Improving our Street System - Needs & Strategies
After extensive assessments and evaluations of programs, projects and finances, along with in-person and online public input, the City of Vancouver now has a sustainable, long-term solution to help provide the needed resources for taking care of the streets our community has.
In November 2015, the Vancouver City Council approved ordinances to establish a Transportation Benefit District and amend the Business License Surcharge and tax on City-owned utilities - water, sewer, stormwater and garbage - to provide the additional funds needed to maintain and improve our existing street system.
Information about the adopted implementing ordinances, including staff reports and associated materials, can be found here. Click here to view an online CVTV video clip showing the Council's public hearing and adoptions here.
The approved street funding strategy was developed with the assistance of a special Commission on Street Funding, which met from April through September 2015. The Commission's work resulted in a memo and recommendation report to the City Council.
Members of the Mayor's Commission on Street Funding presented their recommendations at a City Council Workshop on Oct. 12. You can watch this Council workshop here on CVTV online. Here is some additional information about the recommendation that was provided to the public in advance of adoption of the ordinances:
For more than two decades, the City has struggled to find a sustainable solution. In 2015, the Vancouver City Council established a goal of addressing the City's long-term street funding needs.View the goal here.
With thorough evaluations and assessments of pavement conditions and street system needs completed, the City Council directed staff to seek input from citizens on potential sources for stable, long-term funding. A Mayor's Commission on Street Funding was also created:
Why Funding Streets is Important
When we talk about our street system, that means from sidewalk to sidewalk. Vancouver's street system includes 1,810 single-lane miles of road surface, more than 3,800 acres of right-of-way property, the operation of 235 traffic signals, nine pedestrian hybrid beacons, tens of thousands of signs, 10 City-owned bridges, thousands of miles of bike and pedestrian facilities, and thousands of miles of lane striping.
Vancouver’s livability, economic vitality, and public safety and emergency response depend on a healthy, viable street system. Key areas are:
- Taking care of what we have
- Improving functionality, mobility, safety and livability
- Upgrading our core arterial backbone
- Investing strategically in economic vitality
Streets are the backbone of all community and business activities and impact Vancouver’s overall quality of life. Our entire street system reflects a major community investment, costly to construct and currently estimated at more than $1 billion to replace. Just like a home or office building, a vehicle or a bicycle, our street system needs ongoing maintenance to continue to serve us now and into the future.
Problems on the Street
Each and every day, thousands of residents, businesses and commuters depend on the City of Vancouver's largest physical asset - our street system - to get where they want to go. Meanwhile, our street system is steadily declining. When pavement fails, it fails quickly.
Across Vancouver, pavement conditions are declining on both major and neighborhood streets. Each year, the City assesses pavement conditions and measures the growing number of streets in distress, with cracks, patches, potholes and other signs of aging and wear. As of 2013, the City had an estimated backlog of more than $130 million in streets needing pavement maintenance and/or full reconstruction. By 2034, that backlog is expected to grow to $250 million.
Citizens are seeing the effects on the street, literally. In past community surveys, citizens' satisfaction levels with street maintenance have fallen and concerns have risen.
In addition to declining pavement conditions, Vancouver also has inherited miles of major streets originally built to rural standards and now in need of upgrading.
At the same time, funding and resources have shrunk. Street projects currently with grants and local dollars in place will be halted once current funding is exhausted. To obtain grants, the City typically must provide local matching dollars. But beyond limited neighborhood traffic calming, there is no dedicated funding to fix substandard streets and improve mobility and safety. No new street projects are anticipated once the current funding we have is exhausted. Funding for regular operations and median and landscape maintenance also have been reduced over the past years, adding to business and citizens' concerns.
See related news articles in Web Links, right.
More Background Information
City Council Workshops - Street Funding
- Workshop March 23, 2015 - View video on CVTV
- Workshop Aug. 13, 2013 - View video on CVTV
- Workshop April 16, 2013 -View video on CVTV
- Workshop December 17, 2013 - View video on CVTV
- Workshop September 25, 2012 -View video on CVTV
Planning Commission Informational Update - January 2015
Questions about efforts to address sustainable Street Funding Strategies? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Understanding Vancouver's Street System - Self-guided Streets TripWhether driving, riding or walking, we all rely in some way on our street system to get us where we want to go. Vancouver’s neighborhood livability, economic vitality, and public safety and emergency response depend on a healthy, viable street system. To meet these community needs, the City strives to:
Council mobile streets workshop - archived news 2014This webpage is an archived news release that was published on Sept. 16, 2014. The Vancouver City Council will hold an informational mobile workshop on Vancouver’s street system from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Friday, Sept. 19, traveling by C-TRAN bus for a first-hand look at transportation successes and challenges throughout the city.