TransLink. As it celebrates Skytrain's 25th year, TransLink reports another year of record ridership, with little funding to increase service to meet the demand. The question then, is how to fund improvements?
Social housing. A social housing project for girls and young women is the latest space of controversy in the Downtown Eastside, because some feel that the location leaves them vulnerable to exploitation. Francis Bula shares a letter from Janice Abbot explaining the project. Debate in the comments is both interesting and heated.
Robson square. Granville Street and Robson Square are soon to return to normal when they are opened to traffic on September 5. Spacing shares a video of what it looked like during Picnurbia and other public programming by VIVA Vancouver.
Buskers. The Dependent remembers the beginnings of regulations targeting buskers and other street performers on Vancouver streets.
Nude-in. On August 23, 1970 demonstrators held a nude-in at Wreck Beach to protest the arrests of nudists at the beach. The court case and the ensuing protests helped ensure Wreck's place in our collective consciousness.
Velo-city. Copenhagenize shares some vintage photos of Vancouver cyclists during a time when the car was king.
It's a dirty job, but... OpenFile visits the sewers with one of Vancouver's dragging crews.
Beatlemania! Hysterical fans got so out of hand at the Beatles' only appearance at Empire Stadium that Red Robinson was called in to quiet down the crowd. The Beatles told him to "get the fuck off the stage," but ended their set shortly afterward and made a hasty escape. Tickets were just $3.25. Thanks, The Dependent and Past Tense for digging this trivia up this week.
Image: fi_chince via flickr
Picnurbia is a pop-up installation of picnic benches and artificial turf at Robson Square as part of VIVA Vancouver. Perhaps installations like this can help us re-evaluate the way we think about public space.
Homelessness. The city's new housing plan reveals that five neighbourhoods outside of the Downtown Eastside will be targeted for the construction of homeless shelters and supportive housing.
Renting. The Tyee's Reporting Fellowships are turning out some good stories: this week an in depth series about renovictions and affordable rental housing in Vancouver. Catch them all here.
Humanitarian architecture. Two Vancouver-based architects are recycling the fabric from the Vancouver Trade and Convention Centre's old sail roof into projects for Architecture for Humanity.
Community awards. The City of Surrey has launched the City Awards Program, a variety of awards to recognize people for community spirit, clean energy, urban design and beautification.
Cycling infrastructure. Another update on the Coal Harbour seawall connection: it still sucks for cyclists. A little further down the seawall, installing consistent signage and adequate infrastructure for cyclists at Stanley Park doesn't seem to be a high priority either.
Just who are bike thieves anyway? The Dependent talks to bike thieves and learns about the tools of the trade.
Earthquake preparedness. An engineering report has found that both City Hall and it's data are vulnerable in the event of a major earthquake.
Data mapping. The Vancouver Sun has created a series of interactive maps with data from the 2006 census.
The road not taken. Forty years ago Vancouver and Hamilton shared many similarities. Nicholas Kevlahan takes a detailed look at how they diverged.
The missing link. The seawall is finally connected in Coal Harbour. Gordon Price visited to check it out and found that on the whole, the link is pretty confusing. A second visit revealed that not much had improved on one of our most famous and beloved urban spaces.
Pipe exchange. Keeping in line with it's harm reduction strategy, Vancouver Coastal Health and Insite will be adding pipes to the paraphernalia that they distribute to drug users in the Downtown Eastside. While intended to slow the rate of HIV and Hep-C infection and result in cost savings for the healthcare system, they're expecting it to be a hard sell with the public.
What does life in the DTES look like? Ryan Fletcher lived on the streets for a week for his story in The Tyee and found community, charity and lots of characters.
Canada Line. TransLink announced this week that it will be adding extra trains to the Canada Line, reducing platform wait times. But some question whether the infrastructure is enough to accommodate the ridership of the future.
Pantages. The city's Urban Design Panel has rejected the developer's proposal for the site of the Pantages Theatre as the community and the developer continue to disagree about what amenities and housing are needed for the area.
Little Mountain. Open File visits a public consultation about the new Little Mountain project and talks to the developer about how not to repeat the Olympic Village experience.
False Creek Flats. The city is receiving many proposals for the revitalization of the False Creek Flats, and is looking to maintain a variety of industrial uses in the space. It's come a long way from the cows pasture it was.
Pedestrian deaths. As pedestrian friendly as the city tries to be, far more pedestrians die in car accidents than people in homicides ahead of both Montreal and Toronto.
Wait for Me, Daddy. A commemorative monument is being planned in New Westminster for one of the most iconic Canadian photos from the Second World War.
Urban gardens. Also in New West, a group of residents and their strata council transformed the roof of their building into a community garden, showing yet another model for the creation and ownership of collective gardens.
And now, a video break: crowds gathering and dispersing at the Celebration of Light and bike lanes in action.
Image: Mark & Andrea Busse, via flickr.
Affordable housing. More this week about the City of Vancouver's ambitious plan for housing. Some of the strategies include a "rent bank" to assist tenants when they have difficulty paying rent, limits on profits in real estate sales and housing on city-owned land. But some caution that several parts of the plan lack specific information about how these things will be implemented and how much it will cost. City staff have also noted the difficulty they have had in moving the hardest to house into current social housing.
Meanwhile, another one of the city's 14 planned social housing projects has opened and the West End civic report recommends creating an advocate for tenants' rights and increasing green space.
Bike lanes. After a study last week revealed only a moderate impact on businesses, the city has chosen not to compensate business owners along the Hornby and Dunsmuir bike lanes. A disappointing response rate for the survey, as well as businesses' apparent unwillingness to disclose financial information make it difficult to find a conclusive link between bike lanes and a downturn in business.
Smelling vinegar. The Vancouver Archives shares a bit the process they use to rescue old film negatives from deterioration. The Archives also on HIstorypin now, so you can take a peek at what Vancouver used to look like.
Slow down, watch the... The City of Vancouver will be setting up a trial 30 km/h speed zone on East Hastings through the Downtown Eastside. The area is notorious for jaywalking and it's hoped that this measure will increase pedestrian safety.
Disappearing traffic. As Vancouver considers demolishing its viaducts, consider the Law of Disappearing Traffic: when a main artery is blocked off, traffic finds new routes.
Eastern Core Strategy Study. Erin Innes at the Mainlander reminds us that there is more to the Eastern Core Strategy Study than potentially removing the viaducts, as it's the last major parcel of land to be redeveloped in Vancouver, right next door to the Downtown Eastside.
LoCo BC is a non-profit looking to help connect local businesses and strengthen the local economy through buying local.
Why do Vancouver cafes close so early? Because people don't visit.
Image: mezzoblue, via flickr.
Bike lanes. A new study about the impact of the bike lanes on business finds that while there has been a decrease in business along the routes, losses are not as bad as the figure often cited. At the same time, ridership continues to grow. Gordon Price has a round-up of a lot of the commentary this week.
Housing. The City of Vancouver released an ambitious 10 year plan to end street homelessness, calling for the creation of 38,900 new housing units by 2021.
Viaducts. After much talk and proposals about what to do with the viaducts, the City is looking for public input.
Civic arts. Councillor Heather Deal wants to create a central committee to oversee the city's 2008 cultural plan. Currently there are multiple smaller committees working on different aspects related to culture but communication is an issue.
Clarifying transit. An Emily Carr grad has redesigned the Metro Vancouver transit map to make it clearer and easier on the eye and more like the London tube map.
Drinking and driving. With the tightening of drinking and driving laws, some are asking why Vancouver still requires bars to provide so much parking space. Could that space be used for something else?
Hidden floors. Scout looks at the so-called "cheater storeys" in Chinatown's architecture.
Fading history. Open File looks at efforts to document and preserve faded "ghost signs" in Vancouver and reveals that often nothing is done. So make sure you photograph your favourites!
Riot aftermath. WorkSafeBC is now receiving claims of post-traumatic stress from people working during the riots.
Gordon Price asks whether the City should be spending money to promote professional sports like hockey over other arts and cultural events, and who benefits.
The Bulkhead Project is an open, food-producing garden on False Creek.
Image: framestealer, via flickr
Graffiti. The city of Vancouver is reinstating it's anti-graffiti program after a resurgence in tagging around the city. Though the increase in graffiti may not be directly related to the program at all.
Disappearing phones. Merchants in the DTES say payphones are more hassle than they're worth.
Rising seas. BTAworks has released a toolkit that visualizes the effects of climate change on the coastline in Vancouver. One interesting thing is that a rise of even a couple metres in sea level would go a long way toward restoring the original coastline of False Creek.
Book exchange. Members of the Grandview-Woodlands Block Watch are creating community with a book exchange box and community chalk board.
Liveable Laneways is working to transform back alleys into vibrant public spaces with planters, events and open air markets.
Changing City is a blog that tracks new developments in Vancouver.
Before it was home to Canuck Place Hospice the Glen Brae mansion was the home of the Kanadian Klu Klux Klan.
Image: pixeljones, via flickr.
Cycling. Translink has released it's regional cycling strategy meant to encourage cycling and make it safer. Good thing, too, because safety is one of the major concerns that keep women in particular off the roads.
Evergreen line. Negotiations to build the Evergreen Line took a huge step forward when Metro Vancouver mayors voted in favour of increasing the gas tax to pay for it. Spacing explores other sources of funds for a cash-strapped Translink.
Shoebox living. A new development under construction features 270 square foot condos. Is that even livable? Well, Gordon Price made it work in the 90s. But in spite of their size, these units aren't as affordable as you'd think.
Status quo. While the city develops around it, the West End has remained more or less the same.
Olympic Village. While many of the housing units at the Olympic Village are still empty, businesses are slowly starting to open.
The dark side of 100 mile. An exhibit on right now at W2 Media Cafe shows the unsavoury side of local food - the exploitation of new immigrants and temporary foreign workers who work on farms in the Fraser Valley. It's an issue also covered in our Bhangra.me exhibit on display right now at MOV. If you have the chance you should come down and check it out!
Public square. Gordon Price wants to get rid of the fountain in front of the art gallery to turn the space into a proper gathering area.
Crime. Did you know that Vancouver is the bank robbery capital of Canada?
Image: LastGreatRoadTrip, via flickr.
Just how bike-friendly is Vancouver? Researchers at UBC mapped data on several key factors that make streets accommodating to cyclists. The result is a series of 'Bikeability Index' maps.
Spacing Vancouver. Spacing Magazine has partnered with the staff at re:place to launch Spacing Vancouver. We're really excited to see what comes out of this partnership.
Public space. Erin O'Melinn shares some thoughts about Spacing's list of the top ten public spaces in Vancouver and why they are nearly all in the downtown core.
Surveillance. It has come to light that some of the surveillance cameras purchased for the 2010 Olympics were repurposed and put into service during the Stanley Cup playoff games.
Public art. Many of the Vancouver Biennale's public art works will be heading home to their owners between now and the end of this year.
Phonebooth. In response to the disappearance of phone booths in the DTES, Spartacus Books set up their own.
Housing in the DTES. Tenants at the Wonder Rooms in the DTES filed a class-action suit against their landlord for the inhumane living conditions in their suites. City council discussed this week whether to file an injunction to force the landlord to make repairs.
"Old urbanism" on the Fraserlands. A huge new development for 20,000 residents is intended to be a modern Rome or Pompeii on the banks of the Fraser River. Seems an odd choice of comparison but there you go.
Local food. The Food Secure Vancouver Study and Foodtree's mobile app were both launched this week.
Image: Roland Tanglao, via flickr.
Homelessness. The numbers are in. Initial results from the 2011 homelessness count indicate that street homelessness is down in Vancouver, though there has not been a change across the Metro Vancouver region overall. This is causing some to question whether or not the massive investment in dealing with homelessness over the past three years has had an effect.
The results do however suggest that low-barrier shelters are having an impact and are seeing a higher level of use. While First Nations people still make up a disproportionately high proportion of homeless, the number of First Nations people who are homeless appears to be dropping. Youth are better represented in this year’s count, though it’s hard to say if this is due to an increase in homelessness among youth or a more accurate count.
What will be the future of the Hornby bike lane? Researchers are in the process of studying it’s impacts on the local community. Geoff Meggs says the City did not do a good enough job of communicating the need for cycling infrastructure to Vancouverites.
U-Pass. Translink is threatening to discontinue the U-Pass program if it continues to lose money to U-Pass theft and fraud. But Stephen Rees reminds us that the U-Pass program was never sustainable in the first place.
Hockey riot. As we head toward the Stanley Cup finals, the Tyee presents an alternative view on the 1994 hockey riot and how we became the ‘no fun city.’
Affordability. Bob Rennie says Vancouver really isn’t that unaffordable if you ignore the prices at the top fifth of the market.
Image: chris.huggins via flickr