Julie and Rick Marzolf in full Canadian Gothic, sprucing up those delightful plantings where the York Bikeway meets the PGR Greenway.
Erica Ladner getting in some overdue pruning, without any assistance from furry onlooker.
Julie and Rick Marzolf in full Canadian Gothic, sprucing up those delightful plantings where the York Bikeway meets the PGR Greenway.
Erica Ladner getting in some overdue pruning, without any assistance from furry onlooker.
By 2030, one-quarter of all Canadians will be over 65 years of age, which will have profound impacts on Canadian cities, urban life, housing and health services. The City Program of Simon Fraser University hosted a lecture on Friday March 24 on Aging, Design and the City.This well attended lecture was also available on-line and attracted an international contingent of people who joined via the internet.
Director of the City Program Andy Yan brought together a host of speakers from various backgrounds and institutions to commence the conversation of what happens to Metro Vancouverites as they age-do we stay in our houses, or do we go? And where do seniors go to, and what is the housing seniors are looking for?
Elizabeth Tang from CMHC (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation) noted that in focus groups across Canada, people aged 55 to 75 have a lack of concern for planning future housing. Even seniors older than 75 years of age are not thinking of changing from their current dwelling. Factors influencing their choice to age in place included their personal health status, the cost (especially in Vancouver) and the quality of life. Co-housing, where seniors have their own accommodation but share common areas and kitchen facilities appear popular, with Burnaby’s Nikkei Place, Maple Ridge’s Ridge Meadows Seniors Society and Vancouver’s PALS (Performing Arts Lodge Society) being mentioned. PALS also has a children’s daycare on site allowing seniors to have interaction with children and their parents.
Vancouver architect and developer Michael Geller noted that everyone has a different idea of the best place to age, be it in France, a fine hotel, or even on cruise ship. He identified five future trends: People aging in place with supportive governmental programs, more senior friendly duplexes and townhouses; more purpose-built rental and ownership buildings, as well as co-operative and co-housing options; enhanced buildings offering the “continuum of care” with different types of housing and levels of care; and more “alternative tenure” buildings with a mix of ownership and lease housing options.
Architect Eitaro Hirota described the work NSDA architects are undertaking in care facilities, and the importance of sun orientation and the need for communal spaces that can be private, semi-private and public. Simon Fraser University researcher Dr. Habib Chaudhury discussed the parameters needed for age and dementia friendly communities, as well as two assessment tools developed for wayfinding and walkability.
This session provided an introductory discussion on the trends and impacts of aging on the city and on services. There will not be enough age appropriate housing to go around. Just as there is a pinch in the market for young people looking for entry-level housing, there will be a dearth of housing for seniors. The Nikkei Place in Richmond houses 40 seniors with an average age of 89 years. The waiting list to get into the Nikkei Place is already eight years long. We need to adapt our policies, programs, cities and housing to reflect the growing numbers of seniors that will rely on these services in their waning years.
Ralph Segal was the senior architect and development planner for the Planning Department of the City of Vancouver. He is a well-respected professional that cares deeply about the city, and who was involved in most of the major planning and design decisions in the City in the three decades prior to his retirement.
Ralph has suggested in the Vancouver Sun letters that a special public place be named after the late Vancouver architect Bing Thom, who was cited by Stephen Hume in his series on 150 Noteworthy Canadians in the Vancouver Sun as a “Visionary artist, calm philosopher who meditated every day — even while juggling complex obligations that involved hundreds of millions of dollars — business wizard, respected by all as a kind, decent man, his stunning architecture marked the world.”
Quoting Ralph Segal “Thank you to Stephen Hume and The Vancouver Sun for the profile of Bing Thom, in which are cited his many prestigious national and international awards and medals for architectural excellence. As impressive as this list is, it does not even begin to touch on the equally important contributions he has made to mentoring and encouraging innumerable individuals and groups that he has inspired with his visionary advocacy and pragmatic approach to problem-solving.”
“A fitting commemoration to all these accomplishments would be the naming of a special public place, preferably in northeast False Creek, a downtown precinct now being designed, envisioned as connecting adjacent future and existing neighbourhoods such as Chinatown, Strathcona and the Downtown Eastside with False Creek. A prominent public meeting space named in his honour would celebrate the depth of his insights into how the art of city-building can be the vehicle that brings together people of all backgrounds and interests, furthering his philosophy of inclusiveness.”
You can read a bit of the extraordinary contributions Bing Thom has made to Vancouver and public life on this link from Price Tags. Here’s hoping that Bing’s legacy can be honoured in a place name.
A lovely Saturday afternoon.
“Livable Cities” brings together interdisciplinary research, creative inquiry and city planning methods to explore current city development through sound, smell and other embodied perspectives.
Presented by Simon Fraser University and hosted by the City of New Westminster, this one-day symposium will take up various disciplinary approaches, including architecture, community development, and socio-cultural issues.
Communities in flux across the Lower Mainland present unique opportunities to engage with city planning strategies, urban densification, and the impact of soundscapes, smellscapes and mobilities on local urban environments.
Visiting Scholars include Mel McBride and Randolph Jordan. Evening concert curated by Barry Truax.
Thursday, April 13
9:00 am – 9:00 pm
Anvil Centre – 777 Columbia Street, New Westminster
General Admission: $10
Seniors 55+: $5
Students: Free with valid student ID
Tickets include access to all Symposium events, including panels, presentations, workshops, and evening concert.
Workshops: Free and open to the public (with registration)
To reserve your spot, please note first and second workshop choices when completing registration.
Tickets are available via Ticketsnw.ca
The sad case of Point Grey Road.
by Patrick Condon
You would think the City of Vancouver was out to make us all raging nature haters. How is it that the provision of a simple thing like bike lanes has made city voters so apoplectic that it ranks at the top of the pile of election wedge issues. Its like getting upset about crosswalks. You have to try really hard to make folks mad about, or even notice, public infrastructure. But somehow the city seems to accomplish this feat again and again.
The newest catalyst for resident apoplexy is, yet again, Point Grey Road. Residents there are furious about a six meter wide sidewalk and tree boulevard strip currently under construction on the north side of this street – in most cases on land being taken back from lavishly planted front gardens that had gradually forested over unused city land.
Point Grey Road is, of course the street that the City closed to through car traffic to complete the City’s “sea wall” along the Kitsilano district’s shore. This original effort was understandably applauded by homeowners along this “golden mile”, but dismayed residents of other parts of the city and region who had become accustomed to going there for a Sunday drive to enjoy the attractive ocean views and, to some extent, gape at the homes and gardens of the well heeled.
In this more recent case the homeowners garner little sympathy from the broader populace, given that the street closure seems to have been a factor in the fantastic increase in property values there. Spurious safety concerns raised by golden mile residents ring hollow when the 10,000 daily trips which once passed their drives now inflict residents living along nearby 4th avenue.
This is all the more sad because none of this really had to be this way. The City lately seems incapable of anything approaching a light touch when it comes to their Greenest City agenda. The current approach to Point Grey Road is emblematic of this failure of imagination. Truly sustainable cities emerge with a much lighter hand. The City’s ham handed approach unnecessarily disrupts existing cultural and urban ecosystems, and, in the process, racks up unnecessary political and capital debts. Its sad. A much lighter approach to Point Grey Road was always available. But a lighter approach would have required a more holistic sensibility which, i would argue, the City lacks. A more truly sustainable approach would be accepting of “both and” solutions rather than the current “one way my way or the highway” approach.
The City’s approach to designing and building green infrastructure seems similar to the much maligned approaches taken by highway engineers of the 1960’s. Those folks happily ripped up city blocks for flyovers and cloverleafs, and leveled every neighbourhood in the freeway’s path. There is thus not a small measure of irony in using these same design approaches for green infrastructure in the only city that stopped a highway from gutting its downtown.
What would a lighter approach have looked like on Point Grey Road? Well i suppose the City could have started off by at least trying the one way street proposed by citizens prior to the City’s controversial and precipitous complete street closure. That plan could have been implemented with a can of yellow paint to mark the bike way and a few signs. If that proved inadequate after a few years then some new signs and some more paint to divert the one way traffic to 4th ave could have worked. This is the kind of “tactical urbanism” strategy famously used by Jannette Saduk-Khan, New York City’s transportation commissioner, who first used a can of paint and some movable chairs to close off Times Square in New York City, a move that both proved what was possible and allowed for low cost real time experimentation to get it right.
But instead we got a very over-engineered grey street, with green functions (walking, biking) rigidly, unnecessarily and expensively separated. We could have had a “complete” street instead, one with wheeled circulation functions more mixed and existing trees preserved. We could have had a street that enhanced rather than degraded ecological functions, a street that added habitat rather than removed it, a street where storm water was cleaned and infiltrated into the water table rather than discharged unmitigated into English Bay waters.
There was a time not so long ago where the City was pursuing these simpler green infrastructure strategies; notably at its Crown Street Green Street Project of 2005. That seems like a different world now. Take a look at that sustainable street with its naturalized drainage and no need for storm drains and expensive curbs and pipes. Would Point Grey Road not have been the natural place for a public display of this lighter green touch? a project that could have been implemented for a fraction of the cost of the current project? and a project strategy that you can easily imagine working around existing mature trees rather than savagely clear cutting every shred of green within the right of way?
Sadly our chance to get it right on Point Grey Road has passed. But there is, I believe, a larger issue here. Its not too late to engage in a fundamental rethinking of what it means to be the Greenest City. Its not too late to recognize that a green city is an efficient city, a city that looks for the most modest and easy to realize solutions possible; a city that finds the solutions that emerge most easily and almost by themselves; a city that analogically follows the judo maxim of “Maximum efficiency, minimum effort” rather than the smash face brutality of over engineered solutions evident at Point Grey Road.
The proliferation of unneeded urban highways in our North American cities is just the most obvious example of the problem with the smash mouth tactics of failed urban engineering. We should not repeat that mistake in applying “green” infrastructure to the fragile ecosystem of the city.
In the end, the world’s “greenest city” must, to be worthy of the name, be a city that works with not against ecological systems, and works with not against its most dominant species: its citizens. We should have learned by now that its a mistake to depend on technocratic responses to narrowly defined problems. In the end, a green city becomes and stays green by always seeking the lightest possible way to achieve both its ecological and political ends. And those ends are enhanced by an open and holistic citizen focused process. The planning for Point Grey Road has more than once failed to meet this green standard. To be the greenest city means learning to avoid this mistake.
The New York Times notes that San Francisco, with a population of 865,000 has “ roughly the same number of dogs as children: 120,000. In many areas of the city, pet grooming shops seem more common than schools.” San Francisco’s technology boom has resulted in high prices and families fleeing the city, with the” lowest percentage of children of any of the largest 100 cities in America, according to census data, causing some here to raise an alarm.”
In 1970, about 25 per cent of the population was composed of children, with 90,000 pupils in public schools. Today that figure is 53,000 kids in school, with kids comprise 13 per cent of the population. By comparison, New York’s population of kids is 21 per cent, and Chicago’s is 23 per cent under 18 years of age.
California, which has one of the world’s 10 largest economies, recently released data showing the lowest birthrate since the Great Depression. “Sometimes I’ll be walking through the city and I’ll see a child and think, ‘Hey, wait a second. What are you doing here?’” said Courtney Nam, who works downtown at a tech start-up. “You don’t really see that many kids.” And in an interview in 2016, the co-founder of PayPal Peter Thiel described San Francisco as “structurally hostile to families.”
“A report released on Tuesday by the San Francisco Planning Department said the building boom in the city, which for the most part has introduced more studios and one-bedroom apartments, was unlikely to bring in more families. For every 100 apartments in the city sold at market rates, the San Francisco school district expects to enroll only one additional student, the report said.”
Urbanist Richard Florida notes that as jobs become more specialized and longer hours are required, people are putting off having families. Initiatives such as San Francisco’s requirement to offer six weeks of fully paid leave for new parents, is designed to encourage families with children.
Meanwhile back in Metro Vancouver The Richmond News reports that the City of Richmond has voted down a Girl Guides campsite slated to replace the off-leash dog park at McDonald Beach Park on the Fraser River. As one relieved dog owner stated “This is a great place for socializing,” despite the fact that off-leash Iona Regional Park is nearby. Reasons offered for excluding the children’s camping included airport noise and fire ants.
Tara Culham passes along this article from Twisted Sifter.com where from Feb. 25 through April 30, 2017, “the Coachella Valley California and its desert landscape will become the canvas for a curated exhibition of site-specific work by established and emerging artists, whose projects will amplify and articulate global and local issues that may range from climate change to starry skies, from tribal culture and immigration to tourism, gaming, and golf.”
Perhaps one of the coolest pieces is Visible Distance / Second Sight an art installation by Jennifer Bolande for DesertX. The series of billboards at this location have had advertising images replaced with perfect images of the landscapes that the billboards are blocking.
“Each photograph is unique to its position along this route and at a certain point as one approaches each billboard, perfect alignment with the horizon will occur thus reconnecting the space that the rectangle of the billboard has interrupted.”
This is called “Burma-Shave” after the shaving cream company that made sequential advertising designed to be viewed from a car. And perhaps this is another glance at a 20th century way of advertising that may radically change as motordom moves on to car sharing and more heavily used public transit.
The Business Insider reports that American families are no longer packing up and spending their evenings and weekends shopping at the suburban mall, and it is expected that 25 per cent of the suburban malls in the United States, approximately 300 will be losing their anchor stores as the mainstream retailers like “Macy’s, JC Penney and Sears shutter hundreds of stores to staunch the bleeding from falling sales.”
“When anchor stores close, it can be hard to find businesses to replace them, because they occupy the multistory buildings at mall entrances that are often at least 100,000 square feet. If no replacement tenant is found, the loss could trigger a decades long downward spiral for the shopping mall and surrounding communities.”
Malls do not die quickly-they wither as stores are closed. “Within the last couple of months, several mall-based stores — including American Apparel, Abercrombie & Fitch, The Limited, Bebe, BCBG, and Wet Seal — have announced mass closures.”
Mall consultants say that the rise of online shopping and a change in consumer preferences are the main reasons for the decline of the mall. “Studies show that Americans are increasingly choosing to spend money on technology and experiences like vacations over apparel. When they shop for clothing, an increasing number of them are going to discount stores like TJ Maxx or ordering from Amazon.” The proliferation of cheaper dollar stores and discount clothing stores has also enhanced the decline.
To counter this trend ” experiential retail“, creating a mix of pubs, restaurants, theatres, trampoline areas and laser tag locations in malls is being instituted. The challenge is to create an experience that cannot be duplicated by the internet. ” That’s becoming our big competitor now — the web. We want to give people real life experiences.”
The excellent work that Dr. Larry Frank is undertaking at the University of British Columbia has been reinforcing the importance of walkable cities and places to keep citizens mentally sound, emotionally happy, and physically fit. The Australian journal “The Conversation” has now joined into the conversation and asks a simple question-what would happen if EVERYONE built 8,800 steps a day into their routine? Would this be a game changer for the health of citizens and for the budgets of nations that fund universal health care?
“Considering only the people aged over 55, at a minimum it would reduce the need for hospitalisation by 975,000 bed days per year, for a saving of $1.7 billion dollars. Given there are health benefits at other ages, and the less healthy Australians not represented in our study could benefit more, the actual benefit is likely to be even greater.”
The study classified people over 55 as inactive if they took 4,500 steps a day or less. An active senior took 8,600 steps a day. Just the simple act of doubling the steps, or increasing walking time to roughly 40 minutes a day reduced hospital days by a third.
“With governments searching for ways to reduce spending, and 16% of the federal budget being spent on health, tackling physical inactivity of individual patients, as well as ensuring our urban centres are walking- and cycling-friendly would make a major difference.”
Given these findings, does it make sense for Provincial governments to provide funding to municipalities to make communities more walkable for seniors, and provide safe comfortable linkages to shops and facilities? How can we further link the health benefits of walkable livable places to the well-being and longevity of residents?
Growing up on the Upper West Side in the 1970s, the artist Julia Jacquette saw plenty of the urban decay for which that era is known. … The typical city playground of that time was built as an afterthought, a corral for children, made of asphalt and chain-link fencing. The play equipment was sparse and isolated: a slide here, a seesaw there, a jungle gym. Nothing connected.
The new generation of adventure playgrounds, by contrast, was the product of careful planning, with linked play areas, often incorporating running water and sand. Most exciting for Ms. Jacquette was that the design allowed children to make up their own forms of play.
The concrete structures referred to ancient architectural forms: amphitheaters, pyramids and sunken gardens. And there was no one correct way for children to interact with them.
A 2008 view of the first adventure playground in Central Park, at West 67th Street. It opened in 1967.
The rise of the adventure playground, which is outlined in the book, was driven by architects like M. Paul Friedberg and Richard Dattner, who were the subject of a New York Times Magazine article in 1966 headlined “Putting the Play in Playgrounds.”
This movement, sparked by the parks commissioner Thomas Hoving, faced some resistance from traditionalists and defenders of the sanctity of Central Park’s green spaces. The whole saga was notable enough to provide the focus of at least a dozen other articles in The Times. (A 1967 editorial acknowledged that not all of the changes to Central Park then in progress were undesirable: “But it is essential that this new approach not get out of hand.”) …
The shift was prescient in another way. Facing tightening city budgets, the adventure playgrounds were originally funded by wealthy donors, like the Lauder Foundation, which gave hundreds of thousands of dollars for the earliest projects.
About three decades later, the adventure playgrounds faced a new challenge: safety regulations. In the late 1990s, there was a push to replace them. Eventually that drive ended in a compromise, and the playgrounds were only modified, dialing down the adventure, perhaps, but satisfying city litigators.
Ms. Jacquette … still treasures what remains of the original vision. “The architects who made these didn’t ever want to dictate play,” she said. “They offered the kids a vocabulary.”
“In a way,” she said, “I am still that kid.”
A similar story could be told about the rebuilding of the gravel-and-dirt playing field of Lord Roberts School In the West End by a local group of residents led by UBC prof Gary Pennington in 1986 – a unique, ‘hand-crafted-and-built’ design that took the adventure playground to a new level. It lasted for a few years, until maintenance and safety issues led to its almost complete demolition. Only a handful of trees on a bluff in the southeast corner remain of the original vision.
The last phase of the Point Grey Road Seaside Greenway work is well underway. Wider sidewalks, with further spacing from the road, and city-owned land for them reclaimed from residents’ encroachment.
Note the level sidewalks, with no driveway dips — making runner, ped and wheelchair travel much easier.
Sandusky is a town of 25,000 people with a metropolitan area of 77,000 located on the shores of Lake Erie in Ohio, about 115 miles or 185 kilometers from Detroit. This town was an important stop on the Underground Railroad, and was a place where slaves trying to reach Canada crossed Lake Erie to Amherstburg Ontario. It was once centred around a railroad, and hosted Charles Dickens in 1842. Sandusky has an extraordinary waterfront that is now being transformed out of industrial uses into recreational ones.
The town has embarked on an ambitious endeavour to relocate their city hall into the downtown near the waterfront, and to redevelop one of the old industrial piers, Jackson Pier into a recreational multi-purpose space for citizens, with potentially a water park and other amenities. In fact, the town just announced its public process was to commence.
Now you would think that taking an industrial pier and redeveloping it for the public would be something that would be embraced by residents. While walking, fishing and access to ferries will be maintained, parking at the pier end-something that used to be standard-might not be there. And that started an online petition against the proposed park as a “commercial decimation” of public property in downtown Sandusky. Why? People wanted the right to park at the end of the pier. In fact they want 40 spaces at the end of the pier.
You can go online and view a video with a proponent of Save Our Shoreline explain that people need access to water and need to drive to the end of the pier to get a “180 degree view” to feel better. There’s no mention of the recreational benefits of walking to the end of the pier, or the placement of a playground, or the benefits of a commercial establishment to provide food and a warm winter place for people enjoying the space. And no one has mentioned the Surgeon General of the United States’ advocacy of 20 minutes of walking a day, or the fact that in the 21st century view spaces can’t be taken up by cars. To create community demands walkable sociability, face to face interactions and ways to knit an old commercial pier into a greenscape opportunity for workers and potential downtown dwellers in the future.
Motordom, and the right of vehicles to champion potential public spaces, is still embraced by an older population that rues what was, and plans their future based on their own auto dependent experience. Let’s hope Sandusky will look across the water at Amherstburg in Ontario with King’s Navy Yard Park a ten acre waterfront park cited as one of Canada’s Historic Places, and now expanding to include more park space. And you will note-there is no parking along that waterfront.
There is a renaissance occurring in many American towns that are reclaiming their downtowns when bisecting highways are rerouted from town centres. Mayor Bob Crowell is the Mayor of Carson City Nevada. This is the capital of Nevada and has a population of about 55,000 people, located fifty kilometers or 31 miles from Reno Nevada. Since the last mid-century, Carson City hosted a highway right through their main downtown area, with the highway effectively bisecting both sides of the street and minimizing pedestrian and cycling movement. Traffic was through traffic, and there were metal fences on the side of the sidewalks to keep pedestrians further separated away from the travelled portion of the road.
The 21st century brought two changes-a plan for the new Interstate 580 to go around the downtown area, and a 1/8th cent sales tax devoted to community improvements, including a downtown revitalization project to bring the city’s heart back into a walkable, bikeable sociable place. The total cost of the new downtown streetscape revitalization plan was 11.4 million dollars.
“A big part of what we’re doing down here is to create not just a sense of place, but a sense of community,” says Carson City Mayor Bob Crowell. “Some will say, you know, you are just doing this for downtown businesses but we are doing it for the entire city so that we all share in what is happening with the diversification of northern Nevada.“
There are wider sidewalks and a bicycle lane, shorter pedestrian crossing distances on streets and new trees and light poles similar to those installed in this historic town in the 1800’s. Even the benches located on the main street echo the sandstone brick used to build the capital building in 1869, also situated on the main street. One side street has been closed and made into a public plaza and water park. This new McFadden Plaza is located directly across the street from the state capitol building.
There was a lot of discussion about the changes in the streetscape, but as the Director of the Downtown Business Association noted “Downtown Carson City has always been a gathering place for our locals to get together on a Friday night or Saturday. This should expand that to make it a fun, easy-to-get-to place to shop, have a bite to eat or visit local pubs any time of the day or day of the week.”
The proof is in the use, with the area fast becoming an arts and entertainment centre as more businesses open up along the Main Street. Carson City has its downtown back.
In my TEDx Talk on the Transformative Power of Walking I noted the importance of benches in making places for people to be sociable, feel accepted on the street, and to people watch, a very important human activity. I also cited a study completed by New York City’s Department of Transportation that showed that placing benches outside retail stores increased sales volumes by 14 per cent at the adjacent storefronts.
BBC’s Katie Shepherd examines an encouraging trend in North America where municipalities are now encouraging the placement of benches as a welcoming gesture outside of stores. Such actions by individual shop keepers often is the first step (no pun intended) to how to create a more coherent and customer friendly commercial area.
“American cities have an excess of roadway space,” says Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, an urban planning professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. The street seats movement aims to reclaim some of that road for the pedestrian” by making public space active and vibrant.
“In Washington, DC, the annual Park(ing) Day celebration, in which businesses and community organisers build temporary parks in metered parking spots, inspired a program to allow permanent parklets to be installed in approved spots along the District’s streets. Inside these new parklets, businesses put out benches and chairs for their customers and the public to use whenever tired feet need a rest.” New York City has two established programs encouraging public seating for transit riders and pedestrians, especially the elderly. In a program called “CityBench” the Department of Transportation reimburses businesses for public bench installation. Over 1,500 benches have been added by storekeepers so far. And, as in the case of New York City, taking out a parking lane of City Street for benches improves businesses’ bottom line.
“Portland runs a “street seat” programme that has inspired eclectic designs – from benches that look like giant lawn chairs to seats that double as planters reminiscent of grassy hillsides. “Community engagement, that’s what made them really popular and really fun,” said Leah Treat, director for the Portland Bureau of Transportation.”
Where is Vancouver’s program supportive of increased seating in commercial areas? Is this something that can be themed or provide a whimsical gesture to the street? Seniors say we don’t have enough benches for the elderly in the commercial areas. Would this be a good place to start?
CNN explores a burning question: why do commercial delivery couriers always favour right hand turns? Apparently these services save “millions of gallons of fuel each year, and avoids emissions equivalent to over 20,000 passenger cars.” with this one practice. By avoiding left turns, you are avoiding delays that can make for traffic build ups. Even a left turning phase adds approximately 45 seconds to a left turn.
And there is more-“a study on crash factors in intersection-related accidents from the US National Highway Traffic Safety Association shows that turning left is one of the leading “critical pre-crash events” (an event that made a collision inevitable), occurring in 22.2 percent of crashes, as opposed to 1.2 percent for right turns. ” Over 60 per cent of crashes happen while turning left, compared to 3 per cent of crashes involving right turns.
Information from data collected by New York City’s transportation planners conclude that pedestrians are three times more likely to be killed from left turn vehicles. The UPS carriers assess all the routes to avoid left hand turns to minimize idling time and increase time sensitivity. They have rebooted Google maps to reflect routes that minimize left hand turns, a practice developed in the 1970’s with the term “Loop Dispatch”.
While this works great for pre-planned routes, in daily driving routes are less random. But when you see a big company courier truck making a left turn in traffic, you will know they are deviating from the “Loop Dispatch” plan.
Granville Island has a different history than the rest of Vancouver. The CBC has prepared a short precis of the creation of the island which also includes three short films. It’s worth taking a look at the link. The island was built on a former First Nations fishing bank in the 1890’s after the Granville Street bridge’s completion. Many industrial businesses were housed here until the 1960’s when demand for sawmills started to wane.
“While the city now controlled most of the south False Creek shore, Granville Island was still under federal jurisdiction — and the city preferred to keep it that way, fearing the liability. So the island was transferred to the federal government’s Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) to handle the redevelopment.”
Ron Basford who was the Member of Parliament for Vancouver Centre championed the development of a mixed use space at this location. As local historian John Atkin notes“If Ron hadn’t picked up the baton and said, you know what, Granville Island’s going to be something interesting and unique, it probably wouldn’t have happened.”
After the city approved a redevelopment plan, “the public market opened in 1978, and what was originally the Vancouver School of Art moved to the island in 1980 after being renamed the Emily Carr University of Art and Design. ” Historian John Atkin states that what was different was the unique approach curating the changing uses on the island. Despite the fact that the times were all about major demolition of existing uses and redevelopment projects on massive scale, the island experienced “a gradual evolution” using the existing buildings.
Because this area was under Federal not municipal control, there were never proper sidewalks or separation of traffic from pedestrians. Industrial uses like the cement plant co-existed with retail uses. Some can celebrate this mix which as John says ” broke so many of the accepted rules of public space.”
I would also argue that it was because of the Federal jurisdiction that a shift to walking and biking modes on the island was not more supported. Automobiles could have been relegated to one holding area, and a tram (similar to the now defunct Downtown Historic Railway) could have connected users with the varying market areas.
Granville Island is now undertaking a process to determine its future in the next 40 years, but remains an important lesson in transforming spaces and uses gradually instead of in massive redevelopments. And as John Atkin notes “It’s part of that real seismic shift in the 1970s that creates the city we have today.”
In a vote that was really no surprise, The CBC reports that the City of Nanaimo’s ballot to approve an $80 million dollar borrowing for the building of a hockey arena was soundly defeated by a no vote of 80 per cent.
The proposed centre was going to be on a lot adjacent to the water that was also of historical significance for the local First Nations. The First Nations were apparently not consulted on Nanaimo’s choice.
The thought by Council was that such an arena would attract a World Hockey League team and provide an incubator for the downtown businesses and for the waterfront. Surprisingly, some council members are still pushing for a 5,700 seat hockey arena that could expand to 7,100 seats for concerts, as the magic bullet to move Nanaimo forward.
You’d think that such a vote would be a suggestion Council look at downtown revitalization, creating a better walking and biking environment, and promoting Nanaimo as a hub of business and activity. But no-“Councillor Jerry Hong says he was glad the vote was decisive, but that the project could be revisited.“I don’t think this is the end at all,” he said of Saturday night’s vote.”
Vancouver has gone through some questionable development proposals including casino and soccer stadium uses right on the downtown waterfront.These can be located anywhere, and it seemed strange to consider uses that would not take advantage of the extraordinary waterfront views. Well now it is Nanaimo’s turn. As reported by CBC a huge complex that could sport a World Hockey League team and rock concerts will be voted on by residents on March 11. Voters will be asked to approve $80 million dollars in borrowing, with 69.8 million to be spent on the centre, and close to 10 million being spent to clean up the waterfront location and to upgrade utilities. The site, located at One Port Drive is on the south side of Nanaimo’s downtown, is a last remnant of waterfront and has a mining and industrial use history.
In addition, 5.4 million dollars will be need to annually service the debt-this apparently is not going to result in increased property taxes. Of the 7 million dollars collected by Nanaimo Council for capital projects it is expected that two million dollars will be needed to annually service the debt.
The Yes for Nanaimo Event Centre group thinks that once the arena is built, it will house a sports team and will fill up with name events and concerts and recoup the money. It is seen as a catalyst for development in the community. The NoVote2017 factions says the building is in the wrong place, takes away a view and will result increased property taxes and municipal debt. As one proponent noted “construction of the building could balloon to hundreds of millions of dollars and borrowing that amount of money will result “in serious consequences” for a city the size of Nanaimo. And these consequences will be carried by Nanaimo residents, forcing us to make tough choices about critical infrastructure and cut services to pay for the arena and service that debt.”
The World Hockey League also influenced voters by announcing this week that they would commit to bring a team if the arena was built. It can seem surprising that a Council would be willing to underwrite such a large expenditure without a guaranteed income. Price Tags will be watching to see whether voters approve this huge amount of borrowing.