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Vision’s War on the Car Escalates

July 27th, 2011 · 35 Comments

I keep wondering how long it will take before the Vancouver media connect the dots.

One casualty of the do-more-with-less denigration of news coverage has been the elimination by many Vancouver news outlets of a dedicated City Hall bureau, so issues get reported in isolation: bicycle lanes, parking meters, the Dunsmuir/Georgia viaducts.

City Hall beat reporters (where I incidentally began my journalistic career in this city) would see the overall picture, the unspoken underlying long-term plan and plotting by politicians and their subservient bureaucrats, and connect the dots.

Almost no one is doing that these days in Vancouver.  So I will.

Make no mistake about it: Vancouver City Hall is at war with motorists … has been for some time …and is slowly, purposely making driving into the downtown peninsula a miserable,  long drawn out and extremely costly venture.

And while that might seem wonderful to Vision’s political constituency …  carless residents,  cyclists,   and those who just hate “the car”, it does not serve the interests of  downtown storefront businesses, restaurants  or retailers or the thousands of  companies that occupy those high-tax-paying office towers that fund so much of Vancouver’s operating costs.

But once again, under Vision, ideology trumps rationality and fairness.

And how ironic.

The same ”leaders” who ignore or reject all reason and even statistical facts  to protect the bike-lane blockades on Hornbyand Dunsmuir Streets used by only a few hundred cyclists a day (or even fewer during Fall and Winter months)  are now looking at tearing down the Dunsmuir and Georgia viaducts, used by a whopping 40,000 vehicles, carrying more than 50,000 people a day.

How hypocritical! Cater incessantly to the interests of a few hundred  they favour, while pursuing a new major daily hardship on 50,000 others they’ve exploited more and more for years now.

Of course, there will be “consultation” … no doubt “Vision style” , with the results to come AFTER the next civic election and  bulldozers ready to go within hours of the “consultation”  ending and council voting to tear the viaducts down.

And just think of the possibilities: it’s not an area where heavy industry could or would be built, especially without dedicated commercial or heavy truck capable roadways; it’s not likely to have great market value for light industry, with a huge tract of land east of Main and north of the Via Rail station already sitting empty/unused for decades.

No, the geniuses at City Hall  … probably the only elected and appointed officials who could lose up to $300 million on building housing on waterfront property abutting downtown in the hottest real estate market in North America … will no doubt go for another massive heavily publicly regulated and designed housing devel0pment ..with, of course, hundreds of social housing units. Here we go again!!! Ka-ching! Ka-ching!

Just think of that.

Who in their right mind would want to build …or buy…housing as close as those viaducts are to the NOISE  and TRAFFIC  of the  62,000-seat BC Place football and concert stadium AND the  20,000-seat Rogers arena.  Existing neighbours SEVERAL blocks away already can’t escape the terrible  impact … and have complained to City Hall,  and yet, the ideolgues seem determined to add more… much closer to both venues. Brilliant!

I can already  hear the babies crying, the kids wailing and the parents protesting the daily or weekly disruptions to their “quality of life”.  And city officials will then come up with new brilliant proposals … like moving the arena/stadium out ..or how about tearing down the far-too-loud retractable roof and replacing it with a solid soundproof  ceiling.  There goes another $600 million (probably $800 million by then).

And where are the 40,000 vehicles that use the viaducts daily to go?  Onto Pacific and Expo Boulevards?  (Ready for that EXTRA traffic  every day in both directions, folks?) .

Or maybe along the newly designated 18-mile-an-hour speed limited Hastings Street?  Talk about rush-hour chaos. Another typical Vision response, by the way: jaywalking a problem? Slow down the traffic to 18 mph.  What’s next?  The same for Pender, Robson, Davie, Denman, Commercial?  Victimize the motorists …not control or discipline the jaywalkers.

Or how about directing the 40,000 cars along the roads to be built through the newly-developed residential area that the viaducts now traverse , complete with traffic lights, pedestrian crossings etc .  Talk about all the extra air pollution and carbon emissions wafting up to the new units!  And judging by the sloping terrain, with so many automobiles stopping at intersections, puffing away, every morning and evening Vancouver could even create its own mini Fraser Valley!

Of course, I don’t believe any of that matters to Vision MORE than just making it miserable for the motorist ..and eventually getting rid of the car from the downtown.

Sound over the top?

Well, just this past week …apparently  late, late at night…Vision council endorsed a new “Green City Action Plan” … and here are two of the stated goals for the city over  just  the next 8 years:

“Make the majority of trips (over 50%) on foot, bicycle, and public transit. Reduce distance driven per resident by 20% from 2007 levels.

Advance parking policies that encourage a reduction in vehicle ownership and driving, support sustainable transportation choices, and increase housing affordability near transit.

Continue to reduce off street parking requirements, and implement maximum allowances.  ”

And that’s only part of Vision’s war plan against motorists.

In my last blog, I wrote how a restaurateur had cried the blues to me about how parking meters,  outside her small family-run eatery, had increased in both prices and extended in hourly enforcement right up to 10 p.m. …. really hurting her business.

I realize parking meters are a necessary daytime evil to regulate and make available parking spaces for customers of downtown stores and businesses.  At first, though, the pay period ended at 6 a.m. and was not applied on Sundays. Then that changed to seven days a week and they raised the rates,  looking more like a tax grab more than a space use regulating mechanism.

Then they extended the operating hours  up to 8 p.m. But even that wasn’t enough for the City…. so they extended the charge period to 10 p.m.   Clearly, motorists are not welcome in Vancouver, day or night.  And to hell with the businesses that lose out because of City Hall’s greed.

There is no doubt that extending parking meter enforcement from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. and charging up to $6 an hour has hurt downtown restaurants, especially in the evenings (on top of the HST).  No wonder some long-time downtown dining fixtures (Rex, Aqua Riva, The Keg and others)  have closed down.

And it’s not just affecting the downtown.

Yesterday, I drove (shocking!!!) to another very small business I have frequented for years on  Broadway, East of Main …and there they were …. brand new parking meters, where there had been none for a hundred years!   And they’re the new type too….that take credit cards … a sure sign of even more expensive parking rates to come.

It has become obvious Vision sees motorists’ pockets as bottomless pits:  captive victims who have no real choice but to pay and pay and pay.

What’s next … parking meters on all residential streets?  Or back lanes?  If not, I’ll bet they’ll also be hiking those “Residential Parking Permits”  into the stratosphere after the next civic election … if Vision wins.

And that’s just part of the current Vancouver City Council’s war on the car …. being carried on by those in the bunker at Twelfth and Cambie, despite any civilian costs.

Take the Berlin-walled bike lanes.

I don’t think many would object to the idea of increased bicycle use in Vancouver: a good idea from the point of view of reducing vehicular traffic, pollution and even increased health benefits. But unlike other cities, where bicycling is a highly successful alternative, Vision couldn’t be satisfied with painted bike lanes on roadways; opting instead for a $3 million bullying program of concrete barriers, curbing and  interfering with traffic flow, removing parking, taking away turn lanes and even turns themselves, and virtually destroying direct access to many, many businesses.

Now a study has proved the Hornby/Dunsmuir bike lanes have resulted in $2.4 million in sales … some businesses reporting decreases up to 30% … a “moderate” impact, say City Hall officials.  Bet if they owned a business and saw sales drop 30%, they wouldn’t regard itas “moderate”.  Not to mention businesses that have closed down completely …and left the area.

In my opinion, it is a perfect example of Vision’s vision: to hell with the motorists and businesses and Vancouver’s economic health , as it caters blindly to its far-left ideology.

Too bad there aren’t enough regular City Hall “beat” reporters to stay on top of this.

Harv Oberfeld

Tags: British Columbia · Media

35 responses so far ↓

  • 1 morry // Jul 27, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    Parking Meters until all hours of the night and on Sunday, coupled with allowing wheat to be grown with a subsidy!!! is the last straw.

    VISION: You are toast come next election. You don’t have a hope in hell of surviving.

  • 2 spartikus // Jul 27, 2011 at 8:26 pm

    Don’t tell Harvey about the worst thing Vision Vancouver has done: They banned cars in Times Square! ;^)

    (Response: You’re wrong I was in Times Square last Fall…they removed through traffic from PART of the Square area…but traffic still flows through the Square … thousands upon thousands a day …. like the viaducts! h.o)

  • 3 DonGar // Jul 27, 2011 at 10:19 pm

    Harvey,

    Great report and you are right no one from MSM is watching.

    Vision wants ALL cars out of Vancouver and will do anything I repeat anything to accomplish that feat. If re-elected you can be sure all parking rates will sky rocket and they will be introducing a fee of around $100 to $150 for the right to have a car in the City. While Meggs has said no more capital for new bike lanes in the upcoming budget they can and will quickly redirect money from real infrastructure projects if elected.

    Their green agenda at any cost is just plain nuts. Just wait till they start digging up all the City parks to plant gardens as part of their thought changing experiments on farming or increasing taxes on every single family home until people have to sell and they can then rezone for more and more high-rises all in the name of affordability. They are giving away millions to developers in both short term and long term dollars to add a few units under their STIR program. Another one of their ill-conceived and thought out plans as there are thousand of rental units in the city that they don’t count as they are condo rented out by owners. I know a lot of building running 20 – 30% rental.

    You are off by a couple hundred million on the Olympic village and rather than trying to get the taxpayers money out of that sink hole they are letting developers run wild with more and more product all around the village.

    Harvey if you want a real scare look at the City financials; we are going broke under these guys and the only way out will be more and more taxes and fees. Maybe that’s what they mean by green all the money they intend to soak out of us for their own ideological goals.

    And if all this is not bad enough look at how they are destroying the city neighbourhood by neighbourhood over the objections of every single neighbourhood. Guess they need lots of dollars from the developers to run their next campaign. Good thing they aren’t smart enough to know it’s the people they are pissing off the most who will be voting come November. http://www.cityhallwatch.ca

    (Response: Scary stuff. I’m glad I’m retired (and likely so are they!) because I’d be all over this stuff. City govenment is closest to the people than provincial or federal in making decisions that can immediately affect our daily lives. As I’ve said before, I actually voted Vision last time around, and I don’t mind the positive encouragement of greater bicycle use and better public transportation etc …but not at the dictatorial neglect of others’ rights, inflicting pain and even closure on businesses …and, when you think of it, making downtown shopping, dining (sorry, but a family of four are NOT going to take the bus to and from the core very often just to shop/eat out) or even visiting Stanley Park by car a luxury to be enjoyed by only the rich or those who live in Coal Harbour and the West End who can walk there. They’re turning the peninsula into a private enclave of the privileged. h.o)

  • 4 DonGar // Jul 27, 2011 at 11:39 pm

    Harvey,

    Not sure about the “private enclave for the privileged” Their city will be a couple million strong with most being at or below the poverty line there but to serve the few. Gregor really does like the Chinese model.

    How about coming out of retirement for a couple months? I’m sure you would have a lot of fun and help make a great election.

    (Response: Actually, the enclave for the privileged is already happening: very few middle class working families pay $6 an hour to come downtown to just browse, shop around anymore from areas not served by the skytrain and where taking the bus just isn’t a fun experience. And businesses there are indeed paying the price. Many forget how driving/shopping/dining downtown used to a fun thing to do on a Saturday oir Sunday. Not anymore when you get only 20 minutes on the meter for $2…and they go right to 10 p.m. seven days a week. As for your kind words about going back to work…thabnks, but my blood pressure goes high enough just reading/seeing what they’re doing. h.o)

  • 5 Gary // Jul 28, 2011 at 1:15 am

    Welcome to Vancouver. Soon to be BCs newest ghost town. I’m tempted to move there just so I can leave.

    (Response: Sounds like a joke ..BUT last Sunday took a visitor down to see Canada Place and the cruise ships..and was amazed at all the empty parking spaces … and the terrible sight of the terrific Aqua Riva waterfront restaurant closed down. Can’t help but think the $2 for 20 minute parking meter rates are contributing to that. Bike and transit riders just arent enough to support a vibrant dowtown of any major city. h.o)

  • 6 Barry // Jul 28, 2011 at 1:38 am

    Harvey

    I’m part of a group that meets at the planetarium. About a year ago, the city installed parking meters there. Since then we’ve noticed a drop off in attendance that started when they started charging for parking that used to be free. This isn’t the only reason, but we are now looking for a new place to meet, likely outside of Vancouver. Thank you GregortheGreen…

    (Response: They really seem to believe car drivers are all millionaires. But the truth is the rich just pay the extra because can afford to and earn above average wages. Who VISION are really hurting are ordinary middle income families, lower income families, seniors and even mobility challenged people who are really feeling the economic squeeze but need cars to get around. They just don’t go the planetarium, downtown, or even Stanley Park anymore … how ironic, literally being priced out of the market by their socialis “friends.” h.o)

  • 7 truewest // Jul 28, 2011 at 1:38 am

    Harv,
    There are two separated bike lanes that run through downtown Vancouver. These allow those would-be cyclists who don’t care to do battle with cars , or can’t maintain a brisk enough pace through downtown, to use bikes to commute. Two lanes. To suggest this amounts to “war on cars” is both idiotic and hysterical.
    The car remains the most heavily subsidized form of transportation, as well as the most damaging to infrastructure and environment. Which is not to say that cars aren’t useful, but any public policy that considers the interest of motorists, first and foremost, doesn’t serve the interests of citizens or businesses.

    (Response: You’re right…two separated bike lanes do not constitute a war on cars. But I guess you didn’t read the rest of the blog: on top of the bike lanes, Vision council has added hundreds of parking meters throughout the city; reduced meter parking in the downtown; extended meter hours right to 10 p.m. (remember when they ended at 6 p.m. to encourage restaurant businesses?) ; raised parking rates to stratospheric levels; reduced the speed limit on a MAJOR four and six-lane downtown thoroughfare to 18 mph; started the process to tear down viaducts used by 50,000 motoring people a day, while fighting to keep bike lanes used by only a few hundred at best; and adopted a report calling for policies to reduce vehicle trips across the city within only 8 years to half. Sure looks like a war on the car …and truck traffic too … to me! h.o)

  • 8 D. M. Johnston // Jul 28, 2011 at 3:37 am

    If you really want to remove cars from the city, you must provide a public transit service that will attract the car driver from his or her car.

    Vancouver hasn’t, as the public transit available in Vancouver is extremely poor.

    Metros such as SkyTrain & subways are notoriously poor in attracting motorists. (Remember the 200,000 car journeys a day that the Canada Line was supposed to take of the road touted by Gordon Campbell and several Vancouver politicos; well have you noticed that that that has been conveniently forgotten)

    Buses are equally poor in attracting motorists as our bus system mainly caters to the poor the elderly and students.

    There is one transit mode that has a proven record in providing a service that attracts car drivers but you will not see it in Vancouver for fear it will be built on the Arbutus corridor.

    What we have is quack planning by ‘higher purpose persons’, who have been elected to city council who have never read a book on the subject and whose knowledge is confined to 5 second sound bites.

    The result of all this is that Vancouver is largely becoming a no-go area; why get hassled in Vancouver when one can shop in Surrey Langley or heavens forbid, BELLINGHAM.

    I wager that for every anti-car tax imposed on consumers trying to shop in Vancouver and every increase in gas taxes, cause merchants South of the boarder to jump for joy.

    (Response: I didn’t think the bike lanes or higher parking fees would really stop me from shopping downtown or on Robson, Denman and Davuie …but it has. Just navigating Hornby, with its turn restrictions, one traffic lane in some places, block-long concrete barriers, reduced parking space numbers and even a weird curve that often seems to confuse drivers and then horrendous meter rates has pushed me away … probably making Vision happy…but I know I’m not alone and I suspect the barber I used to use there and the other stores I frequented are feeling the impact. And Vision doesn’t really seem to give a damn. h.o)

  • 9 mariner // Jul 28, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    In the words of Tom Hanks :-)

    “stupid is as stupid does” – seems to fit well with the Vancouver City Council eh !

    Things that make you scratch your head and wonder !!!!

    Thanks

  • 10 r // Jul 28, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    dont forget all the new cameras at 35 oak 57 oak.hastings etc.Open bid contract

    (Response: And gue4ss what! Council just voted to add more in the city . The war continues… and the spoils are big bucks. h.o)

  • 11 Paul T. // Jul 28, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    Speaking of blood pressure. My apartment looks right down onto the intersection of Hornby and Nelson. You want your blood pressure to boil? Join me for what I call my bike lane Dinner Theatre. Every night at dinner we get to watch as drivers get confused by the traffic lights. Cyclists ignore their traffic lights. Pedestrians cross with little regard for their personal safety. Once in a while (weekly) we are treated with the sight of a cyclist getting thwacked by a car. Thankfully, I’ve never seen an ambulance arrive, so there appears to not be any serious injuries. However on the same token, aside from the crossing guards that Vision hired for the first few weeks when the lane was opened, there has been ZERO enforcement by the VPD at that intersection. NONE.

    The segregated bike lanes are a failed trial. The city would have been better to just move the existing Hornby bike lane to the other side of the parked cars and made cyclists ride conta-direction.

    It was a suggestion. Sydney, Australia has been employing this style of bike lane with AMAZING success. It’s cheap and VERY effective. Vision wouldn’t listen.

    Thanks for your article Harvey. You really should come out of retirement.

    (Response: You shouild sell tickets to the show! One problem though, no one would be able to find reasonable-cost parking to attend. h.o)

  • 12 Jason Lamarche // Jul 28, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    Thanks for bringing this issue to the public’s attention Harvey. As a City Council candidate for the NPA I’m disappointed to see Vision fueling this polarized debate even further with the potential removal of the viaducts.

    I’ve never owned a car during my 15 years as a resident of the West End and I know that for my situation (single, no kids) getting by on foot, bike, and public transit is possible. I can appreciate however that different people at different life stages, with accessibility and health issues, and with different family sizes require different transportation needs.

    That being said, I really want Vancouverites to know that I promote “Transportation Diversity” where commuters of all types are dealt with fairly. I’m also glad that you brought up the economic impacts of Vision’s myopic transportation policies. There are a lot of small businesses in our city who are depending on Mayor and Council to make sensible decisions that will benefits their contributions to our local economy.

    If any of your readers would like to discuss this issue further please don’t hesitate to send me a message anytime!

    http://www.npavancouver.ca/jason-lamarche

    (Response: I think one of the prblems is the current council sees Vancouver from only a West End, Downtown Eastside, Yaletown point of view: everyone is just a short bike or transit ride from downtwon or can even walk …it’s good for them! But what about someone, say, who works/shops downtown and owns a home or rents a suite on East First near Rupert, West 37th near Blenheim or East 62nd at Knight? Until we have a first class subway system serving all those areas DIRECTLY, peopel need to use their cars to get downtown in a timely fashion; they are not going to walk a half mile to catch a slow, standing room only (IF it even stops!) bus back and forth, laden with bags. Not unless Vision’s vision is to turn this city into a third rate commercial outpost …with all the dynamic growth in Surrey … or Seattle. h.o)

  • 13 Jeff L // Jul 28, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    As a downtown resident, driver, transit user, cyclist, and pedestrian, I have found the Hornby and Dunsmuir lanes to be great for cycling and walking. Hornby is now my preferred route into the downtown core when cycling or walking. I have made a point of visiting businesses along the route and asked them for their opinion of the lanes. I have had positive and negative responses. The ones that support the lanes have received my custom. Those that don’t, well, they can wait for some of those parked cars to buy something, I just leave.

    I didn’t see the big reason for separated lanes before they were built, I cycled throughout downtown. But having ridden on them now, there is no way I would want to go back.

    Not a fan of Vision, but looking forward to more successful lanes such as these.

  • 14 Paul T. // Jul 28, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    I offered a free ticket to Geoff Meggs, Andrea Reimer and Gregor himself. Even promised to make dinner with locally grown wheat and a cow I personally raised on my patio. No response.

    (Response: Not cows! Chickens! It’s backyard chickens they like. And they are probably worried your business could catch on, be a success…and increase traffic flow! h.o)

  • 15 Michael // Jul 28, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    Sorry, this entire article is a gut reaction anecdotal op-ed piece by a special interest group that hates sound public health, a clean environment, and having fun. For real news about cycling in Vancouver, check this out: http://vancouver.ca/engsvcs/transport/cycling/stats.htm. Face it people, cars are a dying breed downtown and thankfully so!

  • 16 Pratje // Jul 28, 2011 at 8:26 pm

    It is rather disingenuous to put the measures to reduce automobile access to downtown (or more accurately, to make it the less convenient, costly alternative to transit, walking and cycling) on Vision Vancouver, seeing as it is port of a Master Transportation plan process that began in 1997, under NPA Mayor Phillip Owen, and was carried forward with the full approval of Cope/Larry Campbell and NPA/Sam Sullivan.

    During this time, automobile use in the downtown has gone down, and the cost of parking has gone up. But this is hardly an assault on the residents or businesses downtown, or if it is, it seems a pretty gentle assault. During this time, there has been a remarkable increase in residents, jobs, and small businesses in the Downtown core, commercial vacancies are down, business vacancies are down. Where is the evidence that this is hurting the City in any way? The closing of the Keg? Perhaps it was the Keg’s 1974-menu-with-2011-prices that kept if from competing with all the newer restaurants…

    (Response: Wow! Where to begin? First, let me say I find it a total cop-out when poltiicans, or their friends, say they had to proceed and even substantially expand any program …even though it has proven costly, has a negative impact, and is destroying growth …because it had been started by someone else. Geez! Secondly the success or failure of any business is usually the result of several factors: but taking away nearby parking, expanding the hours of existing meters and multiplying the price substantially sure can’t help attract business! Third the evidence it is hurting is contained in a recent report, estimating …from just a limitied number of responses ..that sales losses DUE TO BIKE LANES are around $2.4 milloin so far. Whatever happened to the days when city officials were proud of GROWTH and not satisified with “moderate” losses of only a couple of a mllion dollars so far…and mounting? h.o)

  • 17 Pratje // Jul 29, 2011 at 2:02 am

    That is a good start, we went from the “War on Cars” being a Vision Vancouver initiative to admitting it is just a continuation of a demonstrably effective transportation plan for the City established decades ago. Of course, it has not proven to “destroy growth” or have a “negative impact”, or even to be “costly” in the light of the City’s transportation budget. During the time this plan was implemented, there has been increased jobs in the city, increased land values, increased development, and a distinct paucity of vacant commercial space. The fact there are 80% fewer commercial vacancies on Hornby than before the bike lanes only shown the trend is not reversing.

    There are bigger issues about the $2.4 million figure than just the fact it is an estimate: it was a number pulled out of the tail end of a few of the food service businesses on Hornby, businesses that could not, when asked, provide any proof that they even had losses, or that their alleged losses were not a result of other factors (post-Olympic hangover, HST, tougher drunk driving laws).

    Come back with actual data supporting the $2.4 Million number, and maybe we can talk.

    (Response: My view is the War on Cars IS a Vision creation: previous councils supported initiatives to encourage public transit, cycling and more pedestrian-friendly initiatives…BUT it has been Vision that built those Berlin walls on Homer and Dunsmuir, when painted lanes that still allow parking works well in other cities, extended to parking meter hours, installed HUNDREDS more meters and raised the rates to exhorbitant middle and lower income family-discouraging levels … including now even in Stanley Park. As for the loss stats, that’s what the latest study showed …and not even Vision councillors have pooh-poohed their veracity. h.o)

  • 18 Chris K // Jul 29, 2011 at 2:26 am

    Appreciate your responses Mr Oberfeld. I apologize for posting my comments in the wrong thread. It was unintentional. My final comment:

    I think the victim stance is a bit much. People using bicycles (many of whom also drive, walk, and take the bus when it is practical) have seen a total of 3 measly km of separated lanes added to the cycling network during the current Council’s tenure. All of them have delivered increases in cycling and globally, we are being touted as a city that ‘gets it’ when it comes to transportation alternatives. When the entire Hornby St project costs basically the same as a single left turn bay, then it’s hard for me to buy the suggestion there is undue consideration being given to cyclists.

  • 19 Karl L // Jul 29, 2011 at 4:14 am

    Great article Harvey! How many more months of “Tunnel Vision Vancouver” ? One word I heard to describe Mayor Moonbeam and Tunnel Vision, describes him/them best. “Cavalier”. The way they pushed the Hornby bike lanes on us – “Vision Style”shows an arrogance and indifference towards business owners who pay extremely high rents. The bike lanes were the nail in coffin for many small businesses.

    (Response: It’s not just the type of bike lanes they’ve imposed: it’s also the way they are turning into motoring anywhere in the downtown core or Stanley Park a luxury to be enjoyed by only the rich. Working families just can’t afford it anymore …and I think Vision is dreaming in technicolour if they think families with kids, all their diapers, toys, strollers, snacks etc are going to pile onto buses from well outside the downtown peninsula to take their kids to Stanley Park, for example, or downtown for shopping, dinner and a stroll. h.o)

  • 20 Donald R. // Jul 29, 2011 at 5:17 am

    I just returned from a vacation traveling in Washington and Oregon. Saw many cyclists, especially in Portland, where cars, street cars, buses, cyclists and pedestrians all seem to work reasonably well together. I saw no Berlin wall bike lanes, but did see many painted lanes – it allows everyone significantly more freedom to negotiate the highways and byways.

    I found it very interesting that highway 101 in Oregon, where much of the road is single lane, and not very wide in sections – remains a favourite with cyclists. Parks along the route cater to overnight cyclists, and again, it was apparent that cyclists and vehicular traffic co-existed nicely.

    I drive a bus and do charter work for local schools – and believe me, the trips I now take into Vancouver are mind numbing experiences.

    Just the myriad of signage supporting the new bike lanes is confusing to the occasional downtown driver. Navigating a full sized bus has become far more difficult, with narrow lanes, curb extensions (I can scuff the right rear tires with the best of them on tight right turns where there is not adequate swing room), and loading zone restrictions make no sense at all.

    There is a hotel on Dunsmuir that has a “loading zone” designated right in a lane of traffic with a 3 minute maximum sign – the loading zone used to be part of the lane of parked cars which was lost when the wall went up and a significant part of the street was lost. Needless to say, this one bottleneck can stall traffic and create a serious hazard to those trying to skirt an unloading vehicle.

    Personally, I have stopped all visits to downtown Vancouver. I do visit suburban shops and malls, and of course, make regular trips south of the line, where shopping is easy, the dollar goes further, and gasoline is not taxed to the max.

    I used to be a stellar Canadian, spending the majority of my vacation time away from work traveling to Canadian destinations. No more!

    The HST, Bike Lanes, Carbon Taxes, Translink Taxes and the overall high cost of living in what was once the greatest place on earth has pushed me over the top and I now take off over the border at every chance I get.

    It cost me $6.00 to park my motorhome on a lot in downtown Portland for a whole day! It was actually $3.00 but I used two spots, so the fee was doubled.

    Find a place to park in Vancouver for $3.00…..

    (Response: I couldn’t have said it better. Good to hear from a pro. I can’t imagine trying to manoeuvre a bus along Hornby, it’s Berlin walls and weird smaking curves and trying to watch for cars, pedestrians while reading all those traffic signs, restricted and prohibited turns and figuring out all those varied traffic lights … all while on the move. Scary!!! Would give me bad dreams! And they think it doesn’t have a NEGATIVE impact on people coming downtwon to shop and dine. Ha!! Simple painted bike lanes work very well in other much larger cities, where both bikes AND MOTORISTS are shown respect. I think they do create a share-the-road atmosphere and wouldn’t mind seeing more of those along the wider streets to encourage cycling. h.o)

  • 21 mariner // Jul 29, 2011 at 7:12 am

    This cycling bit has gotten out of hand and seems to be primarily a Vancouver problem.

    All over the world – especially in Europe and the UK, cyclists and motorists co-exist without the perculiar problems of Vancouver. This illustrates just how “out of touch” Vancouver city council is on the subject. It would also help if the VPD were to issue tickets for BOTH motorists and cyclists when they are seen to break the law.

    Of course, Europe and the UK have superior local transit systems – unlike Vancouver. Building more highways doesn’t solve traffic problems. Extending and upgrading the rail system from Chilliwack into Vancouver would be a big help. Improving bus services within the city of Vancouver would also help. There are plenty of other examples of how to properly orginize local transit systems – the city needs only to look other major cities around the world.

    Vancouver may call itself a world class city – but it sure doesn’t act like one and has a heck of a lot to learn.

    (Response: I agree. Cycling would be welcomed by most motorists, because it could get many vehicles off the road, speeding up traffic, leading to more parking spaces and less fumes etc etc. But Vision have gone about it all wrong ..more like Red Guards than community leaders… singling out mototrists for punishment and exploitation. And I’m sure they plan more to come. h.o)

  • 22 Hawgwash // Jul 29, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    1-The new 18 MPH speeed limit on Hastings will see the locals staggering around more in the traffic because the limit was lowered “just for them” to cross the street; anywhere, anytime.
    2-That same speed limit change will force traffic onto parallel residential streets putting tax paying, working people’s children at greater risk.

    3-Hornby bike lanes are an extreme risk to pedestrians at Davie and Nelson.
    4-Next is Broadway at Main, at Cambie and then Yaletown, and finally any city sidewalk.

    5-So many parking meters are now pay by credit card and force you to buy a minimum of 1 hour.
    6-Cars now take chances by parking in no parking and restricted (pick up, bus, loading etc.) zones.

    7-Last week, walking along Hamilton and Mainland Streets in Yaletown, I saw 4 businesses that recently closed up. This week, I saw 2 more.
    8-Soon, I will be forced to give up my car because of escalating taxes and fees.

    9-Having been a BC taxpayer and voter since the 60s, I can without a doubt say that no politician has disappointed me more than Mr. Robertson.
    10-I am even more diappointed in myself for falling for his “Cambie Street Merchants” mantra scam that carried him into office.

    (Response. It is mazing how any City Council (and their “believers” can be so uncaring about others. We all know their consultation process is a farce; they look at critics as enemies or hacks; and they … like all good Red Guards …are oblivious to the suffering their intransigent adherence to ideology causes. And not even losing up to $300 million on a waterfront housing fiasco has stopped them from looking at another across the creek.. We’ll probably end up calling the two develeopments the Bancruptcy Bookends. h.o)

  • 23 Thomas // Jul 29, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    There should be a war against motorized vehicles, they’re killing us! And I’m not even talking about the greenhouse gas emissions.
    I say free the city of as much of the scourge as we can. In a rational society convenience takes a “backseat” to public safety. I’ve heard walking makes you healthier too.
    This is from stats Canada (2006)a
    “The annual statistics show that in 2006, there were 2,604 fatal collisions leading to 2,889 deaths. Motor vehicle occupants accounted for 74.9 per cent of all road user fatalities, with 1,546 drivers and 617 passengers killed. In addition, 374 pedestrians, 218 motorcyclists and 73 bicyclists were killed on the roads. ”

    (Sure let’s get rid of motorized vehicles. Back to oxcarts pulling in all the produce, hauling new furniture and let’s all ride to work on horseback. What! You say, use bicycles? Well, imagine the cost of importing all those bikes or the steel and rubber and gears and seats and spokes and tires to make them by horsedrawn cart instead of big motorized TRUCKS. I figure a basic bike would cost about $5,000 and have to be ordered six months in advance. You a policy strategist for Vision? h..o)

  • 24 Henri // Jul 30, 2011 at 1:40 am

    I keep wondering how long it will take before the Vancouver media connect the dots. h.o.
    —————————-
    Ill tell how you how long Harv,after the second coming occurs, maybe .

    (Response: You may be optimistic! h.o)

  • 25 digitalmonk // Jul 30, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    The parking meters have also gone up along Main Street, south of Broadway, and in parts of the side streets in Mount Pleasant. While I am an avid cyclist and don’t own a car, I completely sympathize with motorists who are trying to reasonably get around the city and I also sympathize with local businesses. These actions have gone too far. I suspect a possible reason to tear down the viaducts would be to build condo towers in their place.

    (Response: Ahhh! A voice of reason from a non-motorist! You seem to be a rare breed… a cyclist who looks at things from a rational point of view, not just selfish sef-interest. Welcome! It IS possible to have a city where cyclists and motorists co-exist and even expand cycling routes etc without hurting businesses and jobs and treating drivers like their some sort of underclass, to be overtaxed, exploited, mistreated and even abused. h.o)

  • 26 heather // Jul 31, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    Am just wondering is Vision’s plan to take us back to a time of horse drawn carts?

    What is their brilliant solution for those of us whose job and livelihood requires constantly hauling and transporting goods in the “dreaded” car? I try and give city planners the benefit of the doubt when construction and urbanization is going on as it must be incredibly challenging. BUT, how can they create plans that benefits a portion and not the whole? It seems reckless. Also, somewhat ironic that individuals driving cars downtown, business loosing money due to city planning and people being gouged by street parking are the ones paying for Vision to carry on being unrelenting car tyrants.

    How does removing efficient traffic flow (dunsmire and the viaducts) through downtown Vancouver make it a greener city? Because to me…. the more time I spend sitting idling in congestion or the additional blocks that I must travel so that I can eventually turn right (it can be an additional 10 blocks) cause more car emissions, green house gases and all things bad for the environment? I feel like I am a smart individual but I find all this terribly counter productive.

    And, do not get me wrong I love biking! I cruiser bike all over the city all the time. I am just not ignorant nor naive enough to believe that I can effectively run my business from a bike. I can’t wait to see the likes of Jimmy Patterson being pulled down Georgia in a rickshaw, with his peloton of workers frantically peddling behind.

    (Response: I was thinking abiout the “green” plan just yesterday. I had to drop off a few things at various places downtown…and i noticed how much time I …and others ..spent sitting idling at traffic lights to make a right turn…but unable to do so, until a specific. In all that idlig time… only ONE cyclist actually went right through. Imagine all the fumes from all the cars waiting for right turn signals, even when there is NO cross traffic, no cyclists, at all thosee downtown intersections every day. Why can’t YIELD to bicycles be enough….just like YIELD top pedestrian rules? But this is the polluting insanity that takes place when idology and bureaucrats trumps reason. h.o.)

  • 27 judi sommer // Jul 31, 2011 at 7:14 pm

    Hi, Harvey,

    Spot on! The list of recent decisions made by this lot, who I worked for on the last election, is alarming. I’m pitching Mr. Peanut for Mayor next time!
    If they truly believe that there will be no impact on local roads if the viaducts are torn down, why not do what a poster in a mainstream media paper suggested:throw up temporary barriers blocking traffic from crossing these structures and see what happens! I guess traffic congestion is to punish thoose unenlightened ones who stubbornly stick to driving their cars. What about the resulting air quality for the folks in the affected neighborhoods, those who ironically have terrific community gardens?

    (Response: Ahh, yes! All those carbon dioxide fumes, now above the fray and very limited to a few seconds as they pass along the viaducts will soon amass at ground level, 40,000 vehicles a day, buildimg up at the several stop lights. intersections that will replace the viaducts. But don;t worry! The complaints from choking residents in the newly built carbon condos, will be drowned out by ROAR from the footbball games, hockey games and rock concerts in the stadium.arena just across the way…. esp on nice summer nighgts when the stadium roof is OPEN!! Geniuses! h.o)

  • 28 Fred // Jul 31, 2011 at 11:55 pm

    Tear down the viaducts but leave the Skytrain “viaduct” in place? That’ll really “open up” the area

    Vision Vancouver . . . more than just a few raisins short of a fruitcake

  • 29 Stan Mortensen // Aug 1, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    Just imagine the daily traffic chaos without the viaducts. Traffic backed up along Water Street to Powell all the way to the Freeway, ditto for 1st Ave., Broadway a complete disaster not to mention what travelling on Pacific Blvd. would be like. Businesses in the Downtown Core facing huge increases in delivery costs resulting from truckers sitting in traffic.
    If this is the vision for Downtown Vancouver that Vision Vancouver envisions then maybe the voters might want to enlighten them.

    (Response: And what about the pollution from all those cars being directed to city streets, slowing down traffic to a crawl, idling at lights …cough, cough!. But the biggest disaster would be to build housing where the viaducts are …imagine the noise levels being so clsoe to TWO major sporting venues …one with 60,000 seats and an OPEN roof! But just like the Red Guards, Vision council and their supporters are driven by blind ideology… oblivious to realities. h.o.)

  • 30 Grant D // Aug 1, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    I think Vision has to go before they destroy the city.
    Greggy is so unqualified to sit in the Ivory Tower.
    His only ability is to squeezing fruit.

  • 31 13 // Aug 1, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    Harvey the visioncrowd has a friend inPort Metro Vancouver. Its like being friends with Hittler sooner or later he will turn on you.

    The Port has closed down several entrances to Vanterm and Centerm. They have gone fron 800 trucks to over
    3000. They funnel all of these trucks onto Mcgill This forced all trucks to use either Boundary (BURNABY) route or Clark to Broadway then Nanaimo to MCgill. The city recd complaints from
    residences on Nanaimo about truck traffic and the Port and the City have decreed that all trucks will turn onto Hastings and travel Hastings from Clark to Cassiar. This entire stretch of Hastings is store front drive up shopping. It is already congested. The buisness owners had better scream from their rooftops. This stupidity is slated to start mid August. PNE will make this another debacle of epic proportions that are worthy of the idiot mayor

  • 32 RonS // Aug 2, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    It appears that some of your blogers believe the viaducts will be torn down tomorrow. I believe the response from city hall was not until HOV improvements can be made. As for cars downtown, I haven’t been downtown for years to do any shopping and this is way back before there were bike lanes. Even then it was next to impossible to get around. Also, I don’t believe Vancouver has anything to do with busses, isn’t our UNELECTED Tanslink, that forward thinking bunch run from Victoria and LIbERalS, is responsible for transporation isn’t it.

    If I need to go downtown for some reason, I can take the Westcoast Express, drive to Coquitlam Center and park at the park and ride, take a bus to skytrain and be downtown much quicker and safer than driving with the bunch of illconsiderate drivers that make up most of the freeway users heading downtown. And YES, it is much healthier walking around dowtown and safer than driving.

  • 33 BoBo // Aug 4, 2011 at 7:50 am

    more money should have went into transit than cycling “infrastructure”.
    while i would love to get rid of my car and bike or take transit, we have kids and neither is a reasonable option.
    this relentless assault on drivers is really hurting middle class families.
    people who are able to transit or bike typically live close to the inner city core. this area is no longer affordable for average working families and we have no choice but to move farther away.
    now gregor makes it most costly and more inconvenient for us to come into town.
    i say lets sack him and his entire party.

    (Response: I agree with you on transit infrastructure….if you mean subways and skytrain. I ride public transit all the time in New York, London, Toronot …because the tube is fast, frequent and fairly comfortable at off peak times. I have ridden and enjuoyed skytrain, but I don’t live near a line, so tried the bus last year… it took a long time to arrive and was packed when it did, then stopped every couple of blocks … it was awful ..and haven’t gone back to the bus since. h.o)

  • 34 Problem Bear // Aug 4, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    Here’s a nice sharp pencil.

    -One underground parking spot in a condo costs a developer 40k
    -Vancouver has no Ward system.
    -Developers fund both the Vision and NPA campaigns
    -Developers get tax breaks on vacant land(providing they put a community garden on it)
    -The majority of revenue for this cities media comes from development related activities.
    -Removing the viaducts frees up a lot more land for development.
    -Densification (lane way housing) fails to take into account that all those people moving into the neighbourhood just might own cars

    You connect the dots!

  • 35 Louis // Jul 28, 2012 at 4:36 am

    Our family would delnfiteiy feel more comfortable biking downtown on a regular basis if the Abbott Ave bike path actually went past Strathcona Park and met up with Gyro Park. There is an especially bad corner on Christleton St and Abbott Ave that has low visibility for drivers and is hard to bike through with children ages 6-10. I realize that during the winter, this area might be considered a low traffic area, but in the summer this area is quite busy with vehicles and is quite scary to bike through with children.