New Mobility
November 27, 2020

Congestion Charging is so last century. Welcome to the new age of Transport Pricing

When I first heard about the proposal for ‘Transport Pricing’ in the City of Vancouver’s Climate Emergency Action Plan that went to council a few weeks ago, I thought, sorry, that’s a lost battle.

The political capital required to start ‘taxing the road’ is so high, reports that recommend it – like this one – are typically dead on arrival.  As elections approach, political leaders jump over each other to reject anything that looks, sounds or smells like a toll.  Here’s Bowinn Ma from the NDP, passing along the blunt words from John Horgan (who won the 2017 election by taking tolls off the Port Mann): “I have to be clear: it (congestion pricing) is not in our platform … and John Horgan has stated very clearly today that it would not be supported by our government …”

Not that it matters.  Congestion charging as it has been demonstrated in a handful of cities so far, notability Singapore and London, is way out of date – so 20th century.  Using gantries, cameras, IED passes and other visibly intrusive technology to establish a geographic cordon for pricing entry and exit for one particular part of a region will never pass the fairness test.  Why wouldn’t we include other places – for instance, the North Shore – where congestion is bad and getting worse?  (Minimally, there will have to be ‘discussion’ among the municipalities on either side of Lions Gate Bridge.)

Again, so much more political capital required.  Add in an equity requirement*, and good luck in getting a majority vote.  That’s why so few cities have done it.

So I was impressed when Council, by a bare majority, voted to support the part of the report that had actually recommended Transport Pricing (despite media, and my own, perception of what was being proposed).  Staff, having played in this rodeo a few times before (a previous report listed 14 examples), really wanted one key thing from council:  ‘Authorize us to develop a road map that will get us to Transport Pricing (TP).  Do not take it off the table, ship it off to the region, qualify it into irrelevance or remove any deadline for response’ – and that’s what they got.

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If ever there was a year that threw out most predictions, this is the one. On November 20, 2020, what do we know will happen by this time next year? We are asking readers to let us know.

We are all nine months into living differently and working from home. Everyone knows what a Zoom meeting is. We worry how public transit will survive, keep six feet apart from people we don’t know for physical distancing, and think about wearing masks and washing hands a lot.

Nine months in there are also some surprises. Even though there are less people that have secure salaries, and the borders are closed housing prices in Vancouver have still stayed constant, perhaps reflecting the last flurry of activity before mortgage rates and lending tighten up.

But what will things be like one year from now on 11.20.2021?

That was the subject of conversation at a physically distanced meal  at the legendary Pink Pearl restaurant on East Hastings with the Duke of Data, Simon Fraser University’s  Director of the City Program Andy Yan.

Take a look at the predictive predilections forecast over dim sum at the Pink Pearl Restaurant on East Hastings below.

Agree or disagree?

Now is the time to offer your own predictions in the comments section.

What changes do you perceive will happen by this time next year?

We will of course take a look at all the predictive  predilections, and invite you to a Dim Sum predilection party to discuss what was forecast/what  really happened to be held at the Pink Pearl restaurant in one year.

Here’s our 2020 Dim Sum Predilections for 2021:

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Planning for the Post-Pandemic City by Simon Fraser University Public Square

When Planning Vancouver Together started in November 2019, no one could’ve imagined what was just around the corner. While a global pandemic altered our relationship with our city, it also laid bare and amplified the pre-existing inequalities of our society. COVID-19 has tested the resiliency and adaptability of Vancouver’s social, economic and physical fabric. While certain parts of the city have weathered this pandemic, others have struggled.

What have we learned and experienced in the last eight months that might shape the next 30 years? How can the Vancouver Plan – a long-term strategic citywide plan – course-correct and continue to plan for a future city that is resilient to new and existing shocks and stressors, while striving for a city that truly works for all who live, work and play here?

Speakers
Gil Kelley (GM of Planning, City of Vancouver) Gil Kelley, FAICP, is an internationally recognized urban strategist and visionary, having served as Chief Planner for several West Coast cities and as an independent advisor to cities and governments across the globe. He currently serves as the General Manager of Planning, Urban Design and Sustainability for the City of Vancouver, British Columbia. In the past, he has served as the Director of Citywide Planning for the City of San Francisco, the Director of Planning for the City of Portland, Oregon and the Director of Planning and Development for the City of Berkeley, California.

Lisa Cavicchia (Program Director, Canadian Urban Institute) Lisa is a Program Director and urban planner with more than 20 years of experience managing city-building initiatives for the Canadian Urban Institute. She is responsible for developing and implementing partnerships with cities and communities across Canada and in almost 20 countries and more than 100 cities across Europe, South-East Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean that connect individuals and organizations in cities to research, plan, fund and deliver initiatives that strengthen local economies, improve sustainable development outcomes, and create jobs for youth, women and men.

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It is not small shifts in technology but big moves in governmental policy that will be the last gasp of the gas driven vehicle. As Reuters.com writes

China’s pointed direction to shift completely to electric vehicles will halt 70 percent of global oil demand in the enxt ten years, meaning that the “oil era” is clearly finished.

There’s a secondary reason too: China will no longer spend $80 billion dollars annually importing oil to fuel vehicles, meaning cleaning air and a better bottom line.

I have already written about the fact that SUVs are considered status symbols in China and will likely continue to be popular. China in 2016 produced 28 million vehicles, a big chunk of the 70 million vehicles produced globally.

On January 1st of 2018 China stopped the manufacturing of over 500 different car models including domestic and foreign automobile ventures. The stoppages of ICE (internal combustion engines) vehicle manufacturing  included factories operated by  Volkswagen and Benz.

As the New York Times said at the timethe measure pointed to a mounting willingness by China to test forceful antipollution policies and assume a leading role in the fight against climate change. The country, which for years prioritized economic growth over environmental protection and now produces more than a quarter of the world’s human-caused greenhouse gases, has emerged as an unlikely bastion of climate action after President Trump’s rejection of the Paris climate agreement.”

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Coincidence? The Turner Movie Channel plays the full version of 2001: A Space Odyssey on the weekend, the 1968 classic film directed by Stanley Kubrick.

Then right on cue a strange, large metal monolith, remarkably similar to the one featured in the 52 year old film is discovered in public land desert in Utah,nestled into a canyon. Of course there were no footprints around the 12 foot (3.6 metre) monolith, but there it was, found by wildlife officials counting bighorn sheep from a helicopter in an undisclosed “remote south-eastern area” of Utah.

As the BBC reports, the helicopter crew landed to take a look at the upright plinth, and scrambled down to its location where it had been placed in a carefully cut rock. They did touch the monolith, and it did not set off any response to summon alien beings.

The Utah Department of Public Safety Aero Bureau tried to be in the fun  zone in their statement “It is illegal to install structures or art without authorisation on federally managed public lands, no matter what planet you’re from.”

Fearing that people would find the perfect covid pandemic activity of trying to trek into the location of the monolith, the department has made it a big secret.

It did not take long for sleuthers on Reddit to figure out where the monolith was located, and they even established it had been placed there in 2016.

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The City of Cleveland is sponsoring this talk by Enrique Penalosa, the past mayor of Bogota, Colombia on Equity by Design – Sustainability, Mobility, and Building the Cities of the Future.
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Mr. Penalosa implemented a massive urban improvement plan for Bogota´s city center which included demolition and redevelopment of severely crime-ridden areas, the creation of a land bank for providing quality low income housing, and the establishment of an innovative urban project of the highest quality for more than 400 inhabitants.

Since leaving office, Mr. Peñalosa has worked as a consultant on urban strategy and leadership advising officials in cities all over the world on how to build quality, equitable and competitive cities that cannot only survive but thrive in the future. He was president of the Board of Directors of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, a New York based NGO promoting sustainable and equitable transportation worldwide.

Join us for a conversation with Mr. Peñalosa on how he advanced equity for all residents through thoughtful transportation planning and urban design − and what we should all consider when building the smart cities of the future.

 

Date: Friday December 11, 2020

Time: 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Pacific Time

To register please click here.

Here is Enrique Penalosa talking about the historic downtown area of Bogota where public spaces and streets were revitalized during his leadership.

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Bloomberg’s Feargus O’Sullivan has been writing an interesting series on housing in world cities. He took a look at Brussels Belgium where instead of opting for tall apartment buildings as a 19th century solution to housing many in the downtown, stone and masonry decorated single family homes were adopted. These houses are tall, thin, and all have entranceways directly onto the street frontage.

These houses are fittingly called “maison de maitre”  or master’s house, for their size and facade splendour and were built and lived in by the “wealthy bourgeois”. Like the Goldilocks and the Three Bears story, these houses are not grand mansions for the truly rich aristocrat, nor were they as plonky as a standard townhouse. The main floor had three large reception rooms with dividing doors that could open, an open space concept way before its time.

 “The result is an interesting hybrid, combining floor plans reminiscent of London townhouses, plot sizes similar to old Amsterdam and servants attics like in Paris — all brought together with an elaborate, unmistakably Belgian decorative style.”

There’s a lot of ornamentation on the front facade of these structures which can be kindly called a “baroque streak” but were largely influenced by the aesthetic movement.

While Brussels did try a Paris redevelopment plan in their downtown similar to Baron Haussmann’s in the 1860’s, the locals hated “Haussmann-style” apartment living.

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Vancouver Heritage Foundation promotes the appreciation and conservation of our city’s historic places for current and future generations. VHF does this by creating opportunities and resources to learn about Vancouver’s history and heritage places, and providing practical support for the successful conservation of historic buildings and sites.

The Vancouver Heritage Foundation is located in a heritage building in Vancouver’s downtown core. We are a small but passionate team dedicated to supporting Vancouver’s heritage places and their conservation.

They have a position available for a Project Researcher in their library, either for a student or graduate.

Vancouver Heritage Foundation (VHF) is seeking a student or graduate intern (paid) to join our staff team as a Project Researcher for 8 weeks starting on January 4th 2021. The role is 15 – 30 hours per week with a wage of $16/hr, based in our downtown Vancouver office. Due to the current public health situation, the role is likely to be a combination of office-based and remote working. Hours can be flexible to fit around class schedules.

VHF is seeking a post-secondary student or graduate in Library Studies or a related field with a strong interest in local history and heritage conservation to join our team for 8 weeks. You will help shape plans for the future of the VHF Library including content, physical and digital access, cataloguing and acquisitions. The role offers an opportunity to contribute to enhancing VHF’s collection of books, periodicals and other materials to be a unique and valuable resource.

You can find information about the VHF Library and Reading Room by clicking this link.

For a full  list of the skills and experience needed for this position, please click on this link.

Applications close December 7th at midnight.

Image: VancouverHeritageFoundation

 

 

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Cities are the fundamental building block of contemporary society, certainly in Canada where almost 90 per cent of our population lives in a community of 5,000 or more. COVID-19 – and the various measures governments have taken to cope with it – is having a dramatic impact on the future of urban life now, and will potentially alter fundamentally how we plan, design, manage, and govern cities in the future. The non-profit sector will play an important role in this process.

Join Mary W. Rowe, President & CEO of the Canadian Urban Institute, and the host of CityTalkCanada, to consider five good ideas for the non-profit sector to build a city, now and in the wake of a global pandemic.

Mary is no stranger to how cities recover from disasters, having worked in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and New York City during and following Hurricane Sandy. For several years she worked closely with Maytree Chair Alan Broadbent on Ideas that Matter, a convening and publishing program focused on the core areas of Jane Jacobs’ work: cities, economies, and values. Her work continues to be focused on how cities enable self-organization, cultivate innovation, and build social, economic, environmental, and cultural resilience.

Date: Dec 3, 2020

Time: 10:00 am Pacific Time

To sign up please click this link.

Images: MayTree,Arup

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