False Creek Flats Arterial Study


The object of the arterial study is to locate and build a new major arterial road through the False Creek Flats from the downtown’s eastern edge (Main Street) to Clark Drive.

On October 1, 2019, after almost 4 years of study and community engagement, Council voted 8-2 in favour of staff proposal for improving the existing Prior/Venables route with a new train bridge and vehicle underpass beneath to separate streets from the Burrard Inlet railway line; and a series of traffic-calming measures for Prior Street. The estimated cost is $125 million, plus additional for neighbourhood improvements.


The arterial study is significant because 1) the route decision carries tremendous impact for the future of this part of the city; and 2) the process included the convening of a community panel to make a recommendation.

  1. Route decision carries tremendous impact to this unique neighbourhood. In particular, it may impact:
    1. The heritage preservation of the historic residential neighbourhood it runs through.
    2. The economic development of the manufacturing and industrial lands in the area, which have been shrinking.
    3. The decline of Produce Row, the hub of fresh-food wholesaling in Vancouver.
    4. The connection and road network after the viaduct comes down. 
    5. The operation of the Burrard Inlet rail line running between the Port of Vancouver and the False Creek Flats railyards.
    6. Access to the new St. Paul’s Hospital campus.
  1. The study included the convening of a Community Panel made up of 42 panelists from local and city-wide neighbourhoods and businesses. In Spring 2018, the City engaged Jefferson Center to  lead the process using the Citizens Juries model that seeks to give residents knowledge and resources to make recommendations and decisions. The Panel was asked to consider four main arterial alignment options and their variations. The Panel ranked and selected National-Charles arterial option as the preferred recommended route and Prior/Venables-underpass as the second. Staff recommended and Council approved the Prior/Venable route.


The False Creek Flats is an area bounded by Main Street to the West, Prior and Venables streets to the north, Clark Drive to the east, and Great Northern Way to the south.

In 2012, City Council approved the False Creek Flats Rail Corridor Strategy to reduce impacts of increasing rail traffic on residents. The Powell Street Overpass was completed in 2014. In October 2015, Council directed staff to identify a new alignment for the overpass to allow Prior and Venables Streets to be downgraded from an arterial to a local-serving road.

City of Vancouver completed the False Creek Flats Plan in 2017. The potential and options for new arterial streets through the Flats was an important part of the discussions during the planning process. In the False Creek Flats Plan, the arterial was removed for further exploration.


False Creek Flats Grade-Separated Road Alignment. Policy Report from General Manager of Engineering Services to Vancouver City Council. RTS no.: 12872. October 1, 2019. https://council.vancouver.ca/20191001/documents/rr1.pdf

False Creek Flats Grade-Separated Road Alignment. Presentation to Council. https://council.vancouver.ca/20191001/documents/RR1Presentation.pdf

The Flats Arterial Community Panel Website. https://fcfcommunitypanel.com/

The Flats Arterial Community Panel Final Report. https://vancouver.ca/files/cov/flats-arterial-community-panel-final-report.pdf

City of Vancouver. False Creek Flats Plan. Approved by Vancouver City Council May 17, 2017. https://vancouver.ca/files/cov/false-creek-flats-plan-2017-05-17.pdf

Prepared by: Leslie Shieh, VCPC Chronology Committee
Last Updated: November 12, 2019