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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In the City of Delta there has been a council switcheroo, with the old city manager coming back as the Mayor, and the previous Mayor, octogenarian Lois Jackson coming back to “support” the Mayor as a Councillor. New Mayor and former city manager George Harvie is backing the same old agenda as Jackson did, once again demanding a multi million dollar pedestrian overpass at 52nd Street and Highway 17 linking the new golf course Tsawwassen Springs development (where the Mayor resides) with the Tsawwassen Mills mega mall.

You can see in the current design shown below that there are simple improvements that could be made to make the crossing more comfortable and safer for pedestrians and cyclists. And one of the things that Delta could do immediately is lower the speeds on 52nd Street, which the city has posted at 60 km/h at this location.

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“The truth about a city’s aspirations isn’t found in its vision,” says Brent Toderian. “It’s found in its budget.”

“Budgets,” confirms Sam Sullivan, “are the sincerest form of rhetoric.”

So when it comes to the priority that the Parks Board places on cycling, don’t bother with its plans or the commissioners’ affirmations.  Look to its capital plan, where you will find … almost nothing.

Here’s the 2019-22 capital plan.  Check page 36 for the Parks Board, where you will find in the chart $2.4 million for “skate &bike facilities/tracks” – a pittance in the scheme of things.  By comparison, the City will spend $3 million just for the Bute greenway and Helmcken-Comox greenway extension.

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The ancient CP railway track continues to change into one of Vancouver’s treasures.

While there a few days ago, I was reminded that the Arbutus Greenway became the subject of a classic battle between Vancouver’s citizens and a small band of preservationists, who wanted this 42-acre strip of Vancouver’s land to remain a private park for local able-bodied walkers — exclusivity defined.

That noisy clash of wills seems to me now like a preview in miniature of the upcoming one over the vast acreage of Vancouver’s land now exclusively zoned for low density. A.K.A. the “City Plan”. Blogger and pundit fodder for many years, I should think.

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From the New York Times Canada Letter:

When a senior American cabinet secretary shows up for an interview, it usually involves a motorcade of sleek, black cars complete with a “security package,” as they euphemistically call the guys with guns.

When Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s foreign minister, showed up this week for our public discussion at the University of Toronto, she came by bicycle.

Through the snow.

She didn’t seem to think much of it. This is Canada, after all.

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Peter delivered this talk at the Get Inspired Talks, on October 20, 2018. .
For decades Peter Ladner has been trying out better ways to get around Vancouver than driving alone at a huge cost. In this video, Peter describes how we can move around Vancouver using ways that are easier, healthier, cheaper and more convenient.   Peter is chair of the David Suzuki Foundation board and the Better Transit and Transportation Coalition. He is a former Vancouver City Councillor, TransLink board member, business owner and journalist.
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