Tearing down the two viaducts would, much like the removal of Seattle's Alaskan Way Viaduct, create five city blocks' worth of developable land in Vancouver's downtown.
"Let's make a bold decision to get rid of the viaducts," said Vancouver's visionary former co-director of planning, Larry Beasley, one of five speakers at the capacity-filled event presented by SFU's City Program. "Then, convene a great international urban design competition to design the eastern part of the core. Let's decide to design our city."
The statements by Vancouver's anti-viaduct visionaries will be familiar to anyone who's followed Seattle's debate over how to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct. What's different in Vancouver, politically, is that there appears to be no real organized, pro-highway opposition to the proposal---instead, the debate centers on how much of the viaducts should be torn down, and how quickly. In fact, the only skeptical voice in the Tyee story comes from an anti-freeway activist who notes that the two viaducts are just "postage stamp[s]" compared to the freeways that are still being built elsewhere in the city.