Ever since folks have swooned incessantly over New York’s The High Line elevated park other cities have gotten on the “Hey, we could do that too” bandwagon.
Shall we add Vancouver, B.C., to the list? I certainly hope so.
While all that press rendered to New York can get a bit overwhelming at times, it doesn’t make the concept any less intriguing, especially if localized for specific iconic structures. With officials in Vancouver now officially discussing the idea of turning downtown viaducts into elevated parks and even the far-fetched concept of the soon-to-be-demolished Port Mann Bridge into what would certainly come out as the coolest park imaginable, at least Vancouver has hope of creating an elevated park.
Metro manager Gaeten Royer was the first official to float the idea at public meetings, even suggesting the Port Mann option. Sure, getting the massive Port Mann Bridge over the Fraser River turned into a park has about as much chance of succeeding as Vancouver did in quelling the riots immediately following its Stanley Cup loss last year, but it is fun to dream. Currently crews are building an entirely new bridge next to the old one, which will be torn down when no longer needed due to its age and maintenance requirements. Changing that course of action would require a governmental intercession the likes of which Canada hasn’t before seen.
While the concept of turning a multi-lane highway bridge into a park intrigues, the plausibility of using Vancouver’s small viaduct system for one or more elevated parks has real possibility, if the right people get behind the move.
The Dunsmuir and Georgia viaducts have already met their political end as vehicle-conveying roads, as officials have started the public process of determining their eventual fate. But that hasn’t yet run its course and there remains little love for what was to be the start of an in-city freeway connector that was later ditched, especially as the city now considers ripping out the twin viaducts altogether. With such a doomsday scenario likely in place for the concrete structures, the hope of an elevated park could gain real traction in a city that highly values reuse and craves public space.
A new park sure beats a heap of concrete rubble.
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