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What blog posts turned you on: Mayor’s comments on staff, Burrard Bridge, city future

May 1st, 2009 · 16 Comments

Hey all. It’s a beautiful Friday afternoon and I think you’re all winding down for the weekend, except for gmgw, glissando and LP, who are still energetically duking it out on the blog comments. Thanks, you guys. I never feel lonely when you’re there.

Anyway, I got a new blog-stats counter that allows me to see which posts are getting the most hits, so courtesy of that, here is what was the most popular in the last 11 days since I got the new counter installed. (Drum roll here)

1. Mayor Gregor Robertson’s reported comments on why staff are leaving city hall in noticeable numbers: can’t handle the pressure of the Olympics and the increased pace of business under Vision Vancouver.

2. The future of the downtown — my account of the public hearing to decide on the limitations that should be put on residential development in or near the central business district.

3. The news about the city’s second deputy city manager, James Ridge, leaving, complete with debates over whether the city’s senior managers are leaving because they think Vision is politicizing city hall (Suzanne Anton’s interpretation) or whether it’s because there’s always some turnover when there’s new political leadership. (Mayor Gregor’s version).

4. The news that city council now officially has the report on the Burrard Bridge bike lanes in front of them and will have to decide which option they like next Tuesday. I thought people had burned themselves out on this one in months past, but no, the water just seems to be reaching a boil.

5. The debate over whether the city’s new chief financial officer got too rich a package with her $230,000-something salary and 10 weeks of vacation.

A reminder with all of these that most people seem to come to the site not through an individual post but just by hitting my blog, so this doesn’t give a complete sense of who’s reading what. Nice to see you’re all still there, though — about 65,000 of you hitting on the site in the past month. Or maybe it’s just 10 people hitting the keys 6,500 times each. You never know.

Categories: Uncategorized

  • No turn on Frances,

    You’re doing a great job but, problems at “Thu hall” are endemic . . . going back at least a decade . . . and there’s a whole bunch of deluded, corner office cheer leaders egging them on!

    The current brouhaha at “Thu Hall” is not a storm in a teacup! It is an accumulated exposure of time serving old cronies and burnt umber proboscides.

    Has not the BB cyclist issue been addressed and discarded before?

    If the NEFC conversation is as described in
    http://vancouver.ca/commsvcs/planning/nefc/public/pdf/jan09openhouseboards.pdf
    then we are looking at intellectual corruption, very expensive, lazy propaganda: long past its buy-date. As PR it is profuse in pretty coloured pictures unrelated to the subject, contemptuous of the public. It repeats all the brutal, anti-urban semiotics of its kin FNC.
    http://www.theyorkshirelad.ca/New.Nanaimo.Center/pudpn/Commentary.pdf
    The director of planning pays lip service to citywide stadia decibel pollution but hasn’t a clue what to do.

    Important: NECF is the next, and last, if it ever happens, major downtown build-out. May I, therefore, suggest serious attention should be given to the protagonists: senior planner make way for the more creative assistants. As for the former, he has been there too long and his misinformed, paper pushing, habits are holding back the latter.

    But it is wider than one misconceived boondoggle . . .

    “The architect/planner/academic/developer coagulate” is rotten to its very essence . . . from toupees to gumboots.

    With huge debts hanging over, its time for a reality check!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54qhjlTNVn0 “Hall’istas” . . . listen-up!

  • Not running for mayor

    I think I’ve solved Vancouver’s problems.

    Screw the bike lanes on the burrard st bridge. You can keep all the lanes open and the car drivers will be happy. All we have to do is finish filling in False creek, the bikers and ped can then walk/bike across safely no problem. You could use the new area to build a very large community garden, plus a giant chicken farm. Sell off a small corner to Concord so they’re happy, that money can pay for all the severance packages and new raises. Everyone is happy.

    Opps I forgot to includes a couple of social housing projects for Wendy, there now everyone would be happy.

  • Denis

    For those who figure bikes should rule the world, may I suggest it shouldn’t cost much to cantilever a 6 foot wide bike path outside the frame of the bridge. Keeping them seperate. We cycled Scotland, England, sections of France, Belgium , the Netherlands and back into Germany one year with our kids. Covered 5000 miles. Lots of bike paths, even special signals for bike stops, and the only time we made contact with a car was in town. Seems even in the Netherlands, in town the car has the right of way. My God, when all else fails, get off the pushbike and walk across the bridge. These debates are getting costly. And get the hell off the sidewalks, buy a bell and a light like the laws state you are supposed to have.

  • Darcy McGee

    Denis, you’re a bit of a …hat.

    “get the hell of the sidewalks” you say. The problem with the Burrard Bridge is that we’re TOLD to get ON the sidewalk. I sometimes ride the road instead…I’m not sure if it’s legal or not, but it’s definitely not very safe (I move fast when I’m doing that.)

    Your option for the 6 foot wide bike path sounds great. Vancouver’s rejected the idea in the past for reasons which range from cost to the “heritage” appearance of the Burrard Street Bridge.

    I still maintain that False Creek needs a /dedicated/ pedestrian and cyclist crossing. I’d like to keep those electric mopeds off them too: those aren’t bikes, those are mopeds.

    Most European cities have some right of way preference for cyclists to varying degrees. Vancouver has virtually none.

    You’re right on lights though. I often though, when my commute took me through Shaughnessy on the Cypress Bike Route, that the cops should just be out there every morning ticketing riders who don’t have lights…and giving them a light with the ticket. MEC sells a dynamo powered front light for $8.75…no batteries required. Anybody who has a bike should be able to afford that. Start enforcing laws.

  • urb anwriter

    Why would you want the cops enforcing laws?
    They’re all at Waves, or Bean Around the World, or Slocan and Hastings, or in the gym… or working as hired guns for the movie industry

  • Darcy McGee

    I meant to say the cops should be out there “in the wintertime…tickign riders who don’t have lights.” I used to go to work at 6:30 a.m. and I was amazed to see people riding with no lights at all. Fools.

  • eleanor

    65,000 hits a month more likely represents over 2,000 dedicated Fran-o-philes checking in on a daily basis, adjusting for your dedicated coterie of uber-fans who need you on an hourly basis!

    I count myself among the former, and am surprisingly charmed by the latter.

  • Peter G

    FB…. you have by far the most useful of the political blogs, and you attract some very knowledgable comments (even Alex T, when he’s not frothing at the mouth).
    I think that the organizational wizards in the engineering department have finally solved the downtown traffic problems. This morning Smythe was down to one lane, Pacific and Beach were down to one lane in each direction. Yaletown slowly ground to a halt. In spite of a new team at city hall, the same old bureaucrats are still kissing the same old developers’ backsides. I wonder when we will get our city back?

  • Glissando Remmy

    Frances, thank you for the forum!
    ………………………………………………………………………
    Urbanismo,
    It’s been recorded throughout the history of the humankind. In the battle of the egos the outcome never looked good for the “good ones” team.
    The reasons for why humans cannot advance in a normal, more creative, rewarding and fair way was said so beautifully one hundred and thirty-eight years ago. It took me a while to find the passage I wanted but it was worthy. There you go:
    “Man may be excused for feeling some pride at having risen, though not through his own exertions, to the very summit of the organic scale; and the fact of his having thus risen, instead of having been aboriginally placed there, may give him hopes for a still higher destiny in the distant future. But we are not here concerned with hopes or fears, only with the truth as far as our reason allows us to discover it. I have given the evidence to the best of my ability; and we must acknowledge, as it seems to me, that man with all his noble qualities, with sympathy which feels for the most debased, with benevolence which extends not only to other men but to the humblest living creature, with his god-like intellect which has penetrated into the movements and constitution of the solar system—with all these exalted powers—Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin.”

    Charles R. Darwin, 1871.
    From “The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex” Pg 405

    Take the language ability away, bring back the tail, shave no more and we could be looking for ants under our mates armpits!
    So it’s not a question of intellectual corruption, lazy propaganda or cronyism, it’s a simple fight for bananas. It’s mine, mine and mine. Monkeys, eh!?

    In the late fifties the American architect Louis Kahn was sabotaged by the members of the Philadelphia Planning Department during the exact time when Louis was retained as a consultant for their Planning Commission. None of his proposals were considered despite the fact they entered the lexicon of urban design.
    Sounds familiar?
    Antonio Salieri, then the Austrian Kapellmeister kept Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in relative obscurity and poverty for his entire life, as the result of a vicious case of envy.
    So where are Edmund Bacon (the former Philadelphia Planning commission executive director) and Antonio Salieri in the history books on architecture and music? My point exactly!
    And examples are a plenty.
    Michelangelo versus his “benefactor” Pope Julius II; Victor Hugo (remember Jean Valjean’s human journey from despair to joy) versus his creditors…

    See, I am wondering again… Enough with monkey politricks, shmolitics…it’s the weekend!

    Which brings me to a favourite of mine, a treat for you, musical theatre aficionados …the following two unknowns (until now) British singers could play together, no question about that, in the long time running musical “Les Miserables”, at Queen’s Theatre in London, anytime soon.
    Just watch! You’ll be blown away.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lp0IWv8QZY&feature=related

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DAYzFRzj3dE&feature=related

    Grooming in Vancouver keeps our primate cousins busy.

  • urb anwriter

    Darcy,

    No lights, no bell, no helmet, on the sidewalk (with the exception of legally mandated bits, illegal) and all this in contravention of Motor Vehicle Act regulations and City by-laws.

    And I get my 6416 km (averaged over 10 years, with the psycho spreadsheets to back it up) on a variety of bikes…

    But… we don’t enforce a vast variety of laws, and many of those that we do choose to enforce are done for what might be described as ‘political’ reasons – ticketing people speeding after a pedestrian or cyclist has been hit – as an example.

    But it’s a sunny afternoon, I’ll go for a ride, content in the knowledge that all our concerns ‘are like tears in rain.’ [Roy Batty]

  • Gassy Jack’s Ghost

    “Important: NECF is the next, and last, if it ever happens, major downtown build-out.”

    Not to disagree in any respect to your other points, Urbanismo, but I just returned from the open house regarding the Historic Area Height Review. If proposal #2 goes through and building height maximums are increased in this area, plus up to 16 “Special Sites” (ie. high rise towers) are approved, then there are 2 major areas of downtown that will be built out. If that happens, I believe there are two places where your statement applies: “we are looking at intellectual corruption, very expensive, lazy propaganda: long past its buy-date. As PR it is profuse in pretty coloured pictures unrelated to the subject, contemptuous of the public.” It would also be contemptuous of our history, diversity, heritage and the last pocket of interesting architecture in the city.

  • Gassy Jack’s Ghost

    Just to follow up, the last open house re. the Historic Height Review is Monday night from 4-7pm at the Interurban gallery on Hastings. Anyone truly interested in the City’s (and DTES) future should check it out.

    In my opinion, it looks innocuous at first blush, but is really a blanket approval for full-on gentrification when you really examine what they are proposing….

  • Darwin, Pugh, Boyle . . . clear, honest, beautiful . . . would that we had some of that . . . thanqxz Glissando

  • jaymac

    Urbanismo – I just saw Swing City. I thought of Archigram, Peter Cook and of provocative thoughts for a future. You Kembleized it. Thanks for putting the site up on the web.

  • Oh yes, jaymac, thanqxz for the memory.

    Archigram was Peter Smithson’s allegorical critique of what was going on at the time. So was my Swingcity: a sort of techno-moralistic overlay very much in the shadow of the former.

    I visited the UK especially to see Jimmy Sterling’s Olivetti high-tech colours at Haselmere. I was into the same stuff with my coloured boxes.

    Then along came Pomo . . .

    Hey, thanqxz GJ’s Ghost for the heads-up: Historic Area Height Review: http://vancouver.ca/commsvcs/planning/hahr/

    When I read they’d crony’ed a “Skyline Review” boondoggle I . . . well . . . They talk “historic” then go destruction, see aforementioned banner, “skyline.” Historic . . . not on this VPD’s watch!

    I used to thinq “Planners” were well intended until I read Robert Goodman’s, 1972, “After the Planners.”

    Go figure!

  • Darcy McGee

    urb anwriter:

    Seriously dude(ette?) wear a helmet. If you need incentive, you can ask my mother how my last ride without a helmet ended. She loves tellin’ that story.

    I’m feeling MUCH better now, and I can’t even get ON a bike without a helmet, even if I’m just popping into K’dale.

    (Of course I ride motorcycle too, and that gets you helmet addicted pretty fast.)