Out for a walk the other day, marveling that we’ve built a place with this in it.
PT got this the other day via the Arbutus Greenway Project Office mail list.
In September, the City held five public workshops on temporary design options for the Arbutus Greenway. We’ve also received more than 500 emails, letters and 3-1-1 calls, and presented at four City of Vancouver advisory committees.
Come to a public information session on the Arbutus Greenway temporary path and learn how the public’s input shaped the final design:
- Saturday, October 15, 10 am – 2 pm, Kitsilano Neighbourhood House, 2305 West 7th Avenue
These meetings will be drop-in info session format. City staff will be available to answer questions. You can also view the information boards and consultation summary report, which will be posted online and shared with you by email on Friday.
Arbutus Greenway Project Office, City of Vancouver
A bike race, and lots of people doing lots of things. And, oh my, that setting.
The experience of travelling somewhere on a bike includes being in places like this. Jericho Beach Park in autumn.
As part of the planning process towards the 2037 Master plan Vancouver International Airport is holding an Open House today-Wednesday October 12, 2016 from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on the Observation Deck of the Domestic Terminal Building. The airport has been located on Sea Island in Richmond since 1929 and is 12 kilometers from downtown and on the Canada Line.
There are six areas that the new Master plan will address:
- Terminals – An update about YVR’s extensive study to assess potential options for terminal expansion at the airport, including the rationale and analysis used to select the recommended option.
- Airside/Airspace – Options are provided for the future of YVR’s airside and airspace operations.
- Ground Access – An overview of current ground access at YVR and potential options to improve future ground access for YVR passengers, businesses, goods movement and Sea Island employees.
- Environment – Information about YVR’s Environmental Management Plan and our priorities designed to maintain an environmentally sustainable airport.
- Amenities – A description of YVR’s current amenities offered on Sea Island and an overview of potential future amenity investments.
- Land Use – An overview of land areas and their designated uses
- Location: Vancouver International Airport, Domestic Terminal Building, Observation Deck
- Date: Wednesday, October 12, 2016
- Time: 4p.m. to 8p.m. (Drop In)
Pre-registration is not required for this event.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
On the heels of the Arbutus Greenway temporary surface consulting events, the City of Vancouver invites one and all to participate in more online surveys, open houses, workshops and events.
The Commercial Drive Complete Street Project kicks off with:
Phase 1: Ideas and Information (Fall 2016)
- What we’ll do: Launch the community engagement process, identify transportation improvements, and present complete street design principles
- Who we’ll consult with: Residents, Grandview-Woodland Transportation and Neighbourhood Parking Stakeholder Advisory Group (G-W SAG), local businesses, and other civic advisory committees
- What we’ll create based on feedback: Complete street principles and draft design concepts informed by community and stakeholder input, technical analysis, and City priorities
Thursday, October 20, 2016 3-7:30 pm (Details HERE)
Croatian Cultural Centre, 3250 Commercial Drive
Saturday, October 22, 2016, 10am – 3 pm (Details HERE)
Wise Hall, 1882 Adanac
Remember: there are only two completely fun and future-proofed responses to this Commercial Drive Complete Street Project:
- Eyeball-bulging outrage if any road space, of any kind, is to be repurposed from motor vehicle exclusivity.
- Head-bursting apoplexy if any consideration at all, of any kind, is to be given to bicycles.
HERE is a brief glimpse of Complete Street concepts, if this topic is new to you.
And finally, from the City of Vancouver’s web site introduction to the Commercial Drive Compete Street Project:
The Commercial Drive Complete Street project aims to increase the safety and comfort for people driving, walking, cycling, and taking transit in the area – while ensuring that core service and delivery activities on streets are still accommodated.
Commercial Drive is the heart of the Grandview-Woodland neighbourhood, and famous for strolling and enjoying the rich variety of independent shops and services. “The Drive” is a popular destination for local residents and regional visitors.
Creating a complete street and a cycling path for people of all ages and abilities along Commercial Drive are goals of the Grandview-Woodland Community Plan.
PT posted on an item on the Barcelona proposal to create “mini neighbourhoods around which traffic will flow, and in which spaces will be repurposed: The Transformation of Barcelona’s Eixample
The New York Times reports an update: What New York Can Learn From Barcelona’s ‘Superblocks’
Beginning in September, city officials started creating a system of so-called superblocks across the city that will severely limit vehicles as a way to reduce traffic and air pollution, use public space more efficiently and essentially make neighborhoods more pleasant.
Under the plan, the superblocks will be overlaid on the existing street grid, each one consisting of as many as nine contiguous blocks. Within each superblock, streets and intersections will be largely closed to traffic and used as community spaces such as plazas, playgrounds and gardens. Ms. Sanz said that at least five superblocks were expected to be designated by 2018.
An intersection in El Poblenou, a section of Barcelona, that was transformed into a playground with a soccer field and sandbox.
Barcelona’s system of superblocks — called “superilles” in Catalan — would go well beyond the pedestrian plazas that have sprouted up on the streets of New York City. While those spaces have carved out more room for pedestrians in busy corridors, the superblocks represent a more radical approach that fundamentally challenges the notion that streets even belong to cars. …
Marta Louro, 40, a teacher who lives next to an intersection, said the superblock would make streets safer and reduce pollution. “It gives priority to the pedestrian,” she said. “I believe it’s very important that people have space.”
But others have expressed concerns that they will have to walk farther to a bus stop, or will have a harder time using their cars or finding parking. “It’s not a bad idea,” said Oriol Sanchez, 25, a waiter who drives to work. “But for me, it’s a problem for my car.”
Visitación Soria, 78, said the superblock would not be embraced by everyone. “People like their cars,” she said.“People are already saying there’s a problem finding parking, and this will make it worse.”
The plan for a superblock in the El Poblenou district
The superblocks are part of a comprehensive program to improve the city’s transportation networks and reduce their environmental impact, Ms. Sanz Cid said. The effort, called the Urban Mobility Plan, includes increasing bus service, extending train lines to the suburbs and tripling the number of bike lanes. …
In Gràcia, where more than two-thirds of the streets were turned into public spaces, car traffic has dropped to 81,514 trips annually from 95,889 before the superblocks were established. Street life is thriving: Pedestrians now make 201,843 trips annually through Gràcia, up 10 percent from before the superblocks. Cyclists make 10,143 trips annually, a 30 percent increase.
This article published in World Crunch describes the innovative work that another by-the-sea city, with a very large elderly population is undertaking to improve place and home for senior citizens. With a quarter of its residents, approximately 700,000 people as senior citizens, the municipal government
“has forged a comprehensive plan, called PIAM, to revamp public spaces and improve the homes of the elderly. It expects to implement the changes beginning next year. The plans include new, better-suited furniture in public places (park benches that are specifically adapted, for example, to older people’s body shapes), prototypes of tricycles the elderly can use along cycling tracks, and more roofs over bus stops. The city also plans to measure how long it really takes seniors to cross busy streets and reprogram traffic lights accordingly.”
Prototypes are needed for better wheelchair access in public places, and in the home “simple measures, such as raising the height of sockets, having fewer items of furniture, not using carpets, mats or rugs, or fixing handles” she says.
The work is based upon WHO’s (World Health Organization) age friendly city designation. But what is important here is that this process involved collaborating with all parties including seniors to ensure that old people are included-without barriers, be they architectural or cultural. It is all in the detail, and Buenos Aires seems to be on the right track.
A few days ago, I dropped by the cleaned-up painted-up alley that runs between Granville & Seymour south of Hastings. Aside from a few smokers, several short-cutters, photogs, a selfie-snapper, a courier’s car and a garbage truck, the alley was quite empty most of the time. No long-dwellers except for the plumber’s truck.
My impression is that people are not quite sure yet what to make of it. Certainly, the alley stopped lots of curious passersby on the sidewalks, and attracted a lot of attention from them. But after a quip and a goggle, off they mostly went. With a few exceptions — and perhaps those that do enter the alley may, as I did, get a different sense of the space than in the days when the alley was dark, dirty and smelly. It’s possible that wheels will begin to turn as people consider what they’ve experienced and dream up possibilities for using it.
I’m well aware that a single photo (or even two) rarely serves as proof or prediction of anything. Maybe I was there at the wrong time of the wrong day, and the uses that people find will be in the weekend or evenings. Whatever happens, it’s a remarkable and positive transformation, and I hope for the best.
It’s taken a few years, but the Comox Greenway, running from Stanley Park to Burrard, is becoming more heavily used, and loved.
Here are a few shots taken this last weekend:
Ironic perception: the woman with the cane, when asked her opinion about the greenway, felt it was a waste of money because she thought it was only for bikes. Then she enthusiastically described how she used it as her preferred route when walking, particularly because of the benches and landscaping.
(Larry Frank and Victor Ngo at UBC has documented the before and after effects here.)
The Urbanarium held an event last night at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre playhouse where Gil Kelley, the new General Manager of Planning, Urban Design and Sustainability spoke about himself, his new role, and his perception of the new directions for the City of Vancouver.
Vancouver has always had an intense familial relationship with planning and the Director of Planning for the city. We all want to know what is going on, and what mettle that person has for city making, kind of like keeping an eye on an obscure relative you want to like but want to assure yourself that they are truly related to you. I would say as a City we take this position very seriously, and embrace the process of city planning as a tacit expression of our own exuberance, hopes, dreams, and futurism.
Gil may have said it correctly when he alluded to the fact that both Portland Oregon and Vancouver have passionate focus upon “urban planning substituting for major league sports”. We want to watch, participate, and if our team is losing, we sure want that Planning Department to know.
Describing himself as an active listener that likes to ask “why are we doing this?” Gil perceives his role as part planning director, and part doctor, diagnosing challenges and creating capacity building opportunities with his staff.
Gil worked for the City of Berkeley California for 14 years, was Director of Planning in Portland Oregon for 9 years, and worked and consulted for the City of San Francisco lastly as the Director of Citywide Planning. He also has an abiding passion for educational advancement of planning and was a Loeb Scholar at Harvard University. He has the unique experience of working in the four big cities in Cascadia “where land and sea converges” and described the issues facing San Francisco in terms of housing affordability and access as the harbinger of what could occur in Vancouver.
Describing the years of Director of Planning Ray Spaxman’s leadership and that of Co-Directors of Planning Larry Beasley and Ann McAfee as the decades of “big thinking” in the planning department, Gil noted that Vancouver’s big picture may seem fuzzy, but it is a moment in time to talk about the global impacts of climate change and the transformative global economy. Foresight and imagination are needed to avoid a two class society. Gil described the City of San Francisco where millennials and baby boomers are drawn to the inner core of the city while lower-income people and families left the city. While 70,000 people come to San Francisco annually, 60,000 leave, resulting in a 10,000 annual population increase in a city of 850,000 people.
A new diverse economy supportive of inclusivity and equitable for all people is needed. In the past, traditional city planning and the civic tradition was popular, but now a new alignment is needed to bolster livability, and address the need for social equity. Add to this mix the need to bolster our waterside city against earthquakes and floods, and Gil points out the need for a “four city compact” where San Francisco, Portland, Seattle and Vancouver can discuss and compare urban issues and solutions to common challenges, and the paradigm of inequity.
To create affordable housing, community engagement is needed and trust created with the community. Gil notes in his review Vancouver has the zoned capacity to take growth up to the year 2041, and stresses the importance of dealing with housing as a regional issue. He also mentioned the importance of good city planning for public health, but did not elaborate.
The rapid pace of development in Vancouver means that there needs to be staff empowerment and mentoring for planning staff to problem solve. Gil proposes revisiting the area plans to assess what worked, and what didn’t work. He identifies the need to be proactive, re-evaluate the effectiveness of layered by-laws, and bridge the generational gap, where there are new attitudes about density, development, lifestyle and transit. Couple this with a look at whether community amenity contributions from development are going to their best use, and how sustainability goals can be best achieved.
This Urbanarium event had three men on the stage-one the guest, two other prominent local architects with Urbanarium, all older males, all dressed the same, not reflecting the diversity of the audience and certainly not Vancouver. Gil took aim at the architectural profession, noting that it was time for architectural design to do a better job on the street, with much of False Creek’s older design “looking tired”. He expressed the importance of urban design of public space between buildings, thinking about the “missing middle” a housing form in between single family and apartment living, and stressed the importance of thinking as a region to create livability and equity.
Gil has a thoughtful reasoned approach to city building that will incorporate and bolster the strong skills of planning staff. With his emphasis on strengthening the relationship regionally and building the trust of citizens we may indeed be entering the next phase of “Big Thinking” in Vancouver’s Planning Department.
April 2014 – Present (2 years 6 months)San Francisco, CA
December 2011 – Present (4 years 10 months)
2009 – Present (7 years)
April 2013 – April 2014 (1 year 1 month)Portland Area, Oregon
April 2009 – March 2014 (5 years)Portland, Oregon
August 2009 – 2010 (1 year)
2009 – 2010 (1 year)
2000 – 2009 (9 years)
1985 – 1999 (14 years)
1981 – 1985 (4 years)
1974 – 1978 (4 years)
In what seems like the most significant development or rebuilding of public spaces in the city in some time (I’m including the bikeways), here’s another well underway – the transformation of Courthouse Square in from the Art Gallery on Georgia:
Here’s what’s left of the fountain that was more an intrusive obstacle than an amenity:
And here’s what it should shortly all look like:
Simple but flexible. And while it did involve removal of some of the more mature trees, the effect has been to dramatically improve the impact of the neoclassical courthouse in the cityscape.
As part of their laneways program, the Downtown BIA and City are colourizing the lane between Granville and Seymour, north of Dunsmuir:
Some talk that a liquor licence may be involved.
In this case, to a park. This public piano gets a workout at Kits Beach.
Keys to the Streets started as a CityStudio student idea in the spring of 2013 and once launched, spurred a flurry of media and community praise. It has since been identified as one the most engaging and accessible projects in Vancouver by community members, media, tourists and music makers of all types.
With the blessing and support of CityStudio, Keys to the Streets is transitioning into its own entity, keeping true to its roots as a student project that took a chance, put a piano in a park, and sat back to watch the magic happen.
After decades of rousing success, it’s time to revisit Granville Island.
On Saturday, October 1st, 2016, from 11 am – 6 pm, the public is invited to Triangle Square (between A Bread Affair and the Net Loft) on Granville Island for a Big Ideas Fair, a series of fun, family-friendly activities to gather ideas about what people like best about Granville Island today and what they think the priorities should be for the future. HCMA Architecture + Design, the lead land use and planning consultant, will offer short presentations on Granville Island 2040 at 1 pm, 3 pm, and 5 pm, and will be on hand throughout the day to answer questions about the process and principles guiding the project.
It’s been 40 years since the island was changed from a derelict industrial slum into a busy cultural and recreational centre, with a popular market and entertainment options too.
The Granville Island 2040 plan, which will set out the future of Granville Island for the next 25 years, will make recommendations for the redevelopment of the Emily Carr University buildings, revitalization of the popular Public Market, and the advancement of the arts and cultural industry on the island. It will also examine the best governance structure for the continued long-term success of Granville Island.