Vancouver’s “Shame Street”

Why is anyone surprised that Granville Mall descends intro drunken brawls every Saturday night when the bars let out at 3 AM? And moreso, why do they think that the closing time has anything to do with it?

I remember, back before all the clubs were on Granville, right when the city was deciding to push all the clubs into one “entertainment district”, that everyone was saying how having all the clubs in one place would make it easier to police, easier to control. But y’know what, back then, I thought that was a load of bull, and I still do. It didn’t work in Calgary, it wasn’t working in Toronto, it wouldn’t work in Vancouver. It used to be I felt perfectly safe coming out of any club, and pretty much, walking down any street in downtown at any time at night. Lord knows I stumbled out of many a club on Richards, Seymour or Homer without a single thought that I might get jumped. Now, even leaving the Commodore after a show, I get off Granville as quickly as possible and that’s generally well before the 3-am witching hour (aside/confession: this may have more to do with the fact that I’m older, less drunk when I leave and a parent than the safety factor. Or rather, that those 3 things make me far more aware of the danger than I was 10 years ago).

I suspect, their first tactic of moving all the clubs to one place blowing up in the face, we’ll soon be seeing CCTV camera popping up along the mall, just like in England, to help keep the peace, rather than admitting they were wrong and pushing the clubs to disperse again. And this, lest it not be clear, is a terrible thing. We should be allowed anonymity and privacy on the street (aside/idea: Assuming CCTV is inevitable, I wonder if it’s possible to push for it to be made public – force cable carriers to have a CCTV channel, or something. If the police can watch us, make sure we have easy, public access to the same information. Would CCTV supporters be so supportive if it was available freely to everyone?).

Police say that 80 per cent of the Granville partyers are “bridge people” who come to party from outside Vancouver.

Many of them pull up in large “boozing buses” — already drunk. In some cases, fights break out as they step out on to the pavement.

You know what was preventing this before? The fact that not all the clubs were next to each other. Hell, even moving half the clubs 3 blocks up or 3 blocks down would seriously reduce the booze bussers from mixing with each other. Reduce the sheer size of the crowds, and the same number of police officers to more easily control them all. We could probably also help city livability. Richards is already a ghost town at night, because there’s no streetfront commerce. Seymour, when all the building is finished, will follow suit. Homer is saved purely because of the Yaletown side of the street, but it’s still much quieter at night then it used to be. I’d love nothing more then to see some late night cafes, the odd bar, even a club, open up amongst the anonymous towers that keep getting built.

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