May 29, 2007

Moscato on the Streetcar

Derek Moscato, a previous Price Tags contributor (here’s an issue he did on No. 3 Road), is a regular contributor to the Province.  Here’s his latest column on the Vancouver streetcar proposal.

… given Vancouver’s transit crunch, you have to wonder why it’s taken so long to resurrect the streetcars — and why TransLink bosses and other civic leaders mostly continue to overlook one of the best ways to ease congestion in the city core and beyond.

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“City of Bikes”?  Well, more than usual: It’s Bike to Work Week.

Bike to Work Week starts tomorrow! The forecast is for sunshine for the week – a fabulous time to start biking to work, if you haven’t tried it yet. The Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition (with the help of our many sponsors, supporters, and volunteers) are setting up “commuter stations” at various locations throughout the Lower Mainland this week to support, appreciate, and encourage those who choose to bike to work. Stations provide free food and drinks, bike mechanics and the opportunity to win prizes (and maybe be on TV).
You can find the map with the stations and times of operation by clicking here

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If you saw the following recommendations, what kind of organization would you guess had written them?

Coordinate national policy approaches on urban land use, travel health and the environment.
Consider all modes of travel—in particular, environmentally sustainable modes—as well as land-use priorities, when allocating national government funds to the local level.
Encourage effective public participation, partnerships and communication.
Ensure that transport demand management tools and measures to promote non-motorized modes
are supported.

Fully integrate air quality, greenhouse gas, noise and other environmental targets, and adopt and
rigorously monitor technical standards for vehicles and fuels.
Channel revenues from pricing initiatives so that benefits are felt by those bearing the costs.

David Suzuki Foundation? BEST? SPEC? Sightline Institute? Livable Region Coalition?
Obviously I wouldn’t have asked if it were any of them. These recommendations are among the many that come from the Conference Board of Canada’s report, “Sustainable Urban Transportation: A Winning Strategy for Canada” (Here, if you register)
Here’s the point: increasingly, you can’t tell much difference between private-sector and business-oriented think tanks and environmental organizations when it comes to urban transportation. They’re both calling for much the same things – and what they’re calling for looks very little like what Gateway is delivering.
Complete recommendations below the fold:

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Stu Ramsey, Burnaby’s engineer extraordinaire, now has his own web site – Transport Planet – here.   You can find downloadable versions of his great PowerPoint presentations, as well as a gallery of fun stuff, like this:

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Liberal MLA Ralph Sultan in Legislature Monday during debate on merits of gas price caps:

A recent Ministry of Transport study of highway congestion on the North Shore, in my riding, in connection with the Lions Gate Bridge pointed out what we should have realized all along: that we must rely more and more upon mass transit to make our way around metro Vancouver. So it’s really hard to conceive of any meaningful tax or price relief on that front.


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The SFU City Program has just added TWO new lectures to our Spring schedule:
Congestion Pricing: An alternative to highway expansion in the region?
Wednesday, May 16, 7-8:30 pm
Venue: SFU Harbour Centre, 515 W.Hastings Street, Vancouver
Admission free, but reservations are required.
Email or Call 604.291.5100
Other cities in Europe, Asia and North America are increasingly turning to various forms of road and congestion pricing to reduce crippling levels of traffic congestion. Find out how metropolitan areas around the world are using road pricing as an alternative to the traditional approach of simply expanding road networks to meet demand. Speaker: Lee Munnich, University of Minnesota, leading expert on congestion pricing. Co-sponsored by Better Environmentally Sound Transportation (BEST) and by the SFU City Program.
Transportation: On the right track for EcoDensity
Thursday, May 24, 2007, 7-9 pm
Venue: SFU Harbour Centre, Room 1400, 515 W.Hastings Street, Vancouver
Free event. Reservations required: 604.873.7707 or
Join us for a panel discussion with Dr. Larry Frank, architect Peter Busby and transportation engineer Lon LaClaire. Dr. Frank, the Bombardier Chair holder in Sustainable Transportation at UBC’s School of Community and Regional Planning, specializes in the interaction between land use, travel behaviour, air quality and health. Mr. Busby will comment on the relationship between parking and the development and financing of higher density housing and Mr. LaClaire will focus on density and transit. Co-sponsored by the City of Vancouver and the City Program at Simon Fraser University.

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This is what we like.
 David Igglesden, a senior transport planner in Perth, Australia, writes:

Issue 93 says the Brisbane Bridge was the first in Australia designed for buses, cyclists and pedestrians.

One of my projects was the Shenton Park Bus Bridge (across a railway)….  Not quite the same scale or glamour but it was built in 2002 and it was designed for buses, cyclists and pedestrians, although the latter two share a path as volumes are low. …


The bridge is skewed to improve passenger comfort and make it impractical to convert it to a normal traffic bridge. More here.

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