Friday, May 20, 2011

Public Space: Centiennial Square

I'm a huge supporter of turning Robson Street between Hornby and Howe streets into a public square/plaza. However, a week or so ago, I was walking downtown and revisited Centennial Square which is on the opposite side of the Art Gallery, and noticed how empty and bereft of life it was.
There are reasons for this but it's a shame that this potentially great space goes to waste. It does need re-design (see: ugly fountain) but I don't think this should stop people from using it as a market space or a space for food carts - add some tables and chairs and watch it fill with people. I'm a big fan of making space useful by making is usable (places to sit!). At night, string up some lights and turn it into an outdoor ballroom. We have a square so why aren't we doing anything about it?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Bike!

Alright folks, spring is upon us and it’s time to get out on two wheels if you aren’t already. There’s a ton of 'bike-things' going on at the end of May, leading into June.

First off, is Bike to Work Week (May 30 to June 5), which is put on by the Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition (VACC). Sign up and log your commutes or enroll your workplace and challenge your colleagues to try some active transportation in their lives.

On May 31, Carbon Talks is hosting a ‘brown-bag dialogue on Cycling in Vancouver’ at SFU Harbourfront. The City’s Director of Transportation, Jerry Dobrovolny, will be there to discuss bikes in the city. You need to pre-register for this.

Velopalooza (June 3 to June 19) is two weeks of bike fun with 68 bike rides and events. Check out their website for the calendar.

Commuter Challenge (June 5 to June 11) takes place during Canadian Environment Week and, much like Bike to Work Week, it encourages you to commute by other means like walking, biking and transit. Register yourself or your workplace and log your hours see where you stack up nationally.

If you're on twitter use #bikeYVR to share with the community.  Get out and use those beautiful new bike lanes!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Video: Montreal by Night, 1947

Resolve in Rejection: Grad School Update

Well, I've been rejected from the schools I've applied to for Planning (McGill and Ryerson, if you're wondering). Although it's somewhat frustrating, I am still resolved to continue to try to get into planning, however, it may take me a bit longer than I had hoped. I know planning school isn't the be all and end all but it is a convenient avenue for me to pursue my passion. In light that no planning school wants me, I'll be re-doubling my efforts to get into SFU's Urban Studies program for January. They've got a great looking program and I love that they're actually downtown.

I'll still be using this blog because I love it. Here's looking to future and I hope to be out on the town doing the nerdy things I like to do.
Me looking optimistically towards the future.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Reading

Robson Square: It's Time

Robson Square could be ours if we want it.
800 Block of Robson Street, Vancouver GIS
As you know, the 800-Block of Robson Street (between Howe and Hornby) has long been closed to vehicular traffic due to construction and last November and the city even looked at closing it permanently and created a new public space. Unfortunately, the City has grown pretty cool to the idea and it seems that Translink is the one holding it back. Translink's concern is the No. 5 bus which used to run through that section of Robson Street as has since been re-routed. While the No. 5 is an important route to connect the West End to the rest of the city, I personally don't believe we've run out of alternatives for this route.

This is one of those major opportunities that we, as a city, may not get again for a long, long time. Traffic has adjusted to the new patterns, the trolley wires are gone and I'm sure with some creative thinking we could get the No. 5 on a route that is more legible than its current re-route and that meets the needs of the community it serves. This is major opportunity to get some great space in the heart of the city. Vancouver has been looking to create a city square since the 1950s, it's time we made it happen. Consider taking 5 minutes to write a short letter copied to Ian Jarvis, Translink CEO ian.jarvis@translink.ca and Mayor Gregor Robertson gregor.robertson@vancouver.ca.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

May: Bike Month!

May is bike month. Get set for some posts about some great events. If you've got some bike news for Vancouver, let's start using #bikeYVR as our hashtag on twitter.