Some Comments on the Joyce Collingwood Precinct rezoning proposal

June 28, 2016

Below, some comments shared with the Vancouver city planners on the Joyce -Collingwood precinct review:

Heritage houses

An 100 year old house on Spencer street

An 100 year old house on Spencer street

There is a couple of 100 years old houses presenting some interesting heritage features in the neighborhood subject to rezoning: some strategy to preserve them should be in place so that the rezoning is not obliterating the history of the neighborhood.

The towers

Rezoning proposal as seen from Tyne#Kingsway

Rezoning proposal as seen from Tyne#Kingsway

The height in meter make more sense than the height in storey, since the building form is what matters (In this context  the tower floor plate size are important, but the lack of FSR limit for the tower site is a non issue).

The planner are aligning the tower geodesic height on the one of the nearby telus building (similar strategy occured for the construction of the Wall centre at Central Park)…an altrnative view could have been to set up some view cone, more namely from the Richmond dyke:

The telus and Wall centre tower are well visible from the Richmond ALR (near dyke on the Fraser North arm):  having those tower kept below the tree line, could have enforced the rural nature of this area

The telus and Wall centre tower are well visible from the Richmond ALR (near dyke on the Fraser North arm): having those tower kept below the tree line, could have preserved the rural nature of this location

The townhouses

The open house posters suggested 2 rows of townhouses: This eventually needs to be clarified, especially in term of set back (and parking). If in the long term that can transform the alleys into “real street”: it seems to be good, and that should be the intend. Unfortunately,  this doesn’t seem the case.

Naroiw stree in Groningen (a natural evolution of laneway) - credit photo pricetags

Narrow street in Groningen (a natural evolution of laneway) – credit photo pricetags

Vanness street (West of Joyce)

The plan call for 6 storeys all along Vanness Street. The current “redeveloped” building are at 4 storey max, but in fact 3 1/2 Storey along Vanness due to the topography. This could also need to be clarified for the new construction.

The plan seem to provide generous margins for the buildings. Ideally, the skytrain guideway should have provided a refrence for the building height.

The BC parkway (and skytrain viaduct) has carved the land here, so that the tree line keeps horizontal instead to follow the slope: , while construction follow the slope of the hill around, This specificity is not a big deal as long as the constructions are lower than the tree line. It becomes an issue otherwise: the Skytrain guideway is at level 3 of a building at Rupert, but as at level one of a building at Spencer: This is making a mid- rise building looking much taller at Spencer than at Rupert.

One could also consider that the rezoning for properties West of Spencer, should be considered in the wider context of the desired street-scape for Rupert

Wellington (East of Joyce)
At the difference of Vanness, the topography works for a more aggressive densification than proposed:

The properties at the SE corner of Payne#Wellington are proposed for 4 storeys, but 6 storeys building could work better (would not be much higher that the westward building along Wellington proposed at 6 storeys, as illustrated below


Visual impact of a 6 storey building aon the SE corner of Payne and Wellington: view from Wellington looking East, then West

McHardy street
Provisions should be made to ensure that buildings offer engaging facade on it:
That will help this street to reconnect the north and south side of the neighbourhood.
It is a street without sidewalk (but very poor pavement act as a traffic calming measure, and so the street doesn’t work that bad):  Installing sidewalk is not necessarily the best solution.  Treating this street as a shared space could eventually provide a better outcome:

A shared street concept could be a preferrable design for Mac Hardy.

A shared street concept could be a preferrable design for Mac Hardy.

Joyce street

All the rezoning should be conditional to the closure of the lanes immediatly  north of the Skytrain guideway. A bike/Pedestrian “passageway” or “commercial gallery” should be opened, to connect Yardley Avenue to Joyce street on the West.

JoycePrecinctOption3-Joyce-Looking-south

Joyce street looking South from Wellington (shadow ~5pm on June 21st)

Joyce street can be an interesting street, if the street wall provide some rhyme. However the idea to have tree planted in the middle of it  is not compatible with it:

  • It prevent the light to penetrate the street
  • It hinder the perspective
  • And the street right of way is not that wide (80ft): space dedicated to pedestrians movement should be maximized, median divider and left-turn lane should be removed.

trees on the side are welcome, but the cultivars need to be chosen to provide mature tree tall enough (such as London plane) to match the scale of the street wall: In short, the whole Joyce street-scape needs to be reviewed, and due to the significance of this street as a gateway for the neighborood: this could need to be part of a specify consultatio

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