From Ken Ohrn:


Kerry Gold writes in the Globe and Mail about the nascent and massive Jericho development.

Her story turns constantly to affordability, and the False Creek South development (near Granville Island) gets a moment in the spotlight.

She seems to have mainly interviewed David Eby (NDP MLA), Robert Howald of Canada Lands and Brian Jackson, City of Vancouver Planner. Glaringly missing is any material from First Nations.

Interesting to me is that City of Vancouver zoning will play a large part in the look, feel, affordability and profitability of this land’s future. Mr. Jackson is, however, quoted as theorizing about a very mixed development.

And again, there is no mention of the enormous opportunity that may arise (pending the plebiscite’s outcome) to extend the Broadway line to Jericho and incorporate transit-oriented development there.  This, to my mind, has a major effect on affordability.


So what happens with Jericho if there is no expanded transit?  Does the development proceed?  Should the cost of additional transit service be a condition of approval – even if it means less of some other public amenity?  

If the referendum results in a No vote, should Jericho (and any project in Metro which is designed as a Transit-Oriented Development, or TOD) be put on hold until transit is assured?  If not, should the site then be kept at lower density – mainly single-family homes, as allowed under current zoning – to reduce the impact on adjacent neighbourhoods and the road system?

Imagine: Jericho would be cut up into single-family lots, largely car-dependent, sold off at the top end of the real-estate market, with no constraints on foreign purchase, because there is no additional transit service.  Or it’s developed at higher densities, but still has to provide a large provision for car parking – because there is no additional transit service.

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  1. Why would they build SF homes ? Land has far more value if zoned denser.

    The critical issue is transit. Why would any development happen without a subway ? This is poor urban planning. Any development should be contingent on a subway arriving about the same time as the first highrise is built. Not another Port Moody, please. Build it, then traffic jams, then a rapid transit line a decade or two later. Let’s use common sense, please.

    But, common sense is not so common apparently in MetroVan and city council decision making.

    1. Presumably a subway will be dependent on provincial and federal funding. The provincer unde the Libs wil also likely impose a P3. Involving the city will add a fourth layer. The interjurisdictional funding withjout a coordinated plan is the problem.

  2. What’s so insufficient about the 4, the 44, and the 84? (or the 9, the 99, the 14, and the 7, for that matter)

    While 4th Avenue is not FTN beyond Alma, there is plenty of day-time bus capacity serving the area, and a 28 minute ride into Downtown according to google.

    I would be much more concerned about the rather anti-pedestrian construction of 4th Avenue through that part of town, with it’s tiny sidewalks and speeding drivers.

    1. Exactly. More buses along an already busy bus route. People that buy condos in the $1M+ range do not use the bus. They take a car, UNLESS the bus is far faster (which it is not) or car use is really really expensive, say $10 toll on any bridge to downtown. Since neither is planned anytime soon they will use the car more. Like in Port Moody.

      The only good news here from a transit point of view is that the bike path is actually nice and attractive to go downtown.

      1. Jericho is not Port Moody. With all the amenities that Jericho has to offer, and it’s close proximity to DT, there would no doubt be high % of cyclists and transit users.

        I’m not so sure a subway is absolutely necessary either. The West End has no rapid transit and functions quite well (imo). That is why I think West End type density would be appropriate for the Jericho Lands in any transit scenario.

        1. Look to UBC south of 16th and the proposal in Block F in UEL. VERY high density. Why would you expect anything less in Jericho ?

          Expect me at meetings and blogs demanding no development without rapid transit. A low density development would be nicer but somehow I doubt that.

    2. yes absolutely Brendan

      as alluded below (David), there is already an overwhelming excess of transit offer for the Jericho land (for the record, bus occupancy system wide, doesn’t excess 30% of capacity, so there is plenty of unused seats on the system (see more here:

      The redevelopment of the Jericho lands is not overburdening the existing transit system. Far from it, It is the opposite: it makes our system more sustainable (by filling bus otherwise roaming empty anyway). It could be nice to see people to stop to use any opportunity to justify to burn more tax payer money.

      Still for the record, and as you will have read elsewhere, as a rule of thumb, a subway requires 10,000 passenger per hour per direction to start to make financial sense.
      We are far from it West of Arbutus, and a redevelopment of Jericho land could make no difference at all in the below ridership projection:

      If people bother to travel a bit, let say to Singapore or Hong Kong, they will see that development order of magnitude of what could be the Jericho land have no subway, but just one, may be 2, bus lines connecting to the local MTR (subway).

      1. Voony, I think you are touching on the Chicken-Egg question here.

        I don’t believe it’s accurate to portray a subway that connects Central Broadway and UBC to the regional rapid transit system as two separate subways, especially considering known factors such as the Network Effect. Of course there will be less ridership west of Arbutus under today’s bus routing and zoning, but in all likelihood it will even out over the decades to come after the subway has been extended to the campus with an appropriate zoning response by these jurisdictions.

        Low and mid-rise buildings with infill beyond could easily triple the population and increase the commercial / office business several times within one square km centred on subway stations without destroying neighbourhood character. You don’t need clusters of +40-storey towers to justify a subway, especially with linkages like the UBC-Broadway-Great Northern Way sciences faculties and institutions and extraordinarily-dense employment centres alluded to in the KPMP report commissioned by the city.

        There was a time – and still is in many quarters stuck with last century’s planning precepts — when waiting for the development to justify new transit was the top excuse for not funding transit. We have new challenges this century and their common denominator is making our horribly inefficient cities better before climate change and energy and financial conniptions rule the day.

        So 21st Century sustainable urbanism should be to plan transit and development together within a reasonable time frame.

  3. I think SFU’s UniverCity provides an interesting local model or starting point for a complete community based on a mix of mid- to high-middle densities and forms, including townhouses, stacked townhouses, apartments and mixed use. Also an abundance of protected natural, open and play spaces. Hard to believe sfr would even be considered here, given the need to densify such areas in the rest of the city, including WPG. A step backward, IMO.

    1. UC is largely successful for many reasons, but it certainly wasn’t without its challenges, transportation and impacts on the 1,500 acre conservation area below being two of them.

      Having said that, with a few improvements UC would make a good model.

  4. The first nations people are determined to get a lot of money from the Jericho development so I’d be shocked to see low density development anywhere on the property.

    Having good transit would help them maximize value by reducing the number of $x0,000 underground parking spaces and land wasting surface spaces they’ll need to build.

    The area does have good bus transit and many of the routes have copious excess capacity in every direction except peak to/from UBC. This time of year even those buses have room for local passengers.

    For example the 44 gets from 4th and Alma to Burrard station in about 16 minutes during morning rush hours. It’s difficult to drive downtown and get parked faster than that. Plus you’re guaranteed a seat because the size of bus and frequency is set by the huge crowd going the other way.

    If you’re going across town the 84 and 99 are more frequent than the 44 and run 7 days/week. There are 4 trolley routes near the Jericho lands too that stop frequently allowing those with a limited walking capacity to take transit.

    Of course having rail transit nearby would be great and a stop on site would be even better, but that would require a significant change from all proposals to date for a UBC LRT/subway. Not saying that won’t happen, but it would likely push out the start date by another 5 years and I’m not hopeful of seeing any construction west of Cambie for at least 10 years. That would put an operating subway at Jericho in 2035 or so, much too late to have any effect on what gets built there.

  5. An option is building the rapid transit line through the Jericho lands integrating it with the development. The result would likely be a much lower cost than a bored tunnel along 10th.

    1. Exactly. Then along 4th/Chancellor Blvd or 10th along golf course on surface. far cheaper than a tunnel. Unclear why this is not even in the MetroVan 2040 transit plan ?

    2. An intriguing idea, Richard. However, the length of the parts of line that could use the cheaper cut and cover method (i.e. in what is currently open space) may not be as long as one would think. Presumably the highly disruptive fiasco of cut and cover (C&C) tunneling would be avoided in developed areas given the terrible experience we had on Cambie with the Canada Line.

      Broadway continues for an additional 580m west of Alma where it also swings over to the 8th Ave alignment before clearing residential development and entering the open Jericho site. The land surface also rises ~20m at a 3.4% slope, perfectly manageable for SkyTrain if the bored tunnels are parallel to the surface.

      There is a run of ~680m in Jericho parallel to 8th Ave up to the parking lot at Discovery. A C&C tunnel would be feasible at a manageable average of 4.7% slope (the maximum for trains is 6%). From there bored tunnels will likely begin again and swing under existing residential development over to 10th Ave x Sasamat where the RBC and Safeway sites could be developed around a station, hopefully with a limitation to low and mid-rise buildings and rowhouses / infill in the blocks beyond.

      The UBC golf course presents an additional kilometre of C&C savings before bored tunnels take over again, for a total of about 1.73 km including Jericho. The cost of using tunnel boring machines is about $300 million per km. The cost of C&C runs up to ~$150 million per km, so the difference between the two in these stretches could range up to a bit over $250 million, perhaps as much as $300M. Not Earth shattering, but significant nonetheless.

      1. One wonders if there’s any money saved if you have to keep taking the tunnel boring machine out of the ground, moving it and putting it back in the ground. Those things are hundreds of tonnes of steel and take weeks to assemble and disassemble.

        Your average slope calculations do not allow for a station to be built at Jericho as they assume the track will follow the land upward and not have a 200m long flat section. I don’t think that’s a problem because I can’t see anyone building 3 stations in Point Grey regardless of what happens at Jericho. Building a long detour from Broadway and Alma to a future 4th Avenue commercial strip and back to 10th just isn’t going to happen.

        1. Alma @ Broadway is close enough for Jericho to walk .. next stop halfway between there and Sasamat @ 10th .. also close to Jericho to walk.

          All doable with enough political will and enough development levies on dense developments such as those likely happening in Jericho, Block F (UEL) before UBC and UBC.

          No one talks about a second stop at UBC, namely Wesbrook @ 16th, where most of the dense development is currently happening with a dozen 20+ storey highrises planned, and UBC has contributed NOTHING to any transit from Vancouver despite huge dense developments. UBC just hoards its cash and dumps the traffic and the parking onto others on 16th, Marine Drive and Point Grey where many students park. Brilliant scheme at UBC where UBC is often the land owner, developer and approving authority with no democratic oversight whatsoever. Like in the Habsburg monarchy. Long live the King.

        2. David, the TBMs used for the Canada Line merely popped out of one side of the station pits downtown, tracked across a special “floor” made with concrete ring segments and into the opposite side. The same could occur on the floor of any stretch of open pit excavation, even on a slope.

          I agree with Thomas about the station at Alma serving Jericho, which is only a bit more than 200m away, as well as West Kits. The next station would presumably be at Sasamat x 10th where there is a local bus service. Placing a station at Discovery x 8th would not be feasible in my view because it’s buried in the residential two blocks from the high street.

          Jericho itself does not warrant priority over Kits for a station when future upzoning is taken into account. To reiterate, I don’t believe high rises are justified that far west but there are loads of opportunity for medium density with low and mid-rise buildings and infill.

  6. You all are imagining a future on land that is not yours. Your irrational dreams are not connected to the world outside of your own self centered interests. You do not know what is best for others; you do not even know what is best for yourselves. You have not even asked the most basic of questions; who are the owners of these lands?

    1. Does not matter who owns the land, if the owners want a subway they will have to be partners with other governments. Incorporating development with rapid transit will have the best outcome for everyone involved owners or not.

  7. I hope that the Kitsilano apartment area will be the model. A reasonable density and mix of people, good access to transit, easy to get places by bike, new retail on 4th and established retail on 10th. Why reinvent the wheel?

    1. Michael – a good model, yes. However, when chunks of beautiful open spaces and parks will have to be set aside and rightly so, that 1.2 to 1.5 FSR density will inevitably climb. So, mid rises above 4 stories will have to be considered in selected places. Again, just MO.

    2. Michael and Frank, either way it could be a delightful neighbourhood with the mid-rise density placed close to Highbury and the future Alma Station with moderately decreasing FAR gradations thereafter up the slope. I believe Vancouver has now surpassed single-family detached affordability and would suggest single-family attached housing should be the lowest density considered for this site.

      With mixed uses and incomes developed in conjunction with a subway station one can consider elements like subsidized senior’s housing placed close to the station where the Frequent Transit Network built to universal accessibility standards brings things like the medical services at VGH and the libraries at UBC pretty well to their doorstep. These are the kind advantages never discussed by those who see transit merely as an instrument to increase developer profits.

      Beyond bland park-space-per-population formulae rests the occasional gem of a park that is treasured by all residents. I suggest a more nuanced approach be taken at Jericho regarding parks and open space where numerous well-designed pocket parks and public courtyards are carefully scattered around the site and rated for quality and finely-grained programming rather than mere size. Generous boulevards on a few key streets wide enough to accommodate towering trees, seating and sculpture should be classified as linear park land and count towards the total required park area without giving all to land hungry, single-use sports fields.

      To my knowledge there are no uncovered native streams on site, so storm water management could be oriented to one large wetland with biofiltration features placed in a large park at the bottom of the slope near 4th Ave that accepts the surface drainage from the entire site, and that connects to the Jericho Park wetland across the street. Small bioswales are hideously high maintenance, and required tiny infiltration areas in already tiny yards do not work once the soils are saturated after mid-November, especially with the hard native glacial till below.

      When it comes to sports, one could consider mini-fields terraced within the site, with adult competitive sports programs located elsewhere where millions have already been spent on all-season sports surfaces.

      I would also like to see a very deep respect for First Nations in the overall neighbourhood urban design and architecture, something well beyond token nomenclature, graphics and entry totems.

  8. I’m curious if the Blue Heron Trail will go through here. That brings up another question. Are the First Nations going to live on this themselves or will they develop it to sell?

  9. The Jericho Lands are ancestral to living people of today with first and last names who will decide amongst themselves what they alone believe is the best way forward and sustainable for the next one thousand years.

    1. I wouldn’t be so sure here. Many court battles have been fought, and will continue to be fought on who has what right on what piece of land in this city called “Vancouver” land called “Canada”.

      Proudly, Second “Nation” !

  10. If the decision is made amongst themselves a suboptimal outcome will be achieved for everyone involved and yes that includes the people living there today.

  11. I like the green space and hope more than usual will be retained with public access. There is too little green space in my opinion in most higher density development areas. Often too far from homes and too small for kids to play or people to relax outdoors if they live in condos. Local parks are too manicured for wildlife, except the green space and shoreline at the Olympic Village which is very well done.

  12. This development is due south of Jericho Beach Park, which is wonderful green space, and has some wildlife. Unfortunately, the Jericho Lands are very effectively cut off from Jericho Park by 4th Avenue, which is a 4-lane divided high-speed commuter freeway in that area.

    I would think that the problem can be easily solved by installing one or two ped/cycle bridges across 4th Ave.

    1. ped or cycle bridges??

      How about traffic calming 4th rather than dooming it to a suburban style freeway overpass solution. That section of 4th between the turn off for Jericho and Alma is not that long and as part of this process it could be re-envisioned as something more that what it is now.

    2. Green space should be near every home, not a longish (for young kids) walk or bike ride away. Condos at UBC have a pocket park with a playground and lawn for games, something that’s mostly missing in Vancouver and other municipalities.

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