Monday, February 12, 2018
Vancouver, the Unlivable
Conde Nast says Vancouver is Number One. Forbes has the city in second place, just behind Los Angeles. But whether Vancouver is the most traffic-congested city in North America or merely runner-up, it's a disgrace.
Vancouver has some baked-in problems, foremost among them are waterways - False Creek, English Bay, Coal Harbour. Five bridges - Burrard, Granville, Cambie, Lion's Gate and Second Narrows (iron workers). That's compounded by a traffic grid that hasn't met the city's needs since the early 80s. A lot of people who work in the city live in the burbs. They cross those five bridges, plus the bridges spanning the Fraser River, twice every workday. Choke points.
Even Vancouver's residential neighbourhoods are gridlocked. A friend of mine regularly visits her mother in a nursing home, nowhere near the downtown core. She complains of waiting between four or five lights to make a left hand turn in a residential neighbourhood.
When I set up my first shop in the downtown core I could make it in ten minutes from my house to the parkade beneath my office tower. Today that can easily take you an hour or more.
But Vancouver is run by developers eager to profit from an influx of new residents, many of them with lots of money. They're in constant pursuit of places where they can slap up the next high-rise condo. And a complacent city council and bureaucracy is always ready to do their bidding.
Now they're planning a large scale redevelopment of the northeast False Creek area. Some are complaining that they'll lose their view of the majestic North Shore mountains. The response from city officials - "tough."
In a presentation to council on January 31, project director Kevin McNaney told councillors there's already "substantial amount of view protection" in Northeast False Creek.
McNaney said urban design experts informed city staff that it would be difficult for Vancouver to achieve its urban design goals while preserving the view corridors.
He also said the three new towers will provide more variation to the skyline, as well as "a celebratory moment in the skyline where we can celebrate one of our biggest entertainment districts in the province of British Columbia."