COVID Place making
April 21, 2020

Flow / Slow Streets: Vancouver Fails

Some of the biggest names in mobility are supporting the momentum for re-purposing streets.

Jeff Tumlin, Director of Transportation in San Francisco:

 

Janette Sadik-Khan, past Transportation Commissioner in New York City:

 

In Vancouver:

The absence of the mayor, any councillor or park commissioner taking advantage of an obvious success like the Beach flow way is a mystery to me.  So far, I haven’t heard a supportive comment to build on this success from any elected official at the City or Park Board.

But I can bet on one thing: after a summer of using Stanley Park and Beach in this configuration, we’re not going back to the way it was.

Sarcasm alert:  (Yes, it’s time to dismantle all the success we’ve had at giving road space to safely distance, provide opportunities for people to recreate and exercise in their neighbourhoods, and encourage active transportation – because we have to make room for all the cars that are coming on the road as people abandon transit, drive more, take advantage of cheap oil and literally step on the gas so we can increase carbon emissions and accelerate climate change.  After all, how bad could it be when nature gets all disruptive on us?)

There’s a window here, but no elected official seems to want to open it wider.

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PT has often referenced Jeff Tumlin, Executive Director of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) – notably in this PriceTalks. 

Jeff was back in town to keynote TransLink’s New Mobility Forum: The Promise & Perils of Automated Transportation on January 14 – and gave what I think is his best talk ever (and I’ve seen a few of them.)  Polished, funny, insightful, so much content in a mere half hour – a Tumlin tour-de-force.

TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond opens with some remarks, and Jeff then shows up at 13:30.  (Click on headline to access video.)

It’s more than worth the 30 minutes.  The presentation slides can be found in the document library.

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Yes, another podcast on Vancouver, its times and its issues – this one from Courier columnist Mike Klassen.  He calls it Vancouver Overcast.

The name is not just a riff on the persistent grey weather conditions we endure here. My goal is to establish a channel where listeners can discover more about Vancouver and hear from some of its thought leaders.

News out of San Francisco:

PriceTalks did an in-depth interview with Jeff Tumlim this last March – lots of insights into Jeff and his thinking, especially relevant now that he will be helping to shape one of the world’s great cities.

 

 

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Google ‘Tumlin NIMBY’ or ‘Tumlin Santa Monica’, and you can see a little bit of the story arc.

An effective stage-setting for a dialogue earlier this month, in front of a small gathering at Gord’s West End apartment, with Jeff Tumlin, Principal and Director of Strategy for Nelson Nygaard.

One in a long-running series of Price Tags Soirées, and our first live audience recording, the chat included a Q&A with a few special guests well-known to #vanpoli followers.

Tumlin, raised in LA and happily transplanted to San Francisco via Stanford university in the late 1980’s, survived the recession of the early ’90s by (essentially) growing a branch of the transportation demand management tree — he was able to, over time, convert Stanford’s campus-wide parking into more money to support the implementation of a multi-modal transportation strategy.

Parking = $$$, and he turned it into a generous bankroll for university, and a career for himself with one of North America’s most-respected transportation consulting firms. He’s become an expert in helping communities move from discord to agreement about the future of transportation, and in the conversation you can hear he loves the challenge.  Calling inequity and privilege for what it is and, in the fight for public space, using compassion and humour to move forward.

True, he tacitly acknowledges, sometimes it doesn’t work, as with Santa Monica. But eventually his clients seem to get there, one way or another.

** Spoiler alert: North Shore policy and politics do indeed come up. Why do you think he was in town?

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