History & Heritage
February 25, 2021

The End of the Beginning: Single-Family Zoning in Berkeley

From Planetizen:

The Berkeley City Council, the very first city in the United States to implement single-family zoning, now commonly referred to as exclusionary zoning, has voted to completely upend that legacy.*

“In 1916, single-family zoning was born in Berkeley’s Elmwood neighborhood, forbidding the construction of anything other than one home on each lot. At the time, an ordinance stated that its intent was to protect ‘the home against the intrusion of the less desirable and floating renter class,'” reports Sarah Ravani in an article that preceded a late-night vote on February 23. …

By a unanimous vote of 9-0, the Berkeley City Council last night to end single-family zoning citywide, the latest in a string of U.S. cities to reform the planning and zoning status quo. …

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Did you know the City of Vancouver is swapping out old parking meters and installing a new system at a cost of 14 million dollars? As reported in this article by CBC News the city is getting rid of stand alone parking meters which served two parking spaces and going for new parking stations on the street which will serve entire blocks.

This type of parking and paying in one pay station is already pretty standard in Europe and in South America. In fact in Chile some commercial areas in cities had parking wardens  with the parking stations. Twenty years ago you parked your car on the street and  left your stick shift car in neutral, you paid at the parking station, and the parking warden pushed and bumped the vehicles together to squeeze one more in, or take one vehicle out.

Vancouver has about 11,000 parking spaces served by meters that will be decommissioned in favour of the pay stations. That will also alleviate the vandalism, and theft from coin meters. In Vancouver parking is a big revenue item for the City, bringing in about 60 million dollars a year pre-pandemic.

Of course there are some downsides in paying at  street parking stations. The City will be able to monitor them and you could be paying a premium for event parking on the street with the use of demand pricing. There will also be no more lucky finds of arriving at a  parking meter with already paid-for time.

In this interview with CBC’s Stephen Quinn on The Early Edition ,Vancouver Transportation Director Paul Storer  (one of the most thoughtful engineers and well versed to discuss sparky issues) talk about the changes that will be occurring with the new pay station system.

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The Walk Bike Places Conference is setting up to be a virtual conference again this year and the dates for it are June 15 to June 18. You can see the information about that conference here.

Last year the conference had a pretty hefty price tag that was beyond the reach of many people in the first few months of the pandemic. One of the architectural and walking critics in California dreamed up a whole bunch of the dialogue she imagined that would be discussed in each session based upon the name of the session, and of course the presenter. She shared that prose on her twitter account.  It kept the Twitterverse in stitches.

If anything can be said that is positive about this pandemic, there has been a great opportunity to participate in many free webinars and groups from across the globe. One of the best transportation conferences I have attended either in person or virtually was a two day online event provided by the AARP (American Association of Retired Persons). It had a litany of fine transportation thinkers and sessions from across the continent. And it was absolutely free.

The Walk Bike Places Conference is not free, and early registration for this event is 290 dollars  US which ends on March 19. That is 365 dollars Canadian, which is out of reach for many that are not having conference fees paid for by an employer.

But not to fret~why go to a National conference that costs over three Big Bills when you can go to an Global one for free?

Walk 21 is hosting their annual conference from Seoul Korea this year under the auspices of the Seoul Metropolitan Government. There are papers that have been submitted by speakers from all over the world, keynote presenters, and virtual events you will be able to attend online. The conference runs from May 26 to May 28 and it is Absolutely Free.

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We date contemporary ‘bike lane’ design back to the 1970s, when a cycling wave hit Europe and North America.  Here’s an historical example from Toronto:

Toronto’s cycling committee was established at city hall in 1975 to promote safe cycling. Four years later, the first bike lane in old Toronto was constructed on Poplar Plains Road.

There have been many iterations since, each once advancing more space for active transportation.
Vancouver was one of the first to evolve the completely separated route in a downtown – Dunsmuir and Hornby in 2010 after the Olympics.

Now other cities that have generated large volumes of bike traffic have realized they have to reallocate some highly contested space.  Like on the Brooklyn Bridge.

The New York Times:

… the city will finally address longstanding concerns about the Brooklyn Bridge, which has long been known as a particularly dangerous route for cyclists, and the Queensboro Bridge. Under the plan, the city will ban cars from the inner lane of the Manhattan-bound side of the Brooklyn Bridge to build a two-way bike lane.

The existing promenade area at the center of the bridge, which is elevated above the car lanes, will be used only by pedestrians. Cyclists will no longer be able to ride on the promenade, where there is currently a bike lane.

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