Burnaby is rolling out next steps in its plan to jazz up the BC Parkway.
The city wants to create "exceptional" public spaces under the SkyTrain tracks that will give "Downtown Metrotown" a unique sense of place and provide residents with "fun and functional gathering places to enjoy year-round," according to a new staff report.
Staff are recommending council approve $500,000 for the operating expenses of the first phase of the project, ahead of approving the 2024 financial plan in February.
Council will vote on the recommendation Monday, Dec. 4.
The planned project runs within the 30-metre-wide, BC Hydro-owned corridor between Kingsway at the north of Central Park and the Royal Oak SkyTrain station, including underneath the SkyTrain tracks.
In July, the city shared a preliminary inspiration board designed by Revery Architecture, depicting the blue-sky possibilities for the linear park, including:
- a public art pavilion
- an illuminated bike path
- recreation in Central Park like pickleball, garden rooms and basketball
- a dog park near Patterson station
- festival and performance space near Civic square
- space for a public market, skate park and outdoor sports near Bonsor Recreation Complex
- local shops, public art and community garden around Royal Oak station
The inspiration photos included architecture of parks under rail lines in other cities.
Revamping BC Parkway in phases
The city began a marketing campaign called "Parkway Alive" over the past summer to "garner excitement and build momentum" for the project, including events, banner wraps around buildings and "small improvements to the Civic Square light posts."
Staff gave out questionnaires to the public asking them to imagine the future of the parkway. They have collected 700 comments to date, with "generally very positive" feedback.
Staff will continue with the Parkway Alive décor around the project area to create rest areas and street furnishings including:
- "Mini music points"
- Temporary art
- Come-and-go games for seniors and youth
- Opportunities to refresh under shade
- Small refreshment stations
- Offerings at larger events like Burnaby Blooms, StreetFest on Central, Canada Day and Burnaby Roots and Blues Festival
The city estimates this phase will cost $200,000 with a time frame between spring 2024 to fall 2024.
Phase 1 of the BC Parkway project will create a framework to plan a long-term vision for the development.
The framework will identify developable lands within the corridor, review utility and infrastructure expansion plans, create thematic zones and phases, and engage with First Nations, residents, BC Hydro, TransLink and other orders of government.
The phase will cost an estimated $300,000, according to the report and be finished in the third quarter of 2024.
The city will then work on a schematic design for Phase 2, after council approves the framework and selects a preferred project segment to prioritize.
A July report states the BC Parkway was marked as a regional amenity by BC Transit as part of the Expo SkyTrain line in 1986.
It's a 19-kilometre linear park that provides a "critical" east-west cycling and pedestrian connection from the Quay in New Westminster, through Burnaby, to False Creek in Vancouver.
In July, staff noted they will come up with a better name than the placeholder title "BC Parkway Enhancement."
"Staff will work with the marketing and communications department on a project brand that represents community values and the experiences the project aspires to deliver."