1974: Ped Zone. 2014: Not So Much

ped mall 74-14These images were both taken from the southwest corner of Granville Street at Georgia in downtown Vancouver.

The 1974 image (CVA; photographer unknown) shows pedestrians strolling down the middle of the road to celebrate the recent completion of renovations to Granville Street between Hastings and Nelson that created a pedestrian/transit mall. The 2014 photo (author’s HDR – high dynamic range – image; to create an illusion of movement in a still photo) shows  pedestrians crossing Granville at Georgia. Ordinarily, there would be a good deal of trolley traffic heading both north and south on Granville, however no trolleys appear in this image.

The Granville mall plan has been applied inconsistently over the years. The most recent disruption was caused by construction of the Canada Line skytrain line under part of Granville. During that period, no traffic was permitted on the street. Weekday transit traffic has resumed on Granville and, recently, some northbound auto traffic also has been permitted on the mall.

As far as I can tell, except for the photo opportunity in 1974, it would never have been a wise idea of pedestrians to walk down the middle of any part of Granville. Even in the earliest days of the mall, there were trolley buses to contend with – and in a battle between buses and pedestrians, it is never a good idea to bet against buses!

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