JB at Vancouver Interurban had a post last week that I’ve been mulling over for days.  He floats the idea of making Granville Island permanently car-free.  All the reaons for it are good ones.  There’s that epic bottle-neck of traffic at the entrance to the Island, and of course the Island’s about to get (more or less) connected to both the Main St. and Olympic Village Skytrain stations by the shiny new trolley.  I’d add that parking on the Island takes up a huge footprint of land that could be put to about a million different better uses.

But the thing is, Granville Island is sort of out of everybody’s way.  It’s not a hub that people pass through on their way to wherever they’re going.  It’s a destination.  But when I think of great urban pedestrian spaces–say, Frankfurt’s Hauptwache or, as of this year, Times Square–they’re central.  They’re hubs, with pedestrians, cyclists, and people on public transit coming in and going out in lots of different directions.  Granville Island can’t be that.

JB gets this, and points out that without car traffic, buses could run right straight onto the Island.  And the trolley will bring more people onto the Island.  These things could help.  And if all the land that’s currently taken up by parked cars were put to the right uses, there could more stuff on the Island to bring even more people down there.  Hell, it’s got Lee’s Donuts, and that counts for a lot in my mind.  So even though it couldn’t ever be a central hub for people, maybe it’s it’s got the makings of a great pedestrian space anyway.