September 18, 2019

The Worst Sidewalk- 5: Howe between West Georgia and Robson

From RLittlemore:

Turn south from (Dunsmuir at Pacific Centre) and you’ll find that it’s worse yet on the east side of Howe Street.

The entrance and exit to the same parkade dominates nearly the whole length of the block between West Georgia and Robson – a disruption that completes a pedestrian nightmare that begins as you try to get around the obnoxious driveway to the Four Seasons.


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  1. The sidewalk is wide there and now brightly lit after the Nordstrom renovation.
    There is a good volume of pedestrian traffic along that stretch.
    There is no issue with accessibility.

    However, what the Nordstrom renovation did was eliminate a store entrance and a display window on Howe that the former Eaton’s and Sears had – now there’s a longer blank wall frontage than there was before. It did reopen the former breezeway as an entrance to the new office above the Nordstrom, so that has added a bit of pedestrian traffic too.

    Be careful to separate form and function.
    Apart from the emergency stairs and elevator core of the Nordstrom, there could have been a more pedestrian friendly store facade created during the renovation. In fact, the ramps allowed an uninterrupted store facade to exist by placing the parkade entrance underground.
    Compare to the gaping hole in the streetwall created by the Four Seasons driveway (or any other office building or condo driveway).

  2. I walked this block today, having come from the Canada Line to the Art Galllery. The only the bad thing about this block is the aesthetics; complaints to Nordstrom Guest Servives, pls. The sidewalk may not be straight, but it was 3+m wide and mostly covered. If you want look at something pleasant, tne Art Gallery is across the street.

    Tje “worst” part … ? Trying to swim against the current (torrent) to turn left on the sidewalk from Georgia onto Howe at 5pm becuase I had not thought ahead and was on the street side of the sidewalk, dodging the garbage cans, paperboxes boxes, signs, lampposts and so many peopel!

    The ramps and sidewalk surrounding them: totally safe and accessible, aesthetically unappealing. That corner: disasterous pinch point and entirely normal configuration found everywhere, not safe. No issues here; carry on.

    Challenge: could you design a less intrusive entrance/exi to tje pedestrian experience? A safer one? Probably not. More aesthetically pleasing? Well not for the ramp, but probably the surroundings.