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Changecamp: Reinventing Civic Governance – Oct 25

October 24, 2014
Last minute tickets are still available.
Citizens are gathering to share ideas and prototype change, starting with ourselves. We create connections, knowledge and tools that drive transparency, civic engagement and democratic empowerment, bringing citizens and government closer together.

Join diverse and engaged changemakers from various sectors for a fast-paced participant driven event.

NPA Platform: Questions for Kirk – 2 (on counterflow lanes)

October 24, 2014

From CBC News:

In a statement announcing his party’s traffic platform for the November civic election Tuesday, LaPointe promised to “ease our city’s gridlock and get back to allowing different types of transit to co-exist peacefully rather than be at war with each other.”

To do that an NPA government will introduce counterflow lanes (like those on the Lions Gate Bridge) for major arterial routes; build an “affordable”  Broadway subway; increase capacity immediately on the 99 B-line bus route; and promote safe bikeways “that have community backing”.


1997 plan 1


In the 1997 Vancouver Transportation Plan passed by the NPA Council of the day, the first key strategy was this:

1997 plan 2

“so as not to increase road capacity …”

Further on:

1997 plan


(1) Given that the increase in one-way flows can be about a thousand vehicles per hour per lane, how could counterflow lanes not be considered an increase in capacity?

Are the 1997 transportation policies no longer those of the NPA?


(2) Will the counterflow lanes facilitate the movement of suburban traffic through the city and into the central core, reversing the downward drop in volume of traffic into the city overall and, in particular, onto the Downtown Peninsula, which now has volumes equivalent to about 1965?




 (3) How will the downtown core be expected to accommodate this increase on non-counterflow streets?


(4) Will priority lanes connect with the strategic investments of the Province – namely on 1st Avenue connecting to an expanded Highway 1, and on Oak Street connecting to an expanded Highway 99 and the Massey Bridge?


(5) Will the neighbourhoods through which the increased volumes move be asked for their “community backing,”  similar to the expectation for new bike lanes?


If Prior Street is chosen for a contraflow lane, it will presumably have a capacity of three lanes in one direction at peak.



(6) Does it then make sense for the Dunsmuir bike lane to be removed in order to allow for a continuation of a three-lane flow …



… in order to avoid a break to the three-lane capacity on Dunsmuir Street:

Dunsmuir Street


(7)  What are the implications for the removal of the viaducts, given that this action is likely dependent on a reduction of traffic volumes currently using them?   Is removal now off the table?


(8) Given the complexity and expense of counterflow lanes in situations with cross traffic, left-hand turns and street parking, do you have an example or model of a city where counterflow lanes not on freeways, through tunnels or on limited access roads with few or no left turns (like Georgia) have worked?





PT welcomes responses from the candidates.   To the above, here is a response from NPA councillor candidate Rob McDowell (following a conversation I had with him):

Kirk wanted me to assure you fully that there will be no change to the Transportation Plan under his watch and that the NPA remains FULLY committed to that policy.

The initiative announced Tuesday was a policy to study how we can use the existing network more efficiently. No one appreciates sitting on a bus tied up in congestion, and costs relate to goods movement are also impacted by delays.

We can use our existing infrastructure more efficiently for ALL modes of transportation. However, it is key that this would be approached with the goal to reduce our collective carbon footprint. .


Questions for …?

This series is open to PT readers who would like to submit questions to candidates about their platforms. (Send to pricetags at shaw dot ca).

A Change of Scale 3 – In North Vancouver

October 24, 2014

From The Daily Scot:

A stroll around the North Vancouver District portion of Marine Drive last month reveals a rapid transformation from arterial to mid-rise mixed use corridor with a flurry of infill construction.



It’s rumored that District of North Vancouver’s goal is to turn Marine Drive into West 4th in Kits.  The scale and proportion of the buildings and the variety of materials used – brick, wood, metal – go a long way to adding interest and creating a human scale environment that trumps the massive block sizes of concrete and glass of some tower projects.



Ohrn Words: ICBC U and driverless cars

October 24, 2014

Lee Gomes writes at about driverless cars, which are occasionally touted as a panacea for traffic congestion and the appalling death and injury toll on our roads. Not so fast, he says. Expect less autonomy, and longer time to achieve even that.

Google carHe describes Google’s current state of the art, and notes that their driverless cars depend completely upon detailed route maps that are orders of magnitude more complex and expensive to create than, say, Google maps. Likewise, car sensors, he says, cannot adequately recognise and react to changes in the car’s mapped environment. He uses the example of a newly installed traffic light, such as at a construction zone.  There are other weaknesses, like parking.

But the one that interests me most is the car’s computers’ inability to have and use “everyday common sense”, a.k.a. “generalized intelligence”, which most human drivers have, and which allows them to make rapid decisions when faced with the unexpected. For humans, this consists of rules of thumb, scenarios, behaviour patterns, and other things acquired by experience, observation and the “school of hard knocks”, also known as ICBC U.

West End Traffic

October 24, 2014


The Daily Scot: “Younger adults opting to rent”

October 23, 2014

Scot can relate.

From Yahoo Finance:

Since 2008, the year Lehman Brothers collapsed and home prices dropped precipitously, there has been a steady increase in the number of people ages 18 to 34 renting instead of buying homes. About 875,000 more households are now made up of young adult renters than would have existed if the 2008-era trend had held steady, according to an analysis of census data by Jed Kolko, chief economist at Trulia, a real estate marketing website.

Moreover, as the economy slowly improves and job growth picks up steam, the millions of 20- and 30-somethings who shared living quarters with friends or nestled in their parents’ basements to ride out the economic shock waves from the Great Recession are beginning to branch out on their own. But they are still largely shut out of the mortgage market.

“They’re not going to go from living with their parents to buying a home,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, speaking at a housing conference in Washington. “They’re going to rent an apartment.”


Click to enlarge.

Passerelle of the Future – 2: 11th Street Bridge

October 23, 2014

In September, PT posted the 11th Street Bridge competition in Washington, DC here.

And now the winners:

Landscape architecture firm OLIN and architecture firm OMA were announced as the winners of a national design competition to create a 900-foot-long bridge park spanning the Anacostia River in Washington, D.C.



More here, plus video, in the Washington Post.

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