Comox-Helmcken Corridor


comox-greenway-map-2013 from City of VancouverStudy of Travel, Health, and Activity Patterns before and after the Redesign of the Comox-Helmcken Corridor

This study is concerned with the social and health impacts of constructing an urban greenway in downtown Vancouver. A greenway is a street or path that enhances pedestrian and cyclist connections and serves as a public space.

In Fall 2012, West End residents were invited to participate by completing a 2-day travel diary documenting every trip they made. They also completed a questionnaire about their neighborhood, safety, social connections, physical activity, and health. This data was collected twice: once before construction in and again after construction in 2015. These “phases” of the study were compared to determine how the Greenway has impacted the community.

This project is a partnership between the UBC Health and Community Design Lab and City of Vancouver. For more information on the Comox Helmcken Greenway, please see City of Vancouver’s project page: http://vancouver.ca/streets-transportation/comox-helmcken.aspx

Image credit: City of Vancouver  http://vancouver.ca/

 

comox_participantmap

In all, 549 people participated in both phases of the study; 473 lived within the Greenway’s corridor (red), while 76 lived outside (blue).

Between the first and second phase, participants who lived within the Comox-Helmcken corridor reported a 16.1% increase in the number of days they engaged in moderate physical activity in a week as well as an 8.0% decrease in sedentary time and a 9.8% decrease in the number of days they reported being in poor physical or mental health.

travelbehaviourchange_phase1_2

After construction of the Greenway, vehicle use among participants living in the corridor dropped from 23 to 20% of all trips, while cycling and transit use both grew.

socialcapitalchange_phase1_2

The dynamics of social interaction also changed after the Greenway was built.  Prior to construction, 16.5% of participants strongly disagreed with the statement “it is easy to make friends in my neighbourhood”, while only 7.6% strongly agreed with that statement.  After the Greenway opened, the percent of participants strongly disagreeing with that statement dropped to 13.1%, while the percent of participants strongly agreeing rose to 10.8%.

Data collection is still underway. Please stay tuned for study results in the coming months.

This project is a partnership between the UBC Health and Community Design Lab and City of Vancouver. For more information on the Comox Helmcken Greenway, please see City of Vancouver’s project page: http://vancouver.ca/streets-transportation/comox-helmcken.aspx