August 2, 2019

How the Park Board Tolerates an Unsafe Space

If a work environment is reported to tolerate inappropriate and hostile interactions, in tone or vocabulary, it can be considered an unsafe space – and even debated in the national news.  But here it’s possible for an environment to be physically unsafe and, in the case of the Vancouver Park Board, be considered business as usual.

An example from Peter, an unaffiliated resident who cares about this kind of thing:

On May 30th of this year, Bikehub informed us that the Park Board had decided to implement a “quick fix” this summer to the Seaside Greenway that currently goes through the Kits Beach parking lot (an absolutely disgraceful and very dangerous section of what is otherwise fantastic bike infrastructure). Apparently, this is said “quick fix”: Read more »

They’re on their way, Vancouver is behind, it’s going to be messy, but it’s inevitable: electric scooters and, no doubt, a whole bunch of related technologies.

Thomas sends along a piece from The Economist that describes what’s happening in Europe.  (Unfortunately, the whole piece is behind a paywall, but here are the opening paragraphs):

Streets ahead

Europe is edging towards making post-car cities a reality

 Hurtling along a “cycle highway” by the River Scheldt in Antwerp recently, Charlemagne (the author) only noticed the electric scooter when it was too late. Spinning tyre met stationary scooter, British journalist separated from Belgian bike and Anglo-Saxon words were uttered. How irritating and obnoxious these twiggy little devices can seem with their silly names (“Lime”, “Poppy”, “Zero”) and their sudden invasion of the pavements of every large European city. Everywhere they seem to be in the way, abandoned precisely at those points where prams, pedestrians or speeding journalists need to pass.

And yet your columnist refuses to hold a grudge, because the rise of the electric scooter is part of a broader and welcome phenomenon: the gradual retreat of the car from the European city. Across the continent, apps and satellite-tracking have spawned bike- and scooter-rental schemes that allow city-dwellers to beat the traffic. Networks of cycle paths are growing and creeping outwards; that of Paris will by next year have grown by 50% in five years. Municipal governments are lowering speed limits, introducing car bans and car-free days, pedestrianising streets and replacing car parks with bike parks.

Read more »

While in Tel Aviv, I signed up for ‘Lime’ – one of the scooter-share services in Israel.  Within about ten minutes, I loved it.  The electric scooter filled a mobility niche I wasn’t quite aware of: short trips for which even bike-share seemed excessive.  Or when transit and taxis were infrequent or unavailable.  Or just because it was the most accessible mode to choose when leaving the apartment, often right there at the curb. 

(Here’s what scooter-use looks like along the waterfront.)

But it was also was apparent that scooters were too successful for their own good: lots of road user conflicts, parking problems, safety issues, a general sense of anarchy after only a year or two of their introduction.

It seemed that the City didn’t quite know what to do with this popular but uncontrolled mode of transport, or so far hadn’t had effective enough enforcement – no doubt to considerable complaint from the populace.

I therefore wasn’t at all surprised when the following notice arrived in my inbox today from Tel Aviv Lime.  My guess is that the City has come down heavy on scooter-share companies (insider perspective welcome from TLV) and these ‘guidelines’ are the result . PT prints them in full as a helpful guide for this Province and City, which so far has made the scooter effectively illegal everywhere. 


TLV Shared Mobility Regulations

Dear Limers,

We, as Israel’s largest micro mobility service provider, take upon ourselves the responsibility to help all users of the urban space adapt to this mobility revolution and to reduce any disturbance that may be caused by our scooters.

On August 1st, new regulations will come into force and we want to tell you about them and the requirements of the law. Let’s all respect them and act accordingly:

Read more »

Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of three- (arguably four-) storey frame apartment buildings were constructed in Vancouver after the Second World War.  Here’s a classic at Comox and Bute in the West End.

Though (not arguably) the blandest architectural housing ever built in this city (at least Vancouver Specials had balconies), it supplied quick accommodation to meet the post-war demand for affordable rental apartments in non-car-dependent locations. That’s how we handled housing crises in the past: lots and lots of cheap, plain housing and apartments.

So what happens to that stock when it gets old?  Here’s an example of what that same apartment block looked like last week:

Read more »

The Sustainability Group at the City of Vancouver is hiring a Green Building Engineer to help us meet our Greenest City goals and respond to the climate emergency.

Link here.

The Green Building Engineer will lead the development and implementation of new policies, demonstration projects, pilot programs, and regulatory requirements to significantly reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions associated with existing detached and commercial/multifamily buildings in Vancouver. We’re committed to increasing the diversity of our workforce and encourage everyone to apply.

Demonstrated professional experience planning and managing energy audits and renovation projects for existing buildings would be a highly valuable asset. Applicants are encouraged to share their mix of skills and experience with us.

Read more »