Vancouver’s Granville Street …. the main north south shopping artery downtown … is now almost completely transformed from Robson to the Granville Bridge … as a slum.
A disgrace and a growing danger to pedestrians and the few remaining shoppers who dare to brave the street … even during the day.
Vision-controlled city council has not only FAILED to address the deterioration of the area … I would submit they have CONTRIBUTED to it by its policies.
Parts of Granville are becoming more like Hastings/Main every day … the decay has been growing like an untreated cancer over the past two years as City Hall has fiddled with logos, bike lanes and social and political nonsense.
Readers may recall I wrote about this last May, after a shocking and disturbing visit to the street to shop …where, even around mid-day, I did not feel safe or that I would ever want to return : http://harveyoberfeld.ca/blog/granville-street-turning-into-another-downtown-eastside/.
Well, apparently I was not alone!
On Global’s Newshour Friday, my old colleague Aaron McArthur reported that 33 stores are now VACANT on Granville Street, creating not only an eyesore but a domino effect as more and more retailers abandon the strip.
“There’s been a concern by patrons to our store,” said one retailer, “about security just on the street …having to walk a half a block and coming up against somebody just on the street that might be high.”
Ironically Hastings/Main these days may even be safer: the Global camera person …just filming Granville …was aggressively accosted and assaulted.
As McArthur added, Vision-controlled City Hall’s “arduous city permit process” is holding up those who want to redevelop and revitalize the area and the ease with which absentee property owners interested only in land values can let the buildings decay with impunity .
You can watch the Global piece here: http://globalnews.ca/bc/videos/?video-search=granville+street.
Looks to me like a totally uncaring or ineffective or even incompetent City Council and administration has been fiddling around with logos, bike lanes, bureaucratic overkill, social and political issues while the once-attractive prime downtown shopping area has literally decayed around us.
As Global and other media have now reported Tom Lee Music … after 30 years on Granville’s 900-block … are moving … not off the street entirely, but closer to Georgia, away from the worst area., and where pedestrian traffic is TEN TIMES THAT of their current location.
That traffic differential says a lot!
What McArthur did not get to …but I did in my earlier blog … is how Vision Council added to the deterioration by substantially HIKING the number of social housing units and social services in that area … including not only the old Bosman Motel but even approving modular housing units in their parkade. All within blocks of a new street youth services centre on Burrard, a youth health services centre right on Granville, and a drop in centre on Helmcken.
The city no doubt needs these kinds of facilities, but any social planner and/or urban planner should have been able to foresee that adding so many facilities in a relatively small area … on either side of the main downtown shopping artery … would have negative consequences.
It’s all quite an ugly vision on Granville Street now … years in the making … and that City Hall couldn’t see coming, lacked the interest in preventing it … and even contributed to it through its decisions and incompetence.