Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Weekly Photo Challenge: Ascend

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via Photo Challenge: Ascend

201 stairs from the top to the beach

The Ascent from Wreck Beach to the road around Point Grey – also known as the University of British Columbia – where we had parked the car is 201 steep steps. As you can see from my photo.

My partner went up them at some speed and I trudged up behind her, not trying to keep up necessarily, but not wanting to lag too far behind.

Wreck Beach, by the way, is one of the famous attractions in Vancouver, and is even included on the sightseeing bus tours. Its fame stems from the designation as “clothing optional”. Such beaches are of course common in other countries. In North America, attitudes to public disrobing are still strongly influenced by puritanism – or prurience.  In February there were very few people on the beach and all were well wrapped up. There is an album of the photos I took that day on flickr.

What is missing of course is the moment when I decided to sit down on the steps, to catch my breath. There was a handrail and a support post, but a huge gap between the handrail and the step. I leaned against the post – and passed out. I have a heart condition, and at one time would faint with some frequency under stress. Once I came to Canada and did that, a thallium stress test was ordered which showed that I have cardiac ischemia – and subsequent investigations showed that the blockage in the artery was very old and calcified. So usually I no longer push myself to the point when I faint. I suppose I had simply forgotten to be careful enough. Anyway, no great damage was done – someone stopped on his way up to make sure that we got back to the car safely. I was more embarrassed than anything else.

I still tackle ascents – this one is on the Baden Powell Trail near Quarry Rock

 

Baden Powell Trail

which we did in 2016 with no ill effect.

And this one in the Pantheon in Paris

Vertiginous descent

And so far I am doing fine.

Written by Stephen Rees

December 13, 2017 at 12:11 pm

The Site C Decision

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Site C Construction July 2017 2

De Smog Canada image of Site C Construction

As I am sure most of you know, I think John Horgan has made a huge mistake. But this article in MacLeans comes to the opposite conclusion. So go read that then come back here, and I will tell you why Blake Shaffer is wrong.

OK he starts off on the right foot

Regardless of the decision, B.C. Hydro has spent $2.1 billion on the project that it cannot get back. It’s sunk. It’s irrelevant.

But then he conducts his analysis in terms of cost. And he picks the wrong conclusion from the right data. Cost overruns will quickly make this project uneconomic. That seems to me to be inevitable. It is well documented that transportation projects always seem to cost far more than anyone expected. And that applies to major infrastructure projects in general and very large hydro dams in particular.

If $10.7 billion becomes $12 billion, completing Site C becomes questionable.

It’s not “if” it is “when” – and based on the track record of this project so far, that will be sooner rather than later – although I also confidently expect that, also based on experience to date, that information will be obfuscated, withheld and even outright lied about.

There is only one brief paragraph about First Nations – and that seems to me to send a signal too. As though these concerns are somehow minor, just to be expected and easy to get around. I think he is wrong about that. It is one of those things where you cannot be relatively decent. You are either committed to improving relations or not. This is not something to be treated lightly. The track record of governments’ treatment of indigenous people in Canada is shameful. Sadly this simply continues in the same pattern and calling the dam “Reconciliation” instead of “Site C” is simply PR fluff. The BC government is going to find itself in court, once again, with the West Moberly First Nation. Nothing has changed. 3.5 million Google references to “west moberly first nations v. british columbia”.

the cost of alternative technologies will decrease – a reasonable stance, given history – then termination can be justified

No shit, Sherlock. The recent history of wind, solar and battery technology (just to name one of many storage options) has been declining cost. And it has always been true that investing more in conservation – better energy efficiency or “demand-side management” – was always cheaper than new build generation. That was true when I first came to BC to work in the Energy Efficiency Branch (of sacred memory) and is still true now.

But then the analysis stops. What, they ran out of space in the magazine? Because there is no mention of opportunity cost. Flooding the Peace River valley means you lose the ability to grow food there. There aren’t many in places in BC where you can grow fruit and vegetables. And with climate change we already know that we have lost the present source of much of those. California is where it came from up to now. In future, who knows. Not northern BC that’s for sure. And given that we know we have to adapt to climate change and become much more local in our focus if we are going to have a sustainable life style, that does not depend on air freight and trucking  – both heavily dependent on fossil fuels right now and having a hard time changing – losing the ability to grow our own food close to home might at least get a mention don’t you think?

POSTSCRIPT

Screen Shot 2017-12-13 at 1.09.02 PM

And here is a working version of that link for the doubters

ALSO read this article in De Smog blog about how the media failed to report this story all along the way.

And this piece in the Times Colonist by Marc Eliesen who is the former president and CEO of B.C. Hydro. He was an expert intervener in the BCUC Site C inquiry, and has served in executive positions throughout the energy sector in Canada, including chairman/CEO of Ontario Hydro and chairman of Manitoba Hydro. He says Horgan’s reasons are “utter nonsense”.

Furthermore, three experts state that the NDP can’t even do the basic math properly

Eoin Finn, a retired partner of KPMG, one of the world’s largest auditing firms, U.S. energy economist Robert McCullough and Harry Swain, a retired bank president with expertise in project financing,

and here are some choice quotes

“This is the stupidest capital decision ever made by a B.C. premier. I don’t know who is giving them accounting advice.” [Finn]

What’s appalling about this is that Cabinet has been advised by some people who simply don’t understand how the finance system works,” said Swain, the former CEO of Hambros Canada Inc. and a former board member of Hambros Bank Ltd. of London.

McCullough, whose testimony to a U.S. Senate Committee helped spark the criminal investigation into Enron, said recovery of an energy project’s termination cost is “a very common practice in the utility business and is addressed in every utility’s annual report.”

McCullough also pointed out that B.C.’s triple A credit rating has just been confirmed.

 

Written by Stephen Rees

December 12, 2017 at 5:56 pm

Posted in energy, Environment

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Remarkable Climate Action

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I get lots of Press Releases in my email. I don’t publish many of them. This one really is worth reading – and somehow I doubt this will get much coverage in the mainstream media.

Indigenous Climate Action rejects $150,000 award from Aviva Canada due to moral conflict with Aviva investments

 

 

Amiskwaciwâskahikan (Edmonton, Alberta), Treaty No. 6 – Early last week Indigenous Climate Action (ICA), an Indigenous-led climate justice project, received news they had won the Aviva Canada Community Legacy Award – a $150,000 award through the Aviva Community Fund competition. However, in a major turn of events, ICA made an unconventional decision to reject the award and cash prize because of a ‘direct contradiction’ between Aviva’s financial relationship with oil and gas projects and ICA’s vision, mission, and values.

 

Shortly after receiving news they were winners in the competition, ICA received information that Aviva plc, Aviva Canada’s parent company, held major passive investments (over half a billion  USD) in corporations operating in Alberta’s tar sands, including: Teck Resource Ltd (Frontier Open pit mine), Encana, Exxon, Imperial, Suncor, Chevron, Cenovus, Kinder Morgan (TransMountain pipeline), TransCanada (Keystone XL pipeline); and Enbridge (Line 3 pipeline)1. These investments, according to ICA, are in direct contradiction with their organizational mandate.

 

“We cannot in good conscience accept an award from a corporation that is financially associated with fossil fuel energy projects that violate the rights of Indigenous peoples and contribute to global climate change. Our organization is working to support Indigenous rights and address the climate crisis while Aviva is investing in corporations proposing or operating tar sands projects that threaten water, land, the climate and Indigenous rights,” stated Eriel Deranger, Executive Director of Indigenous Climate Action.

 

Aviva Canada and Aviva plc responded to ICA’s rejection of the award with openness and a willingness to begin discussion on divestment and how to move away from corporate investments in the tar sands. Aviva has already created the AVIVA: An Insurance Company’s Response To Climate Change(2016) and is a part of a move by the global insurance sector toward divesting from fossil fuels.

 

“There are other insurance companies who are taking the climate risk seriously, such as Swiss Re who recently have limited their underwriting of shale gas, tar sands and Arctic drilling projects. We want to see a major commitment from Aviva to climate action alongside their community fund and scientific research and a broader commitment to finding the mechanisms to divest from tar sands pipelines and projects. We need Aviva to look seriously into their investment in projects that are violating the rights of Indigenous Peoples, furthering the expansion of the Alberta tar sands infrastructure and pipelines which pose a major threat to the stability of the global climate,” stated Suzanne Dhaliwal, Director of the UK Tar Sands Network.

 

ICA and many Indigenous communities don’t feel there has been true progress to ensure the inclusion and protection of the rights of Indigenous peoples in the climate and divestment discourse, resulting in continued violations of Indigenous rights.

 

“Aviva invests in projects that are in violation of international human rights and Indigenous rights standards. Right now my people’s traditional food source, the wild sockeye salmon and our very survival is being threatened by the Trans Mountain project, while communities at the source have already faced decades of contamination and devastation.  Aviva needs to ensure they are on the right side of history and to do that, they must divest from projects that violate our rights and threaten our survival,” states Kanahus Manuel, a Secwepemc and Ktunaxa women at the helm of the Tiny House Warrior project – building tiny homes in the path of the proposed Trans Mountain pipeline.

 

“As a member of a community actively challenging tar sands expansion, I was shocked to learn Aviva invests in Teck Resources. Teck owns Frontier Mine — one of the largest proposed open pit tar sands mine just 16km from the boundary of a settlement near my community. I hope Aviva will take this opportunity to understand why these corporations should not be included in their investment portfolio,” added Deranger.

 

ICA hopes their rejection of the prize will move Aviva step up and show real leadership to adopt policies that result in substantive change. This moment could move Aviva, and the divestment conversation, forward to recognize Indigenous rights and cease all underwriting of tar sands corporations and full divestment from fossil fuels.

 

1 This is reflected in Aviva’s 13F disclosure filed with the Security and Exchange Commission on November 13, 2017 

 

2 Swiss and French re/insurers doing most to avoid coal underwriting, November 15, 2017 Environmental Finance 

 

 

Written by Stephen Rees

December 6, 2017 at 11:41 am

Weekly Photo Challenge: Cheeky

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via Photo Challenge: Cheeky

Cherub

Cherub climbing into a giant urn. Napoleon III’s apartment in the Louvre, Paris

Cheeky

Written by Stephen Rees

December 6, 2017 at 11:05 am

Posted in photography

Tagged with , , ,

Guest Post: Todd Litman’s VTPI News

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There has not been very much recently on this blog other than photo challenges and the like. That is because I had the feeling that much of what I was now writing was simply repeating what I had already written. It is bad enough boring yourself, but you should never bore your audience. Todd makes his living writing and talking about transportation policy – and he is never boring. He produces a regular email newsletter and in that states “please pass this newsletter on to others who may find it useful.” So this is what I am doing.

Everything below the line is simply cut and pasted from his email except for his snail mail address and telephone numbers.


 

 

———–

                 VTPI NEWS

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              Victoria Transport Policy Institute

“Efficiency – Equity – Clarity”

————————————-

Fall 2017    Vol. 17, No. 4

———————————–

The Victoria Transport Policy Institute is an independent research organization dedicated to developing innovative solutions to transportation problems. The VTPI website (www.vtpi.org ) has many resources addressing a wide range of transport planning and policy issues. VTPI also provides consulting services.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

NEW VTPI REPORTS

===================

Evaluating Public Transit Criticism: Systematic Analysis of Political Attacks on High Quality Transit and How Transportation Professionals Can Effectively Respond” (http://www.vtpi.org/railcrit.pdf ). High quality public transit, such as urban rail and Bus Rapid Transit, and Transit Oriented Development (TOD), can provide many benefits, including direct benefits to users and indirect benefits to other members of society. There is evidence of growing consumer demand for these options. As a result, many communities are investing significant resources to improve transit services and encourage TOD. A small but vocal group of critics attack these efforts. Critics argue that transit service improvements attract few riders, provide few benefits, are not cost effective, and are unfair to low-income residents and motorists. This report systematically evaluates these claims. Many of the critics’ arguments are based on inaccurate, incomplete or biased information. This report describes appropriate responses to inaccurate criticisms. This should be of interest to transportation professionals, public transit advocates, and anybody interested in determining optimal investments in transit service improvements and TOD.

 

A New Traffic Safety Paradigm” (http://www.vtpi.org/ntsp.pdf ). Despite decades of effort to increase traffic safety, motor vehicle accidents continue to impose high costs, particularly in the U.S. New strategies are needed to achieve ambitious traffic safety targets such as Vision Zero. Recent research improves our understanding of how transportation and land use factors affect traffic risks, and therefore how transport and development policy decisions can help increase safety. Applying this knowledge requires a paradigm shift: The current paradigm favors targeted safety programs that reduce special risks such as youth, senior and impaired driving, a new paradigm recognizes that all vehicle travel imposes risks, and so supports vehicle travel reduction strategies such as more multi-modal planning, efficient transport pricing, Smart Growth development policies, and other TDM strategies.

 

Greenhouse Gas Reductions and Implementation Possibilities for Pay-to-save Transportation Price-shifting Strategies” (www.vtpi.org/G&E_GHG.pdf and www.vtpi.org/Greenberg&Evans_GHG_Policies.pdf ), by Allen Greenberg and John (Jay) Evans. This report and presentation estimate the GHG emissions reductions that could be achieved by a bundle of price-shifting policies (no net increase in consumer costs), including pay-as-you-drive-and-you-save (PAYDAYS) car insurance, parking cash-out, and the conversion of new vehicle sales taxes to mileage taxes designed to raise equivalent revenue. These policies could be implemented by federal or state legislation or regulation. The analysis indicates that this package could reduce over two-thirds of the emission reductions provided by the EPA’s current Clean Power Plan Rule, and far more than the emissions reductions by a $50 per ton CO2e surcharge on transportation fuels.

 

Pay-As-You-Drive Insurance in BC – Backgrounder” (http://vtpi.org/PAYD%20in%20BC%20Backgrounder.pdf ). ‘Pay-As-You-Drive (PAYD) insurance is the best transportation policy reform you’ve probably never heard of.’ This short report describes why and how to implement PAYD insurance pricing for affordability, safety and emission reduction’s sake. This is a timely issue. The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) has applied for a 6.4% vehicle insurance rate increase (http://bit.ly/2BGVH4L ). As an intervener status, Todd Litman can request information and provide testimony concerning how vehicle travel affects crash rates, and therefore the actuarial justification for PAYD pricing.

 

Reforming Municipal Parking Policies to Align With Strategic Community Goals” (http://www.vtpi.org/vpr.pdf ). The City of Victoria is currently engaged in a parking policy review which proposes reducing some off-street parking requirements. These changes are good, but modest. This short report identifies much bolder reforms that would better align parking policies with other community goals. Although written for Victoria, the analysis and recommendations are appropriate for most municipalities.

*    *    *    *    *

 

PUBLISHED & PRESENTED ELSEWHERE

================================

Public Transportation’s Impact on Rural and Small Towns: A Vital Mobility Link” (www.trb.org/main/blurbs/176733.aspx). This report by Todd Litman for the American Public Transportation Association describes the important roles that public transit plays in small towns and rural communities, current trends that are increasing these demands, examples of rural community public transport programs, and responses to common rural transit myths. Public transportation helps rural communities become more efficient and equitable by ensuring that all residents, including non-drivers, enjoy independent mobility and receive a fair share of public spending on transportation facilities and services. Although public transit serves only a minor portion of total rural travel, many of those trips are crucial, including access to healthcare, basic shopping, employment and education. Current demographic and economic trends are increasing demands for affordable mobility options in rural communities, including ageing population, high poverty rates and a large portion of military veterans. Serving these demands can provide multiple benefits, but many of these benefits tend to be overlooked or undervalued in formal transportation planning.

 

Grounding Urban Walking and Cycling Research in a Political Economy Framework,‘ by

Meleckidzedeck Khayesi, Todd Litman, Eduardo Vasconcellos and Winnie Mitullah, published in “Non-Motorized Transport Integration into Urban Transport Planning in Africa” (http://bit.ly/2jdFEDP ). This book chapter examines the political economy that affects urban walking and cycling policy.

 

Transportation for Everyone: A New Accessibility Rating System” (http://bit.ly/2AMVqPY ). This Center for Sustainable Infrastructure Blog by Todd Litman describes how to determine whether a transportation system is multimodal and so can serve diverse users, including people who cannot, should not or prefer not to drive.

 

Determining Optimal Urban Expansion, Population and Vehicle Density, and Housing Types for Rapidly Growing Cities” (www.vtpi.org/WCTR_OC.pdf ), published in ‘Transportation Research Procedia.‘ This study by Todd Litman examines the economic, social and environmental impacts of various urban development factors including urban expansion, population and vehicle density, housing type, roadway design and management, and recreation facility availability. The results are used to create guidelines for urban development that optimizes for various planning objectives including openspace (farmland and habitat) preservation, efficient public infrastructure and services, public health and safety, efficient transportation, affordability, economic productivity and opportunity, and urban livability (local environmental quality). This analysis indicates that to be efficient and equitable, cities should provide diverse housing and transport options which respond to consumer demands, particularly affordable housing in accessible, multimodal neighborhoods, and affordable travel modes, with pricing or roadway management that favor resource-efficient modes, plus convenient access to parks and recreational facilities.

 

How to Do Efficient Congestion Pricing (Or Thoughts on William Vickrey)” (http://bit.ly/2ASLp4d ). This ‘Market Urbanism Website’ posting is based on a summary by Todd Litman (http://www.vtpi.org/vickrey.htm ) of Nobel Prizewinning economist William Vickrey’s recommendations for efficient road pricing. Without efficient pricing and suitable alternatives, such as high quality public transit traffic congestion is virtually unavoidable. When motorists say “no” to efficient road pricing they are saying “yes” to congestion.

 

The Million-Dollar Neighborhood: Walkable Mixed-Use Neighborhoods Can Help Families Build Wealth” (https://www.cnu.org/publicsquare/2017/08/07/million-dollar-neighborhood ). This article in the Congress of New Urbanism’s ‘Public Square’ magazine summarizes VTPI research on the direct economic benefits to households from living in Smart Growth communities. Since real estate appreciates and vehicles depreciate in value, households can significantly increase their long-term wealth by purchasing a home in a walkable urban neighborhood where they spend less on transportation and investment more in real estate. A typical household can gain a million dollars in additional equity over their working life. It is based on the VTPI report, “Selling Smart Growth” (www.vtpi.org/ssg ).

 

Transportation and the Challenge of Future-Proofing Our Cities” (http://bit.ly/2w6v5JX ). This ‘Governing Magazine’ article mentions the VTPI report, “Autonomous Vehicle Implementation Projections” (www.vtpi.org/avip ).

 

Recent Planetizen Blogs (www.planetizen.com/blog/2394 ):

 

The Many Problems With Autonomous Vehicles” (https://www.planetizen.com/blogs/95445 ). Optimists predict that autonomous vehicles will be a transportation panacea, but there are good reasons to be skeptical. They may create as many problems as they solve.

 

The Future of Mobility in Cities: Multimodal and Integrated” (https://www.planetizen.com/news/2017/10/95204 ). Ten principles developed by international non-governmental organizations are designed to guide urban decision-makers toward the best outcomes for the transition to new mobility options.

 

Responding to Public Transit Criticism” (https://www.planetizen.com/node/94729 ). Critics often use fallacious arguments and inaccurate evidence to attack public transit and Transit Oriented Development. Here are suggestions for responding to their false claims.

 

Let’s be friends. Todd Litman regularly posts on his Facebook page (www.facebook.com/todd.litman ). Befriend him now!

*    *    *    *    *

 

UPCOMING EVENTS

=======================

 

TRB Annual Meeting (www.trb.org )

Mind the Gap: Can Inclusive Cities Bridge Social Equity Disparities?” (https://annualmeeting.mytrb.org/Workshop/Details/7790 ), Sunday, 7 January 2018, 1:30 PM-4:30 PM, Convention Center

Todd Litman will discuss qualitative and quantitative measures of transportation equity in this multifaceted workshop. This analysis is important because transport planning decisions often have significant equity impacts.

 

Rethinking Sustainability for Agencies: It Is Much More Than Green Transportation” (https://annualmeeting.mytrb.org/InteractiveProgram/Details/8227 ), Monday 10:15 AM- 12:00 PM, Convention Center, 152A

NCHRP Report 750 noted that transportation agencies are challenged to build consensus around balancing short-term cost-effectiveness and long-term sustainability. Todd Litman will participate in this panel discussion of how organizations are making a transition to triple bottom-line sustainability.

 

“Selling Smart Growth” (https://www.nar.realtor ), 9 January, noon-1:00pm, National Association of Realtors Washington DC headquarters.

Households often make trade-offs between housing and transportation costs: they can purchase a cheaper house at the urban fringe where they must spend significantly more on transportation, or pay more for a home in a walkable urban neighborhood with lower transportation costs. In the short-run the costs often seem equal, but motor vehicles rapidly depreciate in value while urban real estate tends to appreciate, so shifting expenditures from transportation to housing tends to generate long-term household wealth. This presentation will discuss ways to measure and communicate the direct economic benefits to households, businesses and local communities that result when households choose Smart Growth, based on the report “Selling Smart Growth” (www.vtpi.org/ssg).

*    *    *    *    *

 

BEEN THERE, DONE THAT

=======================

Why Transit Oriented Development? Benefits for Everyone!” by Todd Litman, keynote presentation at the Eighth International Symposium on Transportation Demand Management (http://2017tdm.ntu.edu.tw ).

 

What’s So Good About EcoMobility? Understanding Co-Benefits” (http://bit.ly/2xTNpYR ), presented at the 2017 EcoMobility Festival (http://www.ecomobilityfestival.org ). Also see the “Kaohsiung Strategies for the Future of Urban Mobility” (http://bit.ly/2BIW9Qa ), a twelve-step program to creating more inclusive, livable and sustainable communities.

*    *    *    *    *

 

USEFUL RESOURCES

=================

Inclusionary Housing Calculator” (http://inclusionaryhousing.org/calculator ) can help evaluate development costs and the impacts that factors such as parking regulations and inclusionary housing policies would have on the profitability of development in a particular situation. For more discussion see: http://bit.ly/2wj6IWl .

 

Urban Amenity and Livability (http://bit.ly/2iNytp9 ), by the Australian Transport and Infrastructure Council (https://atap.gov.au ). The Australian Transport Assessment and Planning (ATAP) Guidelines provide guidance for transportation project Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) and appraisal. These now include guidance on how to evaluate the extent to which community design supports quality of life, health and the general well-being of residents. The Guidance describes practical approaches and implementation of these impacts into Cost-Benefit Analysis.

 

It’s Official: Mexico City Eliminates Mandatory Parking Minimums” (http://bit.ly/2ihUmJk ). Mexico City has taken a step that many urbanists advocate: they’ve eliminated parking minimums. “The policy change applies to every land use and throughout the entire city of 8.8 million residents,” Angie Schmitt reports for Streetsblog USA. “The old rules mandated parking even though only about 30 percent of Mexico City residents own cars and the city has a well-developed subway system.” Backers say this change will encourage more development around transit and save money for those renters and home buyers who are not interested in parking.

 

Forbidden City: How Los Angeles Banned Some of its Most Popular Buildings” (http://bit.ly/2f80h2q ). L.A.’s forbidden city consists of the many buildings that we inhabit, use and care about but that are illegal to build today. Some of Los Angeles’ most iconic building types, from the bungalow courts and dingbats common in our residential neighborhoods to Broadway’s ornate theaters and office buildings, share this strange fate of being appreciated, but for all practical purposes, banned.

 

Automobile Dependency as a Barrier to Vision Zero: Evidence from the States in the USA” (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aap.2017.07.012 ), by Hamed Ahangari, Carol Atkinson-Palombo and Norman Garrick, in ‘Accident Analysis and Prevention.’ Using sophisticated statistical analysis of U.S. crash rates this study found that the most important factors were Vehicles per Capita and Vehicle Miles Traveled, that state-level traffic fatality rates decline with urban density and walking rates, and there is little evidence that conventional traffic safety strategies, such as graduated driver’s license programs, provide significant safety benefits.

 

New Mobility Playbook” (http://bit.ly/2zLX6pr ), Seattle Department of Transportation.

This guidebook identifies integrated policies and strategies to foster new mobility options while prioritizing safety, equity, affordability, and sustainability.

 

The Not-so-Secret Trick to Cutting Solo Car Commutes: Charge for Parking by the Day” (http://bit.ly/2iLwp0R ), published in the Seattle Times. Charging for parking by the day, not by the month, is one of the most powerful tools that employers have to spur their employees not to drive alone to work.

 

Kicking the Drive-alone Habit has been Key to Seattle’s Economic Boom” (http://bit.ly/2kkFVZ6 ) and “Seattle Businesses Buy into the Vision of a Transit-driven Economy,” (http://bit.ly/2iLE8Mp ). These articles by Ethan Goffman describe the economic efficiency gains provided by Seattle’s multimodal transportation planning.

 

The Relationship Between Pedestrian Connectivity and Economic Productivity in Auckland’s City Centre” (http://bit.ly/2wc0VS1 ). This study for the Auckland Council investigates the contribution that walkability makes toward urban economic productivity by facilitating face-to-face interactions that increase knowledge generation and sharing. It found statistically significant positive associations between pedestrian accessibility and labour productivity, and so concluded that city center walkability improvements support economic development.

 

Commute Mode Diversity and Public Health: A Multivariate Analysis of 148 US Cities” (https://doi.org/10.1080/15568318.2017.1321705 ) by Chad Frederick, William Riggs and John Hans Gilderbloom, published in the ‘International Journal of Sustainable Transportation.’ Analyzing transportation and health indicators in 148 mid-sized U.S. urban areas, this study found significantly better health outcomes where fewer commuters drive alone to work, and that multimodal transportation planning (improving walking, cycling and public transit) can significantly improve public health.

 

America’s Addiction to Automobiles: Why Cities Need to Kick the Habit and How” (http://publisher.abc-clio.com/9781440852817 ), by Professor Chad Frederick. This new book uses detailed quantitative analysis to measure the impacts of motor vehicle travel on urban livability, public health and economic equality, examines ways that public policies contribute to excessive automobile dependency, and describes various policy responses. The book argues that multimodal and auto-dependent cities are categorically different kinds of city, and there are fundamental conflicts between higher rates of automobile travel and healthy community planning objectives.

 

Reducing Speeds for Better Mobility and Quality of Life” (http://bit.ly/2jL75Vd ) by Carlos Felipe Pardo. This lecture discusses the impacts of excessive urban traffic speeds and how speed management can increase efficiency and livability.

 

Problems and Prospects of Curbside Parking in Lahore: Policy Implications for Effective Management” (http://bit.ly/2ns0ELN ). This article by Salman Sabir and Ghulam Abbas Anjum examines why and how to improve curbside parking regulations and public transport to reduce parking problems in Lahore, India.

 

Street Mobility Project” (www.ucl.ac.uk/street-mobility ), includes several reports and a Toolkit for measuring community severance (roads that create barriers to walking and cycling) and improving walking conditions, particularly for seniors.

 

Cruel Musical Chairs (or, why is the rent so high?)” by the Sightline Institute (http://bit.ly/2nsGAsv ). This fun Sightline Institute video explains how increasing housing supply can increase housing affordability for everyone, including people who cannot afford new homes.

 

Cycling Towards a More Sustainable Transport Future” (http://bit.ly/2vOrWLy ). This editorial by John Pucher and Ralph Buehler published in ‘Transport Reviews’ describes progress in improving cycling conditions and encouraging cycling activity in many cities around the world.

 

“Bus Stop Urban Design” (www.kjzhang.com and http://bit.ly/2AuUP33 ). This information by Kevin Jingyi Zhang aims to improve the waiting environment of bus stops and their adjacent neighbourhoods through the development and application of 9 design techniques.

 

Demystifying Compact Urban Growth: Evidence From 300 Studies From Across the World” (http://bit.ly/2w3mHZa ). This review by Gabriel Ahlfeldt and Elisabetta Pietrostefani for the Coalition for Urban Transitions found significant positive effects of economic density (the number of people living or working in an area) and land use mix and recommend policies that maximize benefits and minimize costs of urban infill, to ensure efficient and equitable access in compact cities.

 

Mapping The Effects Of Parking Minimums” (http://bit.ly/2An6tyZ ). This article by Josh McCarty uses concrete data to illustrate the economic harms caused by parking minimums.

 

Streets Wide Shut – A Principle for Urban Streets” (http://bit.ly/2Bw4c1E ). This article by Professor David Levinson proposes an urban design principle: ‘No street should carry more than four lanes of private vehicle traffic in a city. No more than two of those lanes should go in the same direction. Most streets should be three, two, or one lane wide.’

*    *    *    *    *

 

Please let us know if you have comments or questions about any information in this newsletter, or if you would like to be removed from our email list. And please pass this newsletter on to others who may find it useful.

 

Sincerely,

Todd Litman

email litman (at) vtpi.org

Victoria Transport Policy Institute (www.vtpi.org)

 

Written by Stephen Rees

December 4, 2017 at 10:33 am

Posted in Transportation

Weekly Photo Challenge: Serene

with 4 comments

This week’s challenge is based on Ben Huberman’s experience of  “going off grid” which he describes as serene. Well we were “off grid” when we were on the cruise – but there were over 2,000 people with us. So although the cost and unreliability of internet and cell phone connections meant I did not use either very much, serenity was in short supply. Especially on the first night on board when we hit some very heavy weather.

On the other hand, like Ben, I live on the British Columbia coast. So we do find serenity – but by staying closer to home. And yes once you get away from the urbanised areas, cell phones and wifi do get harder to connect to.

IMG_1808

This is our local beach – which is not far from downtown Vancouver – but at low tide still manages to provide it own kind of serenity. And the cell phone service is fine here too.

Or to switch format from landscape panorama – and location – to portrait and Manning Park, which is a few hours drive inland.

IMG_1394

No cell phone or internet here either.

 

Written by Stephen Rees

November 29, 2017 at 10:07 am

Weekly Photo Challenge: Transformation

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via Photo Challenge: Transformation

I can’t do credit to the subject of today’s challenge in just one photo. Here are a series of photos taken at the Casa Santo Domingo in Antigua, Guatemala. This used to be a convent – now it has become a hotel, spa and houses a number of museums. Visitors are encouraged to wander around. It was the last stop on our walking tour of the old city. We had booked an excursion with the cruise ship company (Holland America) but decided to chose one that allowed us to wander around at our own pace, and look at the things we found interesting, rather than follow a guide. I would have liked to have spent more time here, since we had really left ourselves enough time as it did not sound like it was going to be the best part of the tour. There are a number of ruined monasteries and convents in the city, the result of the earthquake in 1773. The death toll was around 600 with about the same number dying of disease and starvation subsequently. The toll was particularly heavy on the occupants of these massive stone buildings and several still lie in ruins. We did visit another smaller scale hotel at Santa Catalina which was also a convent but nothing like as lavish as this one.

Casa Santo Domingo

Casa Santo Domingo

Casa Santo Domingo

Casa Santo Domingo

Casa Santo Domingo

Casa Santo Domingo

Casa Santo Domingo

Casa Santo Domingo

Casa Santo Domingo

Casa Santo Domingo

From convent to ruin to “best hotel in Antigua” – quite a Transformation. By the way in this picture – and some of the others – you can see the conical peak of one of the three volcanoes that encircle the town.

Written by Stephen Rees

November 22, 2017 at 1:49 pm