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Showing posts from September, 2010

Art: Car-Free

 A great image by artist Tatsuro Kiuchi @ the Tokyo Illustrators Society. I'm sure a lot of people would love our roads to look like this. Nifty!


I'm infatuated with San Fransisco's parklets (mini-public spaces). Their creation has spurred a movement for more - Here's an article from the San Fran Chronicle on how their city needs to create more permanent public space.   The Vancouver Sun on the argument over road space and who pays for what: Do cyclists pay their fair share?The Vancouver Sun delves into Cyclists and the possibility of them needing to register/insure their bikes and obtaining operating licenses (note: bike couriers already have this) - because it's unfair to Motorists. I'm very much opposed to the idea and I may write more on this later explaining why. Seattle has chosen a design firm for the waterfront development! This is super exciting, however, final design wont be ready until 2015...that's forever away! The waterfront redevelopment will be the most significant thing to happen in Seattle since, well, the highways were put in during the 1950s. 

Public Space: Turn the Vancouver Art Gallery back into a Courthouse

Re: Globe and Mail's Article Turn art gallery building back into courthouse, B.C.’s top judge says

Last Thursday, I worked the box office at the Playhouse Theatre for Sam Sullivan's Public Salon series and I stayed long enough to hear Mr. Justice Lance Finch of the BC Court of Appeal speak. Justice Finch has a novel idea for the old Courthouse-cum-Art Gallery: Turn it back into a Courthouse if and when the VAG moves out. He says,
“Beyond meeting the needs of the court for more space, reclamation of the courthouse as a courthouse will serve a more important function. It will restore and preserve this beautiful heritage building for a purpose, in a form, and in a dignified setting worthy of its origins.” 
   This idea definitely caught my attention. The Courthouse has served, more or less, as Vancouver's 'centre' ever since the City shifted westward from its old core in Gastown/DTES. It has been the site of many city gatherings and continues to be the City'…

Events: Greenest City Idea Slam / Call for artists

From the Vancouver Public Spaces Blog:
Friday, October 1 – Greenest City Idea Slam

We’re very pleased to announce our latest collaboration with the City of Vancouver and SFU’s City Program: a “Dragon’s Den”-style event that showcases some of the top ideas from the City’s Greenest City project.

If Vancouver is going to be the greenest city in the world it will need to capitalize off of the creative talents of a whole lot of people and a whole lot of new ideas. The Greenest City Idea Slam will be hosted by CBC’s Bill Richardson and will feature a blue ribbon panel of experts, artists and creative minds dialoguing and debating the top ideas that citizens have come up with in the “Talk Green To Us” forum. (You can vote for your favourite ideas on the website –

This is a great chance to see an idea jam on some of the coolest urban sustainability concepts presently in circulation… and have a darn good time in the process.

The panel event will take place at the SFU Woodwar…

Businesses for Bikes

Hey all,

I got this from a fellow collegue at Vancouver Public Space Network. If you own a business and support cycling infrastructure, or know someone who does, this may interest you!
Businesses for Bikes seeks to create a robust group of businesses that openly support cycling. It seeks to supply businesses with the tools and resources to reach the cycling consumer; empower employees to ride safely and confidently; and help create a more vibrant community and local economy.

Here's how your organization can be a part of it:

Become a member of Businesses for Bikes. On our program launch on Sept. 28th we will include a list of member organizations and their testimonials in our press release and on our websites. There is no cost - this is to help increase the awareness that cycling can be GOOD for business in the face of opposition to developments like the Hornby lane.

Provide a short testimonial on explaining why cycling is good for your business and email it to

Please c…


Remember that 9+ day long traffic jam in China? Here are some interesting articles written about it: One on the traffic jam as a collection of rooms, my friend Jake at Deconstructed City writes about it as a 'linear city', and one from the Economist titled, "The Great Crawl ofChina".A cool idea for safe cycling: an LED backpack that can give other road users signals. Vancouver Courier has a story on a letter by the Vancouver Board of Trade that blasts the Hornby Bike lane project. Apparently, the VBT is concerned about the City's revenue loss from the removal of metered parking...I have seen the design of the lanes and I'm confident that the City has listened to businesses and you'll find some on street parking kept, loading zones intact, and also that there's a net gain in parking spots that will be created on Howe Street. The Buzzer Blog has a bunch of great links...and, for the first time, THIS blog was mentioned. Check out the info on Translink…

SFU + City of Surrey Lecture Program

News: I GOT IN!

SFU Surrey Campus (Surrey Central City Mall)

October 6, 2010 to December 1, 2010

Wednesdays, 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm

The Transportation Lecture Program is the first of its kind in B.C., and Surrey is promoting this new initiative as part of the city’s broader engagement with the community and stakeholders. This lecture program will offer a forum to discuss important regional and local transportation issues, provide the City of Surrey a chance to better communicate and explain their role in transportation, the services they provide, and their place in the larger transportation “jig-saw”, and in turn, they will also hear first hand from you what issues and priorities are important.

In partnership with the SFU City Program we are offering a unique opportunity for citizens, professionals, and stakeholders to learn more about transportation in Surrey with topics including:

• Who’s r…

VIFF Preview: Cities in Film

I got a chance to look at the Vancouver International Film Fest preview guide and I wanted to highlight some interesting 'city' films:

Cities on Speed - Bogotá Change

With streets buried under garbage, near-total gridlock, and an astounding murder rate, Bogotá, Colombia, was once considered to be the world's worst city. Through the work of two visionary mayors, the city was resurrected. Removed from his job as Dean of the National University of Colombia for mooning an angry mob of students, Antanas Mockus gained a reputation as an honest man. Upon taking office, Mockus instituted some of the most curious civic campaigns ever conceived of, including using an army of mimes to de-snarl traffic, punching out balloon people as a vaccine against violence and snuggling up to a giant carrot. What's even more surprising is that these initiatives actually worked. Enrique Peñalosa picked up where Mockus left off, and completed Bogotá's transformation.

Cities on Speed - Mumbai…

Is better Transit a money problem? (and other ramblings)

When it comes to transportation issues, particularly when dealing with transit problems, they often revolve around money. When I lived in Langley, I always defaulted to the argument that since municipalities in the Metro Vancouver region all pay for Translink (and we are subject to a gas tax that also pays for transit), they should see an equal 'cut'. The argument was: poor transit = poor funding (or unequal funding). The argument also tended to lean on a perceived 'bias' towards Vancouver.

In reality, as always, the issue is much more complex and I don't insist that I have mastered all angles of this issue.

Langley is not a city built for transit. 200th street, in my opinion, is not a street built for light rail and nor will light rail succeed in the corridor as is. The street network is not conducive to transit and neither is the pattern of development (large parking lots and buildings that don't front the street).

Ah, yes. The superiority of 'the grid…

Video(s): New York Bike Lane and Traffic Talk

Okay. I swear this is my last post tonight. Here are a couple great vids from Street Films (check them out). Bike Lanes in New York, New York: If they can make it there, can they make it here? (Hint: YES!)

The Taming and Reclaiming of Prospect Park West from Streetfilms on Vimeo.

Tom Vanderbilt Talks “Traffic” from Streetfilms on Vimeo.

Metro Vancouver's Regional Growth Strategy: Rapid Transit destined for the South Fraser?

Recently, Metro Vancouver released its Regional Growth Strategy (RGS) Draft which you can read here. While Metro Vancouver can create these amazing documents with laudable (sometimes lofty) goals, it lacks the power to enact and enforce measures that would help us attain them. It must bring together a diverse group of stake holders and representatives:
Each representative has a say in how the region is run. The 2009 Board consists of 37 Directors representing 21 Municipalities, one Electoral Area, one treaty First Nation, and one Municipality that is a member of the GVRD for the parks function. These Directors are members of your Municipal or First Nation council who have been appointed to the Board by their respective councils on a “representation by population” basis.So you can imagine, it's a bit like herding cats. Back to the report...

There's a particular part of this report that the CBC, South Fraser OnTrax, Vancouver Sun picked up on. The RGS Draft's section 5.1 (p…


While social media has transformed our lives into short, 140 character or less entries, it has also given us a great deal of insight into how our social lives interact with the built environment. Take a look at these 4-Square maps of some major cities like London and Paris. If you're a map nerd like me, you'll think this is pretty neat-o.Gizmodo Article: "100 years ago, the New York Times predicted cars would be abolished today." Oh man, are they wearing egg on their faces! While I still don't fully understand why Vancouver doesn't have any pedestrian malls, Jarrett Walker at Human Transit enlightens us with some Australian history.Gordon Price linked to a post on Rowhouses from Michael Geller's blog which has some great information that I never knew about before. Bikes lanes are hugely contested topic in Vancouver these days and The Courier has an article that shows some differing perspectives on the Dunsmuir lanes. Personally, I can't see how a busi…