COVID Place making
May 5, 2020

Dominato Effect: “Reallocation of Road Space to Support Shared Use during Pandemic”. And Beyond.

Finally – over a hundred days into the covid era – a city leader has articulated an initiative for “Reallocation of Road Space to Support Shared Use during Pandemic”.   Lisa Dominato but forward the following notice of motion, bumped to May 12 for discussion.

WHEREAS

  1. The City of Vancouver declared a local state of emergency on March 19, 2020 in response to the global COVID19 pandemic;
  1. The Province has recommended physical distancing of 2 metres (6 feet) to prevent the spread of COVID19;
  1. The Province has also recommended the public continue to safely enjoy the outdoors, including local parks and public spaces;
  1. The Provincial health officer has commented publicly in recent weeks that partial street closures and one way travel/routing can be an effective way to enable physical exercise and safe distancing during the pandemic;
  1. Cities across Canada and around the world are undertaking measures to reallocate street space and roadways for pedestrians to safely exercise, access businesses and employment, while maintaining a safe distance due to the current pandemic;
  1. Vancouver City Council has previously endorsed motions to support slower residential streets and encourage safer shared use;
  1. The City of Vancouver and Park Board recently identified congestion in and around Stanley Park, and subsequently closed the Stanley Park roadway to cars and one lane along Beach Avenue to enable safe physical distancing during the COVID19 pandemic;
  1. The City of Vancouver has initiated a street reallocation initiative that focuses on Room to Queue, Room to Load, and Room to Move during the COVID19 pandemic;
  1. The ongoing pandemic necessitates that the City reallocate road space on an urgent basis now and develop plans for mobility and space use as part of our post-COVID-19 recovery and new economy.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT Council direct staff to expedite efforts to identify and implement appropriate reallocations of road space, such as high use greenways and streets adjacent to parks where space could be reallocated temporarily to enable safe shared use (pedestrians, cyclists, motor vehicles) and support safe physical distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic response, and

FURTHER THAT Council direct staff to communicate information to the public and businesses regarding the suite of street measures available to the City for reallocating space to support access to local businesses, to support loading and curbside pick-up, and to support physical activity and distancing in neighbourhoods across the city, and

FURTHER THAT Council direct staff to report back to Council in fall 2020 on refined options for mobility and public realm use us as part of the post COVID19 recovery and new economy.

Note No. 8 in the Whereas’s.  Had any readers heard of a City of Vancouver street reallocation initiative that focuses on “Room to Queue, Room to Load, and Room to Move”?  Nothing was sent to Price Tags (perhaps too low below the horizon) – nor has much been said of note from the City’s leaders, particularly the Mayor. 

What a lost opportunity to reinforce other initiatives promoted by the City: reallocation as a health response, a climate-emergency response, a local-neighbourhood planning response, an active-transportation response – all of the above at a time when the difficult-to-do has become the necessary-to-do.  (Speaking of which, one would hardly think it necessary to direct staff “to communicate information to the public and businesses regarding the suite of street measures available …”)

Lisa’s motion more importantly goes beyond the immediate pandemic: she sees reallocation as important to a recovery- and new-economy response.

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Cllr Lisa Dominato was interviewed on ‘NW’s Simi Sara show this morning, touching all the points on why slow streets made sense – health, safety, open space for higher density neighbourhoods, social distancing.

Simi: “Needs to get done.  Needs to get done fast.”

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A second city councillor weighs in:

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Jeff Leigh sends in a pic from a HUB Cycling member  – “Parks Board responded to the concerns about the blocked entrance at Kits Beach Park.  ”


 

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Likewise in Stanley Park, Dianna reports in:

It’s a work in progress, and this is the Parks Department’s latest effort to clarify which direction to ride. It’s a good change. In two loops, I saw only three cyclists riding the wrong way, two were nervously creeping down from Prospect Point, and the other looked defiant so maybe he was out for the scenery. Also, intersected with one bus and two landscaping trucks. No expensive SUVs today.

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Gordon Price and Tom Davidoff chat with newly elected Vancouver Councillor Lisa Dominato on how her successful run in the recent election was informed by her experiences as a school trustee, working in public policy with the provincial government, and through conversations with voters during the campaign.

Plus, her take on the issue of the day — fulfilling the housing needs of the ‘missing middle’. What does she think about prior Council decision on duplexes? How can neighbourhood voices help guide land use decisions? What role will Council play with — and what will inform — the forthcoming city-wide planning process?

A great discussion — with more from Councillor Dominato and other leaders in the region in future episodes.

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