But this time and place is different~here is Lady Florence Norman going to work in London in 1916, 100 years ago.  Lady Norman was an active suffragette and also ran a hospital in France during the first  world war. Her scooter called an “Autoped” was a birthday present and was one of the first examples of motorized”kick” scooters~you can see there is no seat.

Mashable notes that these were “manufactured in New York and Germany by Krupps, the U.S. postal service tested the Autoped as a means of fast transport for its special delivery service. The foldable scooter was also reportedly used as a quick getaway machine by New York gangs, racing down narrow alleys beyond the reach of police cars.”

And while scooters and e-bikes are seen as the sustainable way for travel, in the 1930’s these scooters were used on military bases, and increasingly as a response to fuel rationing. In one hundred years, scooters may have become faster and more efficient, but their basic purpose~transporting people without the size, bulk and fuel cost of a vehicle~remains the same.


Image: vintage.es

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From Heritage Vancouver:

Conversation #2: Change in Living Communities – False Creek South

False Creek South between the Burrard and Cambie bridges is characterized by extensive green spaces and a diverse mix of housing types. The design of this community has its roots in the values-based social planning that was revolutionary when introduced in the 1970s and 80s.

The lease agreements begin to expire in 2025. The City, which owns approximately 80% of False Creek South, has begun to explore the future of this neighbourhood and its residents.

In this session, we seek to provide a space for attendees to discuss what physical and non-physical aspects of False Creek South are significant and definitive, and what degree of change is acceptable before these qualities are compromised? As a piece of city-owned land that can contribute to civic priorities – in particular housing issues – how much responsibility should be placed on False Creek South as a solution to housing needs?  And more.

John Atkin – Civic historian, author, and heritage consultant

Nathan Edelson – Project Manager at False Creek South *RePlan and retired Senior Planner for the Downtown Eastside, City of Vancouver

Tom Davidoff – Director, Centre for Urban Economics and Real Estate Associate Professor, Strategy and Business Economics BC Sauder School of Business

Jennifer Maiko Bradshaw – Renter and a pro-housing activist with Abundant Housing Vancouver.


Thursday, October 11

7 to 9 pm

SFU Woodwards, 149 W Hastings Street, Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre, Goldcorp Centre for the Arts

Register here


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The optics are not good when a city manager retires from the City of Delta and then decides to run for mayor, with the current mayor, the long serving Lois Jackson teaming up with him for a supportive council seat. Sometimes when you eat, drink and spend a lot of time with the same people you forget about a more holistic approach.

That could include listening to and answering courteously to the  people who live in your community and that are impacted by your decisions, especially if it is constraining real estate sales and quality of life due to the stench of a growing composting facility on  protected farmland allowed under your leadership.

Recently retired City Manager George Harvie has taken an aggressive approach on the stench in his mayoral ambition, saying that his reputation has been questioned over suggestions he was behind the lack of  public consultation and the subsequent  horrendous odour that has been emanating from  the Enviro-smart Organics site, purchased in 2016 by GFL.

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Things are getting a little messy up on Vancouver’s west side where a very functional commercial area is under threat of development. This article by Joanne Lee-Young in the Vancouver Sun shows what happens when the city goals of housing affordability butts up against  a little single storey commercial area located at 33rd Avenue and Mackenzie Street. It’s the northeast corner of this intersection that is being proposed for redevelopment and it contains three lots. One of the lots has an older building containing Bigsby the Bakehouse, a community institution for good bread.

Price Tags Vancouver has previously written about this commercial gem of an area that provided small-scale storefronts for a variety of businesses. The three lots in question became part of Vancouver’s real estate flipping shell game, being sold to a numbered company in 2015 for $5.43 million dollars and then flipped for nearly a million dollars more a couple of months later.

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Price Tags Vancouver has been pondering why this city does not have public washrooms associated with public transit, biking and walking routes.  There is a need for washrooms that are universally accessible, and some writers have described this need as a basic human right.

Even the Downtown Vancouver Business Association published a map of public toilets saying  “There’s no doubt that access to clean and safe washrooms is necessary, and especially so in an area frequented by tourists and locals.  While the City of Vancouver requires all city buildings to have accessible washrooms, there is no similar rule for public toilets on streets and in or near new plazas. Visiting a bathroom in a coffee shop or other business isn’t an option for many people on limited incomes, when many businesses restrict their washrooms to customers who have made a purchase.”

An article by Ken MacQueen in the Vancouver Sun 18 years ago noted that in 1896 Vancouver began installing public toilets, but at the start most of these facilities were for men~they were urinals. By the  1920’s women also had the use of underground toilets that were installed at busy intersections including the south side of the Granville Bridge, Kingsway and Broadway, and the only underground facilities still remaining, outside Carnegie Community centre at Hastings and Main.

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Finalists are ready for your vote after the 450 proposed designs are now whittled down to a nifty 6.  Learn more about the process and contest HERE and HERE.

I’m hoping for the best for my favourite (“Guard Bird”), but there are merits in practicality and aesthetics to all of the finalists.

Of 450 submissions, 30 shortlisted designs, and much deliberation, a jury panel has narrowed down the final 6 designs to be prototyped and available for testing!

Visit them and vote at:

Monday, August 13, 3pm to 7pm
Adanac and Vernon Plaza

Tuesday, August 14, 3pm to 7pm
Arbutus Greenway and 10th Ave

Wednesday, August 15, 3pm to 7pm
800 Robson St

Thursday, August 16, 11am to 2pm
Helena Gutteridge Plaza in front of City Hall

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In the City Fix  three researchers from WRI Ross Centre for Sustainable Cities have been examining what cities need to do to adopt TDM (Transport Demand Management) systems. And they have come up with some compelling points.

In 2002, the average London driver spent half their travel time sitting in traffic, and road transport accounted for 95 percent of fine particle pollution in the city center. To combat these problems, Greater London’s first mayor, Ken Livingstone, turned to congestion charging…. Unlike in Stockholm, where prices differ during peak and off-peak hours and tolls charge drivers every time they pass a control point, London drivers face a simple, one-time charge of £11.50 ($15.90) to enter the zone, measuring 13 square miles (21 kilometers).

Since the congestion charge introduction in 2003,  pedestrian space has increased and  car usage has declined. This is due to three factors~ a “centralized institutional structure and strong political will, extensive public communication and consultation, and improved public transport and fare integration.”

With 33 boroughs in London the establishment of Transport for London by Mayor Ken Livingstone established a framework to implement congestion charging. The Mayor framed less congestion as improving “economic competitiveness and livability”.

Public outreach on congestion charges was assisted with a network of people who understood the policy and supported it, and public information was readily available.  “The team initiated an intensive program of advertisements, using TfL’s website, newspapers, public radio and television to educate the public about how it worked and what it would mean for residents and commuters. They addressed questions like, what is the congestion charging, how much is it, and how do you pay.”  They also integrated many of the suggestions from public outreach into the design and roll out of the congestion charges.

Lastly, knowing that “the more you invest in roads, the more congestion you create” Transport for London added 300 new buses on the day the congestion charges began, rolled out the “Oyster” transit cards, and made it easy to pay fares through different applications.  “The strategy was to engage both the supply and demand sides of transport simultaneously.”

Revenue from the congestion charging which is estimated to be approximately 2.5 billion in the first 15 years has been “strictly reinvested in London’s transport improvements, especially for public and non-motorized transport.”

In the first year of implementation of congestion charges private car usage fell by 30 per cent and bus usage increased by 20 per cent.  Low transit fares meant a 40 per cent increase in rush hour passengers entering the congestion charge area by bus. Cycling use increased by 230 per cent since 2000. Crashes involving cyclists decreased, and carbon emissions decreased by 20 per cent.

The benefits to the city are evident. “One estimate suggests the net economic benefits of congestion charging in London’s first year of implementation reached £50 million ($78 million in 2004). 

While services like Uber and delivery vans are new transport challenges, enhanced pedestrian areas and protected bike lanes claim space previously used by cars. London is now considering expanding the congestion charging zone city-wide and expanding electronic tolls to charge motorists on time of day and amount of mileage.

The newly released Mayor’s Transport Strategy  now strives for  an 80 per cent modal split of walkers, cyclists and transport users by 2041. In fifteen years London has demonstrated the effectiveness of congestion charges in achieving a greener, healthier city with a policy understood and embraced by its residents.

The takeaway? The need for Metro Vancouver to be strongly supported by all municipalities in congestion pricing strategies, the necessity for good public outreach, and the ramping up of better and more consistent transit service.  London has shown that their road pricing model works.


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To make it easy for people to choose the bicycle as a way to get from “A” to “B”, you start by planning a network; step two is safe and effective infrastructure.

Vancouver’s 10th Avenue corridor spans Victoria Drive in the east to Trafalgar Street in the west, and connects to several north-south bike routes, like busy-busy Ontario, Heather, Cypress and the Arbutus Greenway.

The corridor sees around 500,000 bike trips per year, a good portion of which passes through the hospital precinct between Heather and Oak streets, which now has mostly-completed separated cycling and walking paths.

Here’s a gallery of some of the facility.

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You may have noticed Price Tags was offline for a few hours this past Tuesday night as we ‘migrated’ the website from WordPress.com to a third-party service provider; this will provide us much greater administrative, technical and creative control going forward.

Thanks for your patience as we worked out the kinks throughout the week — we will continue to introduce improvements the Price Tags look, feel and experience as we move into summer.

We also updated our Comments Policy — whether you’re a casual reader or die-hard follower, we value your comments, and hope you’ll continue to feel moved enough by the ideas found here to share your thoughts and feedback.

Please read and abide by these basic guidelines to help us maintain a welcoming and inclusive experience.

Send us your feedback, on any topic, anytime.

With appreciation,
The Price Tags Team

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