Designing Transit for Robson Square

The future of Robson Square should include a design solution that integrates a vibrant public space with transit. As Gordon Price’s guest writer Peter Marriott has written, “closing Robson Square to transit means perpetuating the current route, with only a minor improvement, and it means perpetuating poor transit connections.”

I agree. The route through Robson Square serves an important geometrical role, and it should remain in order to provide necessary transit connections. I also believe that a vibrant public space and good transit are not mutually exclusive, and integrating both into one space is entirely achievable.

In fact, designing transit for Robson Square would put it in the league of some of the following cities:

(Yes, these examples are all rail, and maybe that’s part of the solution.)

Place Garibaldi, Nice

St-Paulusplaats, Antwerp

Urban Center Plaza, Portland


Columbia Pike Revitalization, Arlington

Ban Jelačić Square, Zagreb


6 responses to “Designing Transit for Robson Square

  1. Interesting when those who claim transit can integrate well with public space show photos with hardly any “public” in them. Robson is a much smaller space than those shown in the photos. The sidewalks are not wide enough for the levels of pedestrian traffic. The solution is to improve transit on parallel streets like Georgia/Nelson/Smithe and keep Robson motor vehicle free.

    • Robson Square is a much bigger space than Portland’s Urban Center Plaza, shown in the photos. Portland’s streetcar has no negative effect on this very popular, busy space at Portland State University.
      I see hundreds of people (thousands?) in Ban Jelačić Square, the last photo. Does transit not integrate well here?

  2. Pingback: Circling the Square (5) « Price Tags·

  3. While not a square, Amsterdam’s Leidsestraat is certainly a very interesting location where trams (something like 30/hour), many pedestrians and a few bikes share a remarkably narrow street. It’s unlikely to replicated in North America but is a fascinating “extreme” example.

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