Two related issues that have caught my attention this morning are the Vancouver Public Space Network’s petition to permanently pedestrianize the 800-block of Robson Street , and David Suzuki’s article in support of bike lanes. Beginning from the end, Suzuki’s article in the Georgia Straight sums up our current reality with the following statement:
As oil becomes scarce and pollution and climate change increase, people are finally realizing that transporting a 90-kilogram person in two tonnes of metal just isn’t sustainable, especially in urban areas.
It’s important to note this is not a crusade against the car, and Suzuki points out that reducing traffic and gridlock makes it easier for those who are unable to use alternative modes of transportation to get around, while creating many benefits for cyclists, pedestrians and transit users. With examples from Zurich, Switzerland and Amherst, Massachusetts, Suzuki outlines some of the economic and social benefits of creating mixed-use transportation infrastructure. He also references the results of a recent study by Stantec Consulting, published here in the Globe and Mail, which shows that in reality, businesses suffer little and traffic congestion and travel delays are mitigated when bike lanes are present.
Back in November I wrote a letter in support of the permanent closure and expansion of Vancouver’s Robson Square. The issue is making headlines again, as the Vancouver Public Space Network collects signatures in support of this initiative. Unfortunately, according to this article in the Straight, this isn’t something that is going to happen immediately, with full transit service set to resume through the square after Labour Day. However, several City councillors and TransLink support the idea of a long-term study to create a transportation plan that would enable the permanent closure of the 800-block of Robson St. and expansion of a public square, while meeting the east-west transportation requirements of transit users in the downtown core. As of today, 75% of respondents support the permanent expansion of Robson Square. Cast your vote now!