That’s Tilo Driessen – the Park Board’s Manager of Research and Planning – looking over a map he had a hand in producing almost two decades ago:
Back in the mid-90s, he had his first temporary job with the City, working on the Greenways staff team that had been formed as a consequence of a Gordon Campbell initiative (he was Mayor in 1991). The Urban Landscape Task Force is now remembered for its report – Greenways, Public Ways – and its Chair, Moura Quayle, for whom Tilo was a grad student at UBC.
Once approved in principle, the job was to figure out how and where a network of greenways might go. Traditional thinking and initial mapping suggested the obvious: natural, linear and man-made rights-of-way. In other words, routes along the coast, the ridge and perhaps some rail lines. But that wasn’t enough. The idea was to create a web of routes within walking distance of every resident, and to serve them with landscape and amenities that would change how people thought about their city.
Tilo had an idea. Why not map all the places in the city where they served espresso, and all the bike shops? The result was this map:
By this time, of course, the coffee craze was well underway – and, no surprise, there are concentrations along West End streets, Kits, Gastown and the Drive. Likewise the bike shops. And then large expanses of white space. But along with other maps – more to come later – it added a layer with which to begin outlining a system of connected greenways that now serves us today.
Which you can see here.