How can we reach our 2020
Greenest City Targets?

GC 2020

How can we reach our 2020 Greenest City targets?

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  1. Have all of the city's fleet of vehicles be electric and plug-in hybrid (when possible).

    Have electric vehicles for short distance trips and plug-in hybrids for longer trips. Also, have all new heavy trucks (like garbage trucks) be diesel hybrid.

    39 votes
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    • Covered bicycle parking

      Cycling in the rain's not so bad, but getting on a wet bicycle is not so great. We need to get more bicycle parking in sheltered areas where the bike is dry when you need it.

      8 votes
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      • Reclaim road and/or parking space to create plazas and parklets.

        Over 30% of the city's land is street space, and about half of that area is paved for roads. Vancouver should follow in the steps of cities like New York, San Francisco, and Paris, redefining public space to put people first.

        Public plazas and parklets could be created by temporarily and inexpensively reclaiming paved areas using things like simple barriers, paint, potted plants, and movable furniture. If the new public spaces are successful, permanent reclaimation could be considered. San Francisco's Pavement to Parks program provides a great example for how this could be pursued.

        Links: http://sfpavementtoparks.sfplanning.org/ (San Francisco Pavement to…

        394 votes
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        • Unbundle parking and housing costs

          Many people assume parking is free or inexpensive since it is usually included in the cost of housing. In reality, it is a significant hidden cost -- by some estimates, the cost of a single residential parking space can be $40,000 to $50,000 or even greater. People are more likely to own a car and to drive if they've already paid for a parking space.

          Vancouver should explore policies that separate (or 'unbundle') the cost of parking from the cost of housing. This gives home-owners or renters an opportunity to pay for housing without paying for attached parking, increasing both…

          176 votes
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            The City has supported projects that have voluntarily unbundled parking (e.g. Spectrum), and is actively working to gain authority to require unbundling in new development — this requires changes to Provincial legislation. In 2008, the City proposed the Unbundled Parking Resolution to give BC municipalities the authority to require unbundling in new development. This was passed by the Union of BC Municipalities. Provincial response to date: The Ministry of Community Development will review the proposal and refer the issue to the Development Finance Review Committee for discussion.

          • Provide abundant & secure bicycle parking at transit stations & other key locations.

            For many people who live too far from a transit station to walk, cycling could be a great option--if they only had a safe place to leave their bike. Unfortunately bicycle theft is a common occurance in major cities, and Vancouver is no exception.

            Abundant and secure bicycle parking (e.g. 'bike stations') should be provided at transit stations and other key locations throughout the city (e.g. downtown Granville Island). Security can be enhanced through smartcard access, security cameras, and/or an attendant. Depending on the location and demand, additional end-of-trip amenities such as lockers, showers, and repair shops could also be…

            360 votes
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              This is acknowledged as a key strategy to better integrate cycling and transit. In 07/2009 the City committed some funding for secure parking facilities at Broadway-City Hall and Olympic Village Canada Line stations. The City has also conducted a feasibility study for a downtown bike centre.

            • Cycling for Everyone: Develop a complete cycling network that feels safe and attractive to all

              Studies show that most people are open to the idea of cycling, but are discouraged by routes that don't feel safe enough. Vancouver should build a complete network of cycling routes that feel safe and attractive to all, including children, seniors, and novice cyclists. On arterials and other busy streets, bike routes should be physically separated from traffic by curbs, planters, parked cars or other barriers (the Carrall Street Greenway and new Dunsmuir bike lanes are good examples). Quieter neighbourhood routes can be made safer through improved traffic calming including reduced motor vehicle speed limits.

              Links: http://vancouver.ca/cycling (City of Vancouver), …

              1,002 votes
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                An ongoing process. Many of the City’s recent initiatives (e.g. downtown separated bike lane trial, additional traffic calming on existing routes) work towards this vision. The draft Greenest City action plan will support this idea, and include directions to help inform the upcoming transportation plan update and new active transportation plan.

              • Improve Neighbourhood Roundabouts to provide for safe pedestrian crossing

                Neighbourhood roundabouts are being developed across the city. These roundabouts serve to maintain a comfortable traffic flow for cars and cyclists on residential streets. Unfortunately, due to their design, these roundabouts fail to provide security for pedestrians since there are no visual cues to suggest that pedestrians even have a right to cross the street. In a local classroom survey, grade 4’s exclaimed that they feel unsafe crossing at these roundabouts and I regularly see uncertainty in the eyes and actions of pedestrians crossing at roundabouts.

                There are a number of ways to improve this situation. Here are two examples:

                6 votes
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                • Granville bike/walking corridor

                  Granville street was happily car free for years. Cars fluidly use Seymore and Howe for accessing the Granville St. bridge. Let's eliminate the road and parking on Granville St. and replace it with a two way bike path, gardens/parks, public gathering areas and outdoor eating. Having an alternative transportation area in the core of our city will be a strong symbol of our goals.

                  5 votes
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                    The Rediscover Granville program was a big success in 2009, and the City will be looking to continue and build upon this work in future years. More broadly, the draft Greenest City plan will include directions to explore pedestrian-only and pedestrian-priority streets in the downtown core. Potential locations will be identified at a later date (e.g. as part of the transportation plan update).

                  • Attractive Sidewalks *

                    Beautify pedestrian ways to attract more walking, with:
                    - rainbow / sparkly sidewalks in high traffic areas
                    - sidewalk canopies: tree overhangs, resident-owned PV
                    - incentives for merchants to beautify their sidewalk area
                    - neighbourhood identity expressed by residents' design for sidewalks
                    - textured pavement to define pedestrian areas, or neighbourhoods
                    - "pedestrianscape" that allows the pedestrian to explore a delightful journey as the travel past varied points of interest along their walk
                    - sidewalk cafes, laneways pubs / cafes / restaurants
                    - separate lanes for pedestrian, wheeled traffic: rollerblading & skateboarding, bikes, cars
                    - buffers between separate lanes of…

                    23 votes
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                      The quality and attractiveness of the pedestrian experience is a primary consideration in public realm planning and design. However, there is an opportunity to be more creative in the design of specific elements, such as sidewalk materials, and incentives/requirements for pedestrian-oriented building design and facade improvements.

                    • 'Pedestrianize' Robson St. permanently (no cars) - or at least do a 6 month trial

                      Studies show that commercial streets (full of shops, cafes and restaurants) that have been converted into foot or bicycle traffic only, have dramatic increases in public activity and economic growth.

                      Do you know any other streets that would benefit from this? Leave your comment below!

                      52 votes
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                        The draft Greenest City plan will include directions to explore pedestrian-only and pedestrian-priority streets in the downtown core. Potential locations will be identified at a later date (e.g. as part of the transportation plan update).

                      • Paint bicycle lanes red

                        While concrete planters are very pretty and effective in protecting cyclists from motor traffic, they are also quite expensive and take up space to use everywhere. To increase the visibility of on-road and off-road bike paths, paving the bike routes will remind drivers there are cyclists coming by and raise the general prominence of this type of transportation while also allowing for a softer/ less resistance pavement to be used for smaller footprint/ lighter bicycles.

                        8 votes
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                          City crews have marked potential conflict areas on the Dunsmuir separated bikeway—i.e. intersections, driveway paths, and bike boxes—in bright green. It’s intended to remind all users—cyclists, drivers, and pedestrians alike—to be a little more mindful in these areas.

                          This approach could be rolled out elsewhere if it is shown to be effective.

                          We have chosen the colour—a bright, reflective green that is visible even on dark, rainy winter days—as it is an emerging North American standard for cycling facilities. We’re moving away from the colour we used to use, red, since it has recently become the standard for transit. Blue designates special accessibility zones.

                        • SMS (text) mobile phone alerts for bike route changes

                          Few things deter cyclists and would-be cyclists like our too frequent unannounced changes to safe biking routes due to construction and other inconveniences.

                          Using the city's database, cyclists could subscribe to a 'push' SMS message services that would alert them to any changes to their preferred route(s). The messages would also provide alternate safe routes.

                          3 votes
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                          • Covered bike racks like these from San Francisco (South Park) #bikearc http://ow.ly/i/2AC9

                            Covered bike racks to keep people's seats dry during the rainy season would increase accessibility and make it more attractive to ride through the winter. This design isn't perfect but it gives you an idea of what we could do.

                            15 votes
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                            • Install outlets for electric vehicles in parking lots

                              [Submitted via email]

                              Consider a downtown parking lot with outlets so plugin electric hybrids can recharge. Could have some type of metre.

                              13 votes
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                              • Work with school districts to make commuter cycling/bike confidence skills part of Phys-Ed

                                Like most cities, there are different sorts of routes for biking - from trails, to physically separate lanes, to painted lanes, or signed shared bike routes. In order to take full advantage of these the City should work with School Districts to help support cycling as a Phys-Ed requirement - working up to kids going on field trips on bikes. There could also be hardscape bike-training space with miniature lanes in neighbourhood parks for families to take their kids to practice riding.

                                37 votes
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                                • 11 votes
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                                    The draft Greenest City Action Plan will include directions to advance parking policies that encourage a reduction in vehicle ownership and driving, support sustainable transportation choices, and increase housing affordability near transit. Better management of curbside parking will help to reduce cruising and congestion caused by drivers searching for an available space. Redesigning the residential parking permit program will address parking spillover concerns associated with off-street reductions and better reflect actual street space value.

                                  • Increase residential density to achieve efficient land use and high walking/cycling/transit mobility

                                    Our high dependence on gasoline for transportation is largely due to our lifestyle of single-family dwellings. When density is increased, we would be reducing long-distance commutes and automatically encouraging people to walk and bike. Public transportation would also see more riders and be used more effectively. Higher residential density also means more efficient land use. The greenest city would need to protect its forests and restrict the area of urban development. This density is best accomplished by zoning schemes that discourage single-family dwellings and encourage mixed-use high-density developments. Ideally, there would be one day when some of our low density…

                                    32 votes
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                                      As the City reviews land use policy and development bylaws through Community, Central Area, and City-Wide planning programs, opportunities for increased residential density (particularly in walkable neighbourhoods with good transit connections) are actively pursued (in balance with concerns for neighbourhood character and community involvement in city building decisions at the neighbourhood level).

                                    • Encourage the use of existing greenways by discouraging commuter cars using them

                                      Simple changes to targetted parts of the greenways could reduce car traffic and therefore encourage more cycling. The existing greenway I use (midway bikeway, along 37th from Balaclava to West Boulevard) is also used quite heavily by cars as a way of avoiding 41st. The road is narrow especially towards W.Blvd and despite having speed bumps and mini roundabouts it has not deterred cars from using this route. I would like to see the use of diverters and one way access (like the do in the west end) so that only cyclists and local residents end up using this.

                                      26 votes
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                                        Traffic calming is an integral part of bikeway and greenway design, but there is room for improvement. The draft Greenest City Action Plan will include directions to go further with traffic calming and through-traffic restrictions on neighbourhood bikeways and greenways. This will be elaborated upon further in future detailed planning efforts (e.g. forthcoming transportation plan update, cycling master plan, specific greenway designs).

                                      • Change traffic laws on bikeways

                                        Now that we are investing in improving our (already mostly amazing) separated bikeways, it's time to change the laws on them to reflect the reality that riding a bike is different from driving a car, and the rules of the road were made for cars. I am tired of explaining to people who have never ridden a bike in the city why it's not feasible to stop at every stop sign, esp when they are quiet 4 way stops, at the bottom of a hill, etc. There seems to be a backlash among drivers that cyclists are out of control…

                                        52 votes
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                                          The City recently began implementing 30-km/h speed limits on local street bikeways.

                                          Other measures may require changes to provincial legislation. In these cases, the City’s role will be to advocate for appropriate changes to the legislative framework around cycling.

                                        • Create more affordable family housing within easy walking/biking/transit radius of downtown.

                                          We need more family housing (i.e. 3-bedroom units that real people with under-$100K incomes can afford) within easy walking/biking/transit radius of downtown. Studies have shown that 20 minutes is the maximum work commute that people can withstand before they start to accrue major daily stress. And coincidentally, letting people live ... See Moreclose to their jobs leads to massive reduction in auto emissions.

                                          How to create affordable housing?

                                          - Force developers to offer a mandatory number of units beyond the tiny 1-bedroom and 1+den units that currently dominate the market.
                                          - Take over apartment buildings and convert them to co-ops. …

                                          404 votes
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