Cycling
August 15, 2018

Late Summer in the City as Gym

By late summer, we’re in shape.

Good weather, longer days, more trips on bikes, more running, more hiking, more walking.

Younger people are literally using the city as a gym.   On the bike routes, cyclists are stronger, moving faster, more in control – and showing off their bodies.  Ironically, even as the air quality worsens, the city is feeling healthier.

And looking good.

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Vancouver’s Mobility Future: Automating Policy into Sustainable Results

As the City prepares beyond the Transportation 2040 Plan, it is strategically transitioning to be ready for the full realm of automated, connected, electric, shared vehicles (ACES) while embracing road space reallocation to sustainable transportation modes, more rapid transit and a high speed rail to Seattle.  As a Smart City Challenge finalist within Canada, the City is preparing for the future of mobility through innovation and partnerships as it continues its journey to move more people by walking, cycling and transit while eliminating fatalities and serious injuries.

Speaker: Dale Bracewell, Manager of Transportation Planning for the City of Vancouver

Learn more

Friday, August 24

1–2:30 p.m. (PDT)

Free webinar, but reservations are required. Reserve on Eventbrite

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One of the Price Tags editors has just returned from a week in Switzerland driving across the country. There is a major difference in driving in Switzerland~speed cameras are everywhere~on local streets, at the entrances to small towns, and on every major highway. The fines for speeding are steep~drive 6 to 10 km/h over the speed limit and you are looking at a fine of 100 Swiss Francs, roughly equivalent to $135 Canadian dollars. Increase that to driving 16 to 20 km/h over the posted speed limit and you are looking at a whopping 250 Swiss Francs, in the $330 Canadian dollar range. You can take a look at the speeding fine structure and how easy it is to lose your licence by speeding here.

Between 2001 and 2006 Switzerland enforced speed limits resulted in a fatality decrease of 15%  per year, bringing road deaths down from 71 to 31. Enforced slower speeds (the maximum travel speed is 120 km/h and that is rigidly enforced) has made Swiss motorways the safest according to the European Transport Safety Council. The roads are also easier to drive on, with consistent motorist behaviour and plenty of reaction time due to the speed conformity on the motorways.

A new poll conducted by Mario Canseco shows that 70 people in British Columbia are now supportive of the use of a camera system similar to the Swiss to enforce road speed limits in this province.

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A bold-looking mixed-use Oakridge Centre is rising in the city, on 28 acres, at the site of a Canada Line transit station. Henriquez Partners Architects have designed something that is billed as the largest development in Vancouver’s history. Completion date looks to be 2025, costs somewhere around $5B, with 2,548 new residential units, and two 40+ storey towers among 12 other buildings. And it’s right in the middle of a predominantly single-family residential area, with rising density nearby.

Part of the design rationale is, however, specifically to generate density at an important transit hub.  Mission accomplished, it seems to me.

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We’re reviving a Vancouver-oriented Price Tags Golden Oldie from December 2012 that rings with resonance today, as we enjoy lively and informed debate about when subway and LRT are appropriate.

Given that the VCC-Clark Drive to Arbutus section is funded and underway, the Arbutus to UBC section is getting scrutiny. Given UBC’s involvement and possible financial support, the impending Jericho development and the lengthy low-density section of the proposed line, not to mention Skytrain vs. LRT, it’s fertile ground for thinking.

So many of the topics discussed in 2012 are relevant today, perhaps in a different manner on the Arbutus to UBC section.

The Editors of Price Tags

Bob Ransford discussed the push by the Vancouver Council to get a rapid-transit line down Broadway in his Vancouver Sun column.  Lots of good points.

I sent it off to Human Transit blogger Jarrett Walker to see if he had any counterpoints.  Oh yeah.

So here are the two of them, with Jarrett’s remarks italicized along the way:

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Finalists are ready for your vote after the 450 proposed designs are now whittled down to a nifty 6.  Learn more about the process and contest HERE and HERE.

I’m hoping for the best for my favourite (“Guard Bird”), but there are merits in practicality and aesthetics to all of the finalists.

Of 450 submissions, 30 shortlisted designs, and much deliberation, a jury panel has narrowed down the final 6 designs to be prototyped and available for testing!

Visit them and vote at:

Monday, August 13, 3pm to 7pm
Adanac and Vernon Plaza

Tuesday, August 14, 3pm to 7pm
Arbutus Greenway and 10th Ave

Wednesday, August 15, 3pm to 7pm
800 Robson St

Thursday, August 16, 11am to 2pm
Helena Gutteridge Plaza in front of City Hall

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Ackery’s Alley is another addition to people places in Vancouver, and is set to launch with a fun party:

  • Thursday August 9
  • 7 – 9 pm
  • Behind (east ) of the Orpheum Theatre (near 675 Smithe St)

It’s another welcome transformation of underutilized city space.  It joins Alley Oop (more HERE), Jim Deva Plaza (HERE), Bute and Robson (more HERE) and the 800 block of Robson Street (more HERE). I’ll bet I’ve missed a few.

Funding for Ackery’s Alley was based in part on a Kickstarter campaign. At last count, 428 people had pledged $ 64,736 to make it happen.

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In the City Fix  three researchers from WRI Ross Centre for Sustainable Cities have been examining what cities need to do to adopt TDM (Transport Demand Management) systems. And they have come up with some compelling points.

In 2002, the average London driver spent half their travel time sitting in traffic, and road transport accounted for 95 percent of fine particle pollution in the city center. To combat these problems, Greater London’s first mayor, Ken Livingstone, turned to congestion charging…. Unlike in Stockholm, where prices differ during peak and off-peak hours and tolls charge drivers every time they pass a control point, London drivers face a simple, one-time charge of £11.50 ($15.90) to enter the zone, measuring 13 square miles (21 kilometers).

Since the congestion charge introduction in 2003,  pedestrian space has increased and  car usage has declined. This is due to three factors~ a “centralized institutional structure and strong political will, extensive public communication and consultation, and improved public transport and fare integration.”

With 33 boroughs in London the establishment of Transport for London by Mayor Ken Livingstone established a framework to implement congestion charging. The Mayor framed less congestion as improving “economic competitiveness and livability”.

Public outreach on congestion charges was assisted with a network of people who understood the policy and supported it, and public information was readily available.  “The team initiated an intensive program of advertisements, using TfL’s website, newspapers, public radio and television to educate the public about how it worked and what it would mean for residents and commuters. They addressed questions like, what is the congestion charging, how much is it, and how do you pay.”  They also integrated many of the suggestions from public outreach into the design and roll out of the congestion charges.

Lastly, knowing that “the more you invest in roads, the more congestion you create” Transport for London added 300 new buses on the day the congestion charges began, rolled out the “Oyster” transit cards, and made it easy to pay fares through different applications.  “The strategy was to engage both the supply and demand sides of transport simultaneously.”

Revenue from the congestion charging which is estimated to be approximately 2.5 billion in the first 15 years has been “strictly reinvested in London’s transport improvements, especially for public and non-motorized transport.”

In the first year of implementation of congestion charges private car usage fell by 30 per cent and bus usage increased by 20 per cent.  Low transit fares meant a 40 per cent increase in rush hour passengers entering the congestion charge area by bus. Cycling use increased by 230 per cent since 2000. Crashes involving cyclists decreased, and carbon emissions decreased by 20 per cent.

The benefits to the city are evident. “One estimate suggests the net economic benefits of congestion charging in London’s first year of implementation reached £50 million ($78 million in 2004). 

While services like Uber and delivery vans are new transport challenges, enhanced pedestrian areas and protected bike lanes claim space previously used by cars. London is now considering expanding the congestion charging zone city-wide and expanding electronic tolls to charge motorists on time of day and amount of mileage.

The newly released Mayor’s Transport Strategy  now strives for  an 80 per cent modal split of walkers, cyclists and transport users by 2041. In fifteen years London has demonstrated the effectiveness of congestion charges in achieving a greener, healthier city with a policy understood and embraced by its residents.

The takeaway? The need for Metro Vancouver to be strongly supported by all municipalities in congestion pricing strategies, the necessity for good public outreach, and the ramping up of better and more consistent transit service.  London has shown that their road pricing model works.

 

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From the BBC a picturesque story about the city’s unique double-decker trams, a made in Hong Kong product that still faithfully serves the local streets. Photographer Irene Flanhardt has captured the images of these trams, including a few tram oldsters that are still making the rounds.

Trams have been in use in Hong Kong for over 110 years. This system is the only one globally still operating with double-decker trams only. It is also one of only five “non-heritage” trams using double-decker seating. The others are in Great Britain, Egypt, Oranjestad, Aruba and Dubai.

Take a look at the video below prepared by BBC News.

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