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  #61  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2009, 6:58 AM
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^ i couldn't agree more, we can integrate it into the urban fabric if we wanted to. The skate park is a testament to that.
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  #62  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2009, 7:52 AM
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"The skatepark is a testament to that"

I think it's more of a testament to the fact that kids like skateboarding and will go pretty much anywhere to do it.

This proposal seems to be running into the new SSP orthodoxy which appears to be that we have to have more of everything, except when it gets in the way of cars. It's not obvious to me why the free flow of cars into and out of downtown is so important, if those same cars inevitably end up bottlenecked on Venables or Main Street. Reducing the capacity on Georgia (or removing it entirely, leaving traffic to find alternate routes) might actually improve flow, overall.
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  #63  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2009, 8:19 AM
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Originally Posted by geoff's two cents View Post
Nobody's suggesting any of these things. You might consider a career in opposition politics with your apparent love of hyperbole.
Sarcasm...Hyperbole...6 of 1, half dozen of the other really.

That said, I don't think the viaducts need to be torn down. It goes back to the old philosophy of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it!". Save for the fact that GM Place could be larger, its certainly not hurting anything having the viaducts, and they aren't crumbling to the ground.

The author of the article did mention that with the San Francisco freeway structures, they decided not to rebuild after the earthquake in 89. If such an event was to occur here, then perhaps it would be time to consider another option. Seeing how that is an act beyond our control, there is no real reason to disrupt the city purposely.
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  #64  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2009, 8:33 AM
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We should elimanate every arterial or bridge leading into downtown, then we could completely eliminate traffic once and for all. We could even dig a canal from NEFC to Burrard Inlet and turn the penninsula into an island, And then fully pedestrianise the downtown core. Commuting by kayak would become a viable alternative to driving. Vancouver would become the greenest city on the planet!
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  #65  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2009, 9:35 AM
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Originally Posted by WBC View Post
Everyone on this forum is well aware of the fact that by catering to condo developers Vancouver downtown is being turned into a resort/burb. While the number of commuting trips downtown is declining or stagnating, the number of trips that downtown residents take to work in the burbs is on the rise. Nobody wants to invest any money in commercial buildings downtown as it is more profitable to build condos and high end hotels. Any time developer shows up and suggests to build a new condo, city council backs down as developers throw a few goodies their way - a city plaza here, a restored old building facade there, a new fountain somewhere else and the rezoning permit is granted. Now you have a central business core with condos popping up at every corner. As a result you have daycares next to liquor stores and clubs, office buildings next to co-ops and so on. That is not planning -that is crap. As new residents move in (and especially as they age and have kids) they will demand piece and quiet and eventually they will win thus making pressure on businesses to get out of the area. So what is the point of this? To turn downtown into a new residential area by continuing to erode the business infrastructure downtown? Or was the idea to provide a balanced environment that would encourage people to live/work in close proximity?

Another thing is that this idea that everyone is going to live, work and shop in their own little town center is at best Utopian. Do you know how much people change jobs in this country? So every time I get a new contract or change a job am I supposed to move? Or does this mean that I cannot freely travel from one location to another to shop or to be entertained just because some geek city planner had this fantasy about how we should live our lives? The freedom of movement, travel and trade had made the Western world what it is today. That does not mean that I am saying we should build highways and overpasses over the entire city. But as other posters said, I think that we need great public transit and the best road-network we can afford.

The biggest problem above all is that we tend to elect small minded Vancouver mayors who need a map to find the Main street and who think that Vancouver consists roughly of Shaughnessy, Kits and Downtown. And to whom City of Copenhagen is a mythical example of how things need to be done (incidentally, did you know that roughly 60% of adults in Denmark are either employed by some level of government or are supported by some form of government payments. I bet that our mayor or Stephen Rees fail to mentioned that little fact when they show up all spandex-up to talk about Copenhagen and their great bike network and how we should build one. They also fail to mention the 25% VAT tax plus the 43% to 63% income tax. Yes, I bet that everybody is riding a bike because they are all on welfare and can't afford anything else). And yes, in that world you can travel everywhere by a bike and you don't need overpasses as you have all the time in the world. But guess what? Vancouver and its suburbs is a bit bigger than that and are not a welfare state.

End of tirade.
Wow! you summed up these crazy utopian, idealistic crap that goes on in this city, along with the small-mindedness of those running it absolutely perfectly! You got things bang-on from the small minded politicians, the unrealistic ideals, the spandex , the usual comparison with some hamlet in a far of land with whom we share little to nothing in common, etc etc. The only thing you missed was the "list of myths" the city puts out on its website in an attempt to veil the fact that their efforts have turned the city into a sleepy, quiet, resort-suburb with nice areas to walk your miniature dog.
Bravo sir, BRAVO!

Last edited by EastVanMark; Oct 18, 2009 at 9:55 AM.
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  #66  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2009, 9:39 AM
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Originally Posted by vanman View Post
We should elimanate every arterial or bridge leading into downtown, then we could completely eliminate traffic once and for all. We could even dig a canal from NEFC to Burrard Inlet and turn the penninsula into an island, And then fully pedestrianise the downtown core. Commuting by kayak would become a viable alternative to driving. Vancouver would become the greenest city on the planet!
LOL I see we're both on the same page here...
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  #67  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2009, 9:48 AM
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Originally Posted by BCPhil View Post
Brilliantly said.

And what about couples? What happens when one works in a medical clinic in Surrey and the other is middle management downtown? Should one of them quit? Break up? The choice of where to live is up to them, be it downtown, south Surrey anywhere in between. It's up to what they can afford and the sacrifices they chose to make, not up to some social engineer behind a desk.

Removing the viaducts and selling the land as housing will further alienate business from downtown, further spreading the cost of living outwards from the core.
Absolutely correct. But off course that "social engineer behind a desk" doesn't have to look at things from a practical point of view but rather has the luxury of looking at the region through uptopian, ideal glasses with little to no regard for reality. And when somebody points out obvious flaws in their way of thinking (like you did above), they are for the most part ignored because of course, your facts don't jive with their unrealistic dreams.
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  #68  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2009, 5:10 PM
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Originally Posted by David View Post
God, what forum am I on? Whatever happened to all the people who actually cared about the urban fabric of a city?
Guess what, cars are part of the urban fabric of a city.

Its hilarious that Gregor and his green weenies seem totally oblivious to the coming of better hybrids and electric cars. They're so fixated on their hate for the automobile that they will totally destroy the infrastructure for it and downtown will wither away to irrelevance.

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Originally Posted by paradigm4 View Post
The hyperbole isn't necessary.

If you understood the regional development plans, you would know that the goal is in fact to create decentralized town centres where people can live, work, and play in the same community. So yes, downtown isn't nearly as important as the other town centres become more complete. We are not attempting to be Toronto or any other number of cities where people live in the burbs and travel into downtown for work everyday.
I often wonder why this so-called Liveable Region Strategy isn't recognized for the absolute disaster that it is in terms of transit planning.
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  #69  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2009, 5:33 PM
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Originally Posted by EastVanMark View Post
Absolutely correct. But off course that "social engineer behind a desk" doesn't have to look at things from a practical point of view but rather has the luxury of looking at the region through uptopian, ideal glasses with little to no regard for reality. And when somebody points out obvious flaws in their way of thinking (like you did above), they are for the most part ignored because of course, your facts don't jive with their unrealistic dreams.
Eggzactly!

The scariest thing of all is, every city, town and municipality i've seen has these people and they all have the exact same agenda and we all have to pay handsomely for them in spite of the fact most of us disagree with them. In this way our system of democracy completely fails us.
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  #70  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2009, 5:34 PM
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Exclamation

The LVSP wasn't a disaster. In some places it did work. The only problem is that the region can make policies all it wants but it still has to rely on the cities to get them through... and some of the municipalities (like Surrey, Delta, Langley, Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam) just kept growing their suburbs while others complied... which led to its complete downfall around the mid 2000s.

Phil McAvity, democracy says that a majority of the population that voted elected these officials.... which means either one of these happened:
A) the other people had less votes or were less popular or didn't make themselves well known
B) all the people who would have voted for these people didn't vote
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  #71  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2009, 5:42 PM
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As a result you have daycares next to liquor stores and clubs, office buildings next to co-ops and so on. That is not planning -that is crap.

As new residents move in (and especially as they age and have kids) they will demand piece and quiet and eventually they will win thus making pressure on businesses to get out of the area.

So what is the point of this? To turn downtown into a new residential area by continuing to erode the business infrastructure downtown? Or was the idea to provide a balanced environment that would encourage people to live/work in close proximity?
No that is planning. And world class planning that is being replicated around the globe.

People who live downtown must understand that they chose to live in a urban environment. I haven't heard of any real NIMBYism come from downtowners. Correct me if I'm wrong.

The office buildings are not being eroded. We have lots of jobs, residential is just picking up to create a balance. There's no doubt that we must continue to ensure that office is being developed and that's what the city is doing. But trends like these, by and large, occur due to the economy.

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Originally Posted by WBC View Post
Another thing is that this idea that everyone is going to live, work and shop in their own little town center is at best Utopian. Do you know how much people change jobs in this country? So every time I get a new contract or change a job am I supposed to move? Or does this mean that I cannot freely travel from one location to another to shop or to be entertained just because some geek city planner had this fantasy about how we should live our lives? The freedom of movement, travel and trade had made the Western world what it is today. That does not mean that I am saying we should build highways and overpasses over the entire city. But as other posters said, I think that we need great public transit and the best road-network we can afford.
It's not utopian, it's the long term goal. And it is succeeding. Travel to other cities in North America and the urban framework, while generally very much the same (town centres connected by rapid transit) are not nearly as well done as Metrotown, Richmond, Coquitlam, and Surrey. In 20 years time, we will be recognized not only for having the world's most livable downtown in Vancouver, but the world's most livable region. We will basically have replicated mini downtowns across the metro and trust me, the world will turn it's head again with praise.

If you don't like the way the region's residents chose to grow 30 years ago, then perhaps you'd fit in better in a different city.

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And to whom City of Copenhagen is a mythical example of how things need to be done. Yes, I bet that everybody is riding a bike because they are all on welfare and can't afford anything else. And yes, in that world you can travel everywhere by a bike and you don't need overpasses as you have all the time in the world. But guess what? Vancouver and its suburbs is a bit bigger than that and are not a welfare state.
It's not mythical, it exists. And it is one of the world's best examples of a sustainable city. We cannot continue to use cars as our main mode of transport. That doesn't mean they don't have a role, because they do. But we should not build our cities around them.

It's something that New York, Paris, London, and many cities round the world have learnt from Copenhagen and they are now quickly adopting many of its best practices. Why Vancouver shouldn't do the same is beyond me.

Cycling is one of the best modes of transport. It's low impact exercise, has zero carbon emissions, and is more efficient than walking.

Of course nobody is going to bike from Burnaby to North Van, but for 1-3k trips, the trips that most in the region take, it does make sense. We just need to modify our infrastructure to make it a safer, and smarter option than driving.

Riding a bike does not mean you are poor.
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  #72  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2009, 5:52 PM
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I often wonder why this so-called Liveable Region Strategy isn't recognized for the absolute disaster that it is in terms of transit planning.
Disaster?! SkyTrain is one of the few transit systems in the world that actually breaks even at the fare box!

The only disaster here is that we've yet to build the fully planned regional system. We're still missing the Evergreen and UBC sections.

It's a disaster because we're in this weird milieu between having the system and having nothing. It's still being built.

Once it's all done though, trust me, the LRSP will come together.

We can already see bits and pieces of its success with Metrotown, Brentwood, Coquitlam, etc.

We just need the rest of the transit infrastructure, and some more time to let these town centres develop.

The LRSP was ratified in 1996. Nobody can seriously expect a *plan* with no real teeth to accomplish all its long term goals in just over a decade.
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  #73  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2009, 6:35 PM
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The viaducts are an important fabric of the downtown peninsula and if they are torn down, Georgia St. and Dunsmuir St. will become "dead-ended" at the escarpment. Sounds akin to the Parks Board's idea to close the Lions Gate Bridge circa 2030 in order to "dead-end" Georgia St. at the other end.

Is that what some folk believe makes an urban utopia?

The same vehicles will find their way to the downtown core (Metro Vancouver's downtown core) and cause a larger traffic mess along the city's eastside.

The viaducts themselves are utilized all day long, seven days/week to efficiently move traffic out of the downtown core and I'm one who also utilizes 'em on a weekly basis. That traffic continues to grow as the population of the region grows. Forget about the "commuter" in that context.

Tearing down the viaducts for some utopian vision of a "livable" community along NEFC is a bit wonky. That traffic will continue to grow and just move over and further congest Pacific Blvd. So much for a "pedestrian-friendly" community!

Planners with "real vision" would actually recommend thru traffic removal along the heavily congested e/w routes such as First Ave., Grandview/12th Ave., which are essentially fronted by residential housing to make them more "liveable".

And how would that be accomplished?

Tunneling from the Clark Drive escarpment to Hwy 1 - a concept utilized by most European cities.

Yes, Vancouver still has lots to learn from the Europeans and not just about transit, but all modes of transportation.
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  #74  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2009, 7:00 PM
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WBC, I'm about to make your "tirade" look like an off-the-cuff remark. Here we go:


Quote:
Originally Posted by WBC View Post
No we are not attempting to be Toronto and I am aware of the decentralized plan for our development.
I can sure think of worse cities to try and emulate than TO but I would say that if anything Vancouver started the urban residential trend starting with the West End. It seems to me that both Vancouver and Toronto have similar agendas of making their downtowns increasingly residential.

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Originally Posted by WBC View Post
Everyone on this forum is well aware of the fact that by catering to condo developers Vancouver downtown is being turned into a resort/burb.
Okay, and that's bad how?!?!?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by WBC View Post
While the number of commuting trips downtown is declining or stagnating, the number of trips that downtown residents take to work in the burbs is on the rise.
Streets are funny that way in that most tend to go in both directions. Once again, I wonder what your point is.

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Originally Posted by WBC View Post
Nobody wants to invest any money in commercial buildings downtown as it is more profitable to build condos and high end hotels.
Now that the city can do something about but i'm still not sure what's so bad about it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WBC View Post
Any time developer shows up and suggests to build a new condo, city council backs down as developers throw a few goodies their way - a city plaza here, a restored old building facade there, a new fountain somewhere else and the rezoning permit is granted.
It seems every city council in Canada operates on the same socialist principle and it's something i've never understood. It's not enough that developers transform old run-down neighbourhoods and buildings into bright, new lively neighbourhoods, create countless jobs, places to live and parking spots but civic governments also extort public amenities out of them. I thought extortion was illegal but as long as the government does it, then it's fine.

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Originally Posted by WBC View Post
Now you have a central business core with condos popping up at every corner. As a result you have daycares next to liquor stores and clubs, office buildings next to co-ops and so on. That is not planning -that is crap.
So (central) planning (which worked so well in the USSR) dictates that every business should be similar to every business next to it? What are you talking about? One of the greatest things about any downtown is the sheer variety of options provided by business.

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Originally Posted by WBC View Post
As new residents move in (and especially as they age and have kids) they will demand piece and quiet and eventually they will win thus making pressure on businesses to get out of the area.
Again, you don't make any sense. Very few businesses make any noise at all. In fact out of the tens of thousands of streets in Greater Vancouver I can only think of one part of one street I wouldn't want to live on for that reason (Granville St. downtown).

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Originally Posted by WBC View Post
So what is the point of this? To turn downtown into a new residential area by continuing to erode the business infrastructure downtown?
I fail to see how allowing more residential downtown erodes the business infrastructure downtown. If anything, I would say it helps it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WBC View Post
Another thing is that this idea that everyone is going to live, work and shop in their own little town center is at best Utopian. Do you know how much people change jobs in this country? So every time I get a new contract or change a job am I supposed to move? Or does this mean that I cannot freely travel from one location to another to shop or to be entertained just because some geek city planner had this fantasy about how we should live our lives? The freedom of movement, travel and trade had made the Western world what it is today. That does not mean that I am saying we should build highways and overpasses over the entire city. But as other posters said, I think that we need great public transit and the best road-network we can afford.
It took a while but I finally agree with you about something.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WBC View Post
The biggest problem above all is that we tend to elect small minded Vancouver mayors who need a map to find the Main street and who think that Vancouver consists roughly of Shaughnessy, Kits and Downtown. And to whom City of Copenhagen is a mythical example of how things need to be done (incidentally, did you know that roughly 60% of adults in Denmark are either employed by some level of government or are supported by some form of government payments. I bet that our mayor or Stephen Rees fail to mentioned that little fact when they show up all spandex-up to talk about Copenhagen and their great bike network and how we should build one. They also fail to mention the 25% VAT tax plus the 43% to 63% income tax. Yes, I bet that everybody is riding a bike because they are all on welfare and can't afford anything else). And yes, in that world you can travel everywhere by a bike and you don't need overpasses as you have all the time in the world. But guess what? Vancouver and its suburbs is a bit bigger than that and are not a welfare state.
I'm glad to see you ended on a sensible note as well.
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Last edited by Phil McAvity; Oct 18, 2009 at 7:11 PM.
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  #75  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2009, 7:20 PM
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Disaster?! SkyTrain is one of the few transit systems in the world that actually breaks even at the fare box!
Depend on where you compare to.. To US, SkyTrain would be near the top; to Canada, its behind Toronto, Montreal, and Calgary; but to Asia countries, its probably near the bottom. The cost recovery of some Asian metro systems:

Code:
Tokyo Metro	170%
Taiwan HSR	156% *
Hongkong MTR	153%
JR Tokai	141%
Singapore MRT	134%
JR East		128%
JR West		121%
Taipei MRT	119%
Nanjing Metro	114%
Beijing Metro	 62%

Others with > 100% cost recovery:
Guangzhou Metro
Shenzhen Metro
Bangkok Metro **

Others with < 100% cost recovery:
Shanghai Metro
Source: Wikipedia and various news sites

I think the ultimate goal is different...
* Taipei Metro is considered a disaster because the revenue is not enough to pay for the cost of amortization, interest, construction, and tax.
** A few years ago, Bangkok Metro was making money, but fell short of the promised 16% return rate, so the government have to subsidize.. I don't know what happen now.

As for viaduct.. they just keep building and building them here in Taiwan. Last time I saw 4 layers of viaducts one over another in Taipei County, with a Metro under construction on top of all of them.. Imagine climbing over 4 viaducts (about 10 floors high) to reach a train station -__-
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  #76  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2009, 7:33 PM
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Alright guys, i know those viaducts arent as cool as bunch of condos and transit-oriented developments, but they are one of the easier ways to get into the core, while driving. as much as it may be a good idea, the reality is that some people will need to drive into the core.
On a personal note, i think vancouver is great city, but give us tourist a break, we need a way to drive into the city to check out all the great developments and streetlife in downtown

Btw, the olympics are going to be awesome
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  #77  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2009, 7:50 PM
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I like the Viaducts. I don't think they pose that much of a hinderance to development. Spectrum, while ugly, is a great concept that works with the viaducts very well. I can only imagine the GM Place office tower would as well.

The whole Keefer place neighbourhood is only just coming together. From what I understand, residents have only recently (last couple weeks) been taking possession of their units. As more do some, Stadium station will become busier.

In the NEFC area plan, there are already plans to turn more of the space under the viaduct into park space in the form of tennis and basketball courts. Combine that with some lighting features and I think the area could look great. Once the east part of Concord Pacific Place is built out, you'll hardly notice half of the viaducts anymore, and then you can plant some trees in Creekside park to hide the other half.

Another thing I was thinking about is the new St. Paul's hospital. The viaducts would provide almost a direct connection from the centre of downtown to the hospital. This isn't something to be overlooked. While part of the old St. Paul's would remain as an emergency only centre, as downtown grows and grows it is important to have a close by hospital.

I think there is a lot than can be done in the area with the viaducts in place. I think removing them would make traffic on on hastings and powell worse, as well as expo and pacific worse (combine that with removal of left hand turn lanes too).
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  #78  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2009, 7:57 PM
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It is true, metro Vancouver for its population has a very small amount of layered roads (viaducts and tunnels) compared to both European and Asian cities. In fact the viaducts we have are a great example that one can build short elevated structures to alleviate traffic without building an entire freeway (again, the viaducts are not a freeway, despite the fact they call them a freeway on news 1130 ).

Has anyone ever noticed that that part of downtown has the best flow of traffic? I know I have, if one is leaving downtown by car to the east the only way to go is by the Georgia viaduct. Hastings??? Forget it!

Also the viaducts give us an excuse to build structures such as the urban skate park in areas that would normally be bulldozed for condos. They create a little urban variety in our city! Honestly, the area around the stadiums and the Costco (along with the new condo developments that build around the ducts) is one of the most interesting urban places downtown, simply because the developments have to be more creative (look at the proposed GM tower)

Sometimes i feel like I am the only one who is starting to find that if everything becomes a Yaletown in Vancouver our city will be very very bland. The developers have more than enough land along NEFC to develop on without the removal of the ducts.

Also, how is an elevated highway any more of a barrier then a rail line, a row of towers, a creek, etc... The only problem is the city has not been pro-active enough in incorporating the area into the urban fabric. For example, along Main street or the skate park, or between the cleaned up and redeveloped international village and the stadiums, the ducts are no more of a barrier than any other street or row of towers in this city (to bad the lefties can not blame a highway for the east west divide between the commercial heart downtown and the east side, or the north south divide between West Pender and Hastings). I guess we should tear down everything that divides those areas, because that has to be the cause of the divide!

Here are some pics in Japan where the areas under viaducts can actually be destinations!





Not to mention parking garages, malls, parks and other facilities are all built under these viaducts. It is amaing!

Oh yeah, and to put Vancouver NIMBYism into perspective (for those who complain about noise, lights, viaducts, billboards, etc...) this is what highways look like in Japan, or I should say, here is what real cities look like when they build to conserve land and keep people moving all ways possible.





As one can see commercial traffic flows pretty good through Asian cities (and European ones, for they have these and tunnels as well).

Also, someone noted that the ducts were a remnant of the 1970s, very incorrect, they were actually a replacement of older viaducts in the same spot that were built in 1913-1915. So these ducts are actually part of our historical urban fabric!

All pics are my own.
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  #79  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2009, 8:07 PM
racc racc is offline
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Originally Posted by BCPhil View Post

I'm not against tolls when they pay for expensive infrastructure that would otherwise be beyond our means to construct. But using tolls or building/removing roads to engineer people's wills and eliminate free choice is beyond socialist, it's a form of fascism.
It is funny how some people believe in capitalism and the free market yet when it comes to roads become flaming socialists. I'm not sure why you think it is fine to charge people for housing and food which are essential to life yet think that charging for the use of roads is fascism. The whole idea of the market is to limit free choice and turn it into paid choice. Free use of roads has distorted the market and caused the overuse of roads which has led to congestion and huge environmental damage.

Even worse, the roads in the City of Vancouver are paid for through property taxes, essentially a tax on housing. It would be much better to fund social housing through a tax on roads or at least have congestion pricing pay for the maintenance of roads in the city.

So in the end, by your twisted logic, the free market is a form of fascism.
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Old Posted Oct 18, 2009, 10:02 PM
deasine deasine is offline
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Originally Posted by nname View Post
Depend on where you compare to.. To US, SkyTrain would be near the top; to Canada, its behind Toronto, Montreal, and Calgary; but to Asia countries, its probably near the bottom. The cost recovery of some Asian metro systems.
Aside from comparing just ridership statistics, the LRSP and SkyTrain did quite well in terms of increasing density, TOD, around stations. Of course, within the City of Vancouver, that might not necessarily be the case, but Burnaby, New Westminster, and Surrey sure have changed dramatically with an increasing number of developments around stations.

Integrating the viaducts into the urban fabric is much easier and cost efficient than anything. West of GM Place, as I mentioned earlier, the Spectrum development is already an example of integration.
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