Jun 15 2008

CityView: Keep It Moving, People

Published by at 12:58 pm under Uncategorized

Traffic jams for hours on end. Freeways cutting an ugly concrete gouge through the city centre. An epidemic of road rage. Pedestrians treated like second-class citizens.

Not our problem, thanks. Vancouver actually seems to have done pretty well on the transportation planning front.

Except for Montreal, Vancouver has more than twice as many people walking to work and shops as in any other North American city. Every day, 50,000 cyclists take to our streets. About half of all commuters still take cars to work, but our numbers are still far lower than in places like Edmonton and Calgary, where over 70 per cent drive to their jobs.

I explored these trends and more in the latest issue of Granville Magazine in my city view column, “We Like To Move It, Move It”.

Vancouver has made a lot of progress compared to other municipalities in terms of promoting more sustainable transportation. But are we moving in the right direction? What do you think are Vancouver’s transportation priorities?

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5 responses so far

5 Responses to “CityView: Keep It Moving, People”

  1. Earnest Canuckon 17 Jun 2008 at 2:07 am

    Well, Narvey, I think our priority ought to be the maximisation of individual mobility, for both economic and political reasons. A free city is a place where free people can move about freely, right? The left-wing shibboleth about “getting people out of their cars” looks like simple bullying to me; and while I don’t think bicycling ought to be punished, it’s absurd to put the “needs” of 50,000 two-wheeling GVRDites ahead of the 1, 350, 000 other people who need to get around town. I mean, I’ve read some Critical Mass types who honestly think spending $60 mil for easy bike access on the Burrard Bridge would be a smart “investment”. How…? I mean, the opportunity cost alone would be staggering. We’ve got to keep an eye on this Eco-Density stuff, and transportation planning in general, or eco-fanatics and soft-headed idealists really will kidnap the whole deal, leaving the city in a state of sclerosis.

    I would also ask for better-looking naked women on bikes during the Critical mass “demos,” “blockades,” “honkfests” or whatever they’re calling ’em. Also, the Car-Free self-congratulation festivals…? They’ve made me late for work twice now, since I’ve got weekend shifts and they make crucial streets Bus-Free too, ya know. Which would be a typical case of good leftist intentions having disastrous consequences.

  2. jnarveyon 17 Jun 2008 at 11:32 am

    Maximization of individual mobility? I like the sound of that. And I’m in total agreement with you about the need for better-looking naked women on bikes.

    I actually wasn’t a fan of the Burrard bridge bike lane plan. The problem is, if you’re going to encourage people to get out of their cars, you have to provide them with reasonable alternatives. When transit is maxed out at around 99 per cent capacity, the alternatives just aren’t there (I for one will not be riding a bike to work, mostly because I’m the kind of person who gets easily distracted and might get run over. I carpool these days).

    But the beauty of Ecodensity is that if you live within walking distance of work and amenities, you won’t need to use transportation at all most of the time. Before cheap gasoline turned our cities into urban sprawl, towns were built with closeness in mind. Now that fuel is so costly, there really isn’t much alternative to using our cars as little as possible.

  3. S.on 27 Apr 2009 at 6:16 am

    According to the Globe and Mail, Vancouver is not doing nearly as well as you say:

    “Vancouver, with its milder temperatures and greener reputation was only slightly better – 75 per cent drive to work.”

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080402.wgreen0402/BNStory/census2006

  4. jnarveyon 27 Apr 2009 at 8:07 am

    They’re talking about the Greater Vancouver region (including all of the suburbs). My stats are for the City of Vancouver. You’re comparing an apple and a much larger orange.

  5. S.on 27 Apr 2009 at 8:47 am

    The 70% or so number for Calgary, includes it’s suburbs, which are harder to distinguish due to Calgary’s Unicity model. As there are no Inner city Calgary numbers to compare, the Metro Vancouver and (Metro) Calgary regions should be compared directly, otherwise, like you said, Apples to Oranges (Van to Calgary).

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