Stephen Rees's blog

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

Posts Tagged ‘shopping

Busway outcry leaves transit scrambling

with 3 comments

Victoria Times Colonist

A couple of things here for the residents of Metro Vancouver to envy. First they still have effective control over their transit system – it is the Mayors who sit on the Regional Transit Commission who will make the decisions, and they will have to face the electorate. Secondly, there is still effective public consultation. Most of the article is about how the Commission and staff need more time to consider what they heard. Here of course what consultation does take place is perfunctory and there is no evidence that anything anyone says is heard let alone acted upon.

[Saanich Mayor Frank] Leonard said he is in favour of bus rapid transit, light-rail rapid transit, reducing car traffic and getting people into other options than their cars, but he concedes those are motherhood issues. “The high-level stuff is straightforward, it’s the details [that are the issue],” he said. “And I don’t know if holding open houses and workshops will ever lead to [business owners] coming out in favour of the project.”

But perhaps if they heard about places where reducing car traffic has actually helped retailers and increased their takings they might agree to a trial. All over the world city centres have watched as retail trade has been sucked out to the suburban shopping centres, malls and big boxes. And the most effective response has been to reduce or even eliminate through traffic from shopping streets. This creates a much nicer environment for shoppers, who tend to spend more time and visit more shops when they do not have to deal with lots of vehicle traffic, which makes crossing the street time consuming and makes the place noisy and smelly. Of course I am talking about urban places mostly outside of North America. In most of the US, conventional town centres (“downtown”) have been allowed to die, much to the Walton family’s enrichment.


Victoria
does have Blanshard Street to take the through traffic. Government Street is traffic calmed but remains open to cars. Business owners fears are real to them, but they protest too much. What is needed is better access and a better environment for all. Not lots of cars and on street parking

Written by Stephen Rees

April 6, 2008 at 7:18 am