“Staycation” seems to have caught on. The idea of staying home for your vacation may be a new concept for those who have reason to get out of town, but, really, where better a place and time to be than Vancouver in the summer.
The streets of the West End are blissful: quiet, green, uncrowded. And there are discoveries to be made – like a transformed Nelson Park.
It took years, and lots of consultation (hey, it’s right next to Mole Hill; you can imagine.) The results are better than I expected. The park is nicely divided into comfortable spaces by the desire lines – paths placed where people really want to go – each for different users, including of course dogs and their friends.
Overall, Nelson Park seems so much more European.
If there’s one thing I’m noticing this summer, it’s how European the centre of Vancouver is beginning to feel. As more people walk and cycle, as the number of cars diminish, you can feel that the Downtown and the West End are not that far from being reapportioned, where more space is allocated to handle the disproportionate number of people not in cars.
Nothing made that clearer than Canada Place this afternoon. Thousands of people were swarming towards the waterfront, filling up all the space on the sidewalk – but there was no place else to go. They weren’t allowed on the roadway – even though there lots of empty space there, given the few number of cars.
It was crazy. The cops were keeping the road clear for literally a handful of vehicles and access to the parking, but at the expense of the crowd.
People were already spilling off the curbs, jaywalking, and generally doing what made common sense. But the police were charged with their duty. The priorities were all wrong.
My hunch: when Vancouverites get used to car-less streets during the Olympics, we’re not going back to this way of managing things. Cars will not take priority over tens of thousands of feet.