 
5.  Poorly Chosen Location

Although Rupert Street is classified as an arterial street, the existing C-1 zoned area around the intersection of Rupert Street and East 29th Avenue has not yet been built out. Two of the four retail units in the only existing commercial building have been untenanted for a long time. It seems unlikely that a vibrant residential/shopping area can develop at East 29th Avenue and Rupert Street in the foreseeable future.

Considerable commercial/residential development is already underway nearby at East 22nd Avenue and Rupert Street. That location has more existing commercial development, is closer to a range of community amenities (schools, library, park, community centre), and is better served by transit. This area would be a far more suitable location for such an extremely dense housing form.

 
6.  Failure to Meet Family Housing Guidelines

Six of the proposed twelve units are 2-bedroom units classified by City of Vancouver as family housing. This project fails to meet the following High Density Housing for Families With Children Guidelines:

2.3.2 Neighbourhood Compatibility
Family housing developments should be compatible in scale, character, and materials to their surrounding neighbourhood.

3.2.1 Common Open Space
There should be appropriate open space to meet the on-site needs of children and adults.

3.7.1 Common Indoor Amenity Space
Provide appropriate common indoor amenity space for families with children where individual units are not suited to desired indoor activities.

4.1.1 Unit Size and Interior Layout
The size and layout of units should be appropriate to meet the needs of families with children.

4.1.2
Each bedroom should be large enough to accommodate a single bed, a dresser, a desk or table, and in children’s bedrooms, some floor space for playing.

 
Conclusion

The applicant has made commendable efforts to compensate for the small size of the units by designing for efficient use of space. The courtyard separating the front and the rear sections of the building on the residential levels lets additional light into the units. The rooftop garden is a welcome addition that provides much-needed open space.

But the project as currently proposed is too high and too dense. The units are too small. This type of housing is not livable for families. If extremely dense housing projects are to be allowed on a single lot, they should contain only studio and 1-bedroom units. They should be confined to areas that already have a considerable amount of commercial and residential redevelopment, and they should be close to neighbourhood amenities and good transit.

We ask that the FSR for this project be reduced to 1.8 (a generous 50% above the zoned FSR of 1.2), that the height be limited to 3 storeys, and that at least 4 parking spaces be included in addition to the car share space. The number of units should be reduced to nine, and they should be limited to studio and genuine one-bedroom apartments. These recommended adjustments should go a long way toward mitigating the impacts of attempting this kind of development on a single parcel — an approach that fails to achieve the land assembly deemed imperative by comparable RM-9A zoning in Norquay. This precedent-setting development should be identified as a demonstration project and made available for public viewing and public comment before being occupied.

 
Jeanette and Joseph Jones
 
 

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Written by eyeonnorquay

9 November 2017 at 4:56 pm

2153-2199 Kingsway

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Comment on 17 October 2016 Open House for 2153-2199 Kingsway

 
eon-161019-2153-2199kingsway-panel8
 

Development Application
http://rezoning.vancouver.ca/applications/2153kingsway/index.htm

 
On the whole, the development proposed for 2153-2199 Kingsway, as presented at the open house on 17 October 2016, will enhance the local area and provide needed rental accomodation.

The corner at Kingsway and Gladstone is a place-making opportunity, and much of the potential has been realized. I favor the alignment of roofline with the side of the building. The orientation of the building toward the path of the sun means that shadow impact will be minimized in any case. Enhanced sidewalk width along Kingsway toward Gladstone is appreciated.

The orientation of the main residential street entrance toward Gladstone Street is a good choice. That feature will encourage passing social acquaintance of renters with other local area residents.

The location of underground parking entrance toward the western end of the building on the lane side is appropriate. That will somewhat mitigate traffic concerns by distributing activity toward both ends of the lane. At present, pedestrians and cyclists suffer considerable hazard from the blinded lane entry onto Gladstone.

The placement of an underground parking exhaust vent on Gladstone, right beside the residential entrance, is the single greatest failure of the proposal. That vent should be relocated to the lane side, perhaps at the intersection of the T lane running northward, to mitigate impact on sites north of the lane. Efficiency of exhaust suggests that a more midpoint location in the length of the building would better serve the physics of venting than would the far end of 231 feet. The mechanics of providing underground parking spaces must take second place to this concern.

Other public realm concerns toward the Gladstone end of the building include: assurance that Bus Stop and Litter Bin are retained on Kingsway; complete redevelopment of the Gladstone sidewalk to eliminate present extensive curb cuts; specification that all Gladstone curbside is designated for short-period loading/unloading only with absolutely no parking; no parking signage is needed for the 24 foot segment of east-side curb opposite the recently installed corner bulge at Gladstone and Kingsway; relocation of the large black electrical box recently dumped onto the corner.

Everything possible should be done to improve articulation along the 231 feet of the Kingway side of the building. There has been improvement from the pre-application open house. More seems achievable. A 231 foot long battleship should not eradicate a streetscape that presently offers the organic variety of five different faces sited on seven parcels. In the block to the east, the relatively recent C-2 development is only at four storeys and extends only for about 175 feet without interruption.

That 2339 Kingsway development has managed to achieve small-retail without consolidating those spaces or presenting a massive dead face to the street, as Royal Bank notoriously has done at 2300 Kingsway. To quote open house panel 1: this development is supposed to “contribute to an inviting and revitalized pedestrian realm on Kingsway through new retail storefronts.” There seems little excuse for this new development to fall short of achieving that goal.

For the most part, the proposed detailing seems acceptable. The extent of brick and its two colors are welcome. I question the orange that is proposed on two grounds. First is the current prevalence of that color, which promises to make it look dated very soon. Think avocado appliances. The second is how close the orange comes to the intrusive local corporate color of VanCity Credit Union. A shift toward reds would solve these problems and play better with the greens to come at 2220 Kingsway. The variegation of the shades among the panels is a good approach.

 
Joseph Jones 19 October 2016
 

Written by eyeonnorquay

19 October 2016 at 3:27 pm

Big Hit from Rental 100

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A consolidation of 5 parcels with a frontage of 231 feet has occurred on the northwest corner of Kingsway at Gladstone Street, cater-corner from the massive full-block development now underway at 2220 Kingsway.

The letter reproduced below has been received by local area residents, announcing a developer’s pre-application open house:

 
        Gladstone Secondary School
        4105 Gladstone Street
        Thursday  —  19 May 2016  —  5 pm to 8 pm
 

The developer seeks to build approximately 100 units of so-called affordable rental housing in a building of six storeys at an FSR of 3.3. The City of Vancouver “Rental 100” program offers developers massive no-fee gifts (with no honest rental-rate accountability) simply to build rental housing units.

Primary concerns at this point relate to three aspects:

Kingsway and Gladstone sidewalk setbacks. Gladstone Street marks the western boundary for the Norquay Plan. For a development of this scale, the Norquay Plan requires a setback of 25 feet. Does it make sense for the block right beside Norquay to suffer a downgraded “transition” status because that next block has not been “planned”? The stretch of Kingsway between Victoria Drive and Gladstone Street is already more attractive than any comparable segment of Kingsway that falls within the one-mile boundaries of “Norquay.”

Articulation along a 230 foot streetwall. Without good design, the existing building variety could be lost to a deadscape that deactivates current street life. This development needs to look like at least five different buildings.

Amenity delivery failure for Norquay so far. A new massive no-payback development will exacerbate the population pressures already concentrating at the western edge of Norquay. After enduring a great deal of construction activity, and seeing a CAC of $3 million immediately sequestered, Norquay residents have enjoyed none of the major public realm improvements specified by the Norquay Plan. So far that brand-new “neighbourhood centre” to the east — where the City of Vancouver owns three acres of land at 2400 Kingsway — remains a truck-route wasteland despite all the planning. Meanwhile, developers exploit the edge.

 
•   •   •   •   •   •   •
 

 
 
Developer’s Letter
 

 
2199kwy-1
 

 
2199kwy-2
 

 
 
2153-2199 Kingsway as Shown on VanMap
 

 
kwy-glad-640
 

 
 
The Five Existing Parcels on Kingsway
 

 
IMG_9366-640
 
     2153 Kingsway
 

 
IMG_9367-640
 
     2163 Kingsway
 

 
IMG_9368-640
 
     2169 Kingsway
 

 
IMG_9369-640
 
     2185 Kingsway
 

 
IMG_9370-640
 
     2199 Kingsway
 

 
 

Two Big Wins from Any Redevelopment

 

 
IMG_9371-640
 
     Elimination of Pattison’s Lighted, Noisy Non-Conforming Billboard
 

 
IMG_9372-640
 
     Disappearance of the City of Vancouver Sponsored DUMP
 

However ugly we get treated in the heart of East Vancouver, sometimes there’s unintended upside!
Call it collateral repair?
 

Written by eyeonnorquay

13 May 2016 at 5:33 pm

2312-2328 Galt Street

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Comment on Development Application DE418823 under Apartment Transition Zone Policy

http://former.vancouver.ca/commsvcs/planning/rezoning/applications/2312-2328galt/index.htm

 
IMG_8149
 

 
18 April 2015

 
 
I.  Context

The application is the first to come forward under defined policy for Apartment Transition Zone in Norquay. The location of the particular site raises area problems which cannot be divorced from the application. Genuine planning must address the context as well as the isolated building form on site.

 
A.  Policy Framework

To layer Rental 100 policies on top of Norquay’s Apartment Transition Area Rezoning Policy seriously compromises the livability of this development and vitiates key standard design elements. The 12.5% increase of FSR (from 2.0 to 2.25) prevents achievement of the useful courtyard (minimum 30 ft. wide) as mandated by the Norquay Plan. The strict limits that Rental 100 sets on unit size results in almost no larger units with two major exposures. Two of the most attractive features of the family apartments intended for this zoning are being nullified.

 
B.  Missing Sidewalks

Our greatest concern is that NO connective sidewalks exist in the area where this development is located. Areas shown in red on the map below have no sidewalk on either side of the street. The Transportation 2040 Plan states: “Pedestrians will continue to be the City’s top transportation priority.” (Transportation 2040, p.19) Yet currently no one can reach a bus stop or the SkyTrain from this building site without walking a busy street lined with parked cars. Without these sidewalks, children cannot safely access their school, their neighbourhood park, or the local daycare centre. The City needs to extend the sidewalk along Galt Street between this building and Nanaimo Street, and to install a sidewalk along one side of Baldwin Street between Galt Street and General Brock Park. These sidewalks need to be provided concurrently with this development, not imagined for some vague future date.

 
galtsidewalks
 

 
 
II.  Specific Development Application

 
A.  Design

We like the simplicity of the proposed design of this building. We appreciate especially the following elements:

          Provision for interior ventilation and daylight by making it possible for air to enter the hallways via
            grilles in the exterior walls of the stairways

          Balconies that do not protrude, but appear to be part of the building

          The dark colour of the building, which makes it appear smaller and cleaner

          The use of metal trim for better long-term maintenance (provided that the metal will not rust)

We are very pleased to see that all of the units in this building are two- or three-bedroom units, and that the increase in unit density is minimal. This respects the character of the Norquay area.

 
B.  Proponents

To form an objective and reliable judgment of architectural practitioners and rental real estate developer/owners is almost impossible. That said, we feel that both of these agents in the development proposal represent a standard that is as good as could be hoped for.

 
Jeanette Jones and Joseph Jones
 

Written by eyeonnorquay

18 April 2015 at 12:00 pm

Density × Density

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A development application for 2312-2328 Galt Street happens to be the first rezoning proposal under Norquay Village — Apartment Transition Area Rezoning Policy. The application seeks to benefit from the Rental 100 suite of developer handouts at the same time.

The City of Vancouver is allowing two new experimental densities to collide, and Norquay in the heart of East Vancouver suffers the toxic density fallout. It was already unfair to target one of Vancouver’s already denser neighborhoods for more population with no added amenity. It seems beyond unfair to layer a second density handout on top of the first.

 
 
Apartment Transition Zone
 

First of all, the Galt Street application seeks to benefit from incentives provided by the Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre Plan.

Here is the relevant portion (pdf 46 of 108) of what Vancouver City Council approved on 4 November 2010 over the objections of a majority of area residents:

 
apttranszone
 

Note the following three divergences from how this new “zone” was presented in 2010 — and what has happened since:

I.   Norquay was promised an Apartment Transition Zone. Instead, in 2013 it got an inflated loosey-goosey Apartment Transition Area Rezoning Policy.

II.  In 2010 a Basic Development Parameter was specificed as 72 dwelling units. Presumably this figure applied to “one parcel.” The 2013 version of the zoning upped this figure to 180 for two parcels and 240 for three parcels. That represents an inflation of 25% for two parcels and 11% for three parcels.

III.  The 2013 version of the zoning specifies at 2.4 that single parcels of less than 50 ft. ordinarily will not be eligible for rezoning. Land assembly is required. In the interim, however, City of Vancouver encouraged a misbegotten experiment on a 46.4 ft. parcel at 2298 Galt Street. Too bad planners had to see the face of Frankenstein before realizing that the monster needed to die. The four apartments in a nasty location have recently gone on the market at prices ranging from $878,000 to $998,800. (So much for Norquay’s vaunted new affordable housing.)

The 2010 Norquay Plan dropped significant additional density into RS-1 zones, and then the 2013 specifications stealthily pushed that density even higher.

 
 
Rental 100
 

The conclusion needs to go up front:

The City of Vancouver must make Norquay Apartment Transition Zone a no-go zone for additional Rental 100 handouts

This is not the place to get into all the details of the long, tangled, nasty history of Rental 100 incentives. Three points are enough:

 
ONE

The rental incentives “initiative” traces back to the 2008 economic downturn and a City of Vancouver effort to “stimulate” the construction and development activity that has become its only real business — apart from selling itself off as a global elite playground at the expense of most existing residents. This early account provides backstory:

Joseph Jones. The Ugly Story of Short Term Incentives for Rental. Vancouver Media Co-op (26 Aug 2010)
http://vancouver.mediacoop.ca/story/ugly-story-short-term-incentives-rental/4519

 
TWO

What was “short term” in 2009 has turned into a permanent deep trough for developers to pig out on at taxpayer expense. A recent mainstream media account makes it clear that developers are now interested in building rental properties even without these incentives:

Tamsin McMahon. Canada’s rental unit landscape witnessing a resurgence. Globe and Mail (16 March 2015)
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/housing/canadas-rental-unit-landscape-witnessing-a-resurgence/article23465600/

 
THREE

In 2015 City of Vancouver budgeting, housing consumes 20% of capital budget and 35% of operating budget investments. Much of this “housing” consists of STIR and Rental 100 giveaways to developers. A correlate of this use of scarce resources is no amenity increase for the predominantly East Vancouver areas where the density is getting dumped.

 
pdf57of180-20150224-spec1presentation.pdf
 
     2015 Capital Budget Expenditures — $306.0 Million  (pdf 57 of 180)
 

 
pdf48of180-20150224-spec1presentation
 
     2015 Operating Budget Investments — $9.4 Million  (pdf 48 of 180)
 

Source:
2015 Budget Report DRAFT — Council Meeting February 24, 2015
http://former.vancouver.ca/ctyclerk/cclerk/20150224/documents/spec1presentation.pdf
 

Written by eyeonnorquay

17 April 2015 at 8:02 pm

Galt Street Report

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This is a report on the 2312-2328 Galt Street open house of 15 April 2015. Comment on the development proposal is yet to come and will stand as a separate posting.

 
Approximately two dozen people attended a community open house for the proposed 2312-2328 Galt Street rezoning on 15 April 2015 from 4:30 pm to 7:30 pm. Also present were five different planning staff, two project architects, and the site owner/developer.

This is first development proposal to come forward under the Norquay Plan Apartment Transition Area Rezoning Policy. The development proposal also seeks to benefit from incentives available through the Rental 100 program.

A model of the proposed new 28-unit rental building was available for viewing:

 
IMG_8149
 

In two separate episodes during the three hours, unusually upset immediate-area residents or owners complained vociferously and at great length about the out-of-scale nature of the development, and about a planning system in Vancouver that appears to serve developer interests only.

The first of the two unhappy people seemed to have connection with the newer single-family house to the immediate west (at right in photo of model) that seems destined to become squeezed between two four-storey apartment complexes. To the immediate east of that house the 2298 Galt Street development (four apartments in two buildings on a single lot) already exists as an ill-advised experiment that City of Vancouver encouraged prior to definition of the new zoning policy. The objector spoke in Chinese, and two of the planners had the language ability to interact with her. One point that could be understood by an onlooker was complaint that other lower-density Vancouver neighborhoods seem to stay protected from the sort of “planning” that has been forced onto Norquay.

The second frustrated person mentioned fifty years of residence, which from age appearance would mean having grown up in and still being occupant of a family dwelling. His greatest practical concerns seemed to be oppressive shadowing, exacerbation of an already severe parking situation, even more automobile traffic along a busy double-fronted street that functions more as a lane, and injection of 28 rental units into the midst of an existing single-family neighborhood.

For a good portion of the three-hour open house, three development planners had to take turns at trying to provide “ranter therapy.” The stress factor was obvious. Explanations of dry policy and bureaucratic process are not what people who feel threatened want to hear. This is the kind of unfortunate experience that tempts planners to discount or dismiss all input from the public.

The predominant planner response was to say that this kind of development is what Vancouver City Council has approved for the area. (Of course, City of Vancouver employees could never take the further step of outlining the politics of why most Vancouver City Councillors act as little more than a tool of developer money.)

Planners seemed to say two things for which they could have been taken to task by an informed participant. In light of the heated emotional situation, it did not seem useful to intervene in the exchanges with the following perspectives.

One planner (speaking out of direct experience with recent Marpole area planning) seemed to claim that the Norquay Plan had the support of a majority of area residents. The basis for saying this probably would be an assumption that Council would not flat-out stomp on a local area. However, the record shows that this is exactly what Council did to Norquay.

A formal community-wide survey strongly rejected the 2007 Norquay Draft Plan, and probably offered the truest indication ever of general Norquay sentiment. What the City of Vancouver did in the 2008-2010 wake of that result amounted to a sustained fabrication of “support” and smothering of evidence of widespread disapproval.

Another planner seemed to claim that Rental 100 policy would ensure that only reasonable rents would be collected by the property owner. It seems unlikely that City of Vancouver possesses now or will ever implement any monitoring or survey mechanisms to control the future market rents that Rental 100 properties will be able to collect. Norquay has already faced one outrageous Rental 100 project that appears to have fallen by the wayside.

Both the architects and the developer/owner communicated frankly in individual conversation. They appear to be committed both to building a quality project and to providing good long-term management. In a local real estate environment that so often favors hit-and-run construction coupled with quick-flip “investing,” their approach looked like good news for Norquay. But only time will tell.

Since the six open house panels for 2312-2328 Galt Street may never be provided on the City of Vancouver web site, and seem certain to disappear with eventual removal of the application information, photos are provided below:

 
IMG_8136
 
     Floor Plans
 

 
IMG_8144
 
     Material Board
 

 
IMG_8138
 
     View Analysis  +  Shadow Studies
 

 
IMG_8139
 
     Site Plan  +  Site Data  +  Design Rationale
 

 
IMG_8140
 
     Streetscapes  +  Context
 

 
IMG_8141
 
     Elevations  +  Sections  +  Perspectives
 

Written by eyeonnorquay

16 April 2015 at 8:26 pm

Galt Street Sidewalks

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Absence of sidewalks in the general area of the Rental 100 development proposed for 2312-2328 Galt Street subjects all pedestrians to unsafe conditions and puts children at special risk. Streets are lined in red below where there are no sidewalks.

 
galtsidewalks
 

The site is one block west of Nanaimo Street and one block north of Kingsway. This location is subject to Norquay’s Apartment Transition Area Rezoning Policy. The proposed 28 units are all 2-bedroom and 3-bedroom, appropriate spaces to accommodate families. Units range in size from 630 sq. ft. to 1090 sq. ft.

Key walking distances for the location include one block to General Brock Park, about three blocks to the Terry Taylor Daycare Centre, 800 meters to Norquay Elementary School, and 700 meters to Gladstone Secondary School. The routes for buses 19, 25, and 33 are nearby, and the Nanaimo Skytrain Station lies 700 meters to the north.

Does this sound like a good location for family housing? It is. But lack of sidewalks presents a major problem. Residents of this building would not be able to reach any destination without walking in the street. The only sidewalk in the immediate area fronts nine contiguous recently developed properties just to the west, along the south side of Galt Street. But this small section of recent developer-provided sidewalk connects to nothing — appended Photo 1 of 5.

To permit this development in this location would clearly contravene longstanding City of Vancouver policy:

Families with children should have reasonable and effective access to essential community services and recreational amenities. … Effective access means a walking route which is both safe … and secure (having an environment suitable for elementary school children).
High Density Housing for Families With Children Guidelines  (Section 2.1)

If this development proposal is approved, a condition of that approval must see the City of Vancouver commit to extending existing partial sidewalk eastward along the south side of Galt Street to make connection to Nanaimo Street. The steep grade and the semi-blind corner make this portion of the street an especially hazardous place to be walking. Even now, 100% use of available Galt Street curb parking is common — appended Photo 2 of 5. The reduced on-site underground parking requirement of Rental 100 can only exacerbate this already untenable situation. The great number of routinely parked curbside vehicles reduces available road space, increases traffic in the area, and impairs visibility for both drivers and pedestrians as they access roadway for sidewalk use.

Furthermore, a new connecting sidewalk must be provided along one side of Baldwin Street, for the entire block, to provide safe access to General Brock Park. The curve on Baldwin Street means a driver cannot see from one end of the block to the other — appended Photos 3 of 5 and 4 of 5.

The underground parking that serves the 94 residential units of 2239 Kingsway has already greatly increased traffic flow along Galt Street and Baldwin Street — appended Photo 5 of 5.

The City of Vancouver’s Transportation 2040 planning document states:

        Pedestrians will continue to be the City’s top transportation priority.  (p. 19)

The City of Vancouver must respect its own stated priority for pedestrians.
 

 
Photo Appendix
 

 
IMG_8131
 
     Photo 1 of 5 — Eastern End of Galt Street Sidewalk Section
 

 
IMG_8129
 
     Photo 2 of 5 — Curb Parking Unavailable along Galt Street (Morning of 11 April 2015)
 

 
IMG_8130
 
     Photo 3 of 5 — View to North along Baldwin Street (from Proposed Galt Street Site)
 

 
IMG_8135
 
     Photo 4 of 5 — View to South along Baldwin Street (from Brock Park)
 

 
IMG_8132
 
     Photo 5 of 5 — Lane Connecting 2239 Kingsway Underground Parking to Galt Street
 

Written by eyeonnorquay

12 April 2015 at 11:48 pm