Monthly Archives: February 2009

Metro column: Maritime Centre story turns political

Kevin Falcon, B.C.’s Transportation and Infrastructure Minister, will meet with federal counterpart John Baird in Ottawa this week to iron out funding details for a number of stimulus projects slated for British Columbia.

While transportation programs have garnered much of the attention and promised cash to date from senior levels of government, municipalities in Metro Vancouver are putting forth other shovel-ready projects, from housing to hospitals to water treatment facilities.

And then there’s the National Maritime Centre for the Pacific and the Arctic, slated for construction near Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver.

The centre promises to be a major cultural attraction, complete with historic artifacts, nautical exhibits, and boat festivals. And it is considered key in revitalizing the historic Lower Lonsdale waterfront area. It also has the potential to become a tourism showpiece for the region. Continue reading

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Filed under Culture, Heritage, Neighbourhoods, Politics, Tourism, Transportation

Metro column: Will Olympic Line leave a transit legacy?

09 February 2009 05:41

With the one-year countdown to the 2010 Winter Games just days away, it’s a bit depressing to see so many British Columbians dwelling strictly on bad news associated with the event.

While well-publicized financial troubles connected to the Olympic Village are indeed troubling, they won’t cancel out the benefits arising from the Games — including everything from new recreation facilities to the build-out of related infrastructure such as the Canada Line.

Another project timed with the Games goes by the name of, appropriately enough, The Olympic Line. It is Vancouver’s modern streetcar initiative, and it could usher in a new era for public transit in and around the city’s downtown peninsula. Continue reading

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Filed under 2010 Winter Olympics, British Columbia, Commuting, Environment, Heritage, Neighbourhoods, Portland, Seattle, Tourism, Transportation

Metro column: City should switch gears on bridge bike plan

2 February 2009

It’s hard to believe, but it looks like a long-debated plan to dedicate two lanes of the Burrard Street Bridge to bike traffic is finally moving forward.

Hard to believe, because for years this issue has pitted the local cycling lobby against a politically powerful voting bloc: Residents of Vancouver’s west side. Back in 2005, Sam Sullivan — who was against the plan — used the issue as a wedge to propel himself to an upset mayoral victory against Jim Green.

More recently, the mayoral election of cycling enthusiast Gregor Robertson has reversed the tide once again.

A vote on the issue is set for March, which should result in a lengthy trial period for the bike lanes, stretching from this spring until October. Continue reading

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Filed under Commuting, Cycling, Transportation

Metro column: Vancouver deserves better rail travel

January 26, 2009

Last week’s inauguration of Barack Obama has not only raised the hopes of those looking for a major shift in United States foreign policy, it has also changed expectations for that country’s urban and transportation policy.

The president-elect, the thinking goes, will be looking to stimulate the economy by investing in major infrastructure projects in cities — including those devoted to public transport such as railways. Canada’s politicians would be wise to follow that lead.

Rail travel — while long neglected in this country — is now being recognized as a smart alternative to worsening road congestion. Compared to automobile or even air traffic, it also makes good environmental sense, producing less carbon emissions. Which makes it hard to understand the sorry state of inter-city passenger rail in this region.
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Filed under 2010 Winter Olympics, British Columbia, Cascadia, Commuting, Environment, Japan, Osaka, Politics, Seattle, Tourism, Transportation