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Down with the car, Part XXXIV: Less parking downtown

June 5th, 2009 · 90 Comments

I’m surprised no one has picked up on this, but amid the raft of reports about closing down streets, rapid-bus lanes and you name it, there’s also this report from crazy busy report-writing crew over in engineering. It recommends reducing the minimum and maximum required parking spaces to be built in for new commercial and residential downtown. (There are also some changes in the Broadway/Mount Pleasant area.)

The reductions recommended are up to 65 per cent in some cases. It’s not as drastic as it might seem on the face, since apparently the city has reduced parking requirements on many sites as part of the renegotiation over rezonings. But there is a general move to reduce the amount of parking for commuter employees. At the moment, the general standard is one space for every 2.5-3.5 workers, which engineering has maintained through a combination of private, street and public parking. Now it’s going to be geared more to one space for every 3.5 to 5 employees.

I don’t know if there will be howls of dismay over this or not. (Apparently EasyPark, the city’s parking arm, is not happy about this, as they see this meaning a gradual reduction of demand for their spaces.) I know that there are people who won’t come downtown already because they think it’s too hard to park.

Personally, I find Vancouver an incredibly easy city to park in downtown. In the last week, we got a parking space a block from the Hyatt on a Friday night when we went to partner’s daughter’s high-school grad dance. I can almost always get one in front of the Y when I go downtown. And so on. I acknowledge that I have a naive belief in my own “parking karma,” which has me convinced that, no matter how terrible the rest of my life may be going at that point, I can always find a parking spot.

Yes, even my karma doesn’t work sometimes and, yes, there are certain spots of the downtown and certain events that make parking impossible. But, generally, it’s still a snap compared to other cities I’ve parked in like London (horrifying), Amsterdam (not too bad, if you’re willing to walk a little from more obscure places), Paris (quite reasonable in August and surprisingly easy in non-touristed areas) and San Francisco (the absolute worst).

We’ll see the results of the city’s reduction in, oh, about five years, when the first signs begin to show. But I’d be interested to hear from others whether they think Vancouver is a parking nightmare or not.

Categories: Uncategorized

  • “Downtown parking rates during weekdays are quite onerous, save a select few spaces for the early birds”

    Is it really? I work in Yaletown, and I do drive in a couple of times a month (usually because we’re going somewhere afterwards) and I can park for $8.50/day quite easily, even if I turn up well after 9am. That price is pretty competitive with the bus fare with two of us in the car. Just my anecdotal $0.02.

  • gmgw

    Chris: I suppose I could have chosen a more diplomatic term than “fanatics”. But I’ve never cared for being lectured, even (sometimes especially) when I know that the lecturer is right. And no, I don’t tag hypothetical suburban soccer moms as “fanatics”, at least within the parameters of this ongoing discussion, for good reason: On the subject of cars and their validity as a form of transportation, they don’t proselytize and they don’t get sanctimonious. Driving a car for them is not an ideology or something they choose out of conviction. They merely live their small suburban lives, lives they probably can’t imagine living without a car, regardless of whether they should be contemplating a post-peak-oil future or not.

    And I’ll just keep on doggedly making one of my points: To advance your cause– and frankly, I agree with what you and the Peak Oilers and the other doomsayers are saying (how can I not? I’ve been reading “the environmental apocalypse is imminent” articles since the late 60s)– we are on the brink of social change so massive and far-reaching as to be literally inconceivable. For the last century human civilization has been rebuilt around oil-powered technologies, and now that may be coming to an end. And that point hasn’t really sunk in for the soccer moms, for the rancher in the Nazko Valley who has to drive 60 miles into Quesnel every week for supplies, tools or to see the dentist, or for people who buy strawberries trucked in from California, or for the innumerable other folks whose livelihoods and lives depend on the internal-combustion engine. What do you have to offer these people that won’t either cause them to merely tune you out or angrily dismiss you as a crank? There’s a line from old blues/gospel song: “If they’s a hell below, we all gonna go”. I’ve said it before: Your work and Darcy’s lies beyond the narrow confines of Vancouver. As a wise person once said in a similar context (and it would take too much time to explain that context): “Nebraska (and again, China and India) needs you more”.
    gmgw

  • “I can park for $8.50/day quite easily”

    You need to include fuel and wear-tear as well into total costs. Also there is still a hike to where the jobs are. Still, you’re right that we aren’t talking $40/day like in some cities.

  • “I’ve said it before: Your work and Darcy’s lies beyond the narrow confines of Vancouver.”

    I could devote more time to other places if people here didn’t proclaim a 9km bike ride was beyond the capabilities of all but a few young fit city planner. If you are serious about getting soccer moms out of their minivans, then one of the first steps might be reviewing some of the misinformation you’ve shared that only reinforce fallacies.

    Choosing to drive a car is very much a part of an ideology. It just happens to be the dominant one.

  • Otis:

    I’m just me but the good cop/bad cop idea is a sound one. In my experience it takes radicals and unreasonable people to set the agenda so that moderates can step in and sound like the voice of reason. If it wasn’t for radicals, women wouldn’t be able to vote, slavery would still be an unfortunate but necessary part of agriculture, and above-ground nuclear tests would be as common as dirt.

  • gmgw

    CK:
    You left a few key words & phrases out of that bit of sarcasm about people who “…proclaim a 9km bike ride (is) beyond the capabilities of all but a few young city planners”. Those words would be: “every day”, “year-round” “through city traffic”, and “in all kinds of weather”. And why are you limiting it to 9km? Do you think that all Vancouver city planners actually live in Vancouver?

    As for dragging those pesky soccer moms, kicking and screaming, out of their minivans in front of their terrified kids and packing them off to reeducation camp, hey, it’s not something I’m about to take on. I haven’t got a cause to promote, and I’m not about to start picketing car dealerships with a sign reading “Repent” just yet. I think that sort of behaviour is better left to people who haven’t a clue what it’s like to be someone who feels they haven’t a choice about certain things in life, and who are too busy trying to hold down a job (or two) and pay a mortgage to think much about ideologies. Maybe someday, when they find the time, and the kids are grown…

    Got a nice shoe here, Chris. Care to try it on?
    gmgw

  • Darcy McGee

    http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/toronto/archive/2009/06/08/the-war-on-the-car-as-seen-from-the-bicycle-seat.aspx

    > “through city traffic”, and “in all kinds of weather”

    1) The first is readily addressed by offering more and dedicated bike routes
    2) The second is *not* the reason people don’t ride. I’m not saying it’s not an issue…I’m saying surveys consistently show safety as the top concern. Weather is less important.

    Yesterday at 7th & Laurel and single occupancy BMW SUV slowed down but didn’t stop at a stop sign and turned a corner rapidly in front of me (as well as another car which had right of way) with his tires chirping. He clearly *knew* what he was doing was wrong, as he jammed so far into the curb before popping out into traffic….where was the cop to issue him a ticket for almost killing me?

    On Saturday night the driver of Maclure’s cab #59 cut me off, then proceeded to go straight through a “right turn only” intersection on the street immediate north of Davie. I (of course) caught up to him at Burrard and told him what he’d done. He proceeded to follow me on the Burrard Bridge, hurl racial and sexual epithets at me and threaten to run me off the road. At the end of the bridge he parked his car and when I came off the bridge he backed into me to try to cut me off (didn’t work) then followed me on the bike route continuing to hurl threats.

    Where’s the cop to arrest him?

    Safety’s the issue, not weather. 9km is nothing (unless it’s predominantly uphill.) I’ve a friend who’s 67 years old who went for his first bike ride in years on Sunday and probably did 30km. What he enjoyed was the bike paths, what he didn’t enjoy was crossing the Burrard and Granville Bridge.

    > Choosing to drive a car is very much a part of an ideology. It just happens
    > to be the dominant one.

    +1

    and it’s one that’s killing people:
    http://tinyurl.com/kwfg45

  • michael geller

    Greetings! Just spent a long weekend in Victoria without turning on my computer once, so I missed this discussion until now. But I would like to acknowledge Don Buchanan’s request and start this entry by repeating the message I posted on June 1 at 6:21 am:

    “What would Fabula readers think of a COMPREHENSIVE review of the city’s parking policies, with a view to rationalizing the cost of permit parking with the cost of underground parking; the introduction of pay parking on some residential streets where there is inadequate visitor parking; extension of the hours during which pay parking is in effect…why not start at 7 am instead of 9 am and keep meters in effect until 10, or in some instances for 24 HOURS…on the understanding that all additional net revenues would be used to support public transit improvements and ‘car free days’ initiatives, etc?

    I personally think our current policies ignore the new technologies associated with parking meters ( automated machines…you should see the new units in Calgary where you print a ticket and stick it on your window); credit cards, payment by phone…and so on.

    While I appreciate this is a different topic… car-free days, bike lanes, public transit, parking….these things are all related. I do worry a bit about changing some, without starting to look at related consequences…..

    In this regard on Tuesday, the City is moving forward with some SERIOUS REDUCTIONS IN PARKING requirements for downtown residential buildings. While this is something I have been advocating, even I am a bit shocked at the proposed changes. They include not just reduced minimums, but maximums….often 1 space per unit with no special provision for visitor parking.

    I hadn’t heard about this discussion, nor read very much about this….have any of you?”

    As you may be aware, the Parking Report was deferred until June 11th, and all being well, I will attend the Transportation and Traffic committee meeting at 9:30 to speak in favour of reduced standards and a more comprehensive approach. However, as I noted, what is being put forward is even more restrictive than I would have recommended, as a first step.

    In terms of this discussion, it is very important to distinguish between parking provided for retail and office space and residential developments. When it comes to residential, I think it is important to distinguish between resident and visitor parking.

    As for the cost of providing underground parking, it varies depending on the number of levels; the ‘efficiency’ of the layout…ie the number of spaces in relation to the amount of ramping, driving lanes, etc.; the proximity to water; the adjacent conditions, etc. Another key consideration is the cost of concrete and labour which has dropped quite considerably in the past 6 months. Having said that, an underground space can easily cost between $35,000 and $55,000 or more, which is why a reduction in standards could help increase housing affordability.

    So I am in favour of reduced standards. If a developer wants to build an apartment development with no resident parking, I think he should be allowed to, if he thinks the market can take it, provided he creates spaces for visitors. This is an extreme position, but it hopefully makes the point.

    HOWEVER, I do not support parking reductions in one particular case…LANEWAY HOUSING! In this case, I am advocating for a second parking space on a lot with a laneway unit, since I believe it may well be required, and more importantly, will help secure neighbourhood buy-in. But that’s another discussion for another month….July 21 to be precise.

    Hopefully, some Fabula readers will show up on the 11th to address the staff report. I’ll be the very bald guy in the back row!

  • fbula

    Michael — Nice to see you back. I thought perhaps you had abandoned us.

  • Darcy McGee

    > you should see the new units in Calgary where
    > you print a ticket and stick it on your window

    They’ve had these in Seattle for years. They work well, but there’s a fairly common problem of people parking motorcycles and having the stickers stolen. (You’re supposed to stick it to the inside of your car window, and they recommend sticking it to the headlight of your bike.)

  • Darcy McGee

    Incidentally, the notion of developers building parking free residences is a _great_ one, but _not_ if those residents then expect the city to provide heavily subsidized parking through on street permit use (as was discussed before the rates the city is selling permits at are ridiculously low.)

  • Robert Renger

    Michael Geller is right — we need “a COMPREHENSIVE review of the city’s parking policies” rather than piecemeal tinkering.

    He also makes a good point regarding the need for residential visitor parking. Changes to the City’s parking requirements in 2005 eliminated the need for developers to provide visitor parking (great for them because visitor parking provides no return — it can’t be sold like resident parking). And the proliferation of permit parking (i.e. the privatisation of street parking to subsidize residents who own cars but not parking spaces) means visitor parking is increasingly difficult to find on-street. I’d prefer to see a lot of that on-street permit parking replaced by ticket-spitter pay parking, which could be fine-tuned to provide an overnight rate for residents (or for that matter visitors).

  • Robert Renger

    Back in 2005, when the City was considering the elimination of visitor parking requirements, I sent the Engineering Department the following comments:

    “- in many areas, given the prevalence of resident only parking, it will be hard for visitors to find on-street parking

    – it is very unlikely that developers will voluntarily provide visitor parking spaces which they cannot sell, instead of resident parking spaces which can be sold with units

    – better design requirements (e.g. two security gate system, clear permanent signage), and legal requirements and documentation (e.g. covenant) should be pursued to address the issue of maintaining visitor parking, instead of just giving up on it because it has been converted to resident parking in some cases.

    – visitor parking should include provision for parking for disabled visitors”

    In its final report to Council recommending the elimination of visitor parking, the Engineering Department did not quote or address these comments. It simply stated:

    “one consulting engineer and a planner from the City of Burnaby cautioned against removing a visitor parking component from parking requirements as there would be spillover impacts on local streets”.

  • gmgw

    Darcy,
    In 1984, as you will recall if you were living here then and were old enough to notice, there was a transit strike in Vancouver that lasted for some time– can’t remember how long, but I know it was well over a month. My then-girlfriend, who is now my wife, worked at UBC and lived in the West End. She didn’t own a car and none of her immediate co-workers lived anywhere near her, so car pooling wasn’t really an option. Her best friend at the time lived near her and also worked at UBC, and they both owned bikes (though neither was a serious biker), so they decided to try biking it, together. I should mention that in those days my GF was in her early 30s, went to a gym four times a week, and ran several times a week as well. The first day nearly killed her. She was OK until she reached the West 10th Avenue hill, and that’s where she met her Waterloo. She had to walk most of the way up it. Oddly, her friend neither worked out nor ran and, while, it wasn’t easy for her, she had no major problems. Go figure.

    I suggested she try the 4th Avenue hill instead, but that was no better; and the Spanish Banks route was just too long for her. She would arrive at work exhausted, barely able to walk. Anyway, after a week of worsening torture– she was genuinely afraid that she might do herself permanent injury of some kind if she kept it up– my GF gave up, and borrowed her mother’s car for the duration of the strike. Eight years later she developed major back problems and was eventually diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I don’t know if that could have been one reason whey she had had so much diffculty with biking, but it makes me wonder.

    My point is that I don’t care how many 67-year-old happy bicyclists you can point to. (Frankly, your example reminds me of the apocryphal 60-(?)-years-old-and-still-super-fit Swede that Fitness Canada (or whoever it was) used to feature in ads back in the 70s(?); ads meant to shame us lazy Canucks into getting up from the groaning dinner table and heading for the gym.) I can cite just as many examples of people for whom commuting by bicycle is just not a practical option– for a wide variety of reasons. Sorry to keep repeating myself, but this is *not* a situation in which you can display a general garment and expect it to fit everybody. And when I see in the paper today that city planners are working hard to make it even more diffciult for people to get around by car in this city, that they want to force– excuse me, “encourage”– people to walk, bike, or take transit– I have to wonder just what they’ve been smoking to make them think that this semi-magical transition is just going to somehow *happen*.

    You know, Darcy, I go on a lot about how much walking I do; but a couple of months ago I started getting serious pain in both feet. Went to a podiatrist who said I have an inflamed tibialis posterior tendon. $500 worth of orthotics later, it’s still happening. Next stop is an oprthpedic surgeon. I walk to and from work every day and spend about 80% of my workday on my feet. My GP tells me I have degenerative arthritis in both knees, so biking is out. I am worried and rather frightened. I am in my late 50s and have a tendecy to gain weight. Walking plays a significant role in maintaining my barely inadequate level of fitness (I won’t go into my back and shoulder problems that limit what I can do with weights). Where this is going to go for me, I have no idea. But I can tell you that this experience has given me considerable insight into the challenges faced by people who just can’t– not *won’t*, often would like to, but *can’t*– step boldly into the brave new world of health and fitness– epitomized by the daily riding of bikes, not for recreation, but to work and back, that you find so easy yourself and therefore makes you think that everyone can.

    You will find your anti-car crusade will meet with considerably more success if you develop some compassion and understanding for those who do not possess your physical gifts (or even those of your 67-year-old friend). As it is, you remind me of my bullet-headed, buzz-cut, ex-college-football-star high school PE teacher, who showed nothing but withering contempt for an overweight asthmatic, deeply embarassed kid who could barely struggle through a two-mile cross-country run. And that’s not a pleasant memory to have evoked.
    gmgw

  • Darcy McGee

    > My then-girlfriend, who is now my wife, worked
    > at UBC and lived in the West End.

    1) That’s farther than 9km (which is the only distance I discussed.)
    2) That route would definitely be “predominantly uphill”

    So what’s your point?

  • gmgw

    Electric bikes, trikes scooters etc. are always an option for people that can’t or don’t want to pedal hard.

    People need to use their creativity thinking of solutions rather than excuses.

  • Darcy McGee

    Incidentally, when I say I’d consider that ride “predominantly uphill” the problem with riding out to UBC is that there is a single, LONG stretch of uphill distance. The Spanish Banks hill is 1.8km long and I can only do about 14km/h on it on my fast bike (working from memory…) It’s both long and steep.

    Contrast this with rides such as my daily to work which includes quite a few hills, but none of them so long that they’re killers and there are just as many downhills. There’s very little overall gain.

    The ride home has the crazy Queen Elizabeth Park hill, but that’s short enough that frankly if I didn’t want to ride it, I could walk it…and many people seem to choose to do so.

    Walking 1.8km up a single hill isn’t a really great option. It’s long.

    So yes, I’d consider that to UBC “predominantly hilly” but there are many many others that are not.

    Of course UBC also offers excellent facilities for showering and changing, a luxury that many others don’t have. (No doubt you’ll say “Mrs. gmgw didn’t want to shower at work” which is all fine and dandy…some people just like looking for reasons that things are impossible without even considering options.)

  • gmgw

    Darcy, old sod, you really can be a self-righteous, sanctimonious, selective-hearing, world-class prick sometimes, you know? I’ve always wanted to tell you that.

    This angry comment was inspired by you having the gall to cast aspersions on my wife’s “considering of options”, or lack thereof, re her ultimately doomed attempts to bike to UBC. The availability of showers at her place of work was completely irrelevant to what I was trying to say. You have absolutely no right whatsoever to judge her; you don’t know her and you weren’t *there* to see what she went through, dammit. Anyway, it’s obvious everything I said in that post bounced right off your shield of the (self-) righteous. I think it’s time to write you off as a lost cause.

    Now, having got all that off my chest, if you genuinely didn’t get my point, I would suggest you refer to paragraph #3 in my post– the one that begins
    “My point is…”. You never know, it just might contain the point I was trying to make. Get the point?
    Love,
    gmgw

  • not running for mayor

    While arguing on the internet I’m always reminded of an old adage.

    Never argue with an idiot, they will bring you down to their level and then beat you with experience.

    Take from that what you will. Cheers.

  • Chris

    gmgw – if you wrote shorter comments, maybe we’d read them.

  • Weren’t we talking about parking at some point?

  • MB

    Note to gmgw: We really don’t need your droning epistles of life history, especially when puncutated with words like “prick”. Your often valid main points are continually drowned out, and you parrot the dribbling sarcasm of one or two other posters so well when they have run out of points and denigrate to immature name calling. Well, sticks and stones. Many of us now just continue scrolling to the next comment.

    Agree with him or not, Chris Keam in my mind stands out amongst a few other reasoned and professional responses in this string, even when attacked from several directions, markedly by people in dire need of an editor. His opponents could learn from his professional debating skills.

    Keep up the good work, Chris K.

    Back to the issue at hand. Robert has a good point re: ticket-spitters. I think the idea of overnight metering for residents has some potential, especially in the West End. But in fairness I think you’d have to differentiate the rates between residents (lower) and visitors (higher). Is there some kind of meter technology that could do this?

    I read somewhere that 40% of West Enders do not own cars, which is one of the good things about density and urbanism. However, the majority of older apartment buildings in the WE predate the flood of car-centric development that cascaded over six decades starting in the 50s, and therein have fewer parking stalls than apartments, hence the on-street “subsidy” of resident-only parking.

    There are also early 20th Century neighbourhoods where small lots and an absense of lanes prevail, resulting in a dearth of parking and a daily fight with non-residents over parking spaces reasonably close to their homes, especially near arterials with attractive retail.

    Calling resident-only parking in these neighbourhoods a “subsidy” — when they can get it — really doesn’t help them.

  • Darcy McGee

    Nonetheless, it is a subsidy at the current rates. The annual cost of a parking permit in the West End is currently $65. I know people who have them /even though they have a parking spot/ because it allows them to lend their spots to friends when they come visit.

    That’s ridiculously low.

    I sympathize with a “dearth of parking” inasmuch as I can, but that’s a choice you make when you locate your rental suite (or purchase a place to live.) I lived in Toronto’s Beaches district when I had a much more car-centric life and this was one of the factors in that apartment decision.

    I’m not suggesting council should increase the cost of parking to $65/month overnight either. It needs to be gradually phased in…but a doubling of the annual fee for each of the next two years would be doable. At $260/year the cost would be $21.66/month…or less than the cost of a tank of gas for a week for anybody who drives regularly. $20/month is a drop in the bucket in the grand scheme of car ownership.

    West Enders do have many many other options for those who don’t use their cars regularly: The Car CoOp or Zip Car most notably. These options aren’t as viable in farther flung, less dense neighbourhoods.

  • Darcy McGee

    > $20/month is a drop in the bucket in the grand
    > scheme of car ownership.

    …and still well below the market rate for that area.

    (I should have added that.)

  • MB

    Ideally, one wouldn’t need a parking space on the street or anywhere else, and would have the transit / walking opportunities of the West End.

    But we ain’t there yet in all of the city.

  • MB

    Note that the staff report recommends using some of the funds saved by reduced parking to fund cycling and walking improvements. This will provide more people with real transportation choices and should reduce the impact the reduction in parking.

    Anyway, we have to start making changes at some point. Oil is no longer cheap and is not going to be around forever.

    We might also want to not be so self-centred and save a few drops of such a useful substance for our children and their children.

  • gmgw

    MB:
    Mea culpa, mea culpa. I became angry and used intemperate language when Darcy completely ignored some mitigating details in my admittedly overlong anecdote meant to convey to him my wife’s great difficulty in commuting by bicycle (and also convey the point that not everyone is able to, despite what he may think), and implacably refused to concede one millimeter in his absolutist position (what, and I’m surprised?) while slagging her for, essentially, being lazy (when I showed her his response, incidentally, she became even angrier than I was). I lost sight of a cardinal rule: It’s pointless to argue with a fanatic– and I think anyone who describes himself at being at “war” with car drivers and brags of using dangerous bullying tactics against pedestrians while riding his bike qualifies for that sobriquet.

    Kazantzakis, in “Zorba the Greek”, cites an old Macedonian folk saying: “You can knock forever on a deaf man’s door”. Chris, at least, seems willing to engage in a bit of give-and-take, but my knuckles are raw and bleeding from knocking on Darcy’s door. Time to give up and walk away, I think.

    Sorry for the offense(s). I know I do have a tendency to loggorhea sometimes.
    gmgw

  • Darcy McGee

    I didn’t slag your wife for being lazy. I pointed out that that commute would be considered long (longer than 9km) and “predominantly uphill” which would make it difficult.

    Note my earlier comment
    > 9km is nothing (unless it’s predominantly uphill.

    On another note, I said hi to the four senior citizens I pass each day (3 on the way to work, one on my way to the pool after work) on your behalf. They were all happy for you!!!

    In any case, keep finding reasons to justify driving your car if you need too.

    200,000 Canadians have been killed in automobile accidents in the past 50 years…more than the combined toll for WWI and WWII.

    Imagine how bright our society would be if those 200,000 people were still alive? Of course, it would make it THAT much harder to find a parking spot when you need one…

  • Gassy Jack’s Ghost

    The Historic Area is an example of a part of the downtown where both severe parking restrictions are in place and street closures are very frequent due to marches, festivals, night markets, etc. Many residential heritage buildings don’t have ANY underground parking, and the city refuses to allow on-street permits despite some past lobbying by locals with cars (and anyway car break-ins are frequent). Everyone seems to survive just fine. So maybe any future studies like the one suggested by MG should look closely at this area for both these issues (parking and street closures). It also helps that this is a very tolerant neighbourhood.

  • Gassy Jack’s Ghost

    By the way, the only parking alternative in the area is Easy Park, owned by CoV. I had a stall for many years and cost per month was about $148 tax included, or almost $1800 per year. The rates were raised every year for the last 3, despite a total lack of security in this “secure” City lot that Sheriffs and crown prosecutors use (the garage stairwell is a rather horrific microcosm of the surrounding social milieu). Besides the environmental effects of cars and the stress of city driving, it always gave me a sick feeling to know that nearby SROs rent rooms for around $350 per month – housing my car cost almost half what some people in the area house themselves in!

    Then my car got totaled by some jerk who ran a stop sign (nearly became a statistic) and I haven’t had a car for six months now. Relying on transit, bike, feet, skateboard, scooter, or carpooling saves me about $400 per month in car-related costs. Not for everyone, sure, but it’s amazing how quickly we can adapt in the face of necessity.

  • gmgw

    Sigh.

    Darcy, in post #77:
    “I didn’t slag your wife for being lazy. I pointed out that that commute would be considered long (longer than 9km) and “predominantly uphill” which would make it difficult.”

    Not directly… perhaps:

    Darcy, in post #66:
    “Of course UBC also offers excellent facilities for showering and changing, a luxury that many others don’t have. (No doubt you’ll say “Mrs. gmgw didn’t want to shower at work” which is all fine and dandy…some people just like looking for reasons that things are impossible without even considering options.)”

    Make up your mind, willya?

    Lastly:
    “In any case, keep finding reasons to justify driving your car if you need too.”

    What part of “I haven’t owned a car in 16 years” (somewhere back there) did you find difficult to understand, D.? Or am I attaching too much significance to your choice of the personal pronoun?
    gmgw

  • michael geller

    For those of you interested in PARKING, the meeting is today (june 11) at 2pm in the Council Chamber.

    Now, for those of you interested in CYCLING, especially NUDE CYCLING, you can check some photos sent to me from San Francisco. They can be found on my blog at http://www.gellersworldtravel.blogspot.com

  • MB

    Urban wildlife abounds. Careful, you web page may overload with your invitation.

  • gmgw

    Just reassure me that there’s no photos of you in there, Michael, before I go to your site.
    gmgw

  • Well, Council ignored a number of speakers, including me, who argued in favour of eliminating any minimum parking requirements for downtown residential buildings. However, it did agree to eliminate the maximum parking requirements when development industry representatives suggested this could deter the development of family housing in the downtown. (In fact, this concern could have easily been addressed with some fine tuning….)

    What was particularly disturbing was the fact that Council showed no interest in some very thoughtful arguments put forward by a John Petrie who pointed out, amongst other things, that the current resident permit parking fees represent a significant subsidy for car owners…

    I just don’t get it. On one hand, Council wants Vancouver to be the greenest city in the world, and yet there wasn’t even an interest in considering suggestions that might result in fewer cars in the road.

    Fortunately, a reporter for Radio station 1130 did watch the deliberations, and was also surprised by Council’s decisions. She reported on the absurdity of this council’s decision to not consider further reductions to the minimum requirement, while quickly agreeing to eliminate the maximum parking requirements.

    As for a COMPREHENSIVE REVIEW of resident and visitor parking in the city…I’m not holding my breath after Geoff Meggs took great delight in mocking my suggestion that maybe the time has come to re-consider some pay parking along residential streets.

    I was accused of channelling Fred Bass!

    That’s the same Fred Bass who warned people about the dangers of tobacco and promoted cycling and public transit. Politics can sure be confusing at times!

  • Jumping back in to offer some route advice. For anyone cycling to UBC, take 16th Ave from anywhere west of MacDonald for the easiest route up the hill. The hill at 16th is the steepest, but also the shortest. Having tried several different routes, I found this to be the easiest way to get to the campus area (by bike).

  • Darcy McGee

    Chris, you’ve seen this?
    http://www.cyclevancouver.ubc.ca/

    route planner, and you can specify a maximum slope.

    I was mucking about with it and anything less than 7% seems to say “go to Marine Drive” which is long, but not steep.

    At 7% it says take 8th Ave., even if I include major roads.

    It’s a slick tool. I’d like to see the city actually adopt the project (I fear it will disappear.)

    A 7% slope is not insubstantial.

    (According to the map I only burn 212 calories on the way to work each day.)

  • I’ve seen the UBC cycling map and think it’s great. I don’t really use it much personally, but see how it can help people find good routes to unfamiliar locales.

    I just find short steep hills, less taxing than long, no-so-steep ones. Plus, for those who hate hills, it’s easier to walk up a short one IMO.

  • Darcy McGee

    > Plus, for those who hate hills, it’s easier to walk
    > up a short one IMO.

    Yes.

  • Gassy Jack’s Ghost

    That is a bizarre decision by council. They should AT LEAST be cranking up the street permit costs and considering more pay parking on residential streets, because the status quo is not a fair system applied across the whole downtown. Compare the $1800 that many folks in Gastown and Chinatown are forced to pay in EasyPark (due to no parking in buildings and no street permits allowed + all streets are metered – the harshest system being proposed is already in place here) to the mere $65 a YEAR for a residential street permit in the West End. Street permits are a huge subsidy for car owners who qualify. It is almost equal to the amount of property tax I pay!

    So on what possible grounds would a responsible council member mock these suggestions? Let’s see: create new disincentives to owning cars downtown (environmental), make downtown parking rates more equitable for those who do own cars AND reduce the costs of building affordable housing (social/economic), increase an important revenue stream for a city strapped for cash (economic). Triple bottom line accountable with immediate, measurable results. That’s called taking action.

    I can probably guess the answer, but it’s worth asking:

    Did anyone from the Greenest City Action Team appear before council?