About 60 per cent of trips in Vancouver are now made by car. By 2040, the city wants that to be 40 per cent.
In spite of the never-ending debates about cycling, cycling represents the smallest portion of the various modes of locomotion that exist now and that will exist even in the foreseeable future.
Transit and walking are the big leaders, after the car, and will continue to grow by all accounts, especially if the city’s engineers and planners get their way.
For those of you who don’t mainline the city’s website info, there is actually a giant Transportation 2040 plan in the works, due to be finalized, after public input up to July 13. I realize this is a hopeless plea, but some of you might want to look at it and comment now, rather than phoning me up screaming two years from now, saying: “Did you know the city is planning to do X or Y?” Because I will have to say, “Yes, I did. It was recommendation #113. Weren’t you paying attention?”
Of course, with 187 separate recommendations, it is hard to pay attention to all of it. Therefore, as part of the “making things simpler” function that journalists are legally mandated to carry out, here are the things in the plan that caught my interest.
- A pilot “scramble” intersection somewhere on Robson, with more to come if that works. (A scramble stops all traffic and allows pedestrians to cross in every direction. Works best when there is an exceptionally high volume of pedestrians and not a huge number of cars on a major arterial.)
- Improvements to laneways to make them more pedestrian attractive
- Removal of rush-hour parking bans in curb lanes so they can be used more flexibly, i.e. for pedestrians
- More public restrooms, so walkers have places to, um, go while they’re hiking across town
- More rain-friendly designs for sidewalks and public spaces — awnings, canopies, shelters, etc.
- The creation of some pedestrian-priority street sections: Robson Square, Robson, Granville, Hamilton, Mainland mentioned as possibilities
- A “cycling comfort index” to rate streets
- A ciclovia — a big bike festival with streets shut down so people can ride around freely on them. (Went on one in Los Angeles recently — SO fun, but they needed more space. Streets were jammed.)
- Underground rapid transit along Broadway
- Rapid-bus routes along Hastings, 41/49th, Commercial/Victoria, Main/Fraser
- Bus stops further apart on local routes to encourage more transit use. (??? Seems counter-intuitive to me. I take local buses, not expresses, because it drops me half a block from my house.)
- An Arbutus/False Creek/downtown streetcar
- Elimination of minimum parking requirements for buildings downtown, close to transit or that are purpose-built rental
- Encourage developers to separate out parking and housing costs when selling condos in projects
- “Adjust” residential parking permits to discourage too much street parking.
I’m sure you all have noticed others.