Saturday, February 27, 2016

Terminal Ave as a Euro-style boulevard
There are concept plans and proposals being prepared to address a problematic highway that runs through the centre of Nanaimo. Here's the "Traffic Backgrounder" that lays out the thinking behind the work done to date. In my view it's faulty reasoning and in a Twitter thread I posted earlier you can if you want see the nature of my concerns. I've taken a different approach, one that has long been successful in Europe, a truly shared boulevard that works pretty well for all users.
Pictured below is an example from Barcelona's Eixample. In the rendering at top (click to enlarge) I've played with the concept of two centre thru-traffic lanes. These would be narrow to calm the traffic with max 50kph speed limited posted. As in the Barcelona example I've placed a local traffic lane, also narrow with ideally a textured surface treatment and no (or graduated) curbs, at the street's outside edges. This would be a max 30kph zone designed to alert the driver to be aware of others sharing the street. Bike lanes are protected, buffered from car traffic but sharing the well-lit boulevard with pedestrians within a tree canopy.

Streetmix is a very user-friendly tool for arranging street elements to try to arrive at a city street that includes, safely and pleasurably, all users. Give it a try.

Terminal Ave / Nicol Street Concept Plans

Esplande to Comox Rd. Clink to enlarge.

Farquar St. to Esplanade.
Esplande to Comox Rd. Clink to enlarge.<br /> <div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"> </div> <div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"> </div> <div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"> <a href="" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;" target="_blank"><img border="0" src="" /></a></div> <br /> <br /> Farquar St. to Esplanade.<br /> <div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"> </div> <div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"> <a href="" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;" target="_blank"><img border="0" src="" /></a><img border="0" src="" /></div> <br /> South St to Farquhar St.<hr>

South St to Farquhar St.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Snuneymuxw First Nation Council addressed Nanaimo City Council this week.
Got me thinking...

On Monday Feb. 22 Snuneymuxw Chief John Wesley and most of his Council appeared in front of Nanaimo City Council at Council's Committee of the Whole meeting. Councillor and former Chief Doug White spoke for SFN Council who have recently been elected to a four year term. White placed the relationship between the Snuneymuxw and the City of Nanaimo in the context of a long history going back to the establishment by the European colonizers of a coal mining based settlement on traditional Snuneymuxw village sites. He reminded Council of existing and unresolved treaty rights and land claims issues. He pointed out the rights of the Snuneymuxw covered by the Douglas Treaty impact specifically the City owned Wellcox railyards and adjacent lands in Nanaimo's downtown waterfront.
SFN Councillor Erralyn Thomas reminded Council of the legal procedures available to settle claims but that's the "hard way" and is to be avoided if possible. She also spoke of the need for a new, stronger relationship between the two governments, as White said SFN Council are looking for ways "we can stand together again shoulder to shoulder as we have done in the past in real, true reconciliation and respect."
#Snuneymuxw Chief and Council incl Cllr @dougswhite address @CityofNanaimo Council
Posted by Nanaimo Commons on Tuesday, February 23, 2016

I see this as an enormously important development, granted that at this stage it’s mostly symbolic. Nanaimo Council’s response was appreciative and respectful and as you’d expect expressed the correct sentiments. City of Nanaimo Council will no doubt reciprocate and appear at a Snuneymuxw Council meeting. Problem is it’s time to move beyond gesture and 
(on the part of the City of Nanaimo) platitudes. The time is right for concrete action to the benefit of, as Nanaimo Councillor and former Snuneymuxw Councillor Bill Yoachim said, "all citizens from every corner.” 
Which brings into focus for me a number of things, local and national currently at play and I find myself playing join the dots —

● New federal government’s multi-year public infrastructure spending plans.
● The 94 Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
● The new Federal government’s expressed commitment to acting on the TRC’s recommendations..
● The relationship between Snuneymuxw First Nation and Vancouver Island University.
● The “potentially transformative” City of Nanaimo owned waterfront railyards and the adjoining declining marine and industrial lands of the Federal Government’s Nanaimo Port Authority.
● The large city centre site at the Quennel Square precinct at Selby and Franklyn Street held by School District 68 with as I understand it, oversight by the Provincial Ministry of Education.

Let’s start with the TRC’s Calls to Action dot. They offer Canada an historic opportunity to thrive in a post-colonial 21st Century. Meaningful implementation of the recommendations will need the required funding commitment of the Federal Government. A number of the Calls to Action concern education and training, in areas of law and the court system; medicine, health-care and therapeutic; arts, culture and indigenous languages; K-12, college and post-secondary education; policing and corrections.
What new First Nations-run public institutions will be created to execute this enormous task? From that question I see intriguing combinations of the dots. In establishing on one of the sites listed above such a centre the Snuneymuxw First Nation, working with the City of Nanaimo, the Canadian and Provincial governments and Vancouver Island University, would make a contribution both to bringing real-world substance to the TRC recommendations and a timely new focus, economic and cultural, to Nanaimo.
Opportunity knocks. Private sector investment is clearly not the key to Nanaimo's prosperity, though it will follow as we make smart investments in educational facilities, high quality public space and amenities, transit and the continued creation of a walkable, compact urban city centre.

A good editorial on the recent Snuneymuxw First Nation Council presentation to Nanaimo City Council.

Posted by Doug White on Saturday, February 27, 2016

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

@CBCUnreserved tweeting all 94 #TRC recommendations: 1 ea day Here's 41 - 50

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

From Fernwood Neighbourhood Group
The story of Duncan's “The Station”

When most Victorians think of Duncan, they think of the strip of gas stations, fast food joints and shopping malls just north of the bridge over the Cowichan River. But that’s not really Duncan—just the strip on the highway. The actual town of Duncan is a few blocks west and it’s really quite charming if you’ve never been.
Across the tracks from the old train station there are two bright and colourful buildings separated by a small parking lot: one is the privately owned Duncan Garage, a postmodern community centre complete with a cafĂ© and bakery, an organic market, a used bookstore, a hair salon and a variety of other small tenants; the other is the newly revitalized “Station,” a mixed use building with green retail businesses, a commercial kitchen for rent, non-profit offices, and 20 housing units upstairs.
The Garage has been going strong for well over a decade as a vital part of the community, and was the pioneer on the block in terms of revitalizing the area. For most of that time, however, the Phoenix Station Motor Inn next door was a shabby establishment, operating illegally as a rooming house, and home to a rundown pub, a private liquor store, and some empty space formerly used as the motel dining room. At least it was, until it was purchased by the visionary Cowichan Green Community (CGC) Society in 2013, and transformed into “the Station.” Read more: Fernwood NRG – The story of “The Station”


Tuesday, February 2, 2016

From Project for Public Spaces
How Breaking Down Government
Silos Empowers Placemaking

Monday, February 1, 2016

From This City Life — Kids in the City: Raising my son in a walkable community

I write a lot about the benefits of living in a compact urban home, so I thought I would share a bit about my experience. My husband and I own a 1200 square foot duplex in a Vancouver neighbourhood called Grandview Woodlands, which is a few blocks from Commercial Drive, a funky shopping street with tons of cafes and restaurants. 
We are not interested in ever buying a single family home together, and plan to stay in our neighbourhood as my son grows up. We love it here because it is friendly, vibrant, walkable, close to many parks and only a few Skytrain stops away from Downtown Vancouver.
Here are my thoughts on raising a family in the city: Read more: Kids in the City: Raising my son in a walkable... • This City Life