The Choice in Vancouver
Don B wrote
Would you consider doing a post on the NPA/Vision policy platforms wrt transportation? I know you live in Richmond but it would be great to hear your opinion on these concrete proposals that deal with the issues you write about.
So I went to http://www.npavancouver.ca/ and downloaded the “NPA Action Plan” which contains the following
• Work with the provincial government, the federal government and TransLink to secure funding for the Broadway-UBC rapid transit line.
I have written often about this proposal – and it has been the subject of much debate int he comments section. I can understand why the City would regard this as a priority – I just do not think it should be a regional priority. It is about time that rapid transit provision reached beyond the Burrard Peninsular. Coquitlam and Surrey should be the next two priorities for majort investment, not Vancouver. The City can however, on its own, do a lot to facilitate better transit and bus lanes on Braodway woudl be a great start – but the NPA has no intention of doing that.
• Work with TransLink and the provincial government to implement a public bike-sharing system in
Again, the City could do this on its own. In Paris the whole velib scheme is funded by J C Decaux out of billboard revenues – but of course Vancouver hates billboards. The invovement of outside agencies just gives the NPA an excsue for not moving faster.
• We will continue lowering parking requirements in new housing developments to foster sustainability and encourage housing affordability.
• We will investigate the feasibility of redeveloping surface parking in existing multi-family residential zones to provide for the development of purpose-built market rental housing.
• We will investigate using City parking and parking revenues to fund the development of non-market housing for those in need.
• We will relax regulations for secondary suites
all of which are good things but should have been happening mush faster. The NPA, of course, is very careful to protect its voter base which is small c conservative and fundamentally opposed to much change in existing neighbourhoods
• We will explore options for closing streets for pedestrian-only use, based on experience during the 2010 Games.
Street closures do not need to wait for 2010 either. They are either part fo the philosophy of cities for people or oipposed becuase the city is for cars. The latter is the reality that the NPA has protected – not least by its shameful record on Burrard Bridge. They did keep Granville Mall, but they really dropped the ball on Cambie Street – and lost any credibilty on reducing car movemnet space as a result.
• We will ensure that the Broadway-UBC rapid transit line remains a priority for TransLink and the provincial government.
erm , excuse me, but you already said that a few pages back
• We will lead local neighbourhood planning that extends the best practices and legacies of the
planning for Vancouver’s dense downtown with its high levels of walking, cycling and transit use to manage change in a way that improves quality of life in our neighbourhoods.
• We will implement a public bike-sharing system in collaboration with TransLink.
• We will expand the City’s bike routes and lanes with an increased emphasis on safety for cyclists.
The province has been dropped from public bike sharing in the second time it is mentioned – and is that thord point a tacit acknowldegement that there has not been enough attention paids to saftey for cyclcist in the past?
So over to Vision’s website where I tried to find a link to a platform document comparable to the NPA’s pdf and couldn’t. The “policies and issues” section seems to be a long list of things they voted against in the last term – and the news section has press releases on different subjects including a commitment to $1.5m in spending on bike lanes – I am not sure of they mean $1.5m more – or if it is an increase on what is currently being spent. They want a new pedestrian bridge across False Creek – which of course is not needed if you bite the bullet and take two lanes away from cars on Burrard Bridge. Again I am on record as supporting this plan as the traffic on the bridge simply does not need three lanes each way – the intersections at each end determine that the flow is always going to be less than the need for three lanes.
Now as it happens I woudl not recommend voting for anyone based solely on a platform. The last time I did that when as a neophyte Canadian voter I read all three party platforms, and decided that Jean Chretien’s Red Book looked the best. How wrong I was to trust that man. Neither should you vote on the basis of transport policy alone – even if it is better integrated with land use.
Despite its name, the NPA is about as partisan as it gets. If you do one of those tests (there are several on the internet) and find yourself on the right side of the spectrum, than NPA will be a comfortable home for you. Gordon Price (who is no longer in this racket) and Peter Ladner are at the progressive end of the spectrum – and more than one commentator has pointed out how close Robertson and Lander are in reality. But the NPA owes its large and well funded support to the business as usual crowd.
Vision is, or should be, a bit more left leaning but without the “loony lefties” of COPE. Of which I suppose I must probably count myself even though I would never join any political party that had people like me as a member.
The choice I am afraid in Vancouver is not much. Personally I would like to see some real change in Vancouver – but without silly notions like another pedestrian bridge across a body of water that has plenty of fixed crossing capacity and delightful little ferry boats too. Vancouver’s greatest sin is insufferable smugness. It greatest issue is not transportation but homelessness and the open sore of the downtown eastside. And I blame city politics for both of those – although of course the province and the cannot be given any sort of credit there either. So a plague on both your parties I say.
And what happened to the downtown streetcar – is the NPA dropping that?
If anyone has the Vision or COPE plaforms handy please comment and provide a link
I was going to put a poll in here but there is a gremlin in WP right now. I will try again later