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There goes the gaybourhood

July 31, 2014

The Seattle Times picks up on a popular meme: Is Seattle’s ‘gayborhood’ vanishing? 

“This isn’t unique to Seattle,” says University of British Columbia sociologist Amin Ghaziani. In his new book, “There Goes The Gayborhood?,” Ghaziani explores how traditionally gay neighborhoods are “straightening” in many major U.S. cities, including New York, Chicago and San Francisco. …

So is Capitol Hill in danger of becoming about as gay as Ballard is Norwegian?

Consider this: In 2000, the five census tracts with the highest concentration of gay-couple households in Seattle were all located on Capitol Hill. In 2012, not one Capitol Hill census tract remained in the top 5.


Interactive map comparing 2000 and 2012 here.


City Conversations: What’s New for Metro Vancouver Cyclists – Aug 7

July 31, 2014

City Conversations – Style, Safety and Rive Rides, What’s New for Metro Vancouver Cyclists

Place:  1600, Harbour Centre, 515 West Hastings Street
Cost: Free
As more people and families use bicycles for everyday transportation, what new facilities does Vancouver need so that they feel safe and protected?

Erin O’Melinn, Executive Director of HUB, the region’s cycling coalition, will outline what cyclists think the needs are, and when they will happen.

Journalist and blogger Chris Bruntlett will describe cycling style, as it evolves beyond racers in lycra and wild messengers making deliveries, to business casual, fashion and fun.

Metro Vancouver has begun work on a 642-kilometer Canyon to Coast cycling and walking trail, paralleling the mighty Fraser River from Hope to Richmond and Vancouver.  Vancouver Sun reporter Kelly Sinoski recently rode the entire route, and she’ll share her pioneering experiences.

Bula on BC Transport: “How Vancouver’s traffic nightmares hurt all of B.C.”

July 31, 2014

Frances Bula examines the transportation issue with a province-wide perspective in B.C. Business: How Vancouver’s traffic nightmares hurt all of B.C.


A few excerpts:

The general subtext of the naysayers: transit in dense Vancouver is something that only a rarefied group of people use—city slickers who think they should get whisked around town on billion-dollar subway lines. It’s an indulgence for them, but we need money for roads because the real economy of the province happens on the roads, not some dinky monorail. …

… the debate makes it sound like a zero-sum game: if Vancouver wins, some other region loses. But there are plenty of people looking at the whole picture from 30,000 feet who say that a robust transit system in the Lower Mainland has benefits that extend to Chilliwack, to Hope, to Kelowna, to Fort St. John, to Kitimat.

One of the biggest reasons: Vancouver is, condos and latte joints notwithstanding, primarily a port city, with Port Metro Vancouver now the fourth-largest tonnage port in North America. The lives of port cities depend on efficient distribution inside that urban engine. And just more roads can’t produce that. At some point, cities that need to get trucks around have to find a way to get some cars off the road. …


There’s another argument for how efficient transit in the Lower Mainland benefits people in B.C.—and while it’s not as tangible as trucks, it’s even more important, argues one advocate.

“The premier keeps talking about the wonders of LNG but if you don’t have the lawyers and the accountants and the engineers and the architects in Vancouver to make that work, you won’t get anywhere,” says Michael Goldberg, professor emeritus with UBC’s Sauder School of Business. …

For him, an equal part of the wealth is the province’s human capital, much of it concentrated in its largest metropolis. And if the people in that city can’t get together easily, can’t schedule multiple meetings within a few hours, can’t teleport themselves out to the airport on rapid transit and fly into Terrace or Cranbrook for a day of consultations—then the economy slows down as inevitably as if someone poured molasses into the engine.

That’s why the rural-urban politicking over transit funding enrages him. “If we want to be congested and expensive to do business in, keep on doing what we’re doing.” …


… even that fundamental disconnect could be reduced if people actually understood who is getting what. At the moment, they don’t—allowing almost everyone to feel aggrieved, resentful and ripped off. Provincial ministers say that Vancouver shouldn’t be asking for favours from the hinterland. That, of course, puzzles those who understand how transportation is funded overall. …

Every time the question of money for transit comes up, it sets off a pitched battle over who is getting what. But there is never a clear answer because of the very mixed bag of funding regimes.


Jurisdictions dominated by cities, like California, tend to set up political fights and tax regimes that benefit cities. States and provinces that see themselves as primarily rural, like Indiana, set up barriers and fights that benefit the rural areas—as B.C. seems to be doing. And both engage in unproductive squabbles about unchangeable realities. “

Any time we spend on a province-wide argument, it is going to devolve into whether cities are a good thing,” says Jarrett Walker. “That is pointless.” …

Then again, Premier Kathleen Wynne triumphed in Ontario—new taxes, transit funding for the cities, and all. So maybe it’s possible for peace to break out in B.C., too.


Lots more worth reading in the full article here.

Quote: Ross Moore on TOD

July 31, 2014

“If you’re not developing along a transit line ( that is within your community) you’re the exception.  It’s really got to that point.”

- Ross Moore, the national head of research at the commercial realtor CB Richard Ellis.


From the Vancouver SunCascade of strip mall sales may herald next wave of densification

Paint and Imagination

July 31, 2014

Piano stairs in Valparaiso, Chile.


Piano Stairs, Valparaiso, Chile
Thanks to Peter Berkeley.

Changing Times on Jock Radio: Trevor Linden speaks out on bike lanes

July 31, 2014

Trevor Linden delivers a shock on jock radio:


Vancouver Canucks President Trevor Linden joined Matt Sekeres live in studio on Tuesday continuing with President’s week on the TEAM1040 Midday Show. 



Skip to the 12:00 mark.



SEKERES:  Noted cyclist Trevor Linden, where do you stand on bike lanes?

LINDEN: Bike lanes? Is David Pratt listening?

I have to say I think it’s great. I think our city is amazing. I was driving to work today over the Burrard Street Bridge and I couldn’t believe how many bikes were across the bridge.


Burrard cyclists 3



LINDEN: I think it’s interesting, you know, I love Europe, I love how they do things in Europe, their cycling is such a culture, and it’s one of those things: you have to build it before they will come. You can’t expect people to adopt the bike and think that’s going to happen when there’s no place for them to be. Certainly how it’s brought in may ruffle feathers but I think overall it makes our city interesting and unique. It puts us in a different place, and I think it’s fun.

I can only tell you Point Grey Road now, as you know Matt, is an absolute freeway of walkers, dog walkers, bikers, parents with their six-year-old kids riding from Jericho to Kits and it’s pretty special, it’s pretty cool. 

I think our congestion, our traffic issues aren’t about bike lanes. Lions Gate Bridge, Massey Tunnel, Ironworkers Memorial, has nothing to do with bike lanes …

When they took a lane and dedicated it to bikes I was not in favour, it was ridiculous.  But the thing you realize is that it’s not the lanes on the bridge that congest, it’s the lights on either end.

And to tell you the truth, now I can’t imagine riding my bike on the sidewalk again with people, it’s just not safe, it’s not safe for walkers, and there’s so many people now going across that bridge.


[Discussion about recent construction.]


LINDEN: It was kind of a double whammy, they had the stuff going on at the south end and then they had the bridge redecking, but it looks great now. 

SEKERES: I’m with you on bike lanes with regard to the green elements and getting people healthy and on their bikes and different modes of transportation.  I just … please tell your cyclist friends: the rules of the road apply to them as well.  A stop means stop, it doesn’t mean yield, pedal backwards for a few seconds, shoulder check.   It means wear a helmet, it means I have the right-of-way sometimes … 

LINDEN: Do you ride a bike, Matt?

SEKERES: I do sometimes but not …

LINDEN: Cruiser bike? One of my favourite things to is to ride my bike to dinner and that sort of thing, it’s fun. Walking after dinner, riding my bike, they say you can eat more if you bike.

The Daily Durning

July 30, 2014

Now that I’m featuring the items that Scot Bathgate sends in as “The Daily Scot,” it’s only fair that Tom Durning gets his own banner since Tom has been contributing great material to Price Tags for years.

Tom works with the Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre, so, in addition to a lot of fun stuff, he provides links to items like this: Generation rent is here to stay and deserves a fair deal, from The Guardian.

The annual English Housing Survey actually tells us very little we don’t already know, but the emerging headlines are still hard to swallow for most renters.

Two thirds of under 35s are currently trapped in the rental market and those in generation rent will be understandably concerned that rent takes up 40% of their incomes – double the 20% that mortgage repayments take up of owner-occupiers’ incomes – and they have nothing to call their own at the end.

 More here.


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