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 Parks Program),
An exciting idea!
Greenest City open house commented
Provide parking incentives for low emmision vechiles.
Vancouver Design Nerds commented
Here's a short video for a similar idea we came up with:
This idea was developed within a breakout group on Sept 17, 2010 at the Design Nerd Jam 4.4 Greenest City event, hosted by the Vancouver Design Nerds, with food sponsored by the City of Vancouver.
More info on VDN: www.designnerds.ca
I wonder if the sides of residential streets, which are basically used for parking in many parts of Vancouver, could be repaved using an open grid and plant system that would be pourous and add more green to our streets. We need to begin experimenting with alternate paving systems and lanes and parking areas seem to be a good place to start. It will take decades to develop and grow organic paving systems so we had better get started.
Vancouver Design Nerds commented
Can the city create a tool kit of by which residents can turn their street or block into a park for a trial period.
My hometown, Muenster in Germany has an underground bike park (secure and cheap). Would love to have something like that here:
It would be fantastic to see sidewalk life emerge in Vancouver, great for neighbourhoods, great for social cohesion and it would get people outside in their city. We should look at eliminating at least one lane on key commercial streets and turning it over to public art, cafes, performances, fruit trees ... and some of these should be covered or have some way to make them livable outside when it is raining. I live near 4th and would vote for trying this approach on 4th. Imagine if the restaurants on 4th had sidewalk seating, and if there were vendors of all sorts of interesting street food. Combined with a couple of pieces of public art on every block (Jeff Wall, Gathie Falk, Stan Douglas, Doug Coupland, Ken Lum, Sally Gregson ...) wow.
An example of Vancouver going in the opposite direction that is particularly egregious is the new on-side walk parking for Granville in the downtown core. Where other ciries invite pedestrians, cafes and lovers on their sidewalks and even closes entire neighbourhoods to car traffic (for instance, the capital of Slovenia), Vancouver redevelops Granville and creates infrastructure so a handful of cars can park right on the sidewalk.. Getting rid of these would be an early,action to take...
Janine Brossard commented
I agree! Check out my idea of using the vacant lots under the Georgia Street Viaduct for parks and cafes.
Apart from yes, yes, yes 3-votes yes, I have two points. One, please build shading from the rain so pedestrians can aim for these spots (and please do so beautifully). Two, granville street has a bunch of steps in the right direction, just want to recognise that. The parking bollards are cool, for example.
@ Juvarya, what a great image!
Juvarya Warsi commented
One of the most special moments of my life was walking around a corner in Barrio Gothica in Barcelona and stumbling upon a couple singing opera al fresco in a tiny plaza, accompanied by some music on a cassette recorder.
Public plazas and parks create a space for art, nature and community, and add much needed grace to city life.
We can supplement them with bistros, cafes, newsstands and tea shops. These steps and others are needed to make sure that these spaces are also safe, welcoming and well lit, and we avoid some of the seedier things in life going on there :)
Yes, yes, yes. And where we do have to have pavement lets try to make it pourous, have it filter runoff. We also need to reclaim more space for sidewalks so that we can have more street life. Our sidewalks should become green corridors for wildlife as well.
Peter Hoang commented
Very inspiring video from San Fran.
Pradeep K.Verma MBBS commented
Using constructed spaces to create plazas and parklets for social gathering surely is a powerful tool to foster socio- Socio-recreational pursuits that are desperately needed to start the identity building concept to make Vancouver the city where you get most hugs and help HUGS HALT (CLIAMTE) CHANGE movement to take off see how here http://vsrbc.web.officelive.com/HHC.aspx Identity of Vancouver has not yet been fully established, which is both a negative and a positive. Going a step further than the licence plate quote “Friendly Manitoba” Vancouver can announce itself to be the global hub for hugs where everyone is embraced and not alienated which is the most urgent need of time if sufficient collaboration amongst humans to attack our challenges is to be designed. That would be most consistent with the spirit of the notion HUGS HALT (CLIMATE) CHANGE that has been proposed and attempted but not yet embraced by the public. It would be a great boost to the culture, image and identity of Vancouver and most contemporary notion to adopt.
Clive Bolt commented
Great idea! Vancouver needs more pedestrianized streets in neighbourhood hubs such as Lonsdale in North Van, Robson Street downtown, Hamilton and Mainland in Yaletown, Commercial Drive, 4th Avenue or Cornwall Ave in kits.