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

Archive for August 30th, 2011

“Vancouver drops from number 1 spot”

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The Vancouver Sun this morning reports on the Economist’s latest Liveability Index

“Vancouver drops from number 1 spot in livability survey for first time in nearly a decade” bleats the headline

Thanks to the Globe and Mail I have been able to find a link to the EIU survey. (WARNING – you do NOT get to read the report unless you buy it – and only the summary in return for registration. The EIU site is really really slow right now too.) The Sun does not do that. What was no surprise was the reason given – our transportation system. Until I read this

Instead it was an adjustment in Vancouver’s score for transport infrastructure, “reflecting recent intermittent closures of the key Malahat highway that resulted in a 0.7 percentage point decline in the city’s overall livability rating,” said the report.

This quote was published without comment by either the Sun or the Globe. Frankly I cannot believe that a quality newspaper can be quite so sloppy. The Malahat is on Vancouver Island. It is really important to Victoria and Nanaimo but not Vancouver. Can they be serious? Now if they had said Highway #1 and left it at that I would not be at all surprised. The current construction of the freeway expansion and the now half completed replacement Port Mann Bridge is indeed reducing the quality of service on that Highway. So have various closures in the interior but I doubt very much if many people who live and work in Vancouver were affected by that. Anymore than Malahat closures affect them.

Since it is inside the quote it shows that the EIU’s standards are slipping. Not ours (though Canadian newspapers should have said something). As if it matters.

For the sake of completeness here is a chunk from the Globe story

The Malahat Highway north of Victoria was closed for 22 hours in April after the crash of a fuel tanker truck.

Many Vancouverites are wondering why a highway closure on Vancouver Island — about 60 kilometres away — would affect the city’s score.

But Jon Copestake of the EIU told Global TV the ranking reflects what he calls “regional” traffic issues.

“The adjustment is miniscule, and should not be considered significant in the context of the overall score, but it was sufficient to drop Vancouver to third position behind Melbourne and Vienna,” the report said.

And when I went onto flickr I found this image on Raul Pacheco‘s photo stream. (It is Creative Commons licensed)

malahat and livability

UPDATE next day the Globe is still following up – there is an interview with the writer who wishes he had picked a better example – and the story was a trending topic on Twitter (oh wow). August was always known as “the silly season” on Fleet Street. This will all be forgotten after Labour Day. Meanwhile The Economist is sticking to its guns – and it still thinks the Malahat is within the Metro Vancouver region. Do these guys know how to use Google Maps?

UPDATE Friday September 2

Tweet 2011-09-02 at 8.01.59 AM - They are proud of the story trending!

Written by Stephen Rees

August 30, 2011 at 7:45 am

Posted in Transportation

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