Future sites for Temporary Modular Housing

Has the City of Vancouver already telegraphed future sites for Temporary Modular Housing?

In a presentation by Director of Planning Gil Kelley, four CD-1 sites were identified to be amended to allow for Temporary Modular Housing (TMH).

These sites are City-owned. The sites are located at 2610 Grandview Highway, 4170 Nanaimo Street (back lot), 3098 S.E. Marine / 3099 E. Kent and 3560-3590 Walker Street. These sites had previously been added to a policy document at the time of referral. As well, Temporary Modular Housing Design Guidelines were also passed. The changes were approved at a Public Hearing on December 13, 2016. There were a number of concerns raised about the future of the Copley Orchard at the time, which makes up part of the CD-310 (a portion of that site, at 3590 Copley Street has since been redeveloped as a TMH project).

It’s worth noting that the four sites are all on the Eastside. There’s a map of the distribution of TMH in Vancouver in our previous post: Temporary Modular Housing in Vancouver today (May 5, 2020). There isn’t a single TMH site west of Oak Street. It’s an open question if and when additional TMH units are planned in Vancouver, as much of the funding for the construction and operation of TMH has come from the Province. Perhaps readers can provide suggestions for suitable sites to locate future TMH projects.

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Recalibrating the Vancouver Housing Strategy

Urban Design specialist Lewis Villegas presented to City Council on May 27th and he spoke about Recalibrating the Vancouver Housing Strategy. Villegas’ presentation can be found as a video over here. He has also made a blog post on this topic that contains additional details (introduction reproduced with permission below, please follow the link for the full post).

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Vancouver Council voted on 27 May 2020 to take a new look at the planning assumptions behind a plan to over-build growth projections by 250%. If there is one thing we can take away from the 2009 Financial Crisis, and the 2020 Covid-19 Crisis, is that when an event is designated with the appellation ‘crisis’ it signals the imperative for governments to act. The Vancouver Housing Crisis demands Council action.

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Fencing encloses sidewalk at Oppenheimer Park. Is this going too far? Should sidewalks be public space?

The City is encouraging more people to walk and is providing street space to do this in parts of Vancouver.

Meanwhile at Oppenheimer Park, the City took away the sidewalk for people to walk on. The court order extends only to the property line of park; it doesn’t cover the sidewalk. Of course, it is another question whether there should be a spiked fence running around the perimeter of the park. Considering that there are efforts to try to encourage people to walk and to give pedestrians and cyclists more room, this action appears to go in the opposite direction as it takes away public space.

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Bike share observations (rates, helmets and other notes)

Bike share rates in Vancouver ($12 / 24hrs) vs. Toronto ($7 / 24hrs). Mobi is offering a $3.75/single trip option for May

With transit cutbacks and physical distancing protocols, can bike share provide additional options to get around to a larger pool of residents?

For the month of May, Mobi Bikes has announced a $3.75 option for a half hour trip. This is still more expensive that the $3.25 fee in Toronto for a bike rental for half an hour. The 24 hour pass in Vancouver is $12 while in Toronto it is $7. The Toronto bike share system also has a $15 option for 3 days while Mobi has month for $25. The ‘overages’ for Mobi tend to be more, at $6 / half hour vs. $4 in Toronto, although the one time trip has a lower ‘overage fee’ of $3.75 for going past 30 minutes of use.

In Vancouver, there’s the additional expenses to the operator of having to provide a helmet. An open question is whether wearing a shared helmet during a pandemic is advisable. It also appears that some rental bikes don’t have the helmets (as these may have been lost). In a spot check, 6 parked bicycles had helmets out of 14 at a station beside Commercial Drive (photos below, this setup of course gives rental ‘options’ to get a bike with or without a helmet). This specific bike rental station was out of helmet liners. Of course, in these times, are helmets really needed, or could there be more flexibility in this area with respect to non-enforcement? Bike share users are of course free to bring their own helmets (and gloves, seat liner, etc.) if they wish.

Mobi is of course tied to the level of support given by the City and the sponsor, Shaw. While there have been cutbacks in TransLink, it’s worth noting that public transit is free. Is there more that could be done to promote alternate modes of transport such as bike share?

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Slow streets in Vancouver

Slow streets in Vancouver have arrived. The first 12km length of slow streets connects New Brighton Park to QE Park along existing cycling routes with traffic calming measures in place. This means only local traffic is permitted and there is no street parking or stopping near intersections. There is signage at the crossings of major arterials, a move that should discourage ‘rat-running’ by motorized vehicles. Pedestrians are allowed more space to pass each other by walking on the road. The bike routes are already 30km/hr zones. As of Saturday (May 23rd), the crossings at major arterials were not automated at traffic lights (hence ‘beg-buttons’ were still in use). The City’s website notes that “other routes across the city will be added in the coming weeks.”

Back in May of 2019, Vancouver City Council unanimously approved a pilot project for 30km/h speed limits on certain side streets. In Toronto the speed limit was reduced to 30km/h in 2015 for many inner-city streets The results of those changes have been looked at, for example in the study and summary: Lowering Speed Limit to 30 km/h in Toronto Drastically Improved Pedestrian Safety: Report. Perhaps there’s an opportunity for the City of Vancouver to consider deploying a wider 30km/h policy for side streets.

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References
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City Council + Public Hearings May 26 & 27, Park Board May 25: Heads up on controversial and critical topics

Drinking beer and wine in public spaces

The coming week has one Park Board meeting, on Regular Council meetings, two electronic Public Hearings, and one Council Standing Committee meeting. Here are quick links to agenda, and further below are CityHallWatch comments on selected items, plus the full agendas (check City site for latest versions). We encourage concerned citizens and groups to communicate with Commissioners and Mayor and Council if you have comments on any item. The agenda pages indicate how you can provide comments. See also our contact page here.

Park Board, May 25, 2020 6:30 pm
https://parkboardmeetings.vancouver.ca/2020/20200525/index.htm

Council Agenda, May 26, 2020 9:30 am https://council.vancouver.ca/20200526/regu20200526ag.htm

Council Committee Agenda, May 27, 2020 9:30 am https://council.vancouver.ca/20200527/pspc20200527ag.htm

Public Hearing Agenda, May 26, 2020 6:00 pm https://council.vancouver.ca/20200526/phea20200526ag.htm

Public Hearing Agenda, May 28, 2020 6:00 pm https://council.vancouver.ca/20200528/phea20200528ag.htm

Is drinking in public spaces coming to Vancouver?

Here are some selected items plus comments by CityHallWatch.

Park Board May 24, 2020, main topics are:

  1.  BC Hydro Request for Rights-of-Way in Nelson Park – Impacts & Engagement Results (for info)
  2. COVID-19 Pandemic – Parks & Recreation Reopening & Recovery Update (for info)
  3. General Manager’s Office Report (for info)

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Regular Council May 25, 2020

PRESENTATIONS

  1. COVID-19 Pandemic Impacts: Financial Mitigation and Restoration of City Service Plan

https://council.vancouver.ca/20200526/documents/p1.pdf

Excerpt: Patrice Impey, General Manager, Finance, Risk and Supply Chain Management, to present the report dated May 19, 2020. Staff outline project priorities and cost implications.

REPORTS

  1. Sewage and Rainwater Management Plan for Vancouver

https://council.vancouver.ca/20200526/documents/r1.pdf

Excerpt: The 2019 to 2022 Capital Plan has allocated $137 million for the renewal and separation of aging sewer pipes as part of the City’s ongoing renewal program. A further $111 million was planned for upgrades triggered by growth as part of a new program to respond to development. Based on current estimates, the cost to complete the separation of aging combined sewer pipes throughout the city as part of the renewal program is approximately $3.7 billion.

CityHallWatch comment: The impacts of growth on infrastructure is enormous, especially where large amounts of density are concentrated like development corridors where the services need huge upgrades to service the growth. Continue reading

In Vienna, housing is a destination

Hundertwasser House, Vienna

In Vienna, housing is a destination. More specifically, the Hundertwasser House is a tourist destination. This housing complex was completed in 1985. While it is a tiny bit out of the downtown core, visitors still flock in large numbers to see it. Further details on this housing complex can be found on the Vienna info website:
https://www.wien.info/en/sightseeing/sights/hundertwasser-house-vienna (Kegelgasse 37-39, 1030 Wien)
Vienna has often been ranked as the most liveable City in the world. There is a significant stock of affordable rental units in Vienna. Below are recent photos of Hundertwasser House.

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Reference
How Vienna ensures affordable housing for all with an extremely complicated housing system (July 9, 2017, Milwaukee Community Land Trust)