Board of Change learns of City's ambitious cycling and walking targets
Verbal abuse over these issues is par for the course for Jerry Dobrovolny: at public meetings and around kitchen tables, he's used to people swearing at him. Jerry isn't what you'd call a small man: he used to play CFL football for the Stampeders (their #1 draft pick in 1983), the Concordes, the Alouettes, and the RedBlacks.
Indeed, some have spit at Dobrovolny in public, and he's had a chair hurled at him. In that sense, he has something in common with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson: both made the transition from CFL to getting hit by folding chairs.
Dobrovolny's presentation concluded with an artists' impression of a viaductless Eastern Core, replete with parkland. I couldn't help but notice that this image is not yet matched by any sort of coherent development plan beyond "tear down the viaducts and replace them with surface streets." Somebody's gonna have to get on that.
Will bikeshare work in Vancouver?
Vancouver law requires cyclists to wear helmets. This will surely dampen enthusiasm for bikeshare, since most of us tend not to carry around bicycle helmets without bicycles.
Washington, D.C. does not require adult cyclists to wear helmets. I found its bikeshare racks to be mostly (if not completely) empty in areas with higher local-resident concentration (such as Adams Morgan and U Street, as opposed to The Mall, where tourists would be less likely to fuggle around with the probably-alien system).
Sadhu Johnston conceded that Vancouver's helmet law is "a challenge for us", but suggested that helmet vending machines could encourage bikeshare use. In theory, a system that dispenses, accepts, and cleans rental helmets is a good one, but I'm not confident in its success in practice. My prediction is that bikeshare riders will simply ride helmetless and risk the fine (or the injury).
On June 26, the City Council will be hearing the latest iteration of the viaduct plan, as well as an update on Translink's regional strategy. July 10 will see a discussion of the Point Grey-Cornwall Active Transoprtation Project. The next Planning, Transportation and Environment meeting is scheduled for July 24.
City Hall is focusing on the downtown core for these projects, since that's where traffic is currently heaviest. However, it's not where people are moving. It's plain by now that intra-city migration is outward and not inward.
At some point, City Hall will have to consider the looming reality that tomorrow's Yaletown will be in Surrey; in other words, the downtown core will not always be as commuter-relevant as it is today.
That City Hall is actively planning for walkable urban zones is admirable, but I cannot help but notice that current real-estate development is forcing those workaday walkers towards the suburbs, between the costs of housing and child care. This might be a case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing.
Let them eat cake
Oh, and it was Sadhu Johnston's birthday. His wife, Vancouver's very own Green Mama Manda Aufochs Gillespie, presented him with a massive carrot cake. Apparently it's his favorite. BoC director Monika Marcovici did a pretty good job of keeping the cake a secret.
As the attendees devoured Sadhu's cake with a voracity normally only seen on nature shows, we had a chance to mingle. Props to the recent transplants from Ireland and Brazil who showed up to get more involved in Vancouver's evolution. The more we know, the more powerful we can be as citizens.