Design & Development
March 18, 2019

For West Van buses, ‘Park Royal’ isn’t

It’s not a park, and, at least for buses, not very royal.  Nor for their riders, waiting in the rain:


This is the stop for all West Van buses heading east, north and south.  It’s really a slightly enlarged bus stop serving as a transit exchange, except without sidewalk capacity, real-time signage, adequate seating and overhead protection.  Forget any prospect of a washroom.

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The Planning Institute of British Columbia South Coast Chapter  is offering an afternoon  workshop on Accessibility~Understanding the Why and Then the How.

We invite urban planners, policy makers, architects, builders, engineers, park planners and anyone else who can learn from meeting people with various and levels of abilities that face barriers in the built environment. Let us learn how to make the built environment easy and safe to navigate from a mother with a baby carriage, grandmother with bags of groceries, Andrea Bocelli and friends, to Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye

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There is a need to utilize public structures and infrastructure more effectively, and a need to create more great public space.

One area that has been greatly underused is the underside of bridges. At Price Tags, we wrote about the incredible performance of Netty Wild’s Uninterrupted under the Cambie Bridge near Cooper’s Park in the summer of 2017. That performance followed the artist’s study of the life-cycle of the salmon, had rave reviews, and was packed out all summer. It was a great use of the space below the bridge, and the use of the bridge’s surfaces in the performance added greatly to the spectacle’s impact.

Toronto has taken things a step further in the innovative public space work on “the Bentway”, a 1.75 kilometre long space underneath the Gardiner Expressway which is maintained by the Bentway Conservancy. With a unique group of public place planners and city builders the project is part of the High Line Network, which works to repurpose existing underused infrastructure into new public spaces.

As written up in Design Boom, “The Bentway offers year-round activities and events, including gardens, a skate trail, recreational amenities, public markets, public art, special exhibitions, festivals, theatre and musical performances, and more.”

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It is the opposite of “build it and they will come”-removing the Seattle Alaska Way viaduct has connected the city in a way not seen in decades and  there has been a flush of new real estate interest in the area. Projects that were built before the viaducts were removed now will enjoy unimpeded vistas of the Bay and mountains, plus a shore side park space that has yet to be realized.

As Seattle Times Mike Rosenberg reports “The transformation of an area marked by furniture stores, parking garages and century-old buildings has already begun. In all, about two dozen major projects have launched within a quarter-mile of the doomed section of the viaduct in the past five years, with more on the way.”

Of course many of the projects would have proceeded because of the location in Seattle’s downtown, but viaduct removal appears to be responsible for rising values. As Rosenberg writes “assessed values of commercial property within a quarter-mile of the viaduct have soared 59 percent since 2011, while commercial properties in the rest of the city are up 38 percent in that span, according to an analysis of data from the King County Assessor’s Office.” 

Median building sales prices have increased, as well as rents for office buildings and apartments. Rosenberg calculates that since 2011 a total of $7 billion dollars in property sales occurred within 400 meters of the viaduct, $3 billion dollars more than the cost of taking the viaduct down.

But  the viaducts are being replaced by a controversial tunnel for vehicular traffic, as well as an at grade road up to  eight lanes wide.

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Via Tom Durning, Claire Neary  writing in the Globe and Mail pictured herself as pretty self-reliant and relatively agile at traversing her city by foot or bicycle, transit or vehicle. But as she describes it once she had a baby and started to traverse the city with a baby carriage she learned all about the need for accessible ramps, automatic door openers and of course washrooms big enough to accommodate a baby stroller and a place to change a baby’s diaper.

The lack of easy mobility she had been used to was stifling~”My stroller was a no-go on the old streetcars nearby, I found buses awkward and intimidating and my closest subway station had an elevator still under construction and a terrifyingly narrow escalator. I occasionally braved these modes of transportation with my daughter tucked into a baby carrier, but she often screamed so much as I tried to strap her in that I gave up entirely. My world got a whole lot smaller.”

And that was in the summer.

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Vancouver is getting a major Skytrain extension, a rapid transit line through the second-largest employment corridor in the Province of BC.  It’s the Broadway corridor.

In preparation, the City of Vancouver is working on a plan for this corridor, and you can get in on the process. Remember, you’ll get your say, but not a veto.  Not, that is, until you elect Ken Sim (or his replacement) and the NPA into control of council, provided, of course, that you live somewhere in the vicinity of the area.

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February 22, 2019

Vancouver’s Jericho Lands are essentially 90 acres of greenfield, located amid some of Canada’s most expensive and most desirable real estate.  [Ocean Views!!]

Here’s your chance to have your say about the evolving plan. Remember, though, Ken Sim and the NPA did not win council — so you won’t get a veto, even if that were possible here, given who owns the land.

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While everyone waits to hear what the Provincial government is recommending for the new Massey Bridge/Tunnel/Fraser River crossing, it appears that Delta NDP MLA Ravi Kahlon spilled the beans that it is not one, but three options that will be developed and released for public comment in early 2020.

As Sandor Gyarmati reports in the Delta Optimist the Province announced in November 2018 that the multi-billion dollar ten lane Massey Bridge, a pet project of the previous Provincial Liberal government was axed.

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Simon Fraser University’s City Program is offering this two-day intensive course on how to develop the principles and strategies needed to plan healthy communities.

Building on recent work and new research on the relationship between urban design and public health, your instructors will introduce you to the Healthy Built Environment (HBE) Linkages Toolkit and provide guidance on how to develop a health impact assessment.

The course will be interactive, with guest speakers from the Metro Vancouver public health community, but also grounded in the practical demands of local government policy development, design and implementation.

Instructors and Guest Speakers

Neal LaMontagne, adjunct professor, UBC School of Community and Regional Planning

Claire Gram, Population Health Policy and Project Lead, Vancouver Coastal Health

Dr. Mark Lysyshyn, Medical Health Officer, Vancouver Coastal Health

Charito Gailling, Project Manager, BC Centre for Disease Control

Lianne Carley, Vancouver Coastal Health Population Health Team

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