What? No bike picture for several days? Here’s one from 1915.
What? No bike picture for several days? Here’s one from 1915.
Metro News and Jen St. Denis reports on the B.C. government’s announcement that ride-sharing legislation is coming. Surprise surprise, the announcement is made right before the Provincial election, and you may be able to use these services as early as December.
Transportation Minister Todd Stone states “We know that British Columbians want additional choice and convenience and ride sharing companies like Uber and Lyft present real opportunities to provide new services for consumers through the use of technology.”
I’ve written in Price Tags before about taxi service in Vancouver. As a woman its been an unsettling experience personally-there is no consistency of service, sometimes the cab does not show up and they won’t pick up my senior neighbours for shorter rides to the grocery store. I have also been followed home by taxi cab drivers. And many of the drivers are talking away on their handheld cellphone while they are driving the cab. Sure you can discount my experience and call it anecdotal-but if I had that experience, what has happened to other people who might not know to lodge a complaint with the “Taxi Team”of the Vancouver Police Department?
Of course the Taxi cab companies are upset about ride share coming, and the Province will fund a one million dollar app for taxi companies to compete with ride share, along with ICBC investing up to 3.5 million dollars in the installation of crash avoidance technology. The Province has also said that they would “address” the current shortage of taxis and vehicles for hire, allow drivers to pick up and drop off passengers anywhere and streamline the ICBC claims process.
There is lots of background chatter about this decision, the politics, the lobbying, and the interest groups. Until there is more mass transit in the areas where people want to go, ride share is one way forward. Perhaps this like many disruptive technologies will be here for only a short time. And like many disruptive technologies it will put pressure on taxi cab companies to be more customer based and responsive.
Fortune.com noted that in a study of ride share services in New York City last summer that 11.1 million taxi rides were taken, representing a drop of 9 per cent from a year earlier, while Uber’s use increased by 121 per cent. However taxi drivers had twice as many riders per week compared to Uber drivers. The two million dollar study also showed that traffic in the city was not significantly increased by the use of ride share services.
Art of Cities in Vancouver – May 24 – 26, 2017
CityStudio is an experimentation and innovation hub for the City of Vancouver where city staff, experts and students from seven universities and colleges co-create projects that support city programs.
If you are city staff, an academic administrator or a faculty leader who is interested in learning how to develop an effective university-community partnership that puts students and learning in the centre of real projects on the ground in community, we invite you to join us in Vancouver, May 2017.
Participants at the Art of Cities will:
Learn how to setup and launch a CityStudio
Learn our key organizational lessons for governance, partnerships and financing
Use design and dialogue methods for problem solving and collaboration
Draw on lessons learned from over 200 CityStudio projects
Explore Vancouver and join the network of participants from other cities
Our short application form is here.
All the details are on our Art of Cities page here.
Applications are due Friday March 1st. Applicants will be notified on or before Monday, March 10, 2017.
Jen St. Denis in Metro News reports on something that Price Tags has been predicting: that those laneway houses may soon be stratafied. Gil Kelley the Director of Planning for the City of Vancouver is exploring this option for first-time buyers, along with a host of other incentives.
“We are looking at everything we do,” said Gil Kelly, adding that allowing more homes to be subdivided into duplexes is another example of the infill development the city is looking at.”
When laneway housing was first approved in 2009, the concept came out of the CityPlan process where families asked that this form of housing be available on their single family lots for their children or relatives. Eight years later, these houses which can be 700 square feet to 1,000 square feet in relation to the size of the lot, could be considered for strata. But they won’t be cheap, with an estimated price tag of one million dollars.
Planning department staff will prepare a report to Council expected for March 28 reviewing the options available to further densify the single family neighbourhoods that are experiencing net losses of residents. Will the stratification of laneway housing be enough to stem that tide? Or should there be more explorations of how to best provide density and affordability through other forms as well?
The proposed overbuilt Massey Bridge is becoming a sobering topic for many people as they read through the background studies which never seriously looked at any other option other than an over capacity ten lane bridge. The rationale for this massive bridge, pegged at a cost in the 3.4 billion dollar range changes with the season.Once this behemoth is built, it remains to be seen how much use it will get. It will also be tolled, which will increase traffic onto other bridges. But other than the truckers at Deltaport who do not work efficiently 24 hours 7 days a week on schedule like every other port in North America there is little rationale for why a massive bridge needs to be located here instead of simply twinning the currently configured tunnel. Perhaps it is for access to pump up volumes at the sparsely used Tsawwassen Mills mall, built on the finest agricultural land in Canada and impacting the sensitive Pacific migratory bird flyway.
Jeremy Nuttall in the Tyee reports that “According to news reports, the province is backing the bridge because Port Metro Vancouver, a federal government authority, and Fraser Surrey Docks lobbied the province to get rid of the tunnel. With the tunnel gone, it will be possible to dredge the south arm of the Fraser and bring bigger ships to upstream ports.”
Such dredging will severely impact salmon stocks. The Cohen Commission examining the fish stocks and ecological impacts on the Fraser River concluded that the Department of Forests and Oceans needed to examine the cumulative impacts of industrialization on Fraser River sockeye habitat. As projects get approved on a project by project basis, there is no comprehensive evaluation on the damage being done to existing resources.
City of Richmond councillor Harold Steves has also said that Port Metro Vancouver will be turning 100 hectares of farmland in Richmond into port supported industrial use, something they can do without municipal approval as a federal body. Even though a federal environmental review was requested, there has been no response from Ottawa.
And there you have it. Federal “spokesperson Michelle Imbeau said the department is responsible for reviewing the “proposed works” but said has not yet done so. She noted the provincial government had conducted its own review and approved the project.”
Which is as much to say the Federal Government is letting the Province decide. And the Province is looking at no other alternatives ecologically, financially or practically other than this expensive and ecologically disruptive megaproject. It is the classic case of passing the buck.
Remember the Tom Tom Annual Survey of Traffic Congestion suggesting that Vancouver is a parking lot of traffic? And Minister of Transportation Todd Stone calling the Massey Tunnel one of the most congested places in British Columbia according to a Canadian Automobile Association Survey?
Business in Vancouver reporter Patrick Blennerhasset cuts through the congestion chat by talking to a transportation expert, City of Vancouver Manager of Transportation Steve Brown. Steve notes that we need to define what we mean by congestion. Congestion can also be a very good thing-if transit or biking or walking is more efficient and gets you to a place faster, then congestion is your active transportation friend. The slower traffic, the safer active transportation users are too-while only ten per cent of pedestrians will survive a vehicular collision at 50 km/h that rises to a 90 per cent chance of survival with a vehicular collision at 30 km/h.
Steve Brown has great logic-“the key for Vancouver to continue to relieve congestion lies in creating alternative transportation methods to automobile trips…Over the last few years, we have seen a lot more concerns over congestion. And because we’re kind of falling behind on some of our transit infrastructure investments, we’re seeing that there are tending to be more trips lately relying on the road network.”
So…bolstering active transportation and transit reduces congestion, actually making driving easier for folks that want to do this. But doesn’t that defeat the purpose? And that is where misinformation comes in.
“Last year, Langley City councillor Nathan Pachal compiled the 2016 Transit Report Card of Major Canadian Regions. He gave Vancouver a high ranking in terms of public transportation—second only to Montreal—using Canada Transit’s Fact Book 2014 Operating Data by the Canadian Urban Transit Association, which gathers its data from transit agencies across the country and Statistics Canada’s National Household Survey. Pachal also called into question the accuracy of the TomTom rankings. He said during the transit referendum in 2015, discussion around congestion in Vancouver reached a fever pitch.”
And back to those Tom Tom Statistics-those are predicated upon counting the extra travel time during peak hours for a vehicle versus the time taken to travel during no traffic conditions, and then multiplied for 230 working days a year. Remember that Tom Tom’s clients are drivers, and therefore cities with freeways and highways that provide a quick exit are ranked highly, with no ranking given to alternative transit modes or active transportation.
While Vancouver ranked as the 34th most congested cities for vehicle users according to Tom Tom, “the INRIX Global Traffic Scorecard, has ranked Vancouver 157th worldwide in terms of traffic congestion.” Why? Because INRIX a Kirkland, Washington-based transportation analytics company, analyzed traffic congestion in 1,064 cities for its second annual report. Its methodology calculates congestion at different times of the day in different parts of a city using 500 terabytes of data from 300 million different sources covering over five million miles of road. ” This is a much more sophisticated analysis on “overall travel times” as opposed to peak versus free-flow times.
But neither of these two approaches factor in active transportation or transit, and measure a city’s performance by the efficiency of this type of movement. While Tom Tom may be getting a lot of attention, the INRIX Global Traffic Scorecard is perhaps a more accurate gauge. Here’s to an index that also factors in other users besides vehicular.
INRIX Global Traffic Index Scorecard:
TomTom Traffic Index ranking:
Architecture critic Martin Filler eviscerates the World Trade Centre development in NYC in this long and worthwhile article from the New York Review of Books; readers who care only somewhat about Manhattan will still enjoy the Battle Royal between architects, developers, politicians and, indeed, critics.
Filler reviews three books on the subject, and at one point quotes Lynne Sagalyn: “This was not city building. Architecture may be art and city building calls for art-like understanding of the fabric of a place, but a city is not a blank canvas to paint at will…”
Filler has never been a fan of Santiago Calatrava: “The most architecturally ambitious portion of the ensemble, Santiago Calatrava’s World Trade Center Transportation Hub (commonly called the Oculus), opened to the public in March 2016, though with no fanfare whatever, doubtless to avoid drawing further attention to this stupendous waste of public funds. The job took twelve years to finish instead of the five originally promised, and part of its exorbitant $4 billion price will be paid by commuters in the form of higher transit fares. The fortune spent on this kitschy jeu d’esprit—nearly twice its already unconscionable initial estimate of $2.2 billion—is even more outrageous for a facility that serves only 40,000 commuters on an average weekday, as opposed to the 750,000 who pass through Grand Central Terminal daily. Astoundingly, the Transportation Hub wound up costing $1 billion more than One World Trade Center itself.”
Is there a cautionary tale here for Vancouver and the nascent plan to redo the downtown waterfront, including expanding Waterfront Station into a larger, more effective transit hub?
How long does it take you to get home from work? To go to the doctor or to the grocery store? Traffic in North Vancouver is worse than ever, and it impacts each person in our city.
On February 25th we want to hear your stories about how traffic, transit and transportation issues are impacting your life.
A panel of transportation experts and influencers will be there to hear your stories and provide their insights.
Anthony Perl, PhD – Professor of Urban Studies and Political Science (SFU), Transportation Policy Advisor
Ruth Armstrong – Unifor Local 111, representing over 3700 Metro Vancouver Transit Operators
Heather Drugge – Cycling Activist HUB North Shore
Saturday, February 25
John Braithwaite Community Centre – Shoreline Room, 145 West 1st Street, North Vancouver
If it’s like this at sea level, then what’s it like at higher ground?
Occasionally some busker, a musician – in this case a guitarist – that you’ve never heard before will capture your ear and the mood of the moment, and provide a soundtrack to the city that requires you stop and really listen.
Like this moment:
(Also a test to see if a video is postable on this blog.)
Best use of the atrium space at Pacific Centre I’ve seen:
This feels genuinely Vancouver.
For all of us, Chinese Lunar New Year seems like almost-spring festival – a time when it feels about right to think of renewal and plans for the future.
Gung Hay Fat Choy …
Millennials have a steep hill to climb to make it in Vancouver, with crushing student debt, rising housing prices, and increased struggles in the job market serving as three prime examples. To make ends meet in such conditions, we Millennials have to find ways to be efficient with our time throughout our busy day – and Dominoes Pizza struck gold in 2016 with an App that, once pressed, gives you 10 seconds to not order a pizza.
You read that correctly. Once opened, the app uses a pre-selected pie as your assumed order and automatically pays from your credit card if you don’t cancel within 10 seconds.
This company has found a way to give time back to Millennials – time best spent fighting for a way to keep calling this city home. We don’t have a hot second for pizza.
In a rarity for PT, here’s a 16-month gig looking for a gigee.
Job description HERE.
- Position: LEDlab Project Manager
- Application Deadline: January 22, 2017
- Commitment: 16-months full time
- Start date: March 1, 2017 or earlier
- Compensation: $50,000-55,000, plus benefits
Half-way through our planned three-year initiative, the Local Economic Development Lab is expanding to meet the demand and opportunity for systemic impact with our work. We are seeking an organized relationship-builder, storyteller, and project manager to lead our 2017/18 cohort of innovative projects, and to help us tell and share stories of impact from the lab and our community partners.
The Local Economic Development Lab, initiated and supported by Ecotrust Canada and RADIUS SFU, partners with community organizations to explore innovative ways to build a more vibrant and inclusive local economy in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
LEDlab is a time-bound, place-based and action-focused initiative. Through it, we will build, test and scale solutions that put money in the pockets of DTES residents; enhance the capacity of individuals, organizations and networks; and disrupt traditional patterns of power and resource use in the community.
For 2016 there were four stories that were deemed by the Price Tags Editorial Board as being the Most Polarizing.
The 2016 Gordie Awards for the Most Polarizing Planning Issue go to:
Single Family residence at Alma and Point Grey Road--“the cube of darkness”
Taking out three-story residential walk-up construction in Burnaby–“renters can get a room with a view”
Trump Tower –” what are they thinking low hanging fruit, definitely a huge sore spot.Official opening postponed, although much of the building is in every-day use through the back door.”
Americanization of Vancouver City Hall –“time was the City Manager and the department heads worked at city hall for years, knew the system and everyone’s names, and worked up to their positions. City Managers were also not hires of new Councils, instead managing approved policy over several councils, not immediate Council directives. Now Vancouver folllows the American model of city governance. The Engineering Department still has a head hired from within. Gil Kelley, Director of Planning, Kaye Krishna Manager of Development Services and Sadhu Johnston, City Manager, are all American celebrating their Thanksgiving at the end of November. And they voted in the American election.”
The second 2016 Gordie for Happiest Transportation Story goes to the new kid in town:
Happiest Transportation Story
Mobi on the road in Vancouver: Finally a bike share in the City of Vancouver- “another transportation option. Expansion, please.”
Four more Gordies will be awarded in the next four working days. Stay tuned.
Well PT readers………he’s traveling through South America, and you can follow his journey on the Price Tags Instagram account either on your mobile device app (@pricetags) or by clicking on the individual photos on the Instagram Price Tags site here.
Gordon’s astute and creative analysis of the urban environment is on display with his observation of the build form of Rio’s Ipanema Beach:
Where to next Gord?
By Gord Price
I’ll soon be off to Buenos Aries – one of those bucket-list adventures I can’t put off any longer. Preceded by a trip to Rio for New Year’s Eve.
So I’ve been asking friends to send along items and articles that will help be a better-informed flaneur in both places.
That includes PTers (thinking of you, Roger). So post items, links and must-see-and-do suggestions in Comments below.
First up, an article from CityLab passed along by Brent Toderian:
… what Buenos Aires did is about as bold as it gets when it comes to making can’t-be-missed statements about what urban mobility means today. The 9 de Julio Metrobus is a sort of transport surgery on the beating heart of the city — similar in ways to what New York City did a few years ago when it shut cars out of parts of Times Square. …
City work crews ripped out four traffic lanes in the middle of the roadway. In just seven months, they gave the space entirely to buses and the people who ride them. …
Buses used to be stuck in the mix of traffic on 9 de Julio, jostling with with cars, taxis and trucks. Now, buses have their own lanes for 3 km before peeling off into traffic to get to their destinations. More than 200,000 commuters, many of them traveling to or from the suburbs, enjoy a faster ride that also makes a subway transfer obsolete. …
The transformation was controversial. The loudest opposition came from groups of architects, city planners, and environmentalists who didn’t want to see 1,500 trees and the small green spaces surrounding them removed. (Most of the trees were replanted elsewhere.) Some said the project should be built on the outer edges of the avenue, not in the middle of it. …
Buses used to run on the narrow and busy downtown streets nearby. Now, those buses have been diverted to the exclusive lanes on 9 de Julio. And the city has turned about 100 blocks of those once noisy and polluted roads into either fully pedestrianized streets or pedestrian-priority zones.
90 percent of those who move around the city are pedestrians. But previously, 70 percent of the space downtown was used by cars and buses. Now that distribution has basically been flipped around in the pedestrian-priority zones. The city also has added 130 km of bike lanes.
Rather than wait until I return to post out, I’ll be Instagramming while in South America under “pricetags.”