The Halifax Explosion~Reforms,Racism and Trees

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December 6, 1917 marked a horrifying event in Canada when over 2,000 people lost their lives in the explosion of a munitions ship in Halifax harbour that also made over 25,000 people homeless. Imagine~one fifty of the population was killed or injured. As the Vancouver Sun  reported the explosion resulted in the opportunity to rebuild the city with better constructed houses, paved roads,  and proper water pipes and discharge sewers, an effort that took many years.  Many organizations, the City of Boston  as well as the Rockefeller Foundation teamed together to bring health and sanitary services back to the community. This has been documented in a new book edited by David Sutherland called We Harbour No Evil Design: Rehabilitation Efforts after the Halifax Explosion of 1917.

Halifax still had open sewers and a declining tax base in 1917 but the funding that came to rebuild the city in a sanitary…

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Delta Wants a Direct Bus, No Transfers to Canada Line

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With Mayor of Burnaby Derek Corrigan now the chair of the Mayor’s Council at TransLink everything old is new again, and Tsawwassen residents are apparently rallying for direct bus service from Tsawwassen to downtown Vancouver, getting rid of that pesky Richmond transfer at Bridgeport station  to  the Canada Line.  All of this occurred on Monday at Delta Council where a TransLink planner was making a presentation on the Southwest Area Transport Plan.  Instead of concentrating on how walking, biking and transit was going to develop and fit more seamlessly in this motordom suburban community,  several members of Delta Council decided to rally for the return of a direct bus from Tsawwassen  to Vancouver. Why? Because seniors purportedly want it.

As reported in the Delta Optimist,  the planner noted  that “the decision to direct transit passenger to the rapid transit station was to maximize the investment made in the…

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Can the “Pimp My Zimmer” Campaign translate into more Colourful Streetscapes?

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From Britain and the BBC News comes this interesting piece that may also have impacts on how we design and think about city streetscapes. In Britain, the walkers used by the disabled and seniors are called “Zimmers” after a manufacturing company that used to produce them. One care home worker noticed that these walkers are all designed and made in a slate grey colour, the same colour that people with Alzheimer’s and dementia have trouble differentiating and seeing. Undertaking a project called “Pimp My Zimmer” volunteers came into the care homes to paint and modify the walkers with art  so that each one was individually identifiable as being unique to the owner. The simple act of colouring up walkers and walking aids meant that seniors with dementia felt more confident at identifying their own walking device, and actually used it more, of course creating more sociability and well-being. Trips and…

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Smile! You are on Camera in Richmond.

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Anyone that is walking, biking or driving in the City of Richmond knows that the intersection is not a very safe place. Cars go through on red lights, cars block the intersections, and it is often challenging for a pedestrian to legally cross the street. This is also reflected in the fact that 88 per cent of all accidents in Richmond occur in the intersection.

Under the guise of  enhancing public safety, Richmond city Council’s general purpose committee has recommended that Council approve a 2.2 million dollar upgrade of all existing traffic cameras to live recording, and install video cameras at all of the City’s 175  signalized intersections for 2018.

The report states “Threats of violence and terrorism remain an existential threat not only in international locations… but also domestically in cities in Canada.
“Richmond is an international gateway into Canada with major facilities including the airport and Metro…

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Building Great Streets in this Century

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There is a shift in the conversation about the rights of pedestrians and cyclists to travel comfortably, conveniently and safely on Metro Vancouver streets. This discussion has been highlighted internationally in the media and you can take a look at almost any historic street photo from the early 20th century and see a surprising truth~in the early 1900’s pedestrians and bikes mingled and crossed streets, with vehicles either interspersed or travelling a slow enough speed to allow for such passage.

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While in the early 20th century cities and streets were still being designed as if pedestrians and not cars shopped there, streets then morphed into emphasizing automobile movement and motordom efficiency. Getting places faster was always  from a vehicle driver’s perspective, not that of pedestrian.

The Toronto Star’s Christopher Hume describes it this way: Streets have also become the forgotten element in our efforts to create a livable city. In…

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Massey Tunnel~Congestion 1, Bad Guys Zero

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In the “you just cant’ make this stuff up” department the Richmond News reports on three hapless thieves that tried to get away with a stolen car on the Steveston Highway. The car had been pinched from Coquitlam  and the auto abductors turned onto Highway 99 southbound-at  around 8:00 on Wednesday morning. Without local knowledge they quickly found out that at that time southbound traffic to the tunnel was funneled down to one lane with the counterflow lane providing three lanes through the tunnel going northbound. Not ideal when you are trying to travel quickly with a hot car.

Not to be outdone by the congestion, the driver of the stolen vehicle  “allegedly performed a U-turn and collided with a cement barrier.All three occupants were quickly arrested without incident and taken to hospital. No other vehicles were involved.”

And yes, the three occupants in the vehicle were all from…

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A “Poor Door” and Why is it used in New Vancouver Developments

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Urban reporter Jen St. Denis with Metro News has been following the controversy regarding different  doors in developments for separate entrances to the lower income or subsidized units and the market units. This discussion was precipitated  by the design of the Harwood located at Thurlow and Burnaby Streets in the West End that will have 82 market condo units and 39 social housing units.  On the City of Vancouver’s rezoning website the developers describe  Strand and Intracorp as “partnering together to develop real estate communities that enrich the fabric of the neighbourhoods they are built in. Through their partnership, Strand and Intracorp are committed to delivering a community that complements the West End’s textured character, while establishing itself as a landmark for the neighbourhood.”

However this proposed development has two separate entrances~one for market housing, and one for social housing. This has been done before in other developments in…

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