I was scheduled as speaker 25 on the Point Grey Road bikeway proposal, but can’t appear before Council as a delegation today.  Here are the notes for what I would have said:

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Look what is happening to Vancouver!  Look at how we, the people and visitors, are interacting with our city.
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More of us than ever are walking, cycling , running, longboarding, skating – finding ever more ways to use wheels, feet and muscles.
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We are walking longer and more often; we are not driving as much.  (That’s what the data says.)
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And the people who are doing it are more diverse in age, gender and ethnicity.
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If you want to see the Canadian way of life in Vancouver, you can see it on Seaside.
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This is a consequence of generations of leadership determining how we shape our city: No freeways, of course, but more importantly, the setting of our priorities as walking and cycling first – priorities that all councils, regardless of ideology, have taken seriously.*
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Here is a just a short list of what we have done in the last 40 years.
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Traffic calming, first in the West End in the 1970s – (and the first city in North America to do it).  Then Shaughnessy, Mount Pleasant, West End East of Denman, Grandview, and other neighbourhoods.  (See Pete McMartin’s column today.) Then extensions of the seawall and the Seaside Bikeway.   Followed by a complete bikeway network.  Followed in turn by a greenway network, both city-wide and neighbourhood.
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We’ve done additional street closures: Hornby at the north end, through Mountain View Cemetery, on Hawks, on Ontario, on 37th Avenue, on the Central Valley Greenway – east side, west side, all around the town.
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We’ve taken parking space for parkettes.  And, of course, reallocated space for separated bikeways over Burrard Bridge, the Viaduct and through downtown.
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So after almost half a century we can ask ourselves:
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Are we worse off?  Are we facing unacceptable levels of congestion as a consequence?  Has this come at a cost to our economy?
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Are we less livable?  Would we now change any of the above?
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In every case, the answer would be, I believe: no.  They were the right decisions because they made the city better.
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And yet there was resistance to these proposals – sometimes hysterical – especially because of concern over the impacts on parking and driving.
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Yet in almost every case, after a heated controversy and an initial period of adjustment, we adapted – and as a city adopted these changes as part of our lifestyle, and now our identity.
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It will be the same on Point Grey Road.  Only with this difference.  Once the parks are extended across PGR, once the stream is daylighted, once access is made easier to the small parks and viewpoints, once the connections are clear, safe and comfortable to parks and beaches from Kitsilano to Spanish Banks for citizens of all ages and abilitiies, this will be one of the joyous highlights of Vancouver, one of our great urban spaces.
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And another great legacy from one generation to the next.
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* Many voices, from the Board of Trade to local ratepayers, have insisted that Point Grey Road be part of the scenic necklace of this city.  Here are a few, as compliled from the Vancouver Archives:
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June 7th, 1968, Vancouver Board of Trade “fear has been expressed that the waterfront Scenic Drive could become an express by-pass route to the University area and all possible efforts should be made to ensure this does not happen”.

Feb. 25th, 1969, The Community Planning Association of Canada, Greater Vancouver Branch stated in a letter to city council, three basic requirements to be considered essential in the development of this area:

1. The continuing need for additional park space, beach and recreational areas in the City.

2. Preservation of the natural features and amenities unique to the area.

3. Separation of automobile traffic from pedestrian orientated recreational space.

Ultimately their review stated, “that any improvements to Point Grey Road should be designed mainly to provide for scenic drive, complimenting park and waterfront development in the area.”
                                      Executive Director – A.H. Kennedy

Feb. 25th, 1969, Community Arts Council, letter to council,:

The solution to any traffic problems that may exist in relation to the University lies in the development of Fourth Avenue and other street to the south of it, and not in developing either Point Grey Road or a new waterfront road.

We quote from our earlier submission on June 11th, 1968 – “We fear there is an over-emphasis on transportation where transportation is not the issue, and an under-emphasis on the amenity aspects, where the whole purpose is to provide an amenity.”

                                                President Francis Low-Beer

Lower Kitsilano Ratepayers Association, Oct. 29, 1968 – “Steps should be taken to ensure that Pt. Grey Road does not become a speedway”

Richard Neutra, one of the foremost and respected leaders in city planning insists that design in our cities in synonymous with survival.  The task of the designer and indeed all of those concerned with the implementation of these designs must first be in terms of the valid requirements for the human organism.  The requirements that are valid are those that must be judged from the physiological and organic needs of the individual rather than the commercial and economic interests.  Our first commitment must be to the true needs of human beings rather than the superimposed needs that the man-made environment places upon those human beings.

In this connection human beings need places where they can be fully human and the beaches and parks that border our city provide for this.  Furthermore, they need places where they can have some peace of mind away from the endless noise and confusion of the city and its highways and at the same time opportunities for some communication – some immediate sensory contact – with the natural elements of the sea, sand, rock, trees and grass.  It is precisely this opportunity that the stretch of land between “Macdonald & Alma” provides.

Within the city, the requirements of roads and highways for cars to travel upon must not overwhelm or outweigh the needs of people for places to walk or ride.

We need to create roadways that pass between neighborhoods rather than through them.  The Macdonald to Alma road should be made safe for the walking and cycling public and the tranquil beach views that must not be sealed in concrete and destroyed by the stench and noise of speeding cars.  The people that use these areas are entitled to access to the beach and parks without crossing so-called scenic drives that have become congested traffic barriers in front of parks and beach access.  In this respect a better plan would be the syphoning of traffic off to East/West Arterials on 4th, Broadway, 10th, 12th, 16th or King Edward.

At a time when large metropolis’s like Los Angeles (and now Seattle) having discovered the mistake of encasing their foreshores in concrete and are desperately trying to reclaim them by breaking up the roads and moving them back, so they can free up their foreshore areas for the use of people.  We in Vancouver are on the threshold of making exactly those same mistakes.

With good design Vancouver can continue to remain a city that fulfills the human and organic needs of the people that inhabit it. Let us make Vancouver a city in which people can survive because there are beaches and parks to walk on as well as roads to ride and that these are sufficiently separated that the individual can still find a privacy and peace of mind so essential to his or her physical and sensory well being.

Federation of Canadian Artists – Feb. 25th, 1969

If Pt. Grey Road continues as a thoroughfare then Vancouver will have lost safe access to another of its natural setting and its citizens one of the few remaining areas where they can escape from the relentless tempo of the city.