Governance & Politics
February 21, 2019

Community Meeting Tonight: West Vancouver B-Line

Should be an interesting evening in West Vancouver tonight, as the district holds its long-anticipated community meeting on the matter of the B-line rapid bus service proposed for Marine Drive.

Community Meeting – West Vancouver B-Line Service
West Vancouver Community Centre gymnasium
February 21, 6-9 p.m.

Presentation boards here.

Can’t make the meeting? The deadline to send feedback is one week from today (Feb 28 at 11:59pm) — here’s the link to submit online.

Why might tonight’s meeting be interesting? For all the wrong reasons, of course.

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It developed as a novel method to regulate speed on local roads, and ended up being more disturbing than helpful. Leeuwarden in the Netherlands had just been named European Culture Capital and wanted to celebrate by having the  anthem of northern Friesland played out when cars drove over the nearby highway at the correct speed.

As the BBC News reported that all sounds well and good and would have been entertaining for the drivers. But no one expected that the  sound created by driving over “strategically-laid rumble strips“, would travel to adjacent residences.  The melody when driven over at 60 km/h would be loud enough to disturb citizens who called the acoustical project ” psychological torture”.

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In Barcelona residents living around Plaza del Sol, a popular square told authorities they were experiencing noise at all hours of the night. With the aid of sensors placed on their balconies they were able to record night-time noise at 100 decibels which are “far higher than World Health Organization recommendations”. With that information the residents were able to go to their city council with data, insisting that council rethink the uses of their popular plaza for nocturnal party makers.

As reported by the BBC, the residents were participating in an European Union project “Making Sense”  that using the smart city philosophy gave data back to the citizens.

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From the Saskatchewan in Motion program coaching children to walk to school and be more active in their communities is this “Bingo” card designed for children to take out on their winter walks.

And as Wildernook Fresh Air Training enthuses “This weekend we’re taking a break from our regular neighbourhood walking game of I Spy to try out Saskatchewan in Motion’s Winter Walking Bingo Card.

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By Scot Bathgate:

Vancouver has gone to great lengths to develop a vibrant pedestrian and bicycle friendly downtown core with abundant transit options for commuters and residents alike.  Those priorities have been so successful that the number of cars traveling into the downtown core is the same as it was in the 1960s.  In addition, we see all around the city centre the removal of large parking structures once vital to accommodating the flood of single occupancy drivers commuting into the city are coming down.

With such a successful planning approach, why is the City sabotaging this ethos by continuing to demand private parking spaces for residential development in downtown Vancouver’s largest neighbourhood, the West End?

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We all know them and they are popular in cities~those blocky apartment buildings often with retail on the main floor . They’ve been called “stumpies” or “five-over-one” (relating to the condo units above the ground level retail use) but the form and function are completely familiar. Maybe a bit too common.

Justin Fox in Bloomberg Businessweek  describes this building form this way:  “The number of floors and the presence of a podium varies; the key unifying element, it turns out, is under the skin. They’re almost always made of softwood two-by-fours, or “stick,” in construction parlance, that have been nailed together in frames like those in suburban tract houses.” Fox sees these buildings everywhere~while 187,000 housing units were built in buildings of 50 units or more in the United States last year,  half of those units appear to be in this blocky mid-rise form. The balloon or stick framing construction costs appear to be from 20 to 40 percent less than buildings with “concrete, steel or masonry.”

The building method can take advantage of cheaper casual labour , and construction lumber is plentiful.

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I have been writing that there is one simple and inexpensive way to make roads safer for everyone and that is to lower the  vehicular speed limits. According to the European Transport Safety Council Switzerland is one of the safest countries in Europe to travel due to enforced speed limits that cap travel on highways at 120 km/h. Those speeds are strictly enforced by automatic cameras, with a rising scale of fines depending on how much over the limit drivers were travelling.

Via Neil Arason,  the National Post  discusses the  new 80 km/h speed limits that have been enforced in France over the last six months. Road deaths have been increasing in France, prompting the federal government to lower speed limits on 400,000 kilometers of “B” class road from 90 km/h to 80 km/h in July 2018.  Fifty-five percent of all road deaths occur on these Class “B”  roads that have no central divider or guard rail. In 32 percent of the fatalities  on these secondary roads the major factor was speed.

As The Guardian observed “The government has compared the 80 km/h limit..to the laws enacted since 1973 requiring the use of seat belts, and the installation of automatic speed radars in 2002. Those laws also drew the ire of thousands of drivers, but contributed to nearly four decades of declines in automobile deaths in France, which reached a historic low of 3,268 in 2013.”

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The drumbeat is getting louder.

From The New Yorker:

Uber’s most significant contribution to mobility in cities may be our increasing lack of it. …

… (Ridehailing companies like Uber) create immediate declines in bus and rail ridership—declines so steep that, in the next eight years, some transit agencies would have to increase service by more than twenty-five per cent just to retain their normal ridership. Cities struggling to keep subways and buses running are being drained of revenue by tech companies and a reserve army of cars.

These cars, in turn, coagulate the arteries of the city, blocking the remaining fleet of buses, causing a downward spiral of decreasing ridership and growing traffic. …

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Philanthropy is a critically important part of Canadian life.  However, the 2018 Giving Report finds that the current model of philanthropy in Canada is unsustainable. Why is it that philanthropic donations by individuals and families have been in decline since 2006? Does rising income inequality and wealth concentration among older Canadians mean that younger generations have less to give? How can we ensure that charitable organizations remain properly funded and can continue to provide vital support?

To start the conversation, we welcome Calvin Fong, the Vancouver Foundation’s Director of Donor Services; David Love, President of the Vancouver chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and Principal of LOVEfundraising, and Jeanette Ageson, Publisher of the online newspaper The Tyee.  Then it’s your turn to ask questions, make observations and express opinions. It’s lunchtime, so please feel free to bring your lunch.

 

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 21

12:30 – 1:30 PM

FREE EVENT Registration is Required

SFU Vancouver at Harbour Centre, Room 1415
515 West Hastings St.

 

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