SAC Position on West 10th Avenue Corridor (Health Precinct) Design

On May 17, we will be addressing Council and explaining our position on the proposed changes for the West 10th Avenue Corridor (The Health Precinct). Below is the text of a letter we approved and sent to Council in advance of the meeting, where the recommended design guidelines will be considered.

Dear Mayor and Council,

Re: 10th Avenue Health Precinct Improvements

The Seniors’ Advisory Committee is a civic agency appointed by Vancouver City Council to advise Council and staff on enhancing access and inclusion for seniors to fully participate in City services and civic life. The following represents the views of the City of Vancouver Seniors’ Advisory Committee.

The Committee acknowledges that substantial changes have been made to this project in response to our many concerns. Staff have made an effort to consider and incorporate suggestions offered at several workshops attended by representatives of SAC and the Persons with Disabilities Advisory Committee that address issues on an interim basis. We are especially pleased to see that the needs of patients have become the highest priority.

We strongly suggest that staff continue to examine and incorporate possibilities that will meet the needs of all people accessing the “Medical Precinct” as it grows in size and usage—specifically, examining what is being done in other cities around the world, such as charitable valet parking; accessible shuttles from parking, bus stops, and drop-off sites; and other such examples.

Although much progress has been made on the plans for this project, we understand that the design work is not yet complete. We therefore feel it would be prudent to wait for the final plan before we offer a fulsome endorsement.

In the meantime, we hope that staff will consider some remaining issues that we feel require more attention:

  1. First and foremost is the concern we have for adequate and accessible parking for patients and caregivers who must visit the medical services for treatment. The parking must be nearby on level, or there should be serious re-working of how patients are assisted to and from transportation, including assistance to the office within the building being accessed.
  2. There remain concerns about existing and proposed trees in several areas of the precinct, including those in front of the EyeCare Centre. Staff have obviously considered this issue, but we would like further assurance that trees and other plantings will not in any way impede access to sidewalks.
  3. Consideration should be given to the impact of wet autumn leaves on streets and sidewalks, especially during winter weather. We suggest that staff choose trees and shrubs that do not create excess foliage. At the very least, we suggest that there be a rigorous maintenance program to regularly clear leaves and other debris.
  4. Extra attention should be paid to street lighting in order to facilitate way-finding and improve safety for all users.
  5. Although it is important to have adequate signage and way-finding for pedestrians, motorists, and cyclists, it is equally important to avoid visual clutter in the form of excessive signage, traffic lights, and road/sidewalk markings. In the presence of visual clutter, users may become confused and frustrated, and could even disregard important traffic warnings. On this issue, we encourage staff to remember the dictum that “less is more.”
  6. The Seniors’ Advisory Committee wishes to be part of on-going consultations, as this is a key part of the future plans for the West 10th Avenue Health Precinct.

We trust that stuff will address these concerns and we look forward to reviewing and comments further on the final plan.

Yours truly,

Colleen McGuinness,
Chair, Seniors’ Advisory Committee

In the media: 10th Avenue bike plan still needs work say patient advocacy groupsMetro Vancouver

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