Policy & Planning
May 9, 2007

Metrocore Myths and Facts

Here’s a “myth” –

 The Metro Core is becoming a ‘resort’ economy.

Here are the “facts” –

The largest and fastest growing sector in the Metro Core is business services: computer services, law, accounting, management consulting, advertising, engineering, etc.   (The number of these jobs has more than doubled in 20 years.)

This comes from “Myth and Fact – Metropolitan Core Jobs and Economy Land Use Plan” – a summary of the most common perceptions about the state of downtown Vancouver (including the Broadway corridor).  You can find more about the study here.
Here’s the area the study covers:

I’m not sure this will settle the debate (which is largely conjecture and perception of the future), but it’s a helpful start.

Read more »

It’s taken awhile, but finally some in the media have made the connection between climate change and the Gateway Project.   Saturday, the Sun’s Suzuki issue.  Today, from the Globe and Mail ….

Campbell’s expansion plans at odds with going green

GARY MASON
VANCOUVER — Only a few short months ago, he was the toast of tree huggers everywhere.
Gordon Campbell had pledged to do his bit to save the planet, and even British Columbia’s notoriously skeptical greenies felt compelled to raise a glass of carrot juice in his honour.
But that was February, this is May. Now some of the country’s leading voices on climate change are coming out against the Liberal Premier. The shift in wind direction has been astonishing.
Behind the mood change is the provincial government’s Pacific Gateway initiative. Under the $3-billion plan, highways in the Lower Mainland will be expanded and a bridge twinned to alleviate the worst traffic congestion in the country.

Read more »

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.


          

Read more »

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 cs_hc@sfu.ca 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 ecodensity@vancouver.ca
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.

Read more »

There was a hint of summer in the air today, May 7th.  Deceptive, of course; it will rain tomorrow.  But for an afternoon, we could believe!
A fine time to cycle the Downtown loop, from the West End to the North Shore of False Creek, across Abbott Street to Gastown, and then Coal Harbour and home.
I did something similar in Price Tags 66 and 86.  But for the next few posts, I’ll select some representative shots of how our city changes.
First up – the doggie run at George Wainborn Park.  They’re out there twice a day, connecting with other owners.  It’s definitely a community, and a great place to pick up someone attractive.   That goes for the people too.

Read more »

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.

Read more »

In the Saturday Sun, editied by Canada’s most renowned environmentalist, David Suzuki, a feature story provides some counter-opinion (including mine) to the usual rah-rah for the Gateway proposal:

The Gateway project is a “gigantic leap in the absolute wrong direction,” says University of B.C. Professor Larry Frank, who is internationally famous for his studies of the connection between obesity and the suburbs. “It will entrench us in an auto-dependent future right in the middle of a climate-change debacle.”
A study Frank recently did for the Washington Department of Transport showed that for each 10-per-cent reduction in driving times that motorists experience, typically because more roads have been built, the amount they walk or use transit goes down. That automatically means greenhouse-gas emissions go up.
Preston Schiller, a professor at the University of Western Washington who has studied the transportation systems of the three cities, called the Gateway plan “a big mistake.”
“To me, that sort of expansion you just don’t do in this day and age.”
And former Vancouver councillor Gordon Price, also a close watcher of the Vancouver-Seattle-Portland scene, calls it “a tragic turn in the direction of this region.”
“If [the provincial government] does what it says it’s going to do, we are going the way of Seattle.”

Full story here.

Read more »