Why isn’t there a bike culture in Palm Springs?

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After joining the snowbirds in Palm Springs, CA, I get it: the weather is perfect; and even though it’s like visiting the suburbs for a vacation, that mid-century modernism was the height of the California Dream.  Sitting on the patio next to a kidney-shaped swimming pool on a warm starlit evening in November certainly has its charms.

What I don’t get is the absence of bikes just to get around.

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The place is flat, the weather is ideal for much of the year, most trips are under 10 K, and there’s lots of room to lay out the infrastructure.

And yet I saw more bikes on the Canada Line car coming in from YVR than I did on their Class 1 cycling trail (above).

ps-3‘Old’ Palm Springs is one of about a dozen communities that make up the urban region of the Coachella Valley. It’s only about 50,000 residents on a 6×10-km grid of arterial roads, each typically six lanes wide, that make access to everywhere so easy.  In between are the classic subdivisions of one-storey homes straight out of Sunset Magazine – celebrated every year during Modernism Week.

Of course Palm Springs was laid out for the car, the roads are wide, there’s seemingly an utter lack of congestion, parking is everywhere and it’s free – so why wouldn’t everyone drive?  So they do.

dsc04427But it is also an outdoorsy community, attracting active retirees, gay and straight, who come for a more laid-back lifestyle. One would think cycling had particular appeal for the knee-challenged – and, indeed, there are plenty of MAMIL sightings and pelatons of the grey-haired and lycra-clad on their carbon-fibre steeds.   Just not a lot of them in the grocery-store parking lots or on racks out front of gyms.

Bike share?  Forget it.

It’s not like they don’t have good intentions.  There is of course an advisory group, a plan, and good expectations:

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But apparently that’s not enough.  Something is missing – and my bet is that it’s culture. Here’s a place that has all the advantages and reasons to cycle, and yet they don’t.  We northern people, on the other hand, here and in Europe, have a lot of seeming disadvantages, and yet we do.

Maybe there’s more to it.  Think I’ll go back to do more research.

See you in a week.

A TSP in Finland

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By Gord Price

I’ve been suggesting for a while that the next big stage in transportation will be the emergence of the Transportation Service Provider – a single contractual agency, private and/or public, that will provide the user with a suite of integrated transportation options, plus the information needed to access them all, for a single fee.

Peter Ladner is also intrigued with the idea, and passed this along: “the world’s first and only monthly mobility service”- 249 Euros a month that buys unlimited car rental, taxi and transit rides.

Helsinki takes another pioneering step in mobility services: HRT public transport added to the Whim mobility app

November 15th became a landmark in the history of urban mobility when Helsinki Regional Transport (HRT) board approved terms for offering public transport as part of MaaS (Mobility as a Service) services. The newly established contract terms make HRT the world’s first capital region transport provider to offer MaaS services to its customers.  …

The CEO and Founder of MaaS Global, Sampo Hietanen, is known internationally as the father of the entire MaaS concept. The core idea of the concept is that one convenient service fulfills all our daily mobility needs.

“We want to realise people’s dreams of true freedom of mobility,” Hietanen says. “Our shared goal is to offer a viable alternative to today’s car owners, which enables them to combine public transport and a car as needed.”

MaaS Global and Whim have been the object of growing international attention. As well as being recently featured in media like The Economist and New York Times, they have received Smart City awards in both Finland and Sweden. Whim is the world’s first and only monthly mobility service of its kind.

And here’s a story on a related app:

Finland’s capital, Helsinki, is about to launch a program that could virtually eliminate car ownership and give its residents the ability to plot an on-demand commute from their phones.

It’s mostly the vision of Sonja Heikkilä, a 24-year-old Helsinki transportation engineer.

Her idea was to create a real-time marketplace for customers to choose among transport providers and piece together the fastest or cheapest way of getting where they need to go. The providers’ services would be distilled into an app through which a customer could plan a route.

Here’s what the Kutsuplus app looks like:

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Item from Ian: Challenging Opposition to Housing in California

Ian: Good paper from California with big parallels here.

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In the intense public debate over how to make housing affordable, the role of new supply is a key point of contention despite evidence demonstrating that supply constraints—low-density zoning chief among them—are a core cause of increasing housing costs.

Many California residents resist new housing development, especially in their own neighborhoods. This white paper provides background on this opposition and a set of policy recommendations for the state government to address it.

  • I first describe how limiting new construction makes all housing less affordable, exacerbates spatial inequalities, and harms the state’s economic productivity and environment.
  • I then discuss the motivations for opposing more intensive land use, and clarify the way the role of new housing supply in shaping rents is misunderstood in public debates.
  • I also list the various tactics used to block housing projects, demonstrating just how many veto points present in our current system.
  • I conclude with several proposals for reform that have potential to reduce the power of local opposition to new housing construction.

The state should take action by enforcing and enhancing existing laws, pushing local planning agencies to represent more people more equally, providing information for public discussion, and developing ways to make planning decisions at a metropolitan, not neighborhood scale.

Kickstart: Urban Renewal Redux

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From The Upshot in the NY Times:

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Two weeks before the election, Donald J. Trump delivered a speech in Charlotte, N.C., sketching his “New Deal for Black America.” It was a set of ideas promising greater school choice, safer communities, lower taxes and better infrastructure.

The four-page outline posted to his campaign website that summarizes it — a document subtitled “A Plan for Urban Renewal” — is today the closest thing the president-elect has to a proposal for America’s cities. …

The term “urban renewal” dates to the Housing Act of 1954; its 1949 predecessor called the same policy “urban redevelopment.” Under these laws, the federal government gave cities the power and money to condemn “slum” neighborhoods, clear them through eminent domain, then turn over the land to private developers at cheap rates for projects that included higher-end housing, hospitals, hotels, shopping centers and college expansions.

After the 1956 Highway Act, the same process displaced communities to make way for the construction of urban thruways.

Urban renewal was meant to wipe clean poor, deteriorating neighborhoods, while boosting tax coffers, stimulating private investment and luring middle-class residents and shoppers back into the city. It was one-half of what Ms. Pattillo calls the federal government’s schizophrenic policy at the time: As the government was incentivizing middle-class whites to move to the suburbs, it also invested heavily in trying to rebuild central cities to draw them back in.

A view of part of West Side Urban Renewal in Manhattan in 1980. Credit Fred Conrad/The New York Times

It was billed as progress. “A lot of the emphasis in urban renewal was on the ‘new’ part of renewal — that this was a way of moving forward,” said Lawrence Vale, a professor of urban design and planning at M.I.T.

But that progress came at the expense of communities as they were bulldozed. Ultimately, those middle-class families and shoppers did not move back in — at least not for many decades. The entire program, the sociologist Herbert Gans wrote in 1965, was “a method for eliminating the slums in order to ‘renew’ the city, rather than a program for properly rehousing slum-dwellers.”

Urban renewal was fundamentally about places, not people — and the people in the way of redeveloping those places were often scattered to other slums or housing they could not afford. Seldom were they welcomed back to what was built in place of their homes. …

During that era, four units of low-income housing were destroyed for every one new unit that was built. And more than two-thirds of the displaced were black or Hispanic, a pattern that was clear by 1963 when the author James Baldwin observed that urban renewal “means Negro removal.” …

This era of federal urban renewal ran through the early 1970s, after which a series of other redevelopment ideas followed: Community Development Block Grants, “enterprise zones,” “promise neighborhoods.”

What has lingered since then is abiding suspicion — regardless of the name of the program — of public and private-developer intentions in lower-income, minority communities.

In Toronto-22 pedestrians hit by vehicles yesterday

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With the Toronto Police spokesperson saying they have no idea why it is happening,  at least  22 pedestrians were struck in Toronto on Tuesday, including a “collision in North York that left one woman dead.

In addressing yesterday’s road carnage, the police spokesman stated “This is the biggest round of pedestrians being struck that I’ve come across. I have no idea why it’s happening. It could be the weather, the darkness … anything.”

As reported in the Toronto Star 16 of the accidents were between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. The weather was reported as a “crappy and wet night”. And that number of 22 pedestrians is thought to be a low estimate for the number of people struck.  Thirty-five  pedestrians and one cyclist has been killed by vehicles on Toronto streets by October 30th. Several fatalities happened when vehicles went up on the sidewalk. In response to the carnage, families that have lost loved ones have formed Friends and Families  for Safe Streets to address the road violence that has become part of the driving culture in Toronto. That group has had enough, and they are speaking up about the atrocious inequality-the car driver that hits a pedestrian or cyclist is not penalized by stigma, death or injury. The families demonstrate holding photos of their loved ones. They want to change the paradigm that accepts that vehicles will kill and maim.

It is clear that road violence against pedestrians and cyclists comes from four main factors: visibility, driver behaviour, speed, and road design. Those are the indicators. Toronto has a “Vision Zero” Traffic Safety plan to reduce this awful waste of human lives, but they are looking at a Mr. Milk Toast  target of a 20 per cent reduction of fatalities and serious injury by 2026. Toronto City Hall needs to talk about the other 400 people who will be killed and the thousands injured  by cars on Toronto streets in that time.

They also need to understand that Vision Zero as developed in Sweden since 1997 means Zero deaths, not a percentage. The crux of Vision Zero is that health and a life cannot be exchanged for any other benefit in society, and should not be a comparison of costs and benefits for road network insurance purposes. A life is a life, and should be protected.

Twenty-two  vulnerable pedestrians crashed by cars in one day?  Not acceptable.

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BIXI Review

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Bike-share pops up in another Price Tags post.  I like to see where other city’s systems are going, since bike rides have 10% mode share in Vancouver for trips to and from work. And bike-share is a cheap and easy way for people to introduce themselves to regular bike riding, which could easily lead to ongoing mode-share increases.

BIXI in Montreal has published 2016 results, now that their bikes are bedded down for the season in that wintery city.  More detail HERE for those who read French. Look what’s happened to utilization in 7 years. 

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With thanks to the Montreal Gazette

Plenty of indications that “Mobi by Shaw Go” (a.k.a. “Mobi”) is an early success here. After 7 years, and with a much larger system in a much larger coverage area, BIXI is getting around 3.7 rides per bike per day, but started with around 1.1 per day in the first year.  Mobi is at around 2 rides per day with much less coverage, and only 4 months into it’s operation.

Plenty of thoughts here, too, about marketing gimmicks and incentives, particularly around payment options. C’mon Compass.

BIXI IN NUMBERS, AS OF NOVEMBER 15, 2016

  • Coverage: 460 stations / 9,670 docking points / 95km2  covered / 11 boroughs and 2 cities (Longueuil and Westmount)
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Number of bikes: 5,200
  • Days in operation: 214
  • Trips taken: 4.1 million
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Average number of trips taken per day: 19,069
  • 70% of trips are to and from work
  • Average bike usage time: 15 minutes
  • The busiest station: Maisonneuve/Bleury with 87,122 transactions
  • BIXI Manulife Valets: more than 44,000 bikes handled at permanent and temporary event stations
  • Overview of the six Free BIXI Sundays offered by Manulife (themed events taking place the last Sunday of each month): more than 134,000 trips taken equaling around 400,000 km covered.

The Greatest Security Threat – 2

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From a comment on a column by Roger Cohen in the New York Times:

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I will keep raising this issue until it is addressed. What happens when some crazy nut job attacks a Trump property, somewhere in the world? Who is on the hook to secure those properties? The Trump Organization? How will they afford such security measures?

img_6329-largeWill the tax payers subsidize Mr. Trump’s risks, again? Will the nations where the “brand” appears be called upon to provide security, and to what cost to American interests and diplomacy? Or will American forces and treasure be called upon to protect Trump’s assets? What will the self-professed “counter-puncher” do when some psychopath jihadi attacks his global properties?

He is the most vulnerable President in American history. Will foreign nations twist his arm, holding the security of his buildings and golf courses over his head? Will this man-child commit our children to a war over a tantrum or a golf course? This is the most frightening and sobering question surrounding Trump’s many many conflicts of interest.

A group of ill-informed suckers elected a fool. I am a Veteran. When recalled for Desert Storm, I dropped out of college and returned to service. I offer that fact as a qualification to my concerns.

I make this promise, right here and now, that my children will not fight to protect the mark of Trump.

Rezoning Single-Family in Portland

They’re tackling the tough one: Council to consider rezoning for higher density housing 

The City Council will debate how much of Portland’s existing single-family neighborhoods to rezone for higher densities on Wednesday.

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That is when the council is scheduled to consider the recommendations prepared by the staff on the Residential Infill Project for the final time this year. The most controversial one would rezone nearly two-thirds of single-family neighborhoods to allow the construction of so-called missing middle housing, ranging from duplexes and cottage clusters

Many city residents are split over how much rezoning is necessary to create more housing options and accommodate the 123,000 new households expected here by 2035.

More here.

Daily Scot: Tolls in Ontario

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As predicted, it’s senior government politicians, particularly those representing the far suburbs, that try to derail proposals for tolls in the central city.  Scot found this in the Toronto Star: 

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Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown wants Premier Kathleen Wynne to put up a roadblock on Mayor John Tory’s plan to toll the Don Valley Parkway and the Gardiner Expressway. …

Brown, who will introduce a motion in the Legislature on Thursday to derail Tory’s scheme, said a Conservative government would make up for the lost toll revenue by managing infrastructure dollars better.

Tory, who led the Conservatives between 2004 and 2009, was not amused by his successor’s announcement.

“If Patrick Brown is trying to score cheap political points in the 905, maybe he should have championed a plan to fix people’s commutes into Toronto,” Amanda Galbraith, Tory’s director of communications, said in an email.

“Now, he needs to explain to Toronto residents why he’s happy to let them live in a city that can’t afford to fight traffic or build transit,” said Galbraith.

Strong Towns and Why a Road Should be a Street

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It is coming up to the end of the year and time to seriously think about who will be getting the “Gordies” for the best urban Vancouver news story, the most disastrous, and of course the most odd. Meanwhile the very good folks at Strong Towns  have been doing some thoughtful thinking too about how to create better roads and streets. And they have come up with some direct principles and some pointed facts.

Quoting Chuck Marohn: “Most cities right now just give their street design work to their city engineer or (worse) public works office and let them run with it. You get the engineering value system; it’s built in, despite being contrary to the community’s values. Then there is all this tension when the design is despotic or expensive. Public hearing processes have been set up to (superficially) diffuse the tension, but it doesn’t get at the core problem: we should not start street design with the values of the engineering profession”.

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My recommendation on street design is to delegate it to the member of your staff, or the department, that is best at working with people. Let them work with everyone on the street to identify common values and objectives, as well as constraints and concerns, and then come up with a conceptual design. Only then bring in the engineer and only to work out the technical details (eg. pavement thickness). Street must be designed by everyone.  “

By involving people from different disciplines to work with the engineers who are building a street to be-well, as street, get someone else that is great at public process and building the thematic purpose and programming that will be occurring on a street. It was the concept that was used by the City of Vancouver in instigating greenways, which was a multidisciplinary team that looked at how to advance the practice of bio swales and ecological demonstration projects, traffic calming, and championing walking/ biking for over one hundred kilometers  within the city owned portion of the streets, parks and public spaces.

Chuck Marohn’s principles are as follows:

1.Roads connect productive places, streets are “platforms for building wealth. On a street, we’re attempting to grow the complex ecosystem that produces community wealth. In these environments, people (outside of their automobile) are the indicator species of success”.

2.Streets that produce wealth are complex and organic, and the property use around them is not static.The property use also will dictate the width of the street and how the street is used by all road users.

3. If people are the indicator species of success, design the street so it is leafy and beautiful and people choose to recreate and hang out on it.

4. Streets are not car serving roads-they are a collective endeavour  that incorporate “the people who live on it, those who own property on it, those who traverse it as well as the myriad of professionals who have expertise they can lend to the discussion”.

In short, Strong Towns is asking us to think of roads as organic places that are activated by the community and by the land use surrounding it, responsive and dynamic, ensuring that they are people friendly and constantly updated to reflect property owners’ needs. “When you are trying to build a street — when you are trying to make your city wealthier and more prosperous — make your engineer one small voice in a larger chorus of people whose words and, especially, whose actions dictate what your design should be”.  It’s a  paradigm for a new way of looking at streets as if they truly did belong to all users in a community.

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B.C.’s Climate Plan-What Climate Plan?

 

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It’s had the feel of a strange year. A good point was at the C40 meeting in Mexico City, where four major world  cities affirmed that they would ban diesel engines in their boundaries. A low point was in Canada where we have experienced one of the warmest summers in history. And satellite photography reaffirms that the polar ice is melting at a much faster rate than expected.

In the face of that kind of evidence, our Provincial approach to climate change and to adapting to 21st century concerns about the environment appear to be at odds.In Metro Vancouver the Port is  discussing adding a new terminal on the sensitive migratory flyway habitat, one of the few in the world.  There is also a curiously jumbo retail megamall destination built on class one farmland on the delta river floodplain. And we are going for the triple play with the building of a ten lane bridge replacing the Massey tunnel on the same arable soils, ostensibly to reduce idling and maybe to let larger vessels go up the Fraser River.

Ian Bailey writing in the Globe and Mail reports on a study for the Pembina Institute, Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions and Clean Energy Canada that  puts British Columbia in the “fail” category:  “The analysis of British Columbia’s recently released Climate Leadership Plan says carbon pollution from natural gas, industry and utilities, transport and buildings will hit 66 megatonnes in 2050, far more than the province’s legislated target of 12.6 megatonnes. The assessment, conducted by energy and environment consultants at Navius Research, said growing carbon pollution from the liquefied natural gas sector – assuming it comes online – and upstream shale-gas operations will constitute the largest contributor to the size of the gap with carbon pollution from LNG and natural gas doubling by 2025″.

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That means that the current Provincial government will not make its goal of reducing emissions by 33% below 2007 levels by 2020. The local associate director of the Pembina Institute stated The province is increasingly trumpeting its climate leadership but we’re not on track, and we’re going in the wrong direction from a climate and carbon pollution perspective.”

The Province’s response has been surprising, including statements that the Province has the lowest greenhouse gas emissions,and that there will be no carbon tax increase until the other provinces do it as well.

Somehow we have singlemindly looked at industry and  shipping  driving the economy, and forgotten that the service industry is becoming a larger component. For some reason the Province’s thinking is 20th century industry based, and  not responsive to climate change indicators or the need for flexibility and  adaptability as shown in Alberta. With five months left to a Provincial election, innovative thinking and ownership is needed. Our future may depend on it.

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Kickstart – The Next Wave

From the New York Times: Both Feeling Threatened, American Muslims and Jews Join Hands

The appointment of General Flynn (as national security adviser) prompted the usually stoic Ms. Firdaus (a Muslim who has lived in the United States for 42 years) to rethink her situation. She abandoned the plan to buy a vacation home in Tampa, or anywhere in the United States, at least for now. Instead, she and her family will spend Christmas vacation in Toronto, where they intend to open a bank account and look for a condominium to buy — just in case they have to flee

North Van City Waterfront: Persistence Pays

It’s taken a long time for the pieces to come together.

The City of North Vancouver has been working on the transformation of the Lower Lonsdale properties at the waterfront for … well, it seems like decades.  After all, Lonsdale Quay and the Seabus Terminal opened in the late 1970s – but the lands to the east retained their industrial purpose, with little change to the property at the very foot of Lonsdale.  There was no there there.

Now, with the development of the Versatile lands and the arrival of the Polygon Gallery, it’s coming together.  Here’s the latest:

The City of North Vancouver has received a $400,000 donation towards its revitalization of the waterfront. Donated by Richardson International through the Richardson Foundation, the funds will be used to deliver a unique water feature at the Foot of Lonsdale that will be a one of a kind, playful and vibrant gathering place for people of all ages and abilities to enjoy one of the most spectacular locations on the waterfront.

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The City recently celebrated the completion of its popular 48m long Megabench, the first of many dynamic public spaces coming to the Foot of Lonsdale and is the City’s newest landmark.

Overall completion of the area is planned for Fall 2017, delivering a City waterfront that will be a regional attraction and year-round destination. For more information about the City’s waterfront, visit here.

 

I see they’re calling the area the Foot of Lonsdale.  FoLo?

 

SF Diary

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Dianna reports:

BART Communications Department Manager Alicia Trost: “My department is working on a campaign that we can deploy with a message about how threats will not be tolerated and we are a community of riders and we celebrate diversity. We are still putting this together.”

Yeah, yeah, yeah. In the meantime … these outlaw posters appeared.

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Kickstart – Evergreen Impressions

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By Gord Price

What makes me take the Evergreen Line?

Beer.
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There is a cluster of breweries and craft pubs within a kilometre of the Moody Centre station on the Evergreen Extension, including the Parkside – enough motivation to take the trains out to a corner of the region.

Yes, trains.  Inspiration struck on Saturday afternoon at Granville Island, and so I took a Mobi to Olympic Village station on the Canada Line, travelling to Waterfront to transfer to the Expo Line, and again at Commercial to the Millennium.  From there, an uninterrupted ride to Port Moody.

Altogether, just over an hour – short enough for a long distance, and not something I would have done without a car before the opening of Evergreen.

In a way, it felt like the line had always been there, despite the 30 years it took to get the provincial commitment.  And that’s in part because it seems very much like the Canada Line North.

You go through a long dark tunnel and come out at a geographically distinct part of the region – this time with mountains. There’s a stretch of industrial lands and automotive landscapes, with the memory of another era along the local highway.  Then the green glass skyline of contemporary Vancouver – and another ethnoburb clustered around a decades-old shopping mall at Coquitlam Centre (Koreans more than Chinese).

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The stations too are indistinguishable from the Canada Line.

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Everything was familiar, from Compass card to passenger interaction.  The trains were crowded on a Saturday afternoon, in part I’m sure from people like me checking it out – but mainly, I think, because Vancouverites are already conditioned and comfortable with taking transit.

There’s no doubt the Evergreen Line will be a success; it’s not even a matter of speculation.  I’d say the line will reach its 70,000 passenger count well before 2021.

We just have to provide the supply to meet demand.

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Diesel becomes a Dinosaur in Four Cities

 

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The C40 Mayors Summit has just finished in Mexico City and incoming Chair of the C40, Mayor of Paris Anne Hildalgo has announced a remarkable policy-four world cities, all known for their sometimes questionable air quality have committed to banning  all diesel vehicles in their municipalities by 2025. Following Tokyo’s lead the mayors of Paris, Mexico City, Madrid and Athens stated that they would promote walking and biking, and incentivize the use of  other technologies in vehicles.

In Europe where gasoline is expensive, diesel can be a more cost-effective alternative for running vehicles. But with the World Health Organization attributing three million deaths a year to outdoor pollution exposure,  diesel engines have been pinpointed as a particular problem.

As the BBC notes: “Diesel engines contribute to the problem in two key ways – through the production of particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen oxides (NOx). Very fine soot PM can penetrate the lungs and can contribute to cardiovascular illness and death. Nitrogen oxides can help form ground level ozone and this can exacerbate breathing difficulties, even for people without a history of respiratory problems”.

These types of changes will mean that car makers will need to adapt to new regulations, and look for alternative ways to power vehicles. The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan is considering expanding an innovative Ultra-Low Emission Zone in London’s centre. And the Mayor of Mexico City states:: It is no secret that in Mexico City, we grapple with the twin problems of air pollution and traffic”.

The banning of diesel vehicles and the promotion of active transportation and connected transit routes promises to rewrite what a legible city looks and feels like. Paris has already undertaken a regulatory ban on vehicles registered before 1997 from even entering the city,  and has embraced the closing of the Champs-Elysee to vehicular traffic one day a month.  Price Tags has also written about  a three kilometer section of the right bank of the Seine, once a throughway for motor cars becoming a walkers’ paradise, despite the fury of commuting traffic.

Eliminating diesel engine use is a direct approach to addressing the health of the city. Will Metro Vancouver follow?

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Muji, Mall Space and Retailing in Vancouver

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It’s no surprise that retailing in Vancouver is a treasure trove for business owners, and attracts a wide cross market of shoppers from various backgrounds and ages. As Chuck Chiang reports in The Province “Vancouver’s retail market, driven by wealthy locals, tourists taking advantage of the devalued Canadian dollar, and new immigrants, currently ranks as Canada’s top location in terms of annual sales-per-square-foot at more than $1,000. Toronto sits second at around $860.”

“Vancouver is a very young retail market and many brands have not yet opened street stores,” said Mario Negris, executive vice president of CBRE’s (Coldwell Banker Richard Ellis)  retail group in Vancouver. “We anticipate a vast number of new entrants into the downtown retail landscape. … In the mid-market, we anticipate a revitalization on streets such as Robson and Granville as larger international users solidify locations in the market.”

Although we have the consumers, many stores breaking into the Canadian market do not look first to downtown Vancouver. The reason? A lack of leasable storefronts, and wait for it-malls.  “According to recent data from the Centre for the Study of Commercial Activity at Ryerson University, Vancouver’s per-capita mall space (at 11.4 square feet for every person living in the region) falls far behind the same figure for not only Toronto (at 16.4), but also Alberta (15.2 for Calgary, 16.2 for Edmonton)”.

I would argue that with the Vancouver climate, the high modal split to active transportation and transit, that Vancouver is not your typical “mall town”. You’ve got Pacific Centre and Oakridge Mall-and a lot of great retailing storefronts in several commercial areas, that fits into the locals’ ideal of a stroll and a shop at grade on walkable streets.

With predictions that Vancouver’s retail sector will lead the way in sales in Canada,  Muji, a Japanese clothing and accessories store is looking for a downtown location. You may have visited their locations in Toronto, Japan or in Europe. They are well designed and  well-organized. While Vancouver is the home of the  Asian cuisine inspired  T & T Supermarkets that opened their first store in 1993, and has several Goldilocks Bakery locations which specialize in Filipino delicacies, we have yet to attract well-known large Asian retailers which will have instant recognition and bring more diversity to the Vancouver retailing market. Will these new brands reboot retail redevelopment in downtown Vancouver?

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