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Vancouver’s car-free days admired from afar

June 25th, 2009 · 4 Comments

This story from the Toronto Star, praising Vancouver’s car-free days and Toronto’s lack of same, popped up on my screen today. It’s ironic given the debate that keeps raging in this city about changing the current proportions of the car-bike-walker sharing system.

It reminds me forcibly of the way it’s so easy to praise from afar, even while the locals are grumbling. I wrote glowingly (well, somewhat) about Montpellier the other day, and the mayor who has brought trams, a car-free central city, a grand new neo-classical development, and bike-sharing to the city. I’m sure, though, that there are many in Montpellier who seem him as a mad leftie (he is with the Socialist party) who is ruining the city with his social engineering grands projects.

Similarly, while former mayor Sam Sullivan became the object of severe criticism on his home turf, reporters from elsewhere typically wrote glowing stories about him and about one of his biggest initiatives, EcoDensity. (In fact, they’re still writing those latter ones.)

So think about all that while you’re fuming in your car stalled in a bottleneck, with nothing to look at but the mayor’s new community garden and/or one of his newly created homeless shelters — while you’re composing nasty letters to the mayor and council about their follies, someone somewhere is writing about what a progressive and forward-thinking city Vancouver is.

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