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Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Cambie Corridor plans puts Vancouverism to the test

with 47 comments

Hadani Ditmars in the Globe and Mail examines what is going to be happening at two stations on the new Canada Line.   There is to be a new development at Marine Drive and the Oakridge Mall is getting a makeover. There is a surprisingly positive view given by Patrick Condon, who elsewhere has been critical of this sort of point intensity of development preferring the mid rise, spread along the street style of development that follows streecars. Rapid transit of any kind has fewer stations than streetcars have stops, so the development tends to cluster around the station and density declines as distance from the station increases. Or would do if the planning was done properly – Stockholm being about the best example.

Train leaving Marine Drive station

Canada Line train leaving Marine Drive station my photo on flickr

I do not yet see that the “corridor” itself is going to see a lot of change. There are many home owners now asking for very large prices for their low density buildings along the street, which prompted a reaction from the city planner who pointed out that developers have to pay development cost charges to the city, and the sort of prices being asked and the likely permitted density increase did not add up to viable projects.

What I think is remarkable is how late the development is occurring. Most of it has yet to have much of a physical manifestation and it is only occurring at two points. Contrast that to the way Richmond’s city centre has been expanding – upwards – since the announcement of the line was made, with new developments open as soon as the line was and more on the way. In fact some of the development – out by the Oval and No 2 Road is quite remote from the line – and, indeed, any transit at all. There used to be a #492 express bus on weekday peak periods over the No 2 Bridge and direct to downtown. That went when the B line came in and was quickly revived when the loadings far exceeded expectations. The current idea is that people will take the #402 to Brighouse Station and wait in line for the single line shuttle  service. Actually people wanting a seat tend to get on the southbound train at the previous station to ensure they get one and put up with the slower journey time. Brighouse still does not have a purpose built bus station – unlike Marine Drive.

I think there is very little point spending huge amounts of money on rapid transit systems unless you are willing to allow much greater densities. The lack of development along the Expo line in East Vancouver being something that I used to take groups of people to see, since they had heard so much about the success of Vancouver’s downtown and thought that somehow this progressive attitude extended geographically. Until now, within the City, about the only place which has seen significant change has been Joyce-Collingwood where industrial land was converted to dense, affordable housing – by reducing parking requirements.

The new buildings going up on No 3 Road have not had their parking requirements reduced. Indeed they are actually building underground parking – something hitherto only seen at City Hall. That recognizes that for a lot of Richmond residents employment is not in Vancouver but in other suburbs, and that the car is still the dominant form of commuting. Despite the raised bike lanes.

No 3 at Firbridge site

Underground parking construction Firbridge at No 3 Road my photo on flickr

Development which actually increases parking supply (these sites were formerly car showrooms) inevitably increases car use – even if there is a rapid transit line nearby. Indeed, when the first Toronto subway opened along Yonge Street, traffic got worse. The removal of streetcars allowed more road space for cars, but the new high rise buildings at the stations had parking included in them.

I certainly congratulate Translink on its performance last year. It was a very good lesson in getting quarts into pint pots. I just think that they will hit the limit of what that can achieve fairly quickly. The Canada Line was built down to a price, and is going to be a problem when expansion become necessary. And if the development along the Cambie corridor exceeds the present two sites and becomes more widespread, the limits of that capacity will be reached very quickly indeed. In the meantime, what money is being spent is wasted on the pointless gating system.

Vancouver – and its region – desperately needs more and better transit and much more transportation choice. That is not news of course. And so far the region as a whole seems not to have embraced the idea that underlies the Vancouver Transportation plan  – that human powered modes and transit should have priority. Density is still a dirty word – just like traffic congestion. And for a good summary of the history of that I recommend the ever more prolific Gordon Price – and endorse his recommendations.

Written by Stephen Rees

January 5, 2012 at 1:55 pm

Posted in Urban Planning

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47 Responses

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  1. Thank you Stephen, there is a lesson here for the Douglas – Downtown Victoria corridor which will become the Airport to Downtown corridor to serve all of Saanich Peninsula. Likewise, eventually the Sooke – Victoria corridor as well.

    Lloyd Skaalen

    January 5, 2012 at 2:45 pm

  2. There are also a couple of midrises planned for Cambie close to 49th Ave. – one rezoning has been approved, the other is still proposed. They are listed in the 6000 block of Cambie at the link below (with renders or elevations at the link).

    As for Oakridge, two projects on 41st Ave just west of Cambie (600 block) will not have streetfront retail. One is a senior’s home (rezoning approved) and the other is a conod (proposed). See link below for plans, etc. That seems to indicate that the City is content with confining the commercial node at Oakridge to the mall site, which is unfortunate, as the patios of these two developments will look directly across 41st Ave. to the redeveloped Oakridge [Town Centre].

    See rezoning applications here (including Cambie and Marine projects):
    http://vancouver.ca/commsvcs/planning/rezoning/applications/index.htm

    Guest

    January 5, 2012 at 2:53 pm

  3. PS – the midrises on Cambie near 49th will have retail facing Cambie.

    Guest

    January 5, 2012 at 3:00 pm

  4. I do like what Richmond has done. Not quite my idea of a truly exciting modern city, but the areas around the Canada line is getting more and more interesting. One wish that the Provincial government had the intelligence and foresight to plan the extension of the line, even if it is a couple of km every few years.

    Cambie was a wrong choice in my mind… but the main mistake is the local culture of letting the developers start building before the city makes its mind about transit. In other places-with conservative governments yet– the city plan well in advance how a whole area will be developed……with the local rapid transit company being involved.

    The developers then know that this lot will be a cheap buy but can only go up so many floors…this other one will allow more floors and be more expensive…etc. developers can also sell the shell of a home only, to be finished by the owner, often with some help from the developer..but that is another subject.

    To be fair there is not the history of planned cities, transit etc. in B.C. that there are in places where any town or building called “new” this or that is many centuries old. And our politicians don’t go out enough..

    It puzzles me that a metropolitan area that had dreams of being eventually “that big” was so late in starting a rapid transit system, and that they made the poor choice of a system that elsewhere is used as the main rapid transit only in cities with a maximum of 1 million.
    Worse still that no rapid transit was planned for the whole area west of Cambie.

    “Actually people wanting a seat tend to get on the southbound train at the previous station to ensure they get one and put up with the slower journey time..”
    Lots of people do that on the Expo/ Millenium lines..going to the terminal station for a couple of stops then changing trains there. I do it often….

    In Japan it is called doubling up. Because of the way their fares/ monthly passes system is set up this is technically CHEATING but most companies turn a blind eye as most of the fare is paid anyway.
    I asked Japanese people on an internet site if true cheating on transit ever happen in Japan and they laughed at me!!!
    The consensus was that, even with fare gates and smart cards, some people do not pay ,,,not them of course..though they did once a while when younger.

    Red frog

    January 6, 2012 at 2:51 am

  5. Speaking of the Cambie corridor . . .

    http://www.theyorkshirelad.ca/1yorkshirelad/vancouver.re-boot/Vancouver.re-boot.html

    . . . and making sense of Oakridge‘s parking lot: that name: where are the Oak trees?

    What a mess!

    And we’ve lived with it for forty years! How belies integrity . . .

    Roger Kemble

    January 6, 2012 at 8:44 am

  6. It puzzles me that a metropolitan area that had dreams of being eventually “that big” was so late in starting a rapid transit system, and that they made the poor choice of a system that elsewhere is used as the main rapid transit only in cities with a maximum of 1 million.
    Worse still that no rapid transit was planned for the whole area west of Cambie.

    See plans from 1928 (City Planning) and 1946 (Transit Planning) here:

    http://www.archive.org/details/vancplanincgen00vanc

    http://www.archive.org/details/transitplanningm00vanc

    See generally:

    http://www.vancouverarchives.ca/2011/04/how-did-harland-bartholomew%E2%80%99s-ideas-shape-vancouver/

    Rapid transit (LRT) was also planned during the 1970s, but was not kick-started until Expo 86 (in the form of SkyTrain). Of course, changes in government (provincial and municipal) enters the mix as well.
    Here’s a reference to the 1975 NDP plan for streetcars and LRT (southwards over the demolished False Creek trestle and eastwards on the current Skytrain RoW)

    http://pricetags.wordpress.com/2010/04/08/visions-of-transit-futures-past/
    http://regardingplace.com/?p=8157

    Guest

    January 6, 2012 at 12:59 pm

  7. Why do the chicken cross the road? people living in one district of the city and working and/ or shopping in another district isn’t exactly a new thing! This has been going on for centuries..

    In the Middle Ages people living in villages would walk, ride horses, share a ride on a carriage for relatively long distances, to go to a town known for the production of some special goods, or for a a big monthly or annual fair.

    Utopia is dreaming that one can work, live and find the goods that one needs, and those that one wants (2 different things), in an “urban village”. history proves otherwise.

    Red frog

    January 6, 2012 at 9:13 pm

  8. At first people was again the Canada line because ridership couldn’t warrant such a ‘Cadillac’ subway,
    now, usually the same explain that the Canada line is undersized
    In a same shot and after explaining that the ALR is very important, they also complain that the Canada line is designed in such a way (single track) it can’t extend into the Ladner ALR area easily and that is bad (sic!).
    When people don’t like something they will find any excuse…

    As a fact the theoretical physical capacity of the Canada line is very similar to the Expo line, which is similar to most of the Parisian subway line.
    the theoretical physical capacity of the Canada line capacity is 80% of the Paris subway line 1…and the later carry in the tune of 213 millions people/years, or 725,000 ride/day (and right now, they are increasing the capacity of the line in the tune of up to 25%…no longer platform, no new tunnel,…just better train and train management (which include conversion to driverless metro,…but also platform gate to significantly increase the arrival speed of the train into station as well as train reliability).

    So all the discussion about limited capacity of the Canada line is unfunded.

    The E/M line is actually saturated North of Broadway, and if we follow the logic, we should hence applaud Vancouver to not contribute to this overcrowding, isn’it?

    (by the way the E/M line is saturated, but in theory it could way much more pphpd)

    Redfrog says:
    “The consensus was that, even with fare gates and smart cards, some people do not pay ,,,not them of course..though they did once a while when younger.”
    …very nicely worded

    Voony

    January 7, 2012 at 12:38 am

  9. @ Red Frog

    Utopia is dreaming that one can work, live and find the goods that one needs, and those that one wants (2 different things), in an “urban village”. History proves otherwise.

    Oh no it isn’t! Utopia was Thomas Moore’s wet dream and has nothing to do with Vancouver TX.

    Oh dear Red Frog am I raining on your exclusive domain? Am I bursting your bubble? Talking Vancouver TX and urban villages is far more fecund that telling us what goes on in Tokyo and Switzerland (albeit on-line, second hand).

    I have a little bit of hands on, living breathing, experience with Mexico City TX and sometimes I brag about it. But at the moment comparing Vancouver to the, arguably, largest city in the world is inappropriate: so I refrain!

    You are right of course. Ancient man did a lot of moving. I understand Australopithecus africanus moved out of Africa quite some time ago: Lucie told me!

    As for Medieval Man itinerant: yes architect William of Sens walked around Europe designing some of those breath-taking magnificent Cathedrals. The Crusades cut a swath slaughtering and pillaging where ever they went (all in the name of that poor little bastard).

    But yunno what, most by far stayed put. In my bailiwick, North Yorkshire (there I go, showing off like you and Voony) they still talk Scandinavian yet Tostig was chucked out over a thousand years ago.

    Anyway, to get to my point: yes, a network of emission-free trams connecting urban quartiers. Much more efficient than burrowing shiny trinkets we cannot afford.

    Generally the quartiers will follow the “high-street+school+church+pub” matrix within walking distance of pop. 5k. But actually I am more interested in enhancing the existing structure: Kerrisdale, West-of-Denman, spaghetti on Thu Drive, etc.

    But, obviously, we live in modern times. So some of the quartiers will specialize, i.e. general hospital precinct, and university UBC etc. That is why I suggest connecting them.

    My dead-line is July 15. Lotsa time . . . do you want to join me? Actually, I’ll use your feed-back anyway: thanqxz!

    Oh and in answer to your query, “Why do (sic) the chicken cross the road?” Because it wanted to get to the other side. You should have known that, silly-billy!

    Roger Kemble

    January 7, 2012 at 3:36 am

  10. @voony – one of the easy ways to upset me is to write about “people” as though they were all the same and shared the same opinion. I doubt that there are any people who hold such clearly self contradictory positions.

    If your comments are in fact directed at me:

    The Canada Line was never a “Cadillac” – it was a fixed price contract, but the contractor was allowed to reduce the specification AFTER winning the contract.

    I have never heard anyone suggest that the Canada line be extended to Ladner, and I certainly have not suggested it approach the ALR

    The constraints on the Canada Line are the two sections of single track working at the end of each branch. This limits the frequency of service. If the stations had been designed to allow platforms on both sides of the train, to speed up turn around (see DLR terminus) this would have been mitigated. Similarly the underground stations will only permit one extra car with selective door opening. This is a significant constraint on capacity expansion. The Expo line stations were originally constructed to permit longer trains when traffic needed it.

    I am not aware of any line on the Paris metro running two car trains

    I assume that the correct statement you make about “unfunded” is in reality a typo for an incorrect statement “unfounded”. It is not the “theoretical physical capacity” that creates the present problem, but rather the secret agreement between Translink and the operating company which we have to pay for but are not permitted to read.

    Stephen Rees

    January 7, 2012 at 11:40 am

  11. “the theoretical physical capacity of the Canada line is 80% of the Paris subway line 1 and the later carry in the tune of 213 millions people/years, or 725,000 ride/day (and right now, they are increasing the capacity of the line in the tune of up to 25%…no longer platform, no new tunnel,…just better train and train management ”

    Sure…but the underground stations on line 1 and other Paris’ Metro lines (like those in London’s tube or even the Toronto subway) have much longer platforms than the Canada Line!!
    According to Wikipedia in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paris_Metro: “The number of cars in each train varies line by line from three to six; most have five..”

    There is still room in the front and back of these subway trains but on the Canada Line they will only be able to add one car..and the first and last door of the 3 cars set may have to be kept closed as they would be in the tunnel.

    Vancouver early plans for transit are very interesting but the point is that there were only plans, pipe dreams. Nothing was done until the mid1980s. In the meantime Toronto and Montreal built their subways…

    As for referencing Tokyo and many other places..I only talk about places I have either been MANY times or have LIVED for at least a few years…including one of the many medieval “new towns” built by several Plantagenet Kings that are located near my birthplace, a town that is at least 2400 years old .

    “Why did the chicken cross…. OBVIOUSLY meant, when one reads further, that, like the chicken, the early man went outside his comfort zone and discovered that what was the norm in his tribe was only one of many possible choices…some better ..some worse

    We—a city or a person– can only change when we know all the possibilities…there are people in Vancouver that genuinely believe that SkyTrain is the best transit system in the world…

    This is all written with a SMILE and a twinkle in the eyes… anyone called Red frog doesn’t take him/ her self too seriously. (while trying to keep facts straights)

    Red frog

    January 7, 2012 at 3:13 pm

  12. Stephen, my comments are not directly at you, but since the wording of your article was vague enough to allow such an interpretation, I seized the opportunity to point the contradiction of some view, if not expressed specifically by you, currently hold by some people (some of them having a blog, and yes I have seen some complaining that the line can’t be extended south of the Fraser, and that is Ladner).

    Regarding trains
    everyone can see that a 2 Rotem car train can carry more people than a 2 MK1 car train…and the Paris subway (2.4x15m) cars have more in common with the MK1 (2.4x12m) than the Rotem (3x20m) ones.

    all that to say, that the number of cars a train has is a meaningless measure of capacity…
    capacity is primarily a function of train capacity and frequency…and train capacity is a function of floor space
    that is square footage of the train (after according how many seat or technical armoir you put on the floor, can vary, but that is a decision at the discretion of the operator) – you can convert the number given below in pphpd by considering 4 passenger m2:

    Paris subway has been built with 75 meters long platform (and most of the line are still at this length), so the capacity of a train is 2.4x75m = 180m2

    train can run at most at 105s interval, so you have a capacity of 180x(3600/105) = 6120m2 /h

    Current Canada Line capacity is 3x40m =120m2
    train can run at most at 75s interval, so you have a capacity of 120x(3600/75) = 5760m2/h

    but canada line platform can be easily extended to 50m (already built to ths standard underground, and all track aligned to allow it above ground), and because it is driverless, train can be longer than platform when you have to subtract the control cabin in paris subway)

    so, “ultimate capacity” is (3×50)x(3600/75) = 7200m2/h
    so already better than most of the parisian subway line, and similar to the parisian line 1 (before automation, (2.4×90)x(3600/105)=7405m2/h) carrying 5 times more than the Canada line !

    Yes all the worry on the design capacity of the line are certainly unfounded (thanks for the correction)

    Regarding Richmond single track
    It is on a branch so it doesn’t limit the capacity of the forecasted most busy segment which is north of Bridgeport.
    also there is an handy drawer at Lansdowne in case of (allowing to operate short turned train), so it is not a real problem.

    Comparing with the Evergreen line
    The Evergreen line, and especially Lougheed Station is designed in a terrible manner, way much worse than bridgeport. No same platform train change (like in bridgeport), no overpass but at level track crossing (of train going to Coquitlam and other to sapperton, the later one could have to criss-cross twice the M line track…that impede a lot the capacity of both line, their reliability too, and it will be very complicate to fix in longer term). The truth is that the canada line is a much better designed line than the Skytrain E line, and that should ashame the E/M line designers…but people see long patform with “thomas” like trains with lot of carriage and that make them happy! when they should be outraged by a very clumsy design

    regarding P3, that is political stuff, it is another problem I agree with, but is not specific to Canada line (the same level of unhealthy and antidemocratic secrecy exist in all the provincial P3 deals)

    Denman street
    At the end, Rogers, I have my opinion on Denman I “show of” in my blog (see http://voony.wordpress.com/2011/04/25/denman-street/ ),
    I could add the diligent demolition of the cactus coffee, currently under construction at the bottom of Denman: he is outrageously obstructing the denman perspective on english bay (it is a shame that City hall has delivered a building permit for it).
    Consider the above as my humble contribution to your project😉

    Voony

    January 7, 2012 at 10:30 pm

  13. Thanqxz Voony . . .

    Up-dated . . .

    http://www.theyorkshirelad.ca/1yorkshirelad/vancouver.re-boot/Vancouver.re-boot.html

    Scroll down. Your web page link included . . .

    Roger Kemble

    January 8, 2012 at 3:35 am

  14. Vancouver in the early 1970’s was a sleepy little town that did NOT aspire to be “world class”. That was the dream of Premier Bill Bennett and his cabinet friends, all men from the BC interior who imposed their vision upon us. To compare a city of 250,000 to the multiple millions in Toronto and Montreal is laughable. The early rail transit plans were the dream of left wing politicians like Harry Rankin who wanted to serve the existing neighbourhoods. What actually happened was very different indeed.

    Re: Voony’s comments about the Evergreen Line. The Lougheed Station was built to have Evergreen as a relatively poorly used branch line, but opinion about that has definitely changed in the last decade. TransLink published a report a couple of years ago by a consultant who examined how to get the Expo Line up to maximum capacity. In that report it was stated that the section of the current Millennium line west of Lougheed would be worked by Evergreen trains. Current Millennium trains would terminate there and reverse path back to Waterfront. So at least someone is thinking of changing the station and track configuration to permit trough running from Douglas College to VCC Clark. The problem of switching trains might still exist, but for different passengers.

    I have relatives in Liverpool who never travelled more than 20 miles from home until retirement and they’ve still never seen the inside of an intercity train let alone an airplane. A friend of mine from Manchester has never seen most of his home town. He only ever left his own neighbourhood to play rugby away matches. When I visited my Scottish relatives in the 1970’s we found 10 families all living within a few miles of each other. That sort of lifestyle seems bizarre to those of us in North America.

    David

    January 8, 2012 at 5:53 pm

  15. David, I am not sure you make a correct reading of the Harry Rankin’s “dream”…

    A while ago, I took the pain to scan his proposal: it is at http://voony.wordpress.com/2010/03/21/the-case-for-rapid-transit-in-1970/ so you and everyone can make an accurate idea on it, and I hope it will correct some misconception:

    You will see a well known map of the freeway network (I have scanned it directly of his proposal, and I have the weakness to think, many people, in city hall and elsewhere, have reused this very specific scan later on), and another well known map of the translink rapid transit : yes it is the one of Rankin proposal in the 70’s, but read the post-not only the map is what we have today, but the service on the line is also what we have today!

    Regarding the Evergreen line, again I am not sure of your version. I tend to belief that the line to the tricities is the main motivation for the evergreen line, the Sapperton spur has been built just to connect the line to the Edmonds Maintenance yard.
    Also, I am not sure I am correctly understood.
    The problem I mention is not the fact that people riding Douglas College-VCC will have a single seat ride…That is certainly a given…The problem I mention, is that at Lougheed

    People doing the trip Douglas College-Sapperton will not have a same platform transfer at least in both direction (like people doing YVR-richmond trip have)
    Train coming from Sapperton will cross the track of the train doing the journey VCC-Douglas College (I have even heard it will be 2 track crossings

    the later is very bad, because it will limit the capacity of the Evergreen line, and is due to the lack of a flyover (there is one at Bridgeport).
    The former is due to a bad configuration of the Station showing a lack of attention for transfer.
    All that is bad, and very certainly Lougheed station has been built with the Evergreen line branch in mind (that is the reason for the third track you can see).

    So the situation is even worse: people have think of it but in the most clumsy way they could have think: that is a pure shame.

    Voony

    January 8, 2012 at 11:17 pm

  16. “Development which actually increases parking supply (these sites were formerly car showrooms) inevitably increases car use”

    Our local town seems to have worked this out. Unfortunately they seem to think that more cars is a good idea, so they’re aggresively increasing praking facilities while trying to make sure that cycle parking is kept to the od Sheffield stand and wheel eater by city buildings.

    I’m sure this is totally unconnected to the fact that we are just up the hill from a big car company (think three pointed stars) and that a lot of wealthy residents (voters) people are, or were, employed by that company.

    Andy in Germany

    January 9, 2012 at 6:13 am

  17. @ Voony My memory must be faulty but I do not remember Harry being at the fore-front of the 1972 freeway debate. Wasn’t Walter Hardwick doing all the heavy lifting?

    I was consultant to Swan Wooster and Warnett Kennedy on the Coal Harbour bridge component until Warnett and I had a knock down drag out fight, (with absolutely no regrets), right in the middle of Water Street over the whole concept.

    I remember the big moment at the QE theatre. All the big shots were on stage: Architect Bruno Freschi was there. It was a slam-dunk: exit the water front freeway. Problem is now, an alternative TX plan was not implemented and essentially Stewart Street (Waterfront Skytrain to Second Narrows) fills in.

    I clearly remember Dave Barrett’s and Bob Williams’ proposal for a net work of buses throughout Vancouver which seems to me still to be very good idea: cross town 45th and no 10 Granville/Victoria Drive came out of that.

    As you have probably guessed, having ridden the buses for decades, I am not a fan of shiny trinkets.

    Roger Kemble

    January 9, 2012 at 10:04 am

  18. Thanks Voony I hadn’t seen that map of rapid transit with 4 branches. The map I’d seen was completely different and either came from someone else or was a much earlier scheme.

    I see some important differences between the old plan and what we got. The Richmond link uses the old interurban line, but the New West and SFU branches run on Kingsway and Hastings. Instead of bypassing most of New Westminster like the interurban did, the line follows the 6th Street streetcar route.

    The old plan tried to follow existing development and serve the current population. On the other hand both the Bennett and Harcourt governments chose to avoid the existing population as best they could and focus on maximizing the amount of cheap land available around stations. Joyce, Metrotown, Royal Oak and Edmonds are the most obvious examples on the Expo Line along with Renfrew, Rupert, Gilmore, Braid and Sapperton on the Millennium Line.

    Putting high capacity transit through relatively empty land tells the current population that they aren’t as important as those who might move here in the future. It’s also an admission of failure in getting those same people out of their cars. Use of grade separation further announces that cars are more important than people.

    In the long run, however, the vacant land strategy should be net positive for a growing city. It results in higher density than would likely emerge in an already built environment and perhaps more importantly allows for the creation of new development and travel patterns that aren’t based on the private automobile.

    Unfortunately, nothing is that simple in the real world. There are usually very good reasons why certain land remains underdeveloped while other parts of a city grow. Often available land exists only on the fringes making any transit placed there very inefficient in serving the city as a whole. Additionally transit oriented development almost always spurs up zoning of adjacent land that’s too far from the transit line to be effectively served by it. Even if a city keeps a tight reign on zoning there’s no guarantee that people will want to live and work where the planners want them to.

    @Roger
    Walter Hardwick was indeed at the forefront of the anti-freeway movement. His Urban Studies 200 was the most interesting elective I took during my years at UBC.

    As an avid bus rider you are, unfortunately, in the minority even here in Vancouver where it’s not uncommon to see high priced lawyers in expensive suits surrounded by U-Passers. There are many reasons, not all of them rational, why rail attracts more passengers than rubber tires on the same route. While I assume your disdain for shiny trinkets refers to trams and subway trains, I think of the private automobile as the ultimate shiny trinket. Like a tram the private car comes with a big public price tag.

    David

    January 9, 2012 at 12:31 pm

  19. Stephen, have you ever heard of Land Value Capture as a means of financing rapid transit? It would tie the cost of public investment to the benefits that it creates in the local property market – in effect, the public would share with private landowners the windfall gains that public investment creates. Importantly, these windfalls would be captured over the life-cycle of the infrastructure so that one generation is not hit with the total infrastructure costs, as is the case with Development Cost Charges and the sorts of community amenities demanded by Vancouver city council to capture some of the “uplift value”.

    TRILLIUM Business Strategies did a good report for the federal government on LVC in 2009, http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/policy/report-acg-land-value-menu-1726.htm.

    Todd Litman over at Victoria Transport Policy Institute did a summary of reports on the subject. http://www.vtpi.org/smith.pdf

    Jeff Dean

    January 9, 2012 at 12:31 pm

  20. @Voony
    I agree with you that track switchovers are very bad indeed. Evergreen comes from minds who cannot see a future in which Coquitlam to Surrey is a major travel route. It’s rather strange because presumably they are the same minds who chose to have dedicated lanes on the new Port Mann Bridge to accommodate that very trip pattern. On second thought it’s not strange at all. Clearly they believe that students take transit and graduates drive.

    David

    January 9, 2012 at 12:42 pm

  21. @ Jeff Dean

    I have indeed heard of Land Value Capture – in fact I am pretty sure that must be references to it somewhere on this blog. In the early 1990s it was suggested as a way of funding the Sheppard subway. The developers made it clear that they regarded the lift in land values as theirs and not the community’s property. They pointed out that they had plenty of other places they could put up their buildings where they did not have to forfeit a large chunk of the profits. If Sheppard was subject to LVC then they would go north of Steeles, and build there instead.

    Stephen Rees

    January 9, 2012 at 12:43 pm

  22. @ Jeff Dean

    Land Value Capture” or Land-Lift . . . i.e. inflation . . . a dicey way to finance rapid transit?

    Ummmmm a very dicey financing game for any public utility in 2012!

    Roger Kemble

    January 9, 2012 at 1:49 pm

  23. @ Roger
    I think you need to look at some basic economics textbook. “Inflation” has a very specific meaning about the general decline in purchasing power of money. What DCCs and LVC try to do is secure some (but not all) of the increase in the market value of a piece of land that results from public investment in infrastructure and/or changes in permitted land use designation.

    Stephen Rees

    January 9, 2012 at 1:59 pm

  24. Oh Jeff I’m under no illusion: I’m just a small town architect.

    I know nothing about eco’s.

    But a casual scan of local developer fiance tells me C$1.5m for a stucco tear down, (just because it is on the line), and 2012 are not compatible!

    Chinese speculators are thinning out. China is not the power house of last year.

    Roger Kemble

    January 9, 2012 at 2:09 pm

  25. The M-Line at Lougheed Station was messed up in part because the station was redesigned to be oriented east-west rather than north-south, as originally planned.

    Under the Livable Region Strategic Plan, the “T-Line” (being the current M-Line and the future Evergreen Line) was intended to feed passengers to the region’s new downtown – Surrey (as well as feeding downtown Vancouver) – so it was intended to allow for through trains from Coquitlam to Columbia (as well as Coquitlam to VCC)- meaning a one-transfer trip from the Northeast to Surrey. i.e. the “wye” would have opened to the south rather than to the east) However, as Voony mentions, the phasing of the M-Line required the connection from Lougheed to the Expo Line to allow use of the Edmonds Operations and Maintenance Yard. There was also a dispute about Lougheed Mall wanting the station at the mall (i.e. north-south next to the parking garage), and the Province wanting it standalone (which I think allows better community integration), which likely affected the orientation. The end result is a station that is oriented east-west with a wye that facilitates Coquitlam-VCC and Columbia-VCC movements (and not Coquitlam – Columbia movements). Presumably, trains can still be routed from Coquitlam to Columbia, but with awkward switching movements.

    See the M-Line Operations and Connectivity Report here for proposed train movements at Lougheed when the station was planned to be oriented north-south (and the “temporary” movements until the Evergreen Line would be built)
    http://a100.gov.bc.ca/appsdata/epic/documents/p53/d15491/1058982483769_c5027bb0559140c8bc0acfed4615db00.pdf

    That document shows a single centre platform (which would be simpler than the current layout). But even in that document, you can see what Voony compains about – the train movements would require the level crossing of trains and the delays that would result.

    See also, for the M-Line generally:
    http://a100.gov.bc.ca/appsdata/epic/html/deploy/epic_document_53_15491.html

    With any luck, a P3 proponent will propose a redesign of the platforms at Lougheed to eliminate the up-down transfer (but not the level train crossings).

    See suggestion by LeftCoaster at SSP (Nov 10, 2011 4:43 pm) for reconfiguration of Lougheed to be two centre platforms with trains from Columbia terminating in the middle to allow for easy transfer to Everegreen Line in either direction (but trains would still have to make level crossings):
    http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=165814&highlight=cross+platform&page=150

    You can see what was proposed for the Lougheed platforms by Rapid Transit Project 2000 here (see Oct 26, 2010 post at 10:00 am by Officedweller):
    http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=165814&page=115

    Guest

    January 9, 2012 at 2:40 pm

  26. That argument by the Sheppard developers seems highly specious. I suppose if it shouldn’t be paid for our of their land value increases, it should be paid by provincial and municipal taxpayers?

    @ Roger: I would characterize a rise in land values near a subway station not as inflation, but by pointing out that more people want to live there! Increased demand for access to transportation (or whatever other amenities exist) means landowners can build bigger buildings and get more rental income. The rental income per acre of land rises.

    Jeff Dean

    January 9, 2012 at 3:05 pm

  27. While I assume your disdain for shiny trinkets refers to trams and subway trains, I think of the private automobile as the ultimate shiny trinket. Like a tram the private car comes with a big public price tag. Well . . . errrrr . . . no David.

    Surely the tram is the least expensive, user friendly, TX mode excepting bike and walk!

    I speak anecdotally: I am not a TX economist.

    Early ’50’s we had perfectly serviceable, economical, tram lines that were discarded for no good reason. Some tracks remain.

    Roger Kemble

    January 9, 2012 at 3:26 pm

  28. Voony, thanks for correcting the misconceptions I had–like many others– about the possible transit capacity on our lines vs Paris an other places. This is what happen when one is a mere transit user, not an expert! my apologies.

    I have been using Lougheed station daily since 2004 and this is one place where it is obvious that the already built partial spur –if that is the correct name–to nowhere will not work as passengers will have to get out then walk down and up or vice versa,,,in order to get a train on the current platform.

    Or are they planning to tear down that spur and have the Evergreen line use the current central platform? This still means that, even if the trains to Sapperton were to end at Lougheed and go back to Braid, there would be these crossing of the tracks..with trains from one line slowing down to let the other trains cross.

    Any way they do it, some passengers will have to change to another train. Unless one build a brand new station next to the present one, with all the tracks sorted out correctly, and tear down the present one… IF TransLink owned high rise buildings where the parkings and the bus loop are it could eventually pay for the station.

    When we asked at an open house in our building 2 years ago why TransLink wasn’t a developer of the land around/ above/ under the stations, the TransLink “suits” that were giving us a pep talk ( the owners living on the North Road side aren’t happy to have the guideway blocking their view) thought it was a silly idea…but then they had little experience of transit elsewhere.
    .

    Red frog

    January 9, 2012 at 3:38 pm

  29. Thanks “guest” for the insight (and link)
    effectively, if you rotate Lougheed station 90d clockwise, (that is VCC become DCC direction, DCC, NW, and NW, VCC)…the track layout start to make much more sense.

    …adn obviously, it is a very regrettable move to have discounted DCC-> NW direct skytrain route.

    Considering all the above and “guest” link Build a new station seems the obvious the step.

    Roger, I mention Harry Rankin, because David mentioned him and I have writing of it, I don’t know enough the history of Vancouver to say it was at the forefront of the debate or not.

    Voony

    January 9, 2012 at 7:44 pm

  30. The Connectivity Report indicated that at the time (but not now) it was envisaged that trains from Coquitlam (DCC) would be interlined with both M-Line trains (to VCC) and, once they reach Columbia, with Expo Line trains on their way to Waterfront. The report says (towards the end of the document) that a single centre platform at Lougheed could cause delays that could echo throughout the SkyTrain system and that “alternate” platform configurations should be contemplated. I think that the third platform at Lougheed was the result of such studies – but it still requires level crossings.

    I think that Leftcoaster’s suggestion of filling in the third platform guideway for a new centre platform (with a new guideway to the north) would allow for smoother transfers.

    Guest

    January 10, 2012 at 1:09 pm

  31. Land Value Capture and Tax Increment Financing and the fascinating opinion on the Sheppard Line, “The developers made it clear that they regarded the lift in land values as theirs and not the community’s property.”

    Stephen, January 9th.

    It blends with the early comments about town planning in Vancouver. The lack of it was likened by Bartholomew in his 1929 Plan/Report to a “Topsy”. Historian and archivist Major Matthews decries the lack of planning for civic life by the CPR when he reports his findings on the creation of the Cambie Grounds as a combination of military parade, sports grounds, and civic square.

    A railway company was given 5500 acres of land and carte blanche to do what it would. There was no direction from the MacDonald government on what kind of a town to plan. This is probably the most significant historical fact about the making of Vancouver, and by extension or contagion, the rest of Canada’s wild west.

    We have not tradition of town planning here. None that I can find. The last ship, so to speak, sailed when Col. Moody and significant number of his Royal Engineers left in 1863. I have the rough outlines of an essay on just this topic here:

    http://wp.me/p1mj4z-n5

    Needless to say, this is where urbanism can make some hay. By providing the common ground to plan for community development, transportation, financing, social housing, and all the other stuff for which there is never enough planning done. On the revenue side, of course, the point is to look for revenues from growth, rather than revenues from gas and sales taxes.

    The lack of town planning is the problem with the Cambie Corridor, Richmond Canada line, and the coming gong-show (speaking in terms of urban design, of course) for Evergreen.

    We don’t seem to do much better planning freeways, although we do have a tradition in this kind of planning. The so-called Freeway Fight was some kind of pyrrhic victory. The freeway was stopped and the cars were directed onto local streets. A few years later we had the Downtown Eastside.

    My take on the Gateway project is that it will influence the shape of development (i.e. build sprawl) for 20 years. Perhaps the most troubling aspect of it all was the complete avoidance of the Portland Principle—of diverting highway dollars to public transit.

    In the final analysis we need to break the hold of the provincial government on municipal affairs; get some federal involvement; and put transit under regional control of an elected body… oh, I can wait for Christmas 2012 if I have to.

    lewis n. villegas

    January 10, 2012 at 5:22 pm

  32. Lewis, regarding local governance, the evidence is that the federal Conservatives don’t want to monkey with the Constitution which gives power over cities to the provinces. In fact, they seem to be very happy with that arrangement because it alleviates this weight from federal shoulders.

    The constitution was used previously by the Liberals in Ottawa to download financial responsibility for almost everything short of the military to junior governments when dealing with the monstrous deficits of the 90s. Well, they may have killed systemic deficit financing and left office with a surplus which Harper et al promptly blew, but I believe they cut too deeply in too many areas in response to the political cycle. Paul Martin said he regretted it later.

    Harper went on to create the largest single annual deficit in Canadian history on questionable bailout packages for the private sector during the ’08-’09 recession, as well as committing us to huge expenditures on the military (some are justified – naval ships for example, others are not – stealth fighter jets). At the same time he eliminated several sources of revenue (e.g. 2% of the GST), with the utterly predictable result that his government is now backed into a deep cutting corner.

    With the federal debt now at a record 5,650 million dollars (+/-), the compounded interest added to the payments on the principle works out to tens of millions of dollars every single day.

    This is a lesson that we need a new federal government that takes planning for the future seriously, and that would include participating in the well being of its own constituents the vast majority of whom live in cities. And we also have increasing fossil fuel prices and an ageing population on the economic horizon, elements beyond government control. But what financial resources are left to deal with these challenges? New taxes and a radically rejigged budget are necessary, but this requires rejigging the government’s political priorities and philosophy.

    In my view that will not happen until we have either a new government that understands these issues, and / or a new political system. A party should not win the exclusive right to form a government with only 37% of the votes cast. Some kind of proportional representation will help ensure a government is not controlled by one party and its attendant myopic world view and narrow special interests. But waiting for PR is like waiting for a Messiah … when exactly will it happen? In the meantime, we may have to settle for promoting more local autonomy at the local level without federal help, and promote voting in accordance with the above principles.

    MB

    January 11, 2012 at 12:20 pm

  33. We did/do have good federal contributions to the capital costs of the Canada Line ($450M) and the Evergreen Line ($417M) (on the Expo Line, the cars went years and years without stickers acknowledging the federal contribution towards the cars).

    Guest

    January 11, 2012 at 5:49 pm

  34. I agree with just about everything MB puts down. And Guest makes a good point. Governments will always come in different stripes, political fortunes will ebb and flow, and we will always end up holding the tab. But, you’ve all read my favourite tale from the Portland Metro Councillor, speaking in Langley Township a couple of summers ago, saying Metro ran a “beauty contest” to decide who would get the next system. Cities had to demonstrate that their plans were well tailored to supporting transit, pedestrian function, etc. And then Metro picked one.

    The winner was Tigard, and the prize was a BRT that would be used to revitalize the main drag there. A classic auto strip of the Bridgeport variety, but worse. I stopped there in my last visit to Portland, no signs of construction yet.

    Another example would be the federal government getting involved with financing neighbourhood revitalization projects. Something like this took place at a small scale in the 1970’s and 1980’s, sometimes with CMHC involvement (NIP and LIP grants, MacLean Park Housing Project, Granville Island, and Gastown Revitalization would be examples off the top of my head).

    Federal involvement might bring a clearing house-like pool of resources where municipalities and, say rate payers groups, could go to access information. It could also bring bloated federal agencies. No human endeavour is perfect. I’m just pointing out that when we confront the obvious lack of a town planning tradition in Western Canada, and whether by contagion or poor judgement, we are starting to build projects that mirror what’s been going on in that Great Whore of Canadian Urbanism (Toronto—this the impression the Globe article left with me), then the great hope is that by breaking our isolation and bringing Canadians together, we might be able to skip ahead a stop or two in our journey downstream.

    lewis n. villegas

    January 11, 2012 at 8:50 pm

  35. I am ever more concerned that what we absolutely require is a vision for cities at the national scale. It is a national scope that can best address climate change, peak oil and the demographic trends of the early to mid-21st Century, and also to manage national contracts and standards. Things like passenger trains, tunnel boring machines and city buses would receive significant unit price reductions if ordered via large national contracts, a savings that would be passed down to the taxpayers and users.

    Yes, the feds contributed $867 million to local transit in recent years, but that is only equivalent to national debt payments and interest made over perhaps 10 weeks. What we need is a National Transportation Plan over 10 years to bring urban transit in all our cities to levels that will provide adequate alternatives to the enormous levels of car dependency built up since Leave it to Beaver dominated TV, and to make appropriate urban design responses to the stimulus of new transit infrastructure mandatory.

    There is also long-term fiscal management and debt reduction, heathcare, energy security and inter-provincial freight and passenger transportation to address at the national level. I could say I would write books on these issues, however there have already been several written by those who know a lot more than me.

    Needless to say, I am very concerned about the direction our current federal government is taking us, namely because the effects of their policies will make a bad situation untenable once Gen Xers take the reins and Harper is long retired to a Big Oil boardroom. That is why it’s important to act locally more than ever. The people and the cities are ahead of the government.

    Lewis, Toronto’s inner city is great, but like anywhere beyond the early 20th Century on this continent, the suburbs suck. Part of an NTP should include provisions for stimulating the incremental conversion of the suburbs from auto-based subdivisions to human-based towns linked together with electrically powered transit.

    MB

    January 12, 2012 at 11:15 am

  36. I should add that any large national-level contract to supply, for example, thousands of transit buses for the top 25 cities would have very serious made-in-Canada clauses.

    To Harper’s credit, the recent $38 billion contracts for ship building was not farmed out to the international marketplace where there are no doubt cheaper ship building firms, but these ignore the very significant economic multipliers of keeping such government expenditures local. Compare this to the lost opportunity to keep the Coastal class ferries local under BC’s former Campbell government. They saved a couple of dollars on capital expenditures, but lost much in economic stimulus and additional tax revenue.

    Back to the Cambie corridor. I am happy to read of Patrick Condon’s praise of the Cambie corridor plan. However, I would like to see more true planning for neighbourhoods rather than corridors.

    MB

    January 12, 2012 at 11:30 am

  37. “I am ever more concerned that what we absolutely require is a vision for cities at the national scale.”

    Errrrrr . . . ummmmph and a rump and a bump: you causing my symptoms to act up MB!

    Are we not trying to rid ourselves of big government?

    I am ever more concerned that what we absolutely require is a vision for cities at the national scale.

    Ever heard of just-in-time delivery whereby large complicated objects, (even cities), may be manufactured incrementally. That is how Liberty ships were built in four days in WWll. But planning must always be local!

    One of the great lessons I thought, the beginning of century 21 taught us was “too big to fail” isn’t too big to fail, we would, in fact, be much better off if some organizations did fail: the bankruptcy escape hatch!

    If you want big go look at the Volkswagen factory in Pueblo or the peace, quiet and easy-quiet-get-round in El Monstruo! (just kiddin’).

    Needless to say, I am very concerned about the direction our current federal government is taking us, (jeeezless, me too) , namely because the effects of their policies will make a bad situation untenable once Gen Xers take the reins and Harper is long retired to a Big Oil boardroom. That is why it’s important to act locally, (oh I can breath again), more than ever. The people and the cities are ahead of the government.” Oh relief: my symptoms have just calmed down . . .

    Allow each city, community, village to vision itself! My god, imagine how boring if each came stamped Hull, Que!

    Huh, I’m sure that is not what you meant.

    Toronto is okay but what’s with this constant referencing to somewhere else? Somewhere else always has hidden differences that make comparisons pointless.

    (NIP and LIP grants, MacLean Park Housing Project, Granville Island, and Gastown Revitalization would be examples off the top of my head).

    Ummmmm, I thinq not Lewis . . .

    MacLean Park, way ahead of NIP and LIP, was an Oberlander project.

    Granville Island was Ron Basford . . .

    And

    . . . Gastown, was the city!

    Cambie corridor . . . so far land-lift inflationary, six story sprawl . . . wait and see.

    Roger Kemble

    January 12, 2012 at 1:37 pm

  38. @ Roger, sorry to plug the vent in your spleen … that certainly wasn’t intended!

    When I said “I am ever more concerned that what we absolutely require is a vision for cities at the national scale” I didn’t mean that everything should emanate from — and be rubber stamped by — the Ottawa Poliburo. I was referring — inadequately it appears — to the wilful ignorance of the vital goings on that occur in cities that Harper et al seems to practice. They’re more interested in the rhetorical manliness of jails and stealth fighters and other toys for boys from one side of their mouth while preaching holier-than-thou fiscal responsibity from the other. Is it any wonder cynicism is a vast energy source?

    These policies will cost us dearly in future by diminishing future financial resources for things like healthcare and transit.

    MB

    January 12, 2012 at 2:15 pm

  39. Yes, MB I sort of thought that’s what you meant.

    The new towns in the UK were all planned centrally.

    Lewellyn Davis’ London office made real hash of Milton K (London dormitory now despite that damn great big shopping center): may as well have zeroxed Corb’s Chandigarh. Runcorn had to be blown up. Chubby Glaswegians can’t climb the hill to Cumbernault (looks good up there though) Imagine building the center on the top of a steep hill: I’ll bet some one got fired).

    Crawley (1947) was one of the first mark l’s: I haven’t visited but I hear it’s doing okay. Essex man makes Basildon work, sort of I’m told.

    The English new town program has been abandoned: that tells us something!

    France, Ricardo Bofill cannot resist La Grande Époque at Saint Quentin and Monpellier. As I said, no point referencing other cities: they’ve all screwed up one-way or another.

    As Lewis writes Gassy Jack Deighton opened a saloon, no plan just a barrel of bitter, in 1867 and the rest is history. Whooda thought!

    PS: Lewis MacLean Park (CMHC) even predates Oberlander now I come to thinq of it!

    Roger Kemble

    January 12, 2012 at 3:06 pm

  40. “The English new town program has been abandoned: that tells us something”

    All it tells anyone is that in the intervening period right wing governments to whom all planning was anathema were elected, and dismantled much of the post war rebuilding schemes. In much the same way as Canada abandoned most of the work of CHMC which was, at one time, regarded as a good example of public housing provision by most of the planning profession.

    World War II stopped development in its tracks, so the Green Belt legislation effectively froze the sprawl where it was. However, development simply leap frogged over the belt and continued, but thanks to legislation designed to protect agriculture and green spaces between towns, in distinct places, not as continuous urban areas later characterized as “megalopolis”. For a while, these centred on rail based commuting, often on newly electrified lines. Not until Ernie Marples and Dr Beeching did we see auto based sprawl on the North American model.

    Stephen Rees

    January 12, 2012 at 3:20 pm

  41. Whooo-ah, Stephen, there go my symptoms again. Yes, “thu Grantham grocer’s daughter” was extreme. I notice the Argies want their Islands back!

    Two new towns I have experienced, Bourneville and New Earswick were planned and built by chocolate makers. My friend lived in the latter: just North of York, 20 mins cycling from Rowntree’s were the family worked. They loved the place.

    Despite good intentions, whether left inspired or right ignored, instant towns are like instant coffee . . .

    Roger Kemble

    January 12, 2012 at 3:42 pm

  42. Speaking of Bournville see The Atlantic

    Stephen Rees

    January 13, 2012 at 9:27 am

  43. There are many places in Toronto I cherish, Cabbagetown far and away the best. But others, too. However, as you point out the sprawl is endless, and I find places where the urbanism starts to mis-fire as early as… well, the time of the big bonanza of the CPR.

    At least the UK has a well-established town-planning tradition that even if it has been overrun as Stephen describes, we can still visit and walk in the Georgian capitals, we can look at Yorkshire, and we can be bemused by the goings-on at Dutchy of Cornwall.

    The Canada Pavillion at Expo86 had a map of Canada drawn from the north pole. It showed how all canadian cities are more or less equidistant to there. That’s a metaphor for what I would like to see in a federal involvement in municipal issues. Not a top-down thing, but a coming together of distant places, with unique character, and a host of very similar problems. Not all the same, but enough similarity to make the learning together work.

    Love the thoughts on fleet implementation, & funding. What we are trying to accomplish is to generate a bit more wealth using what we have in a more sustainable way. It’s all about recognizing the riches at our doorstep. Sometimes it takes a pair of eyes from somewhere else to let us see our place anew; or to look at someone else’s town planning to realize things about our own.

    lewis n. villegas

    January 13, 2012 at 6:38 pm

  44. Good stuff Lewis . . .

    That is until you replace your obsession over the Kriers with Bartholomew, (and you still haven’t grasped the indigenous imperative of the sometimes a TOWER).

    What happens if “a sometimes towers are appropriate,” consensus arises? Do we throw a hissy fit?

    Lewis, always referring to another time, another place, another cult doesn’t help! At the beginning of century 21 we are in unknown territory.

    The best of times come when we strike out on our own: yunno recognize our circumstance and build to it: but it requires original bravery and creativity! A rarity in planning circles . . .

    I have perused B’s (he doesn’t like towers, does he?) stuff every which way and I cannot see in it what you see: luckily Homo erectus’ attention span is virtually nil other wise B would have us living on the move despite disclaimers.

    Thanqxz for mentioning Yorkshire: it was the seat of my formative . . . shudder . . . http://members.shaw.ca/urbanismo/two.little.places.pdf
    . . . years.

    But war time sort of coloured my impressions, like the smell of cordite and watching bomber loads of young men explode, or taking off to ladle out similar medicine to the “other” side . . . then sputtering, so they thought, home to an equally messy demise.

    Unfortunately the sons and daughters of “Blighty” are proudly still living those times and it colours even their planning (Huh, and ours).

    Tyee is currently running a critique of the film on the waning times of, errrr, (that horrible woman) Baroness . . . whatever . . . Thatcher . . .

    . . . now I know why I suffer the bends every time I “mind the gap” at King’s Cross!

    My point being, our planning methodology is still mired in military protocol: top down decision making while pretending public input. And as often as not the public doesn’t help.

    Those pretty little English villages were at the behest of some psychotic maniac, whose power came from times past: empire, ancient murder, pillage and wanton destruction.

    Your call for, “a new planning paradigm”, I agree.

    But first we must deal with those brain washed, flag waving, little old ladies, who abound in “thu-land-of-thu-free” as at the royal (that we could not afford) fandango (that Middleton woman, I give her two years) and all the top down clap-trap that goes with it. Believe me that hierarchy permeates everything . . .

    “The Canada Pavillion at Expo86 had a map of Canada drawn from the north pole. It showed how all canadian cities are more or less equidistant to there.”

    Errrrr . . . ummmm, So . . . ?

    “That’s a metaphor for what I would like to see in a federal involvement in municipal issues. Not a top-down thing . . . “

    Well, if “federal involvement” is not a “top down thing” what is?

    “Cabbage town” Ummmm why not Saint Lawrence. Nostalgia is so attractive yet so unattainable.

    CMHC did some great things at Saint Lawrence, Mayor Crombie early ‘70’s: so too False Creek, Mayor Phillips also 1970’s. But the spirit was quickly doused by Mulroney’s, obsequious, questionably ethical, pernicious idea of “free trade”.

    “Integrate/incremental” belies measuring from the North Pole, (though. I dig your metaphor) leaving room for distant meddling.

    And, “. . . we can be bemused by the goings-on at Dutchy of Cornwall.” Yup! That vulcanized twerp really overstepped himself!

    Roger Kemble

    January 14, 2012 at 6:28 am

  45. A century on, the Trust still rules Bournville with high ideals and tight reins.

    http://bournvillefestival.org.uk/ . . .yeah it does look a bit stuffy! Meddling in other peoples’ lives as a condition of residency is a bit much but it’s a nice little suburb now.

    To some, Bournville will seem suffocating or even creepy, a real-life version of the heavily scrutinized ‘Village’ in the TV cult classic The Prisoner.” . . .

    Picky, picky: Portmeirion, Cluff Williams Ellis’ masterpiece was the set for The Prisoner. http://theyorkshirelad.ca/New.Nanaimo.Center/pudpn/Of%20the%20Stones.pdf . . . scroll down to page 7.

    New Earswick’s Rowntrees were Quakers too.

    As a result of the report, Joseph Rowntree’s conviction that it must be possible to provide better housing for people on low incomes led him to acquire 150 acres of land near the village of Earswick, two and a half miles to the north of the centre of York.” (Wikipedia).

    We could learn summut from that aye! I’d rather live in a town guided by Quaker principles than New Urbanists’: it didn’t seem to be controlled . . . but then what do I know? I was visiting, friends a long time ago . . .

    AC has been down the last few days: just got a peek. Thanqxz, Stephen, for the heads-up.

    Roger Kemble

    January 15, 2012 at 1:05 pm

  46. Good website posted at Price Tags dealing with Burnaby planning history and the development of its town centres:

    http://davidpereira.ca

    It includes a link to this newspaper article about the Lougheed Station mentioned above:
    http://davidpereira.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/1999-12-19-Mall-Unhappy-w-SkyTrain-Burnaby-Now.pdf

    Guest

    January 16, 2012 at 5:58 pm

  47. By good Guest. What do you mean?

    Every time Vancouver’s, or Metro’s, town centers are mentioned, and unctuously praised, I shudder.

    You quote from David Pereira’s Accounts of urbanism from the fringe… and he writes, “. . . in fact, it is the larger Metro Vancouver region that is responsible for regional planning, agricultural land preservation, and green space protection.

    That beggars the mind. What regional planning?

    I know of no town centres: I know of massive shopping malls surrounded by incessant parking and isolated towers bearing no urban-istic relationship to one another! I know of the Spetifore green space constantly under threat from ignorant developers and a totally unnecessary Delta Port expansion.

    I remember Grosvenor Laing building Guildford as a town centre, in the early sixties, somewhat following the pious pretensions of the LMRPB: why does sprawl pervade my thinking? I remember Don Mills, another, typically, sprawling suburb of northern Toronto euphemistically described as a new town”.

    In 2011, I embarked on a Master’s project in the urban studies at SFU” Good for you, David but its time to give your profs a kick in the butt! You will learn nothing there that challenges the status quo . . . and . . . big time, the status quo needs a challenge!

    I am sorry Burnaby’s early planners were fired for questionable reasons: are you sure your sources are unbiased.

    DNV’s planner, Martin Chesworth, was very helpful to me at about the same time. I questioned, though, his decades long quest to amalgamate the mishmash of legal entities, private lots etc., throw-backs from North Vancouver’s innocence. Was he directed to do it?

    Or was it his pet project? I see nothing in today’s DNV, or anywhere in Metro, to recommend his bigger-is-better planning MO! Drive Marine NV, up Keith! Drive Kingsway! Drive Trans Canada! Drive SW Marine! What do you see? Had enough of planners . . . yet!

    . . . from the fringe”.

    Roger Kemble

    January 17, 2012 at 6:38 am


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