Infrastructure
February 15, 2019

Planning and Designing Healthy Communities~Two Day Workshop

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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Germany’s autobahn which began in the 1930’s is the highway built for vehicular traffic only. Germany has a rather complicated history with their love of roads and cars. It was the Nazi dictator Hitler who advocated for multiple laned  highways crisscrossing the country. Karl Benz developed the first car here, and vehicles are a cultural way of life.

The autobahn does have speed limits on one-third of its 8,000 miles . Those speed limits are near city centres and also reduce speeds for safety reasons on certain sections.  The rest of the autobahn has no speed limits. But you never hear from autobahn limitless speed supporters that “The number of deadly accidents on stretches of autobahn that have a speed limit is 26 percent lower than on those without.”

As The New York Times writer Katrin Bennhold writes Germany has extremely high carbon emissions which could be lowered if speed limits were imposed on sections of the autobahn with no regulation. The speed limits would also have the secondary benefit of saving lives too, as lower speeds means higher survival rates in crashes. But when a governmental commission suggested limiting speed, opponents somehow tied in speed limits with nationalism. Even the transport minister lost the fact that it was his department trying to lower automobile emissions when he came out and stated that “A highway speed limit was “contrary to every common sense”.

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The City of Surrey hosted the first Vision Zero summit in British Columbia  at Surrey City Hall.  Vision Zero refers to zero road deaths and no serious injuries on roads, with the philosophy that every life matters.  Applied in Sweden since 1997 the core belief is that “Life and health can never be exchanged for other benefits within the society”. This approach differs from the standard cost benefit approach, where a dollar value is based upon life, and that value is used to decide the cost of road networks and calculate the cost of risk.

This Vision Zero summit brought together the Provincial Health Services Authority and the City of Surrey to lead a discussion on implementing  Vision Zero  to mitigate  road fatalities and serious crash injuries in the Province.  The conference also advocated for the adoption of the Safe Systems Approach to evaluate roads as safe for all road users. This is different to the “85th percentile” speed philosophy that bases road speeds on the speed 85 percent of vehicles travel past a certain fixed point on the road.

In the City  of Surrey twenty people a year die from car crashes and there are over 12,000 traffic related injuries.

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Tom Durning picked up on news from the Valley:

I didn’t see this important meeting covered in the Vancouver-centric MSM nor much in the electronic media. Yet the mayors of the Fraser Valley had a meeting recently to discuss development out that way, ably reported by experienced Black Press reporter Matthew Claxton:

  • Read how Langley Township Mayor recognizes that widening Highway 1 is not the answer to transportation problems
  • See them discuss ride-sharing without resorting to the negativity from the slanted reporting by Mike Smyth

Unless there is a gangland killing in Surrey or Chilliwack, a major pile-up on Hwy 1 in Langley or a barn fire in Mission, these municipalities don’t get the coverage they deserve.

From the Langley Times:

The Urban Development Institute Fraser Valley hosted mayors and councillors from the Langleys, Abbotsford, Surrey, Maple Ridge, Chilliwack, and Mission for a discussion at the Langley Events Centre on Thursday. …

Every city in the valley is dealing with massive growth, with Mayor Pam Alexis of Mission noting her city was expected to double in size in the coming years. …

Abbotsford has about 1,600 housing units under construction, and 3,600 in the stream to being approved and built. …

On transportation, each community is wrestling with more traffic and expects even more issues in the future as density increases.

“Almost 70 per cent of Mission leaves every day,” noted Alexis.

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As only The Onion can report, they have narrowed down how pedestrians can stay safe crossing roads. While it is a spoof, it is telling.

Pedestrian  Adam Hartsell in Chicago “reportedly made sure to look up at the driver of an approaching vehicle Thursday to ensure they would feel extra guilty in the event they failed to stop and ran him over. “

The 26-year-old pedestrian has two approaches walking across intersections~ he “emphasized the importance of not only locking eyes with each and every oncoming driver, but also delivering a hard stare that conveys a stern moral appraisal of any who would not brake their vehicle in time. “

“In this way, I will be able to haunt their dreams long after they’ve struck and killed me. If I have enough time, I also make sure to look any passengers dead in the eyes, so that they, too, will be hounded for years by debilitating remorse. It’s important to take these small precautions.”

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From Slate:

Unlike every other major North American metro area, the Vancouver region doesn’t allow ride-hailing. That makes Vancouver a unique example of what happens when a thriving North American city politely—this is Canada—passes on the ride-hail bandwagon. The result: Vancouver’s public transit system is adding riders even as usage drops in many other cities. Bike commuting is growing, and car-share services like Car2Go are booming. …

So how have Vancouverites handled the lack of ride-hailing?

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Here is a new word for you~”moquette”. Moquettes refer to the thick-pile fabrics used for carpets and upholstery, and if you have travelled in the Transport for London system you are familiar with the fabrics that often cleverly refer to landmarks and stations along the system.How did people go about designing fabrics for public transit seating, and who started it? Feargus O’Sullivan explores that in this article from CityLab based upon the exhibition at the London Transport Museum, Celebrating Britain’s Transport Textile.The best part of this exhibition is the archive, “a new online resource compiling designs and photographs, as well as recorded interviews with designers instrumental in their creation. The results are a rich and wonderfully nerdy archive that has unearthed some forgotten designs, vividly commemorating an aspect of London’s appearance that has long been both omnipresent and scarcely noticed.” It is fascinating to look at the patterns and textiles, many that appear very contemporary with lots of allegory to intersections and street design. Read more »