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Be Part of Washington State’s Road Usage Pilot Project

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Last week’s panel discussion on mobility pricing, held at Simon Fraser University, was an excellent exploration of how London and Stockholm have utilized road pricing and congestion charges.

For those who call the Pacific Northwest home, there’s another excellent opportunity underway now to learn, from a citizen’s perspective, how a road pricing pilot project works.

If you own a car and live in Metro Vancouver, the Washington State Transportation Commission has an open invitation for you to participate in the Washington Road Usage Charge Pilot Project.

This innovative pilot will evaluate how such road charges will be allocated based upon the experiences of 2,000 motorists, and you don’t need to be driving into the United States to participate. Don Buchanan, Transportation Planner for the City of Surrey, has been involved in the program’s development and let Price Tags know that spaces are still available.

In fact, we’re part of…

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Protect the Most Vulnerable Street Users~ Bollards or Reducing Speed?

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Last week, Toronto experienced a horrifying event when a driver took a large vehicle up on the sidewalk in North York and deliberately killed ten people, wounding many others. It is an unspeakable tragedy and loss of life.

Out of that horror has come a renewed call for defending urban space, making it safer for pedestrians, hardening these potential “targets” to stop this from happening ever again. Price Tags has previously written about the 1,500 safety bollards being installed in New York City at a cost of 50 million dollars to protect pedestrians.

As the Globe and Mail’s Alex Bozikovic discusses  it may be impossible to barricade and place concrete planters on every major street and pedestrian gathering place, but “we can do something to honour the other innocents who die in Toronto at a rate of one a week: change our roads.” 

Mr. Bozikovic states: “We…

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One Vancouver Street’s “Cherry Blossom Madness”

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There’s a quiet neighbourhood street on the east side of Vancouver that explodes with two things every spring~the most extraordinary canopy of cherry blossoms, and literally hundreds of people who flock to this street to photograph the blooms-and themselves.

As CTV News reported in 2017, some whacky behaviour has also begun to bloom. One neighbour noted that people tried to climb the trees and shake branches to make the petals drop; some block traffic to get the perfect selfie. City of Vancouver bylaw officers do their part by ticketing illegally parked vehicles and trying to “keep things calm”.

Price Tags is not naming the street, but we are naming the instagram account where you can see some of the cherry tree tourist antics. As Kacy Wu of Richmond News reports,  Lele Chan’s Instagram account “Cherry Blossom Madness” will leave you doubled up with laughter.

You can see why some residents…

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The Tale of Starchitects and “Supertalls” in New York City

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As Curbed.com describes it there is a push for “supertalls” in New York City, those buildings that exceed the 984 foot height limit. As they note “These soaring towers aren’t always popular—many have actively fought against the buildings sprouting along 57th Street and Central Park South, worried that they’ll cause shadowing over the storied park—but it’s hard to argue against their status as marvels of engineering.”

And in the “if it is tall it has to be great” category,  “many of the city’s most high-profile developments, from One World Trade Center to Central Park Tower, all exceed the 984-foot limit that takes a building from merely tall to supertall. (Alas, architects here have yet to design a building that would rocket into the megatall—above 1,968 feet—category.)” Curbed.com has even developed a list of where those supertall buildings are located.

Starchitect Bjarke Ingels is designing “the  Spiral” near the…

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The Health & Planning Innovators~ Dr. John Blatherwick & Dr. Perry Kendall

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In the 1980’s health and planning were never discussed in the same sentence, seemingly separate silos with no point of intersection. It was “socially infectious early adopters” and leaders such as Dr. John Blatherwick  the former Medical Health Officer of Vancouver , and the now retiring  Chief Medical Health Officer of British Columbia, Dr. Perry Kendall that pushed those boundaries illustrating that health matters in planning and in just about everything else.

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Dr. Blatherwick was one of the early interveners in the AIDS crisis in the 1980’s, and through the media let everyone know exactly how AIDS was spread, and how it could be stopped. He also wrote a groundbreaking  City of Vancouver Council report thirty years ago that described the case of  84-year-old Olaf Solheim, a retired logger  who died after being evicted from his Patricia Hotel room where he had lived for over 40 years. The…

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Meet You for Barbeque in Chinatown~Legacy Business Success Story

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It is in the 100 block of East Pender Street right beside the New Town Bakery and it truly is one of the best places for a host of Cantonese dishes including my favourite, the curried beef.  Chinatown Barbeque at 130 East Pender Street will remind you of the places you frequented a student in Chinatown~clean, packed, and bustling with dishes coming out of the kitchen. Carol Lee is the owner, and she also  chairs the Vancouver Chinatown Foundation and is on the  Vancouver Chinatown Revitalization Committee. You may recognize some of the chefs and servers from the Daisy Garden in Chinatown works hard to support local residents and employees. The servers and chefs at Chinese BBQ used to work at Daisy Garden restaurant at 142 East Pender, a popular place that was destroyed in a fire two years ago.

As Wanyee Li of Metro News observes “Diners at…

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