Almost as soon as I published my post about the plans for rapid transit along Broadway in Vancouver, city staff made a presentation to council stating their position that an underground Skytrain line is the only solution that will meet the demand. I share this position, but I feel that west of Arbutus Street – where the first phase of the subway would end – the development patterns and ridership levels change such that a subway is not the only technology which can handle the ridership. Since construction would likely stop there anyway, we have to ask if the change of mode from subway to something else should be permanent or temporary.
In my opinion, the following criteria should be used to decide if a permanent change of mode is a wise decision: Continue reading →
While George’s Trains brought me to Markham on a Saturday afternoon in early September, I decided to take some time to explore Markham Heritage Estates – a community where historic buildings that cannot be preserved in place can find sanctuary. Located just northwest of Markham’s historic downtown on a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cul-de-sac, one will find a collection of three-dozen or so excellently preserved examples of Markham’s built heritage dating as far back as 1830. It is a very innovative attempt at heritage preservation, and certainly is better than allowing these structures to fall to mysterious fires, but I feel that the town’s city’s approach misses one key point of heritage preservation.
After my last post on the Six Points interchange, a friend of mine who studied planning in Sweden wondered if the area can truly become pedestrian friendly. We both seemed to agree that fixing the interchange will improve the situation for pedestrians, but his point that wide suburban arteries present a barrier to true pedestrian-friendly neighbourhoods is a very good one. In an ideal world we would narrow the street the make it easier to cross and slow down traffic, but since such a suggestion would not be well received in this political climate, we must look for ways of turning wide suburban avenues into pedestrian-friendly streets without removing lanes. I believe it is possible, but we need to look across the ocean for inspiration. Continue reading →
Six Points - Bloor & Kipling, with Dundas & Bloor flying over.
The Six Points interchange is the location near Kipling subway station where Dundas Street, Bloor Street, Kipling Avenue and a number of local roads converge into a complex series of onramps and overpasses. It is clearly optimized for traffic flow (which it does well), but it is a pedestrian deadzone in an area which is a designated urban growth centre. As it stands now, residents of the tower complex at the southwest corner of the interchange cannot safely walk to the plaza across the street – and this will only get worse as the lands around the subway station are redeveloped. Continue reading →
On Friday morning, the Urban_Empress was watching Breakfast Television on CITY TV and saw that they were accepting nominations for viewers to ride the 148 km/h, 93m Leviathan rollercoaster at Canada’s Wonderland. She nominated me (being too chicken to do so herself), and somehow won me a spot. After riding the tallest, fastest roller coaster in Canada three times, I headed for home, passing Vaughan Mills mall just after rush hour.
The north frontage of the mall features Tuscany Place at Vaughan Mills, a collection of strip malls which appear to double the number of individual stores at the site. In addition to this, the southwest corner of the site features a small lifestyle centre not unlike the Shops at Don Mills. Tuscany place makes the property feel much more urban, but it suffers from design and operational flaws that underline some of the downsides of planning for the automobile. Continue reading →