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As we arrive at May, the need to ensure Vancouver's public space – and in particular it's street network - supports safe #PhysicalDistancing is as important as ever. The curve appears to be flattening in BC, but the challenges posed by #COVID19 are far from over. [Thread] /1
Back in March (which, using #COVIDTime, seems like a year ago) we came out w/recommendations for Open & Safe Streets. We’ve updated these a few times & will soon release a new version. Nicer design, more photos, illustrations by @Dereklansonlee of @pwlpartnership. Stay tuned! /2
Current version accessed here:… /3
After looking at the issues faced by residents & workers, we advocated for street-reallocation to support 4 key goals:
- Accessing daily needs & supporting business
- Safe commuting
- Recreation (for physical & mental health)
- Ensuring #MobilityEquity /4
We feel that these four goals provides Mayor @kennedystewart and members of @CityofVancouver Council an opportunity for Four Big #covidresponse Moves in response. /5
Vancouver took some important steps in early April, converting most of the roads in #StanleyPark to walk/bike only. A day later half the lanes on Beach Av were repurposed. These moves support recreational activity in two popular #WestEnd areas. (Photos: @pricetags)
A couple of weeks later, the @cityofvancouver introduced a new initiative called #RoomtoQueue – which reallocates curb lane parking spaces in front of key stores. At present, about 10 of these smaller interventions are in place around the city. (photo: @pwkrueger) /7
But there’s a lot more to be done. Meeting the 4 goals means focusing on BOTH the city-wide transportation network (SYSTEMS APPROACH), as well as smaller, site-specific changes (TACTICAL INTERVENTIONS). To be effective, it is important to do these in tandem. /8
Elsewhere around the world other cities have really upped their game. There are now over 110 cities reallocating street space for various walk/roll/bike #COVIDStreets programs. Many small-scale early #COVIDresponse initiatives are now being expanded. /9
Several cities are delivering substantial city-wide programs, including
- Portland: 160 km of “slow streets”
- Oakland: 120km
- Milan: 35 km zone
- Montreal: 10 full “corridor sanitaire” (commercial streets w lane reallocations)*
(*Canadian initiatives? see @place_canada) /10
It’s your turn to go big, Vancouver! Four key goals – with a mix of systems wide and tactical thinking. Let's use street reallocation to be bold and creative, support #physicaldistancing & BEAT #COVID19 /11
Think of “scaling up” and “scaling out”. Interventions can start modest & then be added to or expanded. As @MikeLydon says: it’s impt not to overthink the process. Experiment with simplicity! Go with the @PPS_Placemaking mantra & ID ways for #LighterQuickerCheaper changes. /12
We like to think of there being a ‘continuum of possibilities’ w/ street reallocation - that starts with simple modifications and, where time, budget, and interest allow, can be added to and improved. (Drawing by @Dereklansonlee of @pwlpartnership) /13
What might creative street reallocation look like in Vancouver nbhds? Here’s a few possibilities. #COVIDresponse
cc @christineeboyle @PtFry @LisaDominato @sarahkirby_yung @councillorwiebe @MelissaDeGenova @kennedystewart @rebeccaleebligh @CllrHardwick @JeanSwanson_ @AdrianeCarr
Many of our commercial high streets front onto 6-lane arterials. Push the parking lane out and reallocate the curb lane on either side to create wider sidewalks. /15
This type of lane reallocation supports queuing and access to daily needs, while creating a more generous (2m+) clear path on commercial sidewalks. /16
And, as this photo by @kwardvancouver illustrates – this type of intervention would make a HUGE difference in the #DTES – an area that has limited public space, and lots of small apartments. This is an opportunity to ensure neighbourhood-based equity. /17
On narrower 4-lane commercial streets, other interventions are possible: smaller "nodes", temporary parklets, platforms and barriers, partial lane re-allocations, etc. /18
Supporting local shops & services is critically important. In addition to providing goods & services, commercial streets often serve as the hearts of our neighbourhoods. Street reallocation can be an invaluable #placemaking tool for #covidresponse. @LOCObc @BusinessAreasBC /19
Side streets that “T” into commercial areas provide another opportunity. Transitioning some of these into temporary plazas would allow for well-spaced seating and gathering. (cc @francesbula ) /20
Another idea we call “green links”: the larger 1-2 block segments that connect commercial areas to neighbourhood parks, schools & other gathering areas. Reallocation+/or traffic calming + placemaking would strengthen these & supporting overall walkability.@fabulavancouver /21
There are also a number of city-wide policies that aim to prioritize walk/roll/bike mobility. One of them: the Greenways Plan (approved 1995). Some routes built. Many still aspirational. All together: one BIG council approved opportunity for #COVIDresponse @sandyjamesplan /22
Another: our city-wide bikeways network. A nicely spaced network of streets that could be further enhanced to support #physicaldistancing and provide space for physical and mental health /23
There are a number of ways that these city-wide networks could be improved: from traffic calming that treats "cars as guests" to more significant reallocation to walk/roll/bike only. Another big opportunity: community stewardship! /24
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