On Union St. yesterday afternoon.
Granville Island (GI) has been a wonderful place for locals and visitors alike since the 1970’s, when it was resurrected from a solely industrial place into a mostly people place. The time has come for another resurrection that goes way beyond a lick of paint and new lights.
Granville Island 2040 (big PDF), commissioned by the powers that rule GI (CMHC), looks broadly at GI’s present and way off into its future. Some guy called Gordon Price is on the Advisory Board that guided this report’s creation.
I count 9 separate consultation initiatives, reaching around 10,000 people by a variety of means, and with varying degrees of intensity.
The big ideas:
- Improve Access: elevator to Granville Bridge, Alder Bay ped and bike bridge, Arbutus Greenway connection, streetcar, more ferry access, Anderson St. complete street
- Expand the Public Market & create a market district
- Embrace arts and innovation
- Restore and sustain the public realm — central plaza, east end public space, floating platforms.
And the big challenges currently facing GI:
- Demographic Change — GI is near the centre of Vancouver population growth, creating an opportunity to become a central focus for people if the right things are done right
- Economic change — support the shift to tech, knowledge and creative economy
- Climate change — vulnerability and mitigation.
For me, though, the most serious of these challenges is this one (below), which also carries the opportunity for the greatest improvement in peoples’ experience at GI.
Challenge: Traffic Congestion & Parking
Quote from Granville Island 2040:
The most serious of these challenges is the combination of the dominance of the private automobile as a mode of access to the Island, along with the traffic congestion and demand for parking that has accompanied the Island’s popularity.
The single largest use on the Island is now vehicular circulation and parking, which occupies over a quarter of current land use. These pressures threaten the freedom of movement across the entire public realm and the pedestrian-friendly character of the Island, and risk the further erosion of public space.
The extent of the transportation challenge is evident in public opinion, which is more or less equally divided between those who want to decrease or eliminate private automobile access and those who call for an increase in parking to facilitate their personal access to the Island. Despite the latter resistance, it is not possible to address the challenge of climate change or create new opportunities that respond to changing generational, cultural and economic interests without the reduction of automobile traffic and parking.
The questions facing Granville Island 2040 are, therefore:
- How much and how fast can parking be reduced?
- How best can the minimal necessary traffic and parking be managed?
- What are the alternative modes of access to the Island which will substitute for private motor vehicles?
Crews near completion on the western end of the new and vastly improved Point Grey Road (at Alma). It becomes clearer each visit what the final result will be. And to think, just a few years ago, this was a noisy, dangerous quasi-arterial for 8,000 – 10,000 commuter motor vehicles per day.
- Friday June 2
- 4 pm
- Creekside Park
- Part of BtWW’s wrap-up BBQ
- Register at ModacityLife.com by May 31 (midnight)
Click photo to enlarge.
If you’re unsure about just what a cargo bike is, here’s a great chance to see a bunch (well over 30 expected entrants) up close and in furious but friendly head-to-head action, lugging stuff over a closed course. Ice cream and prizes, too.
Vancouver’s Official City Bird is Anna’s Hummingbird. With 3,450 out of 8,259 votes (42%), Anna’s Hummingbird flew past the Northern Flicker, Varied Thrush and Spotted Towhee.
Although this seems lighthearted (and it is) birds are an indicator species for the health of the city, and play many roles: pollinators, seed distributors and insect eaters.
Vancouver is among birders’ favourite destinations, bringing tourism business. Around 370 species having been recorded in Greater Vancouver. Notable, too, is the upcoming 27th International Ornithological Congress August 19-28 2018. Vancouver will host around 2,000 bird scientists.
The announcement event at the VPL was fun and fittingly lighthearted, featuring giant “birds”, mercifully short speeches and newly-commissioned music for brass quintet.
There’s a message for you.
Thanks to the Globe and Mail for this look at postmodern crime, when ransoms and hacking and phishing (oh my) are no longer satisfying to the bot-mind.
As a heavy-handed demonstration of the awesome power inherent in City government, here’s a so-called “coincidence“.
You be the judge.
The May 15 introduction of 2107 watering restrictions. Why this date, of all dates?
Just a coincidence (??). May 18’s Vancouver forecast from Environment Canada, after months of cold wet weather:
I don’t know about you, but I’m getting concerned, and am seriously thinking of getting my tinfoil hat out of the closet.
Here’s a place where people have changed a little part of their town into something lovely. An old traffic-calming barrier is now a lush rock garden with a brick walkway through it. In the West End at Bidwell and Pendrell, near Lord Roberts Elementary school.
Aesthetically, only the ugly yellow bollards jar the senses — but then again, they do keep motor vehicle operators from trampling the garden.
Is there, I wonder, any appetite for an Art Deco bollard replacement contest?
One-time winner of the contest to find the world’s most boring headline was: “Worthy Canadian Initiative“. But just how boring was the story, and what story do headlines really tell?
As a contrast in content, let alone journalistic integrity, consider these two headlines and the stories below them. The first covers a complicated story, and deals with the issues in a broad manner. The second employs cobwebbed rile-em-up tabloid tactics to satisfy some business model that the world is rapidly passing by on its way to somewhere else.
First we have Martha Perkins in the Vancouver Courier writing under the headline: “Interests Merge in 10th Avenue ‘Hospital District’ Plan“.
Vancouver Coastal Health, the British Columbia Cancer Agency and accessibility advocates are all heartily endorsing Vancouver city staff’s proposed new street plan
“It’s a great compromise considering all the stakeholders and the traffic of all modes,” said Stan Leyenhorst of Barrier-free B.C. “The city recognizes we’re trying something innovative”. We’re building an environment so, regardless of ability, you have access, including the senior who has cancer using a walker who is slightly sight impaired and can’t hear well.
“It’s terrific,” agrees Bruce Gilmore, also of Barrier-free B.C. By switching the conversation away from bike lanes, the strategy switched to problems that already exist for all users of the busy corridor. “I’m very excited that pedestrians have been heavily factored in, i.e. the vulnerable patient.”
Second, by way of contrast, Global News on May 16. Keeping the world safe, and preserving all asphalt, for motordom: “Separated Bike Lanes Could Replace Metered Parking In Vancouver’s Health Corridor Along 10th Avenue“.
Yup, good old bike lanes vs. parking. Cars vs. bikes. Real people vs them stinkin’ people on bikes. Yup: “Yet another controversial bike lane”. The video clip features an exasperated car driver who complains about parking and completely bone-headed decisions. The clip ends by bashing bike riders with a gratuitous context-free crack about riding bikes on the sidewalk.
Pedestrians and patients get little if any attention.
Parking in front of key medical agencies like the BC Cancer Agency, the Blusson Spinal Cord Centre and the Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) could get a whole lot tighter.
On Tuesday, Vancouver City Council will be presented a proposal to remove meter parking spaces from 10th Avenue, in favour of separated bike lanes between Oak and Cambie streets.
Connecting things, people and places is an opportunity, if not major rationale, for the Arbutus Greenway.
It’s already happening on the increasingly busy temporary Greenway.
Some new connections arise from the very nature of the conversion from unused railroad into accessible, if temporary, Greenway. People have a new way to travel from home to retail areas, schools and parks.
But old informal pathways are already getting upgrades to provide better connections from and across the Greenway to local neighbourhoods, bus stops, crosswalks and so on.
Vancouver’s West End is filled with beautiful old buildings, like the Queen Charlotte at 1101 Nicola.
Thanks to the Vancouver Archives for original photos taken in 1928 by Major Matthews.
The Queen Charlotte Apartments building was built in 1927 by the Dominion Construction Company (thanks to Memory BC). It was renovated in 1979 by Robert Ledingham and now contains 25 strata condos. A Heritage House Tour in 2015 brought the Courier’s Naoibh O’Connor and photog Dan Toulgoet to the Queen Charlotte. The quotes from occasional PT contributor Michael Kluckner are well worth finding in the Courier article.
Fill in for someone on year-long maternity leave, get great experience and a good pump-up for the old CV. Apparently, it’s a PAID position.
Cue the stampede.
Vancouver photog Greg Girard has a show at the Monte Clark Gallery, featuring pix from a strange era in Vancouver: somehow lost between “dump the freeways” and Expo 86, but still “. . . a port town at the end of the railway line”.
When I started making these photographs, especially the pictures of people in the mid-1970s, I felt like I was photographing a world nobody knew anything about, apart from the people living it, of course. I was something of an interloper, but my youth protected me. It’s curious to consider these pictures now, practically unseen since they were made, in terms of a Vancouver they might have some potential to invent. –Greg Girard
I’m heading over there (*gasp*: east of Main) in the hopes of expanding my ideas about photographs and about Vancouver’s heritage.
The show ends May 27. More info HERE.
While wandering in the West End the other day, I saw several restaurant delivery people on bikes. It seems like a sensible business model, a resource-light way to provide a service, lugging food from restaurant to hungry people.
I like seeing people coming up with more options — more ways to get things done.
Click to enlarge.
For friendly competition, nifty prizes and a chance to do something completely different, why not sign up for Bike to Work Week??
From a standing start in 2007, BtWW has become big, and a part of life in Vancouver. The 2016 spring event alone attracted 11,602 registered riders, with 1,963 riding to work for the first time.
Another goodie: A pass for Mobi. Try two things at once.
It’s free to register, free to form teams, free to log your trips, and free to hang around the celebration stations for bikey talk, munchies, drinks, bike mechanic services, and extra giveaways.
While we await the recounts and absentee ballot counts in the BC Provincial election, are you wondering how allegiances and alliances, reins and reigns might evolve? Who’s moving in; who’s heading out; who’s got opportunity? Who’s vulnerable; who’s empowered?
Here’s Paul Willcocks in The Tyee speculating and imagining the wheels turning, doors slamming and the shackles lifting all around BC politics. A fascinating read, with plenty of material around the infamous urban-rural divide.
One example out of many: the lowly backbench MLA, normally a placeholder and a cypher with no voice and little clout:
Says Willcocks: MLAs largely toe the party line, repeating the party talking points and following instructions. I once asked a Liberal MLA, a former corporate executive, about an obviously inaccurate letter to the editor published under his name in his local paper. Not his problem, he said. He was told to sign it, and he did. The premier or opposition leader will still control assignments and perqs — the chance to work on an important issue, a cabinet post, a plum assignment. (The last time I checked, 44 of 48 Liberals were receiving extra pay on top of their $103,000.)
But in a minority government, MLAs have their own leverage. They can’t be shushed; alienate them and the government falls. They’re freer to speak their minds and challenge authority.
One-of-a-kind signage in the West End of Vancouver (Harwood & Bidwell). The tree that has prompted this warning is an ancient beauty that captures my attention and admiration each time I pass by.
The astute and prolific Gary Mason writes in the Globe and Mail about political financing, the biggest opportunity he sees the Greens’ balance of power representing. He is clear and caustic about the current state of BC political financing — so if you are a certain party’s operative, maybe you want to shield yourself from this one.
Ms. Clark led arguably the most arrogant and entitled government in the country. Cronyism has thrived under hers and previous Liberal administrations. The corrosive effect it has had on B.C. politics can’t be understated and it needs to be brought to an end.
Mr. Weaver has said that banning union and corporate donations is at the top of his list of measures he would request in exchange for his backing. This is good. Big money has to be taken out of politics in British Columbia. Right now, corporations (and to a much lesser extent, unions) and the province’s wealthiest citizens, through their donations, are getting an outsized say in the outcome of elections. . .
. . . Earlier this year, a Globe and Mail investigation shed some light on the murky world of campaign donations in B.C., and revealed how lobbyists were not only donating tens of thousands of dollars to the very governing party they are lobbying, but also donating on behalf of unnamed clients, something that is illegal. The RCMP is now investigating. The Liberals, meantime, have returned more than $200,000 they since “discovered” was donated illegally.
The lobbyist industry in B.C. is a cesspool that has deep, deep roots in the Liberal party. Influence buying is not done in the backrooms in B.C., it is done in the open.
A design concept package for the 5-block part of 10th Avenue between Oak and Cambie is coming to Vancouver City Council on May 16 for review and approval. The area even has a name — the Health Precinct — which will be reflected in the redesign.
This is an area that is currently not working for many of the most vulnerable of its growing user group. But the area’s complexity means the changes are fittingly complex. For example, they include the City acquiring new right-of-way agreements for land to be used for sidewalk and utility purposes.
To quote the design concept package:
CONCLUSION The general sentiment heard through the engagement process was that 10th Avenue through the Health Precinct does not work well for anyone in its current form. This proposed design has been endorsed by the Health Precinct partners and staff believe the changes made to the recommended design over the course of the engagement process address the primary concerns raised by the city advisory committees, including the Seniors’ Advisory Committee, the Persons with Disabilities Advisory Committee, and the Active Transportation Policy Council (see Appendix F and G for specific responses). Staff will be meeting with all three committees in advance of presenting the project to Council. The new design is expected to improve the area for all road users, particularly vulnerable pedestrians, people accessing the health precinct by vehicle, and people biking.
Here’s an example — an overview of the changes proposed for the block between Laurel and Willow:
As usual, you can have your 5 minutes before council by registering in advance.