Most things change, but some never do. It’s time for a (nearly) serious review of the World of *Mageddons™ . We’re happy to do it, so that you don’t have to, and since few others will call this type of failed prediction what it is: failed.
What this *mageddon review does illustrate is the difficulty for anyone in public life who makes decisions. While it’s easy to dream up *mageddon scenarios, it’s much harder to plan, make decisions and commit big resources amid strident choruses of negativity, and amid the usual incomplete information and the fundamentally unknowable nature of the future.
After buying an abandoned, inacessible railroad, taking out the rails and ties, building a temporary set of paths, and holding 25 outreach events involving over 5,000 participants — it’s time to get a gander at some serious plans. Read on, indeed, to a 38-page PDF that’s chock full o’delights.
It still amazes me that there is so much within a 5-minute walk or a short bike ride of the Greenway (check out the nifty map on page 2). And I’m very pleased to see serious thought has gone into connectivity from the Greenway to the bike lanes on the north and the south — and all of them in-between.
It’s not specifically mentioned, but I really do hope that the design will find a way include those celebrated Heritage Blackberries.
Similar to YVR Airport’s approach, UBC may decide to kick in some money and other inducements and approach senior governments to help pay for running the Broadway subway from Arbutus to UBC. The distance is around 7 km, a longer distance than the currently-underway Broadway Millennium Line extension that stops at Arbutus.
Perhaps the owners and developers of the 92-acre Jericho Lands should get onboard for this ride — making their development transit-oriented, benefitting themselves and benefitting the city as a whole.
In a 21st century reboot of the 20th century icon, the downtown post office on Georgia Street may be repurposed into office and commercial space for Amazon. It’s a perfect transition for the Amazon model with fulfillment centres that requires trucking bays, easy access on and off the downtown peninsula and a location that employees can easily access by public transportation. The post office has 686,000 square feet and occupies an entire block. The biggest fulfillment centre in Amazon’s stable is in Baltimore Maryland and cover one million square feet.
In this article by John Mackin, “Real-estate sources say the online retail giant wants to add a million square feet of office and commercial space downtown, part of an expansion to double the Vancouver Amazon workforce to 2,000 people by 2020.”
The Vancouver post office was built in 1958 in the International Modern style by the same architects that designed the iconic Marine Building. The post office’s interiors have two storey ceilings and over two stories of parking. Local historian and author John Atkin astutely surmised ““It was built as a processing and distribution centre. So you had trucks come in, trucks go out, sorting, and big open spaces, so that you could run complex postal-sorting machines and conveyor belts, and all that stuff. So you have almost the perfect existing structure waiting there for a firm that would do stuff like Amazon, which is product in and product out.”
There was a rezoning application for towers submitted for the site three years ago but that has been put on hold according to the City. In its potential adoption of the downtown Vancouver post office, Amazon gains a distribution centre in the middle of a downtown market boasting the most population density in Canada.The Amazon remorphing of the post office also opens up opportunities for other archiac post offices across the country that could be repurposed for local distribution centres.
Bridget Burdett is a New Zealand based civil engineer working in transportation. She is also completing a doctorate in psychology examining the habits of automobile drivers, and studies the linkages between transportation, wellbeing and inclusivity. Bridget has written a treatise on her profession, and its well worth a read. She discusses the fact that Engineering School teaches how to design bridges, beams and foundations, how to make assumptions on data, and how to pick out the best materials. But as Bridget states ” The problem with the engineer’s design method is that it doesn’t work well when your material is a bunch of humans. Civil engineering is useful but only for designing materials with predictable, measurable, consistent properties, like concrete and water.”
“Transportation is about people. Too often what transportation engineers actually focus on is traffic, and cars. We pretend that it’s about people and community, but decisions are based almost exclusively on analysis of traffic volumes, because that’s all the data that we’ve got. What about the trips people don’t make because they don’t have a car, or it’s too expensive, or they get halfway and the footpath is blocked, or because they’re blind and the taxi drivers charge them more than they are supposed to?
Transportation engineers speak volumes about traffic volumes. We know how to find out how many cars and trucks use almost any road in the country. A lot of traffic volume data is publicly accessible, and updated every year. Traffic volume data is only going to get more accessible – google will even tell you how busy roads are, and how busy they typically are at different times of the day and week.”
In exploring the linkages between transportation and engineering, Bridget notes that data needs to be used more by transportation engineers. Statistics on car ownership and low-income can inform where better walking infrastructure can be placed. Correlating hospital admissions data with crash reports, and following up with the health and societal costs of crashes can make better policy decisions on road infrastructure. Bridget makes an argument that Transportation is a core business, “but connecting it to wellbeing is nobody’s job. It’s up to the public to demand that connections between transport and wellbeing are stronger, and it’s up to professionals to recognise opportunities to bridge these very important gaps. It’s okay, engineers are good at bridges.”
You can read the whole article here.
The temporary surfaces have been in place for a while; the big design jam happened, and now it’s time to look at a design concept.
April 21 12-3 pm
April 25 3:30-6 pm
April 28 12-3 pm
511 w Broadway, Vancouver
There is a remarkable restored film that was made in 1911 in New York City by the Swedish company Svenska Bigrafteatern. The footage has been slowed down and there is unfortunately a soundtrack added that is not original.
It does show the remarkable time when streets easily incorporated all users, and formal pedestrian crossings had not yet arrived. read on >>
There’s a quiet neighbourhood street on the east side of Vancouver that explodes with two things every spring~the most extraordinary canopy of cherry blossoms, and literally hundreds of people who flock to this street to photograph the blooms-and themselves.
As CTV News reported in 2017, some whacky behaviour has also begun to bloom. One neighbour noted that people tried to climb the trees and shake branches to make the petals drop; some block traffic to get the perfect selfie. City of Vancouver bylaw officers do their part by ticketing illegally parked vehicles and trying to “keep things calm”.
Price Tags is not naming the street, but we are naming the instagram account where you can see some of the cherry tree tourist antics. As Kacy Wu of Richmond News reports, Lele Chan’s Instagram account “Cherry Blossom Madness” will leave you doubled up with laughter.
You can see why some residents would choose to rope off the front of their lawns to stop ladders, vehicles, and crowds on their front lawn. In one photo, two east side felines become the centre of the attention.
All in a day on one of Vancouver’s most cherry tree’d streets.
If you really like cherry trees, you might want to take in the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival and all its activities until April 29, sponsored by the Vancouver Parks Board. There are also tree talks and walks, and one might just take you to the street featured on instagram with “Cherry Blossom Madness”.
The Director of Engineering at the City of Vancouver, Jerry Dobrovolny was in Mexico City assessing the earthquake damage which severely impacted some of the poorest neighbourhoods. He sent this photo of an augmented speed bump.
The two photos below show the impact of an earthquake fissure three feet deep that runs through a park, and also separates a parking garage from the ramp into the back lane. Photos by Jerry Dobrovolny.