29 June 2009 05:27
The Burrard Street Bridge cycling experiment that gets underway two weeks from today is raising hopes for a bike-friendlier future in Metro Vancouver. The expectation is that allocating more space for bikes on the busy crossing will encourage more commuters to swap their car keys for a two-wheeler.
But far from a breakthrough, this bold initiative is more likely to be a bust. Here’s why.
By taking over space previously reserved for automobiles and pedestrians, the summer trial runs the risk of alienating two traditional allies of the cycling community: Bus riders and walkers. Continue reading
15 June 2009 05:27
Later this week, the Vancouver Canadians baseball team will play its much-anticipated season opener at Nat Bailey Stadium.
Expect the scene to be an upbeat one — from the singing of Take Me Out To The Ball Game to Little Leaguers cheerfully chasing foul balls in the bleachers.
But not far away, in the Downtown Eastside, a far less happy baseball story is being played out.
At Oppenheimer Park, in Vancouver’s old Japantown neighbourhood, the historic playing field of the Asahi baseball team is being demolished. The City of Vancouver is removing the ball diamond as part of its renovation of the park. Continue reading
Filed under Culture, Environment, Green Space, Heritage, Immigration, Japan, Neighbourhoods, Parks, Politics, Protest, Sports, Vancouver
Nearly five years and counting.
That’s how long I’ve been waiting for my patch of communal garden in Metro Vancouver.
A half-decade ago, before the popularity of high-minded movements like organic eating, food security or the 100 Mile Diet, I had registered for a shot at green-thumb glory at the North Shore’s Lower Lonsdale Community Garden.
Apparently, I wasn’t alone in my enthusiasm for urban agriculture. To my chagrin, it turned out there were no plots available.
So I was told by an organizer that I would be put on a waiting list. And from that queue, annually, a few lucky folks would be selected for garden membership by lottery.
Year after year, I’ve been waiting for some good news about my new patch of green. But it has yet to arrive. Two weeks ago, I found out that, once again, I was a loser in the annual garden plot sweepstakes. I wouldn’t be growing carrots or cucumbers this summer.
It’s not just this one patch, mind you. There are waiting lists for community gardens across Vancouver. The supply of plots just can’t meet the growing demand. Continue reading
Gregory Henriquez, the Vancouver-based architect, isn’t afraid of challenging local defenders of the status quo.
Last year, the principal of Henriquez Partners Architects felt the wrath of some vocal North Vancouver residents, who railed against his proposal for an iconic 40-storey highrise on the sleepy Lower Lonsdale waterfront.
The boobirds eventually got their way, and Henriquez’ design was chased away. Continue reading
Filed under British Columbia, Culture, Environment, Events, Gentrification, Green Space, Heritage, Immigration, Japan, Neighbourhoods, Nimbies, Parks, Urban Planning
Despite the many obstacles it faces — everything from challenging terrain to zoning issues to some predictable Nimbies — the North Shore Spirit Trail connecting Deep Cove to Horseshoe Bay continues to make good progress, especially in the City of North Vancouver.
This past February, the first section of the trail, called the Squamish Nation Waterfront Greenway, was opened. For serious seawall enthusiasts, it’s worth taking the Seabus to North Vancouver to have a look. The pathway starts where the walkway running westward from Lonsdale Quay to Waterfront Park left off, and travels through the Mosquito Creek Marina. Continue reading
16 March 2009
It’s nice to see the growing focus on pedestrian and cycling greenways and trails in Metro Vancouver these days. Local governments are finally responding to demand for transportation choices that are easier on our wallets, and better for our health and environment.
A good example is the North Shore Spirit Trail, a 35-kilometre pathway connecting Horseshoe Bay to Deep Cove.
For walking and biking enthusiasts from across the Lower Mainland, the trail promises to be a recreational jewel. Continue reading
March 9, 2009
It’s tough being in the automobile business these days. Shares of General Motors plunged to a 75-year low Friday — underscoring the financial misery faced by North America’s largest carmaker.
Mind you, not all auto-centric industries are hurting. In recent years, car-sharing organizations have been thriving — buoyed by volatile gas prices and denser urban neighbourhoods, not to mention the public’s growing focus on the environment. Continue reading