Stephen Rees's blog

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

Archive for December 12th, 2008

In the News : CBC: Car-free Sundays proposed for some Vancouver streets

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In the News : CBC: Car-free Sundays proposed for some Vancouver streets.

I got this from Andrea’s own blog via facebook. Boy I am getting to be a social media convert.

This comes up at the December 16 meeting and if you live in Vancouver I think it would be a  great help to drop Mayor and Council mayorandcouncil(at) a line to let them know how you feel.

Annual car-free days have become common in cities around the world, but making every summer Sunday car-free is still a new idea for most places. New York City ran a similar experiment in Manhattan last summer and Bogota, Colombia, has had car-free Sundays for decades.

Written by Stephen Rees

December 12, 2008 at 6:04 pm

Posted in car free day


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Written by Stephen Rees

December 12, 2008 at 5:35 pm

Funding Transit Elsewhere

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Two news stories today provide some insight into how other places are tacking the same problems that face us. And I am afraid neither is good news.

Greater Manchester in England has rejected congestion pricing by a very large margin.

A majority of voters in all of the region’s 10 boroughs voted against the plans, with 812,815 (79%) no votes and 218,860 (21%) in favour of the charge.

It means the application for government Transport Innovation Fund (TiF) cash will not now go ahead.

The overall turnout across the 12 local authorities was about 53.2% with 1,033,000 people casting their vote.

While the turnout was better than we get for our local elections, I still want to know why the other 1m voters did not care enough to go put a cross on a piece of paper.

Closer to home Seattle is still wondering what to do about its downtown viaduct. One of the options includes a commitment to increase transit service but there is a problem with that.

state Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond said the state money can’t be used for increases in Metro bus service that are part of the surface-transit package, because the state constitution requires gas taxes to go toward highways.

“There’s been no decision on, if transit service is part of the package, how that gets paid for,” she said.

That’s the problem with predicated taxation. It severely hampers choices. Originally the federal gas tax was also limited this way but that changed under ISTEA and now regional transportation planning agencies have the ability to choose from a wider range of options. Even so, federal funding is still restricted to capital projects – which gives an incentive to ignore maintenance and wait until replacement is needed to apply for new capital funds. That is one reason why America’s highway infrastructure is in such a poor condition.

It is also worth reading a bit further in the Seattle Times piece to see how political personalities influence these decisions. Of course the role of Mr Speaker has evolved quite differently south of the 49th.

Written by Stephen Rees

December 12, 2008 at 10:23 am