The City of New Westminster is proposing to complete the Brunette Fraser Regional Greenway (BFRG) with a ‘Riverfront Connection’ between Westminster Pier Park and Sapperton Landing Park. The proposed conceptual design is for a floating greenway, which would enable pedestrians, park-goers, cyclists, and water-users a unique form of water access along the Fraser River serving residents throughout the Lower Mainland.
A REGIONAL CYCLING AND PEDESTRIAN CONNECTION
This critical piece of cycling and pedestrian infrastructure would complete the BRFG, connecting Downtown New Westminster to major employment hubs, such as the Royal Columbian Hospital, the Braid Industrial District, the future large-scale mixed-use and employment centre at Braid SkyTrain station. It will also connect regional traffic coming from Burnaby along the BFRG, from the Tri-Cities along the BFRG and PoCo Trail, from Vancouver along the Central Valley Greenway and BC Parkway, and from Richmond via the Q2Q Ferry.
With the new Pattullo Bridge opening in 2023, connections will also be opened to South of the Fraser to Surrey and beyond. The strong pedestrian and cycling linkages on the new bridge will help further enable cross-Fraser travel, sightseeing, and commuting.
A UNIQUE URBAN PARK EXPERIENCE ON THE FRASER RIVER
Much of Metro Vancouver’s parks are outside of major urban centres and particularly for the Fraser River, access to British Columbia’s most iconic river is often challenging and disconnected. The existing Sapperton Landing Park and Westminster Pier Park allow some access to the river, but their lack of connectivity prevents a more immersive experience along the entirety of the Fraser.
Greater access to the Fraser has been a longstanding goal of the region, with the Regional Parks Plan (2016), and for the City of New Westminster, with the Trail and Greenways Plan (2000), the Brunette Creek Neighbourhood Plan (2002), the Parks and Recreation Comprehensive Plan (2010), the Downtown Community Plan(1998 and 2010), the Queensborough Community Plan (2013), and the Master Transportation Plan (2014).
A significant effort to ‘open up’ the Fraser River was initiated in 2009 through collaboration between regional governments on the Lower Mainland and the BC Government called ‘Experience the Fraser’. The project was centred on four goal areas:
- Connect Hope to the Salish Sea
- Link and Inspire and Experiences Along the River
- Developing and Enduring and Committed Partnerships
- Build and Deepen Connections to the River
New Westminster was highlighted in this plan as the ‘Urban Portal’ of the Fraser River, particularly for the Quay and Sapperton Landing Park. A project like the Riverfront Connection would mean that residents of the Lower Mainland have direct access to the water as pedestrians, and as watercourse users (e.g. as kayakers or boaters) within reach of SkyTrain and as part of the vibrant urban that is New Westminster’s downtown.
THE PROPOSED DESIGN
After considering both on- and off-land options, the City selected a conceptual design that proposes a ‘floating greenway,’ which would extend from the current termination of the BFRG at Sapperton Landing, underneath the New Westminster Rail Bridge, under the new Pattullo Bridge, and to Westminster Pier’s cycling and pedestrian connections. This would be the most innovative cycling infrastructure constructed in Metro Vancouver, returning transportation and social connection to the Fraser River in a way that few regional investments have been able to do.
Photo: an image of Portland’s Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade, which shows the precedent of what floating greenways can be designed to look like.
Pier to Landing Public Open House
An open house was held on May 16, 2017 with staff and consultants working with the City of New Westminster, TransLink and Metro Vancouver. The public was invited to review and provide feedback on the conceptual design for the Pier to Landing Greenway, the proposed pedestrian and bicycle connection between Westminster Pier Park and Sapperton Landing Park.
May 16, 2017 -- Open House Display Boards
October 30, 2017 – Final Conceptual Design Selected