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Showing posts from November, 2010

King George Boulevard: A Complete Street?

These are some mock ups I did for a project recently. The top is a section of King George Boulevard as it currently exists (or as close as I could gather from Surrey's GIS data / it was my first time using Google SketchUp...). You will see 3 travel lanes on the left and 3 travel lanes on the right in addition to a left turning lane. That's 7 lanes, or around 26 meters, dedicated to cars.

The picture below is what we envision King George Boulevard becoming. Large sidewalks, with bike lanes in each direction and limited to 4 travel lanes with a left hand turn lane (down to 16.5 meters!). (You can tell I spent a bit more time on this graphic and I also got a bit more used to SketchUp). Also, I'd like to mention that this version of King George Boulevard is a 'Green Street' (integrated stormwater management!). 

Images: 350 eARTh in Vancouver

On Sunday morning, my partner and I woke up a bit earlier than normal (re: before noon) to attend Vancouver's 350 eARTh public art event. When we got to David Lam park around 9:45 AM and we saw around 50 or so people. For Vancouver, it was to be expected. I don't know how to explain it but Vancouver has a very high 'ditch' rate for events - that is, people say they'll be there but then don't end up going. It seems hard to muster a good crowd in Vancouver. However, it was before 10:00 AM on a Sunday at -5 degrees Celsius. Let's focus on the positive!

In the end, we were able to muster a great group of enthusiastic people. By the end of it, we were all numb from the cold and left with some great images. A big thanks to the organizers and the people who braved the ravaging Vancouver 'winter'.
More here: Pics:…

Video: Toronto Boom Town, 1951

While trolling the National Film Board of Canada's website (everything is free to watch and I highly recommend you check it out), I came across this short 10 minute documentary on Toronto.
Synopsis: This short documentary studies the contrast between the sedate Toronto of the turn of the century and the thriving, expanding metropolis of 1951. Aerial views give evidence of the conversion of the old Toronto into the new--the city with towering skyscrapers, teeming traffic arteries, vast industrial developments and far-reaching residential areas housing over a million people. Toronto's mid-century progress is also Canada's, as manifested in the building of Canada's first subway, and in the bustle of the nation's greatest trading centre--the Toronto Stock Exchange. ***TAKES SOME TIME TO LOAD****


The Cost of Bus Service in Metro Vancouver

Last night was my weekly class with the SFU & City of Surrey Transportation Lecture Program and I'd thought I'd share some interesting info.

Translink staff gave a few great presentations. One of them dealt with Route Planning and the costs associated with routes/service. For instance, one service hour costs $118 on average for a bus. Around 80% of that cost is labour (driver and maintenance). So, a bus on the road for 18 hours/day costs almost $775, 000/year (which is more than the bus actually costs).

What does that translate to on the road? Here's an example bus route they gave us:

From point A to point B: 45 minutes
From point B to point A: 45 minutes
Transition time at each end: 10 minutes x2 (20minutes)
Complete Cycle: 110 minutes
Headway (frequency): 10 minutes 

For this route, you would need 11 buses on the road. The estimated cost for a year of service was $8.5million - remember, this is the cost for ONE frequent bus route. 

This is some large cash behind …


Human Transit's post on 'Mapnificent'. Like 'Walkscore', it seems like an interesting tool to use for understanding an area's accessibility but via public transit. Also, it's available for Vancouver!  Watch 'Mapnificent' describe itself below: 
Mapnificent from Stefan Wehrmeyer on Vimeo. Brent Toderian, Vancouver's Director of Planning, has a post on Planetizen about 'Hidden Density' - or Vancouver's Laneway Housing initiative/Eco-Density/Whateveryouwanttocallit. Found this via Price Tags. Also, have a gander at Lance Berelowitz's comment at the bottom (he's the author of Dream City) The Director of Planning for the City of Decatur, Georgia, makes a Call to Arms (and Legs, Hearts and Lungs). She writes, "I’d like to suggest that if there was such a thing as designer malpractice we would be in a lot of trouble right now." The Globe and Mail asks, 'Gravy - Or good planning?' This will become an important questi…

Event: 350 Earth in Vancouver!

From the VPSN Blog.

On Sunday, November 21, VPSN is partnering with to take public art to a whole new (atmospheric) level. For the first time in history Vancouver will be taking a place in a global art exhibit to show how climate change is affecting the planet and demonstrate public support for creative solutions to climate change.

People in Cairo, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Reykjavik, Bejing, Mumbai and 14 other cities will gather to create massive public art installations on the eve of the United Nations climate meetings in Cancun, Mexico where delegates will be working to create an international climate treaty. Every site will create large, unique formations that will be captured on camera by air and by satellite.

So, if you’re game for a Sunday that’s a little different from your last, join us at David Lam Park at 9:30am Sunday, November 21. Before then, please let us know to expect you by filling out this form and taking the time to also RSVP on Facebook.

Want mo…

Sustainable Stormwater Management: Portland's Green Streets

Watching the Streetfilm video about Portland's Bike Boulevards I posted not to long ago brought to my attention their Sustainable Stormwater initiative - Green Streets - and it got me really interested in them. 

Stormwater seems like a pretty banal issue but it's actually very important in cities because they contain a lot of impervious, impermeable surfaces (i.e. streets). When it rains, the water runs off, collects and needs to be drained into our storm sewer system which then leads to our waterways (streams, rivers, etc.). Stormwater can pick up pollutants, dirt, and other contaminants and it can also cause flooding and erosion which destroys habitat and contributes to combined sewer overflows (CSOs).

In Portland, they've opted for a fantastic approach to these problems. They believe that:
Stormwater management systems that mimic nature by integrating stormwater into building and site development can reduce the damaging effects of urbanization on rivers and streams.…

Illustrated Vancouver: Burrard Station Cutaway

Translink Moving Forward: Property taxes if necessary, but not necessarily property taxes.

Earlier this week, Translink's board forwarded two Transportation and Financial Supplemental Plans to the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation. Read about it here and here and at the Buzzer.

The Mayor's Council will either approve one of these plans or neither which would keep Translink on it's 'base plan' (i.e. working with what they have).

Option 1: 'Delivering the Evergreen Line and the North Fraser Perimeter Road'
Funding the Evergreen SkyTrain Line connecting the Lougheed and Coquitlam town centres and for an extension of United Boulevard in Coquitlam as the first phase of the North Fraser Perimeter Road goods movement corridor from the Queensborough Bridge in New Westminster to Highway #1.Option 2: 'Moving Forward'
 Same as above AND proposes additional road and transit improvements across Metro Vancouver, notably in the South of Fraser and North Shore sub-regions. Would add over 425, 000 hours of annual transit service (23 million transit…


Mitchel Silver, head of the American Planning Association talks about planning in the past and looks to the future: "planning, when well-executed, leads to economic development while embracing diversity and social equity."Chicago Tribune: Apple has spent $4 million to renovate a run-down  metro stop and plaza that exists next to a soon-to-open Apple store - "It's the equivalent of mowing the neighbor's weedy lawn — and paying the neighbor to let you."The Globe and Mail's Scott Latimer admits that Cyclists scare him. Here are some quotes: In the great urban debate of car versus bike, I reluctantly side with cars. I am a driver, mostly out of necessity, as I live in the 416 but work in the 905. Being a driver, however, does not mean I am against bicycling, or against urban bicycling.... I would be for bicycling in dedicated bike lanes, or bicycling in any context that is safe and accessible and doesn’t force cyclists to imperil themselves riding in heavy …

The Death and Life of Gastown: Part Three - Post-War Modernity

At the end of the war, Canadians were more affluent than ever before and as the economy boomed, so did the population. These factors converged to ensured the proliferation of the suburbs — Canadians looking to realize their domestic dreams of idealized living. Aided by the rise of the automobile — by 1960 two-thirds of households owned a car[1] — middle-class families fled the city towards the periphery of Canadian cities where there was room for a family home with a yard in a quiet and clean neighbourhood.
            As Canadians sought their suburban lives outside the city, “the exodus of the middle class . . . triggered  a ‘filtering down’ — that is, a decline in households’ socio-economic status, conversions of single-family units into multi-family accommodation, and subsequent physical deterioration of an aging housing stock.”[2] Furthermore, the perception of the inner-city in contrast to the idyllic suburb, the conditions of the inner-city ‘slum’ were considered the root of ma…