First phase of Georgia Viaducts study will review risks, not benefits of redesign

The first phase of the city’s study of the Georgia and Dunsmuir Viaducts will not involve public consultation or consideration of the benefits of removing them, according to a memo from city manager Dr. Penny Ballem.

Ballem makes clear that vehicle trips to the downtown core are dropping steadily. “This trend indicates that as more people shift modes to walking, cycling and transit, less road space is required for vehicles,” she writes. “The question is when can capacity be reduced and by how much?”

The memo is a timely warning to community organizations around Northeast False Creek — many of whom are looking for new ways to create a new sustainable neighbourhood where the viaducts now stand — that they’ll have to be ready to bring forward their concerns when the first phase winds up in February 2011.

Although Ballem says the first phase will produce valuable information on transportation and soils, regardless of the final outcome, “the first phase of the study would not conduct any anlysis of land use, structural costs or review of urban design opportunities.

“It would be a technical study of transportation impact and environmental contamination issues that would inform Council of the some of the major risks associated with alterations to the viaducts, but not the potential benefits resulting from reconfiguration and potential redevelopment.”