Here’s a cool thought for a hot day:
As far as I can tell, the diverter at Chilco and Robson marked the first traffic calming of its kind in North America.
It was part of a system of miniparks and barriers constructed West of Denman Street in 1973 to discourage short-cutting traffic. Thirty-three years later we can appreciate how literally ground-breaking it was.
A much more detailed story of how it came to be can be found in the current issue of SFU City – the e-magazine of the City Program. You can find it here.
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The change to streets in the West End for traffic calming has made significant improvement to the neighbourhood. And it wasn’t the first to do so, since under other planning programs in Ontario, roads were blocked off, then made into connective park spaces; street ends were unpaved, then greened. School grounds were connected to parks, and even parking lots were transformed into playgrounds.
I’m always wondering when we say we’re first at something, since many creative people in many different cities often come to the same conclusions…and that’s great!