planning

Saving the Suburbs

I'd say the planning battle the post-boomer population has to struggle with is: what do we do with the 'suburbs'? Specifically, what do we do with all that low-density, sprawling infrastructure we built in 'the good days' when it seemed we could consume without end? I'm not slagging suburbs at all.. building Yaletown straight out to Harrison isn't the answer either.

A series currently being posted in the New York Times mulls the question, and draws some interesting commentary.
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So What's Wrong With a 10-lane Bridge?

It has been confirmed: the provincial government's new plan is to replace the Port Mann with a single, 10-lane bridge, at a total cost of $3.3 billion. The current Port Mann received a $35million upgrade in 2001, and has at least 30 years left in its life.

Mapping How Vancouverites get to Work

Erik Villagomez, one of the founding editors of re:place Magazine, has put together another one of his illuminating maps.

This one uses census and Translink data to illustrate how people from various locations throughout the city get to work - by showing what percentage use transit, cycle, or walk.

Remove the Viaduct!

Good ideas need to be spread wide, in hope they gain traction. Paul Hillson has an idea that I hope Vancouver planners take notice of: removing the Georgia and Dunsmuir Street viaducts.

The viaducts have served their purpose, as the train tracks they originally rose over no longer exist. Today, they serve as a reminder of the direction Vancouver nearly went in the '70s - they are the only part of a massive highway construction plan that ever saw completion.

Pattullo Closure Debrief

Well, there has been a lot said about the recent Pattullo bridge closure, so I'm not going to sum it all up here.

I've just got to say that Translink emerged as the winner. Faced with a possible PR catastrophe, someone made the brilliant decision to tell the public to expect the worst - and then surprise everyone with a sudden solution. Anyone in any kind of service business knows it is far better to shock a client with a hasty delivery than it is to surprise with an unexpected delay.

Port Mann,Hwy 1 Project Delayed

One of the deadlines for financing the Highway 1 / Port Mann portion of the Gateway Project has passed, amid an inflating budget and the backdrop of the current recession.

Whether the project will proceed as a P3 is in doubt, as the budget is now reported to be $2.3 billion, up from the original $1.3 billion. The cost benefits of building this bridge, with HOV lanes expanded to Langley (we've all seen how successful the HOV lane has been), as opposed to building a rail system out to the Valley, are now seriously in question.

Gateway Project "Cancelled" by Surrey Residents

As part of the International Day of Action on the Climate Crisis (Dec 7th), residents of Surrey, BC modified a sign advertising one of the least-sensible projects in the Gateway program: the South Fraser Perimeter Road.

The Gateway project is a multi-billion dollar highway expansion program that will increase ghg emissions in the sector that is already highest for this region. Since no contracts have been signed for some of the largest portions of the plan, it is still easy to back out of the plan.

Focal Point: East Fraserlands

I've always been interested in parts of the city that are particular points where change is happening, or where ideas of the current moment are best presented in one spot. Case studies of a kind, you could say.

One such example is the East Fraserlands development, what has been called "the last Vancouver megaproject", since it is one of the few remaining large single undeveloped parcels of land around.

Vancouver Council Approves Laneway Housing

Rezoning single-family residential property to allow laneway housing has been approved by Vancouver city council in what looks to have been a busy day.

Urbanites Moving Out

A five-year study of census data by BC Stats, reported on BC Local News complicates the idea that small-town people are moving into big cities.

The study looks at population flows between B.C.'s four Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs): Vancouver, Victoria, Abbotsford and Kelowna, as well as to and from the area outside CMAs.

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