Stephen Rees's blog

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

“I’ve seen one possible future for Vancouver and it’s scary”

with 10 comments

The quote is the headline for a blog piece by Daniel Fontaine. He is “a former Chief of Staff to Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan and … a commentator for the civic affairs panel on the top-rated Bill Good Show”. He is one of the several authors on, which is not a site I frequent, but it got tweeted about.

A trip with his family to Disneyland has convinced him that the LA solution to traffic – building more and wider freeways – has not worked. Someone known only by the intials JP commented

There are some excellent local blogs (Stephen Rees and Gordon Price) that have repeatably mentioned that building lane capacity only invites congestion.

Shame that JP didn’t actually provide a link here, but Google will find me, of course, so thanks go to JP.

But what the tweeters noticed was the way that a former opponent of the Burrard Bridge cycle lane trial seems to have seen the light.

I grudgingly admit that I am even looking at the recent lane re-allocation trial on the Burrard Bridge in a different light. If the future of Metro Vancouver really does look even a little like LA, and facilitating more vehicle use will get us there, then perhaps removing one lane on a six lane bridge wasn’t so bad a decision after all. Dare I say it might even be time to retire our $35 dollar “” investment and prepare for the onslaught of “I told you so” emails. I’ve asked to put this topic on the agenda for our next backroom CityCaucus corporate executive meeting next Wednesday. I’ll keep you posted.

It’s almost enough to make me follow the blog to see what happens. Or perhaps one of my regulars would like to volunteer for that duty.

Written by Stephen Rees

August 13, 2009 at 4:35 pm

Posted in politics, Traffic

10 Responses

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  1. I was out in Langley today to pick up a rental car.

    The horror.


    August 13, 2009 at 5:18 pm

  2. Too bad. I was enjoying Around 75% of comments were in favour of the lane reallocation. It hasn’t gotten much traffic lately though.


    August 13, 2009 at 7:07 pm

  3. Sorry Stephen, I should finally learn some lines of html.

    The city caucus blog has been reading a bit like The Province, but seeing how it’s staffed by backroom politico’s that’s to be expected. Not necessarily attacking the ideas, but more trying to score points against civic politicians (ie Gregor’s Gridlock).

    And speaking of different opinions, Douglas Todd at the Vancouver Sun has been posting some interesting blog posts (they didn’t make it to print) concerning allocating road space and that Vancouver has reached the point where the low hanging fruit of bicycle infrastructure has been picked, and now the heavy work begins.


    August 13, 2009 at 7:30 pm

  4. Your are right, JP, that Todd article is both enlightened and enlightening – thanks for the link.

    And someone else passed along this link to a review by the CBC of safety advice to cyclists

    Cyclists in North America are twice as likely to be killed and eight times more likely to be seriously injured than cyclists in Germany and three times as likely to be killed and 30 times as likely to suffer serious injuries than cyclists in the Netherlands.

    Stephen Rees

    August 13, 2009 at 7:42 pm

  5. […] Posted by viewfromthe44 under Uncategorized Leave a Comment  Stephen Rees points me to a powerful, must-read post from Daniel Fontaine at City Caucus.  It’s his story of taking […]

  6. Stephen, nice to see that you’ll have one of your minions come read us now and again. Very tolerant of you.

    We’re used to the dismissive tone of commenters who like to shrug us off as shills for a political point of view or party hacks. So be it. But try to prove it conclusively. Those who read us know we’re non-discriminating in our criticism of all city politicos, particularly in Vancouver.

    I recommend to you and your readers to actually read us now and again instead of making belittling remarks. Perhaps some of your sacred cows will be challenged, perhaps we’ll validate your thinking. It’s unlikely we come from the same perspective though, and that’s why we blog, isn’t it.

    I’ll go and add a link to your site now.

    Mike Klassen

    August 15, 2009 at 8:10 am

  7. I don’t have “minions”. I also have little time to waste on right wing polemicists – especially those who like to pretend they are “non-partisan”. But there is more celebration over those who realize the error of their ways than those who have always trod the right path. Cities are about people – not corporations or business. Not what is supposedly good for the economy – only those things that can be priced are valued – but what is for the greater good. Those who think that the only measure of government is how low the taxes are miss most of the important issues completely. You may indeed be quite different than other right wing think tanks – I will for the time being give you the benefit of the doubt. But I will be indeed surprised if that supposition proves to be correct.

    Stephen Rees

    August 15, 2009 at 8:25 am

  8. Well, we’ve been blogging daily now for over seven months, and I’ve been writing and/or blogging for over 20 years. There’s lots to pick through to make your determination.

    Is it alright if I refer to you as a left wing polemicist in future, or would you prefer not? Perhaps we can hold off on the acidic labels once we know each other a little better.

    We can have a rousing debate on whether cities are just people or sustainable enterprises some time. For now I think we can both agree that our collective goal is the betterment of our communities, the health & safety of all parts of our society, and building a vibrant economy.

    We can split hairs on how we achieve all the above, but I know we both will concur there’s lots of room for improvement in the way cities are run.

    I look forward to that to and fro in the days to come. Now how about a link 😉

    Mike Klassen

    August 15, 2009 at 9:01 am

  9. You have already got a link in this story.

    And I have no control over what you write – and I would not waste my time worrying about how you refer to me. Although a few minutes on this blog might make you revise the simplicity of your conclusion.

    In the last seventh months you have had no impact on me until now. But Sam Sullivan certainly did – and I cannot say I was impressed with him. I am also not familiar with your writing. So up to now it is simply a case of “guilt by association”. But this experience is in itself instructive.

    And why is it that you are conducting this dialogue and not Daniel Fontaine?

    Stephen Rees

    August 15, 2009 at 9:11 am

  10. “Although a few minutes on this blog might make you revise the simplicity of your conclusion.”

    I’ll return you the courtesy if you do the same, of course.

    I have these dialogues regularly with Daniel and others. I’m not sure what you’re accusing him of, Stephen (maybe being a “right winger”? You may want to revise that opinion), but I think we can all be proud of our part in the public discussion on these issues.

    Thank you for sharing your views.

    Mike Klassen

    August 15, 2009 at 12:16 pm

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