January 19, 2014

Signs of Change: Historic moments on Vancouver’s streets

This is not Point Grey Road:

West End east denman traffic calming - 81

This took place sometime in 1981, if I recall correctly, on Cardero Street in the West End – part of the traffic-calming scheme that had been approved by voters as a local-area improvement (and not, as myth would have it, to discourage street prostitution).   It was not without controversy.

Many objected to the road closures and diverters because the scheme would create congestion, it was unfair, it was unsafe, it was too costly and too disruptive.  And, like the traffic calming that occurred west of Denman, (perhaps the first of its kind in North America), it went ahead.

Today, despite the fears and the close vote, it would be unthinkable to alter it, much less remove it.  The system has maintained the West End as a highly livable neighbourhood.

And so, once again …


January 18, 2014,  Point Grey Road at MacDonald.


Looking back over 40 years of this city’s history, from the changes that began in the early 1970s in the West End through all the subsequent controversies in Shaughnessy and Grandview, on bridges and streets, from bike lanes to greenways, from miniparks to parkettes , as we have steadily and consistently shifted away from the use of roads as predominantly corridors for cars, as we have accommodated more modes of movement more safely and beautifully, would we now go back and judge any of it a failure?  What would we change, what would we remove?

Point Grey Road is not likely to be the first place that happens.

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  1. Time will prove this to be a solid decision by city council. Traffic will adjust, citizens will love the new route, and in the future we will all wonder what all the fuss was about.This is a ballsy , courageous decision taken just before a civic election, and I thank the members of city council , to take the political risk to redefine transit corridors in Vancouver. This kind of leadership is attracting attention across the globe.