Reopening Vancouver: People, Streets, Food & Cars | City Conversations

2020, Series City Conversations, Cities

The weather warms, the COVID-19 curve flattens, and Vancouver’s streets begin to fill. Yes! But how do we maintain safe physical distancing practices when enjoying the city?

On a typical commercial street’s 3.5-metre-wide sidewalk, two pedestrians can safely pass each other with two metres between them. However, couples must go single file when passing to maintain a safe distance – does this always happen? How do restaurants and other gathering places survive with restricted seating capacity? Maybe squeeze a couple tables for two outside its windows, but will that be a risk-free alternative? We need more space for people!

Some suggest that this space can be found beyond the curb, in the parking lane. Perhaps we could create more curbside parklets, now seen in front of a few restaurants and coffee houses. Parking spaces could become umbrella-sheltered restaurant patios – think of a trattoria in Italy.

On quiet residential streets, most sidewalks are too narrow for two people to pass with appropriate physical distance. Cities from Oakland to Paris are turning hundreds of kilometres of these streets into “slow streets,” with signs limiting cars, letting pedestrians, cyclists and people who use mobility aids use the street to move and get physical activity safely. Could we do the same with Vancouver’s greenway network?

Is limiting parking space for cars a viable option? What other possibilities are there for equitably expanding safe public spaces for people? What are the potential problems and trade-offs?

For our first online City Conversations, our presenters will include Vancouver City Councillor Lisa Dominato, who has presented a resolution for the city to explore some of these opportunities; urbanist Tamim Raad, Principal of Access Planning; Clare Warner, Coordinator of Public Spaces and Placemaking at the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association; and a guest from the Vancouver Public Space Network.

We’ll hear from our guests and then turn the floor over to you to express your opinions, make observations and ask questions. Join the conversation and as always, it’s okay to bring your lunch!

This edition of City Conversations is a presentation of SFU Public Square, sponsored by SFU Vancouver and SFU's City Program.

Wed, 20 May 2020

12:30 - 1:30 p.m. (PT)

Online Event

We respectfully acknowledge that this event takes place on the Unceded, Traditional, Ancestral Territories of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ, and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm First Nations.


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