The 800-block of Robson Street - located between Hornby and Howe - is one of Vancouver's preeminent public spaces. Adjacent to Robson Square, and nestled between the Vancouver Art Gallery and the Law Courts, the block is one of the most frequented pedestrian routes in the city. But it's also a lot more than that. The space contributes substantially to the public life of Vancouver, serving as a backdrop for public gatherings, celebrations, protest rallies, cultural activities and more.
For the past two years, the 800-block has been closed to vehicles. Cars and buses have long since been re-routed. And in recent months, now that renovations have been finished, Robson's role as a public gathering place has become further enriched through buskers, community markets and other activities. The space has enlivened the downtown core.
Sadly, much of this positive change is about to be lost.
On September 5, 2011, the 800-block will be re-opened to vehicles, and the chance to expand Robson Square – taking in the 800-block street area – will be set back.
We’re asking residents and visitors to sign our petition and show your support for keeping the 800-block closed to vehicles. At the moment there are some excellent contributions to public life taking place – many of these supported through the City's Viva Vancouver program. City Council has also said that they support the creation of an expanded Robson Square but want to defer any formal activity until an undetermined later date.
We feel the best time to start the process is now. Signing this petition will help to guage public support for this important initiative… especially at a point when people can experience the space vehicle-free.
The cost to expand Robson square would be next to nothing. The benefit would be a brilliant public gathering space for all.
For those of you who have already signed our paper petition or sent us an email of support – thank you! We’ve recorded your signatures and are grateful for your help.
And hey, if you don’t like this idea we also want to hear from you. We will presenting Mayor and Council with the full range of feedback that we get on this issue. You can email any questions, concerns – or other Robson-related comments – our way at robsonsquare [at]vancouverpublicspace.ca.