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SFU or UBC – The Gondola Solution

9 Feb

If the Broadway Line were built and extended as far as Alma Street, could a gondola system be implemented to get students the rest of the way to campus? It would certainly be cheaper than running buses or continuing the line to UBC.

What about SFU, why is NIMBYism still holding up the gondola line from Production Way up to the campus? Why can a few home owners force delays and unsafe commutes upon tens of thousands of people who live, work, and study up on Burnaby Mountain?

Barcelona and Medellin have it, why can’t we have it to?


Comments worth commenting on: Who has a helmet law?

4 Feb

The amount of lives saved by helmets is probably far outweighed by the lives lost due to higher levels of asthma, cardiac disease, obesity, and car accidents as a result of millions of people not biking because they don’t want to wear a bike helmet, or because they’re brainwashed by the helmet lobby that biking is dangerous.

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Price Taggers just can’t get enough of the compulsory-helmet law controversy.  Stoker, meet fire.

arnoschort commented on Ohrn Words: “The Effect of Mandatory Helmet Laws”

There are very few jurisdictions in the world that have an adult helmet law which are enforced. The list is very short:

  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • BC, New Brunswick, PEI, Nova Scotia
  • 19 states in the US
  • Spain – only rural areas and there are other exceptions
  • Chile – urban areas only.

Isn’t it a bit arrogant to think that we might be right in having a helmet law when most of the world does not have a law and two countries have repealed theirs in order to introduce bike sharing?


UPDATE: Janda adds two fascinating articles:



In the 1980′s, Bell, a helmet manufacturer, was keen to expand the market for bicycle helmets, its most profitable product. It approached…

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Referendum: Editorial – Hume on a Hijacking

3 Feb

Hopefully the yes side can come up with a compelling big picture message as to why no is not an option. In a competitive global economy, Vancouver has to make investments in its transit infrastructure to keep up with other cities. The fall in the Canadian dollar is a stark reminder of how quickly capital takes flight to other parts of the world where things are being done better and more efficiently. This flight makes us only poorer against our peers.

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Stephen Hume in the Vancouver Sun:


Anti-tax group has hijacked debate

Pressure group: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation, based in Regina, has no legitimate say in transit plebiscite


How is a non-democratic special interest group… able to develop such traction in framing the current Metro discussion of public transit funding?

How is a minuscule, Prairie-based, fundamentally non-democratic special interest group that operates like some self-appointed secret society able to develop such traction in framing the current Metro discussion of public transit funding?

Judging from the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, you’d think Metro residents were staggering under intolerable taxes and about to be crushed by yet another.

Yet competitiveness studies show that after Alberta we enjoy the second lowest provincial tax in Canada. Our sales tax is lower than all but two provinces — and would retain that rank even with the proposed transit increase. Corporate tax rates here are second…

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Half a percent is a little for a lot

11 Dec

Half a percent is a little for a lot.

The next couple of months will be critical to ensure the message is put out as to why this plan needs a yes, and how simple the funding strategy is.


For those that argue against, saying they’re not getting enough, or they’re paying more than those free riders, the reality is that for the public good, someone is always paying less than you, just as there is always someone else paying more than you. Ultimately all of Vancouver wins if the referendum succeeds. If it fails, then our region will continue to fall behind cities around the world where public infrastructure is viewed as a funding necessity, and not a pain in the ass.

Stanley Park Causeway: A Suggested Refinement

10 Dec

Lowering the bike path versus the pedestrian walkway is not ideal; Vancouver is a wet and windy place, which means the bike trough would be constantly clogged with debris, mud, and water. A potential alternative would be to lower the outside pedestrian path and ensure it has good drainage to the drain tile between it and the park.

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From Frank Ducote:

While my personal preference of narrowing the causeway lanes from 12′ to 10′ and thus slowing traffic and saving more trees wasn’t studied, I think there is a refinement of the proposed design that could help reduce bike/pedestrian conflicts on the east side. It is pretty simple, as shown below.

Simply lower the bike lane to that of the road surface. But keep the barrier on a raised curb to protect the cyclists.


I’d like to know what your other respondents think of the idea.

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Stanley Park Causeway

6 Dec

A section of my bike commute I often write about is finally getting some attention from the Ministry of Transportation and Highways. It appears the survey work conducted by the province is complete, and barring significant protests against tree removal, the project should hopefully move ahead in 2015. This will finally give cyclists, pedestrians, and motorized commuters a safer fixed link between downtown and the North Shore.

To learn more, visit: Click through the menu on the left to see pictures, maps, drawings, and pdf files. Very complete.

Ralph Segal: How to save character homes

1 Nov

As a property developer myself, I am witnessing first hand the policy changes at city hall.

The house we originally considered demolishing is now under a retention restriction. We are faced with two options: build new and much smaller, or retain and get a lot of extra square feet. Simply math makes the latter the route of choice, which has the added benefit of retaining neighbourhood character while still adding housing density.

I think homeowners need to realize that we can’t have our cake and eat it too. If we want retention of the neighbourhood then we have to restrict demolitions, but if we restrict demolitions, then the value of the homes will fall, unless they can be densified through stratification.

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This comment is in response to a post on Barbara Yaffe’s column about a drop in property values as a result of City initiatives to retain character homes.  Ralgh Segal was one of the City’s most experienced development-permit architects (now retired), so it’s worth bringing this to the foreground for a discussion on the policy implications:


While I understand that it makes good copy to trash the bureaucracy, and true enough it’s often justified, your opinion piece does not give any credit to the City’s attempt to stem a flood of destruction by lazy, quick-buck builders who seem to take joy in bulldozing charming, but undersized older housing and carting the debris to the land fill. This does not even speak to the environmental affront of this trend, much less the loss of neighbourhood character, to be replaced by stock off-the-shelf house plans usually unworthy of a site valued…

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