Public Transit
January 16, 2019

South of Fraser Rail Proposal Includes Salvo Fired at Surrey’s McCallum


Former Township of Langley Mayor Rick Green is advocating for 99km of passenger rail to connect Surrey to Chilliwack.

In a letter posted on Medium yesterday, Green’s proposal includes a map depicting a starting point at the Pattullo Bridge, with stops throughout Surrey, the Langleys, Aldergrove, Abbotsford, and ultimately ending in Chilliwack.

The image is notable for harkening back to the days of paper creases and highlighters (the cocktail napkin did not make publication), and for showing the world the lengths we may go to service Sumas.

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From our local correspondents Michael and Dianna:

Recently, in a break between rain squalls, Toronto transplant Himy Syed chalked an urban ‘labyrinth’, featuring our solar system.

With orbits looping across the pavers at the False Creek end of Manitoba Street, the elaborate chalk art includes a mysterious Kuiper Belt object thought to circle the sun, far beyond Pluto’s orbit.

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Our friends at small places have produced another multi-sensory feast of city cycling splendour, this time featuring Delft, Netherlands — just one stop on their summer 2018 tour of northern Europe.

“Old enough to have a historic centre, large enough for it to be vibrant, yet small enough to make that centre mostly car-free. The suburbs of these cities grew up in the decades where protected bike lanes were standard on all streets, avoiding the awkward middle ring of cities like Amsterdam and The Hague.”

You can almost smell fragrant, summer air while all manner of bikes criss-cross intersections, public squares and underpasses. Bells brrrringing, hair flying in the wind, people smiling — where are the cars?

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Thank you, loyal podcasts listeners, for your eagle ears:

Released yesterday (New Year’s Eve), episode #13 “Grading Vancouver Council, by The Independents” was indeed missing 10 minutes of dialogue.

It’s fixed, so be sure to check it out now.

Not yet a subscriber or casual listener? Here’s a preview of our 2018 year-end episode:

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This week, during my chat with Karen Ward about the human toll of the opioid, health and homelessness crises all running in lockstep on Vancouver’s downtown eastside, I referenced the mortality rate from opioid overdoses…and it struck me later that this needed a proper, not off-hand, fact check. (Price Talks Ep12—listen here.)

Is the situation in our inner city really as bad as in places like Lesotho or Guatemala? (“Exercise a high degree of caution” about these countries, says the Government of Canada.) And should this neighbourhood carry the stigma of crisis and chaos on its own, or are there issues of significance elsewhere in the city…in the region….or across the province?

The animated map on this page tells the story, courtesy of data provided by the BC Centre for Disease Control and the BC Coroners Service — you can access their public data on the topic of overdose deaths here.

Note the tiny spot in the inset map; the downtown eastside neighbourhood has consistently been at South Africa-Honduras levels of homicide death rate since 2010 — of course, not from homicides, but from drug overdose deaths, typically correlated with measurable levels of tainted drug supply (and within that, typically fentanyl).

Overall, the scope and pace of tragedy across our province is unprecedented and utterly alarming.

Where’s our travel advisory? Where’s the emergency response?

And is the brightening of the colours for 2018 indicative that we’re nearing the light at the end of this tunnel, or will Q4 numbers cast a darker shadow over even more of the province?

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In August, our friends at Cambie Report — with their podcast guest, political science researcher and professor Stewart Prest — devised a new political spectrum as part of their analysis of parties and candidates participating in the fall municipal election campaign in Vancouver.

What began as an idea turned into a crowdsourcing experiment for positioning Vancouver’s political parties and mayoral candidates as points on a new kind of matrix.

Bound by the traditional Left-Right ideological spectrum (X-axis), and an Urbanist-Conservationist continuum (Y-axis), the chart is a sociopolitical version of Gartner’s well-known technology ranking methodology the Magic Quadrant.

Co-creator Ian Bushfield of Cambie Report explains:

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Uytae Lee of About Here recently teamed up with The Mix to do a short primer on the insanity that has been Vancouver’s housing market for the past decade-plus.

Consider it a stocking stuffer for the out-of-town urbanist in your life who still hasn’t gotten the full story.

The Mix’s website also includes a complete transcription of the video.

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The following video features new Vancouver city councillor Colleen Hardwick speaking to the amendment, drawn from the “Making Room” housing program — itself an outcome of the staff-driven 10-year Housing Vancouver Strategy — that would allow duplexes across the city.

It’s actually two parts, featuring…

  1. Candidate Hardwick at a public hearing in September, on concerns about the process used to approve the original “duplex motion”; and
  2. Councillor Hardwick addressing the council amendment about a process, proposed in November, to facilitate the rescinding of the motion.

(Hint: The first part is not like the second part.)

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This fall, we launched Price Talks, our new podcast series. Price Talks are conversations with past, current, and emerging leaders in urbanist thought across Vancouver and BC’s South Coast — in academia, advocacy, business, media, politics, and urban planning and development.

You can subscribe to Price Talks via Apple Podcasts, Google PlaySpotify or Stitcher – scroll down to see an episode listing and descriptions below.

We’re having fun with some fascinating guests, and we’ll close out 2018 with a dozen long-form conversations on the year’s top issues, and looking ahead to the new year.

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Six years after the adoption of Transportation 2040 by city council, work continues to expand and connect the downtown Vancouver cycling network.

Up next are upgrades to an extension of the Richards Street protected bike lane, from Cordova to Pacific, to provide better access to downtown, and of course the commensurate infrastructure for the safety and comfort for people of all ages and abilities. (Can you say triple-yay?)

An open house is happening next week where the public can ask questions and provide feedback on the proposed design:

Thursday, December 6
4pm to 8pm

Vancouver Public Library, Central Branch
Promenade Trade Fair (North End)
350 W Georgia Street

Can’t make it? You can be part of the consultation — check out the design boards and information displays, then:

 

 

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