We’re reviving a Vancouver-oriented Price Tags Golden Oldie from December 2012 that rings with resonance today, as we enjoy lively and informed debate about when subway and LRT are appropriate.

Given that the VCC-Clark Drive to Arbutus section is funded and underway, the Arbutus to UBC section is getting scrutiny. Given UBC’s involvement and possible financial support, the impending Jericho development and the lengthy low-density section of the proposed line, not to mention Skytrain vs. LRT, it’s fertile ground for thinking.

So many of the topics discussed in 2012 are relevant today, perhaps in a different manner on the Arbutus to UBC section.

The Editors of Price Tags

Bob Ransford discussed the push by the Vancouver Council to get a rapid-transit line down Broadway in his Vancouver Sun column.  Lots of good points.

I sent it off to Human Transit blogger Jarrett Walker to see if he had any counterpoints.  Oh yeah.

So here are the two of them, with Jarrett’s remarks italicized along the way:

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TransLink, UBC and City of Vancouver engineers and planners have told us what they think about the technology for the Broadway to UBC rapid transit line.  There’s no room for more busses on this monster corridor, and LRT has too-low capacity.

This information came out at the July 28 Town Hall meeting mentioned recently in Price Tags along with significant background.

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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.

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As reported by Frances Bula in the Globe and Mail and as posted on the City of Vancouver website the City is finally developing a ten-year strategy to create thousands of new rental units in the city and to ensure these units are scaled to income with the hope of providing accommodation and lowering speculative building. You can view the report  here which also  includes four separate accompanying indexes. Yes we are also a year away from the next municipal election in Vancouver, one that could be challenging for the current council as housing affordability, accessibility and homelessness have increased to alarming levels.
As Ms. Bula observes “Ultimately, city planners say they want to see 72,000 new units of housing built in Vancouver in the next 10 years, but in specific categories.They have set targets of 24,000 purpose-built rentals, 12,000 social-housing or co-op units and 36,000 ownership units, which would include coach houses as well as condos. It is expected that about 12,000 of those purchased units would end up being rented out. About half the units in the plan are geared to households with less than $80,000 a year in income.”
Some of the concepts have already been debated including incentivizing development potential if 20 per cent of units in a building are accessible to citizens making low incomes. And there’s a proposal to permit homeowners in single family areas to build infill houses and add up to two units in older homes built over 75 years ago.
New ideas include constricting development speculation and demand by spelling out rental and subsidized housing requirements in areas with new neighbourhood plans.  With the achievable market units already clearly outlined, developers “will be less likely to pay exorbitant amounts of money for land – something that happened in recent years along the Cambie corridor after it was rezoned for apartments to create density along the Canada Line.”  Areas where this strategy will be implemented include the Broadway corridor and the three SkyTrain station precincts.
The City will change regulations to allow more than five people living in a house that are unrelated, and will create a “tenant-protection” manager at the City who will ensure that tenants are not evicted for renovations if those permits are not actually in place. This ten-year strategy is a game changer for the City of Vancouver which has been criticized for slow response on these important issues. The report is scheduled to go to Council next Tuesday the   28th of November. Staff has indicated that the actions contained in the report will be immediately acted upon if the report is approved on Tuesday.


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People in Canada have become used to the fact that a lot of our public realm often does not include a washroom. Price Tags Vancouver is using the Canadian term for that room that includes a toilet and a sink. This room is called a “rest room” in the United States, but it serves the same purpose-it’s a place that all humans need to use, and use more frequently as humans get older.  So why have we not been installing these necessary facilities, especially near our rapid transit or heavily used bus corridors, especially for an aging population that relies on transit as a major mode of transportation?
Kudos to the City of Vancouver’s Seniors Advisory Committee who are pushing for TransLink to install accessible public washrooms in all new stations, and in the Millennium Line Broadway Extension. As Glenda Luymes outlined in the Vancouver Sun  the lack of washrooms even drew the ire of the Raging Grannies who were in town to protest something else a few years back, but developed a special song about the lack of rapid transit washroom services. They sang that song in front of  Waterfront Station.
Seniors’ Advisory Committee Chair Colleen McGuiness stated “It’s beyond short-sighted not to put them in. Loneliness and isolation are a concern for seniors, and a lack of public washrooms on transit routes is a factor in that.” 
Oddly enough the renovated SkyTrain stations on the Expo line have space and are prepped with plumbing for washrooms, but TransLink won’t be  reporting  on  washroom availability until next year.  Issues will include the cost of maintenance, security, and sanitation. But if Edmonton, Toronto and Paris can provide washroom facilities at some stations, surely Vancouver can as well.  You can take a look at this older copy of The Buzzer that provides a chart of which transit systems have washrooms. This TransLink newsletter from 2011 also asks  “I’m curious what Buzzer readers think about the issue. Is adding more washrooms to the system important to you? If so, how do you think they should be implemented, and by whom?”



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