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MOVments: Flirting, Getting Good Grades, and Hitching a Ride


 
This week brings some new takes on common Vancouver themes like public space interventions, cycling, and transit. You'll learn where to track down a mobile park, what people want in a bike route (and how to flirt while riding), and about a potential downside to our new transit fare system.
 
Park-A-Park. So the parklet at East 1st and Commercial has been around for a while (since the end of July) but by now many of us have had a chance to experience its unique and diminutive charms. As Julien Thomas, the urban interventionist who created the mobile Park-a-Park in collaboration with Emily Carr explains, the space is meant to encourage connection: “Sometimes conversations with strangers are very surface level, but I think if you add a twist, say, in a disposal bin on the corner of a busy street, really interesting conversations can happen.”
 
Cycling Report Card. The Vancouver Sun recently spoke to Kay Teschke about what Vancouver is doing right, and what it needs to work on in terms of cycling safety and infrastructure. According to Teschke, a UBC professor and cycling advocate, separated bike lanes are the way to go, hands down, for reasons of accessibility, comfort, and safety. Another possible benefit? Facilitating bicycle flirtations
 
Transitional Transit. We've all heard about the controversy around the Skytrain no longer accepting bus transfers with the implementation of the Compass card system. But the Georgia Straight brings up another valid point: the $6 price tag attached to Compass cards could make it very difficult for social service agencies to provide transit support to people living below the poverty line
 
Happy Birthday, Stanley Park. And lastly in honour of Stanley Park's 125th anniversary, an article exploring its influence on the city. (Oh, but wait, there's a bit of a dark side). 
 
At the MOVeum:
 
 
[Image: The Narrows, Stanley Park, ca. 1900. Photo courtesy of the City of Vancouver Archives, CVA 677-487]

MOVments: Being on (the Cutting) Edge

Sometimes there's a fine line between being on the cutting edge and just plain being on edge. This week we bring you two lovely stories of Vancouver's willingness to push boundaries and embrace new, fresh ideas. And for good measure: one story of a divisive new bike plan that has excited some and induced anxiety in others.

Beach Biking. We start with the story that's put some Vancouverites on edge: the freshly approved Kitsilano bike route that will see a one-kilometre stretch of Point Grey Road closed to commuter traffic. Many cyclists are loving the idea of biking directly between the Burrard Bridge and Jericho Beach, while some local residents fear the impact of 10,000 motorists being diverted onto their streets. Meanwhile The Tyee asks: Why was this such a controversial topic in the first place? And Gordon Price tells us to relax.

One Little Free Art Exchange. As the Globe and Mail reports, "It is believed Metro Vancouver has between five and 10 “little free libraries.” And now, one little free art exchange." Cheryl Cheeks' brain-child, the aptly named Dude Chilling Art Exchange, located in Mount Pleasant's Guelph Park (also known as Dude Chilling Park) was unveiled this weekend. We're pretty excited to check out the first public spot in Vancouver where you can swap anything from sculpture and paintings to poetry and photos.

Sunshine, Pride Week, and Rainbows. In other very exciting news: Davie Street Village unveiled Canada's first permanent rainbow crosswalk on Monday to kick off Vancouver's Pride Week celebrations. According to Spencer Chandra Herbert, NDP MLA for the West End, the colourful crosswalk symbolizes the city's unique contribution to gay rights across the country. Check it out at the corner of Davie and Bute.

At the MOVeum:
October 2 - Legacy Dinner
 
[Image: Rainbow Crosswalk on Davie Street. Photo courtesy of Sean Neild via Flickr]

MOVments: So Close and So Far

 
This week in MOVments we look at the ideas of proximity and distance in relation to transportation, services, tourist attractions, and more. We explore some stats on how Vancouverites are getting from point A to point B, funding community-specific services in the DTES, how a beach is benefiting from being close to the MOV, and a venue that at least one person feels is a little too close to its neighbours. 
 
Getting There. recent report to City Council revealed a dramatic increase in walking and cycling as modes of transportation in the city, with driving trips on a slight decline. Significantly, the proportion of women and girls walking and biking has also grown, which is "seen to be an indicator of the quality and safety of a city’s infrastructure." All of this is so good that some think we should actually be doing a little more braggingAnd speaking of sustainable transportation, check out these neat side-by-side videos of the same Skytrain route: one from today and one from 1986.
 
DTES Services. Two organizations that work closely with the DTES community are receiving funding from the City for continuing and expanded servicesWISH will receive a grant for expanded work with survival sex trade workers and the Aboriginal Community Career Employment Services Society (ACCESS) will receive money for their ongoing Residential Tenancy Branch. 
 
Kits Beach Hits the Big Time. Kitsilano Beach made it on to Reuters Top 10 City Beaches Around the World list. One of its selling points? Its proximity to this museum and other cultural attractions; the listing recommends hitting the beach as a stop on a jam-packed day of Vancouver sightseeing. 
 
Keep the WISE Alive. East Vancouver's WISE Hall has received a number of noise complaints in the past few months. While the complaints seem to be coming from one newcomer to the neighbourhood, Metro News reports that the event and live music venue is not taking any chances and has started a campaign to raise funds for additional soundproofing of the building. 
 
At the MOVeum:

June 19 - From Here to There: Stories of Food, Energy, and Transitioning to Resilient Communities
June 26 - Upcycled Urbanism Volunteer Orientation night
July 6 - Curator’s Talk & Tour Foncie's Fotos w/ Joan Seidl
July 13 - Upcycled Urbanism: A Design+Build Project for Everyone - Granville Street Build Day

[Image: Kits Beach, 1920s. Photo courtesy of the City of Vancouver Archives, CVA 770-92]

MOVments: Surviving the City, Reality TV, and E-Commerce

This week we look at the economic realities and struggles of big business, small business, and "anti-business." From the uncertain fate of the The Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts, to the changing landscape of independent bookstores in the city, and the meta-reality of the DTES anti-gentrification conflicts, we're exploring what it means to survive and succeed in Vancouver's economic wilderness.
 
Saving The Centre. Many in Vancouver's arts and culture scene are looking to the City to step in to save The Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts. The Centre is set to be sold to the Westside Church after struggling with economically viable programming as a large-scale venue. Will The Centre survive as an art space? We'll have to wait to find out.
 
Struggling to Sell Books. Francis Bula explores the economic ups and downs of Vancouver's best-loved independent bookstores of the past and present in this recent article. Some of the culprits behind slumping sales are easy to identify - the rise of e-commerce to name one - but others are more surprising (and more Vancouver-specific). She also examines stores like Kidsbooks and Pulpfiction Books that are surviving and thriving against some pretty bleak odds.
 
Reality TV Gets Real. Did the reality presented in the television show Gastown Gamble contribute to the current anti-gentrification protests in the DTES? Llewellyn Hinkes-Jones of The Atlantic Cities seems to think so. The show follows Mark Brand's journey as the socially-conscious owner of Save on Meats. As Hinkes-Jones says, "For many of the at-risk locals whom Brand has hired, he's a legitimate hero. But there's also little doubt the show's subject — the renovation of a historic Downtown Eastside business to make it more appealing to upscale customers — is exactly the sort of effort that's caused much of the distrust among the protesters."
 
And On a Not Entirely Related Note...it's Bike to Work Week! Check out this neat initiative co-produced by Vancouver is Awesome with Penny Smash funds. Definitely some of the most fun you'll have getting to work in the morning.
 
At the MOVeum:
 
 
[Image: Shelves at Pulpfiction on Main. Photo by Richard Erirksson via Flickr]

MOVments: Envisioning Our Streets

In this week's instalment of MOVments we explore a few developments related to Vancouver's winding roads, busy intersections, thriving bike paths, and the conversations and interactions that are happening alongside them. There's a food cart that some would prefer to see driving away from its current Commercial Drive home, a cold weather shelter that some want removed from its Yaletown neighbourhood, and finally a cycling culture that some hope will spread to every street in the city.
 
Commercial Controversy. It turns out that the first food truck on Commercial Drive is causing a bit of tension with its neighbours. After paying to be stationed at Grandview Park, the neighbourhood BIA has asked The Daily Catch truck to move to a costly on-street parking spot. This comes after neighbouring businesses complained of the truck blocking views of the park, generating unwanted noise, and well, unwanted competition. It's becoming clear that the situation may have broader implications for the future of food trucks on the Drive. 
 
Street HEAT. A small group of Yaletown residents are complaining of the impact of a cold-weather shelter on what they perceive to be the safety of the community. While some are attacking the increase of public rowdiness and discarded needles in outdoor spaces near the Seymour Street shelter, Councillor Kerry Jang points out that the diverse area has actually been undergoing needle sweeps for the past 20 years. He also told Global News that the possible problems associated with the shelter's location are outweighed by the benefits:"We had to make a hard decision between saving lives and inconveniencing an area, and our choice was to save lives."
 
Cycling Culture. Lastly, we wanted to say that we love this Vancouver Magazine piece on Jinhua Zhao and Chris Bruntlett, two outspoken cycling activists in the city. Both are calling for innovative strategies to increase ridership in Vancouver and for a pervasive cultural shift in how we see cycling. And that's not all: the BC Cycling Coalition and its affiliates are also working to raise the profile of cycling issues before this spring's provincial election. However, it looks like car use downtown may also be getting a boost with the possibility of this new five-storey underground parking lot
 
At the MOVeum:
 
 
[Image: West Pender. Photo by Ashley Fisher via Flickr]

MOVments

TransLink. As it celebrates Skytrain's 25th year, TransLink reports another year of record ridership, with little funding to increase service to meet the demand. The question then, is how to fund improvements?

Social housing. A social housing project for girls and young women is the latest space of controversy in the Downtown Eastside, because some feel that the location leaves them vulnerable to exploitation. Francis Bula shares a letter from Janice Abbot explaining the project. Debate in the comments is both interesting and heated.

Robson square. Granville Street and Robson Square are soon to return to normal when they are opened to traffic on September 5. Spacing shares a video of what it looked like during Picnurbia and other public programming by VIVA Vancouver.

Buskers. The Dependent remembers the beginnings of regulations targeting buskers and other street performers on Vancouver streets.

Nude-in. On August 23, 1970 demonstrators held a nude-in at Wreck Beach to protest the arrests of nudists at the beach. The court case and the ensuing protests helped ensure Wreck's place in our collective consciousness.

Curtain call. The Pantages Theatre and neighbouring buildings are finally coming down. The Straight has pictures of the extent of the demolition.

Velo-city. Copenhagenize shares some vintage photos of Vancouver cyclists during a time when the car was king.

It's a dirty job, but... OpenFile visits the sewers with one of Vancouver's dragging crews.

Beatlemania! Hysterical fans got so out of hand at the Beatles' only appearance at Empire Stadium that Red Robinson was called in to quiet down the crowd. The Beatles told him to "get the fuck off the stage," but ended their set shortly afterward and made a hasty escape. Tickets were just $3.25. Thanks, The Dependent and Past Tense for digging this trivia up this week.

Image: fi_chince via flickr

MOVments

Picnurbia is a pop-up installation of picnic benches and artificial turf at Robson Square as part of VIVA Vancouver. Perhaps installations like this can help us re-evaluate the way we think about public space.

Homelessness. The city's new housing plan reveals that five neighbourhoods outside of the Downtown Eastside will be targeted for the construction of homeless shelters and supportive housing.

Renting. The Tyee's Reporting Fellowships are turning out some good stories: this week an in depth series about renovictions and affordable rental housing in Vancouver. Catch them all here.

Humanitarian architecture. Two Vancouver-based architects are recycling the fabric from the Vancouver Trade and Convention Centre's old sail roof into projects for Architecture for Humanity.

Community awards. The City of Surrey has launched the City Awards Program, a variety of awards to recognize people for community spirit, clean energy, urban design and beautification.

Cycling infrastructure. Another update on the Coal Harbour seawall connection: it still sucks for cyclists. A little further down the seawall, installing consistent signage and adequate infrastructure for cyclists at Stanley Park doesn't seem to be a high priority either.

Just who are bike thieves anyway? The Dependent talks to bike thieves and learns about the tools of the trade.

Earthquake preparedness. An engineering report has found that both City Hall and it's data are vulnerable in the event of a major earthquake.

Data mapping. The Vancouver Sun has created a series of interactive maps with data from the 2006 census.

The road not taken. Forty years ago Vancouver and Hamilton shared many similarities. Nicholas Kevlahan takes a detailed look at how they diverged.

Image: Krista Jahnke for Loose Affiliates

MOVments

The missing link. The seawall is finally connected in Coal Harbour. Gordon Price visited to check it out and found that on the whole, the link is pretty confusing. A second visit revealed that not much had improved on one of our most famous and beloved urban spaces.

Pipe exchange. Keeping in line with it's harm reduction strategy, Vancouver Coastal Health and Insite will be adding pipes to the paraphernalia that they distribute to drug users in the Downtown Eastside. While intended to slow the rate of HIV and Hep-C infection and result in cost savings for the healthcare system, they're expecting it to be a hard sell with the public.

What does life in the DTES look like? Ryan Fletcher lived on the streets for a week for his story in The Tyee and found community, charity and lots of characters.

Canada Line. TransLink announced this week that it will be adding extra trains to the Canada Line, reducing platform wait times. But some question whether the infrastructure is enough to accommodate the ridership of the future.

Pantages. The city's Urban Design Panel has rejected the developer's proposal for the site of the Pantages Theatre as the community and the developer continue to disagree about what amenities and housing are needed for the area.

Little Mountain. Open File visits a public consultation about the new Little Mountain project and talks to the developer about how not to repeat the Olympic Village experience.

False Creek Flats. The city is receiving many proposals for the revitalization of the False Creek Flats, and is looking to maintain a variety of industrial uses in the space. It's come a long way from the cows pasture it was.

Pedestrian deaths. As pedestrian friendly as the city tries to be, far more pedestrians die in car accidents than people in homicides ahead of both Montreal and Toronto.

Wait for Me, Daddy. A commemorative monument is being planned in New Westminster for one of the most iconic Canadian photos from the Second World War.

Urban gardens. Also in New West, a group of residents and their strata council transformed the roof of their building into a community garden, showing yet another model for the creation and ownership of collective gardens.

And now, a video break: crowds gathering and dispersing at the Celebration of Light and bike lanes in action.

Image: Mark & Andrea Busse, via flickr.

MOVments

Affordable housing. More this week about the City of Vancouver's ambitious plan for housing. Some of the strategies include a "rent bank" to assist tenants when they have difficulty paying rent, limits on profits in real estate sales and housing on city-owned land. But some caution that several parts of the plan lack specific information about how these things will be implemented and how much it will cost. City staff have also noted the difficulty they have had in moving the hardest to house into current social housing.

Meanwhile, another one of the city's 14 planned social housing projects has opened and the West End civic report recommends creating an advocate for tenants' rights and increasing green space.

Bike lanes. After a study last week revealed only a moderate impact on businesses, the city has chosen not to compensate business owners along the Hornby and Dunsmuir bike lanes. A disappointing response rate for the survey, as well as businesses' apparent unwillingness to disclose financial information make it difficult to find a conclusive link between bike lanes and a downturn in business.

Smelling vinegar. The Vancouver Archives shares a bit the process they use to rescue old film negatives from deterioration. The Archives also on HIstorypin now, so you can take a peek at what Vancouver used to look like.

Slow down, watch the... The City of Vancouver will be setting up a trial 30 km/h speed zone on East Hastings through the Downtown Eastside. The area is notorious for jaywalking and it's hoped that this measure will increase pedestrian safety.

Disappearing traffic. As Vancouver considers demolishing its viaducts, consider the Law of Disappearing Traffic: when a main artery is blocked off, traffic finds new routes.

Eastern Core Strategy Study. Erin Innes at the Mainlander reminds us that there is more to the Eastern Core Strategy Study than potentially removing the viaducts, as it's the last major parcel of land to be redeveloped in Vancouver, right next door to the Downtown Eastside.

LoCo BC is a non-profit looking to help connect local businesses and strengthen the local economy through buying local.

Why do Vancouver cafes close so early? Because people don't visit.

Image: mezzoblue, via flickr.

MOVments

Bike lanes. A new study about the impact of the bike lanes on business finds that while there has been a decrease in business along the routes, losses are not as bad as the figure often cited. At the same time, ridership continues to grow. Gordon Price has a round-up of a lot of the commentary this week.

Housing. The City of Vancouver released an ambitious 10 year plan to end street homelessness, calling for the creation of 38,900 new housing units by 2021.

Viaducts. After much talk and proposals about what to do with the viaducts, the City is looking for public input.

Civic arts. Councillor Heather Deal wants to create a central committee to oversee the city's 2008 cultural plan. Currently there are multiple smaller committees working on different aspects related to culture but communication is an issue.

Clarifying transit. An Emily Carr grad has redesigned the Metro Vancouver transit map to make it clearer and easier on the eye and more like the London tube map.

Drinking and driving. With the tightening of drinking and driving laws, some are asking why Vancouver still requires bars to provide so much parking space. Could that space be used for something else?

Hidden floors. Scout looks at the so-called "cheater storeys" in Chinatown's architecture.

Fading history. Open File looks at efforts to document and preserve faded "ghost signs" in Vancouver and reveals that often nothing is done. So make sure you photograph your favourites!

Riot aftermath. WorkSafeBC is now receiving claims of post-traumatic stress from people working during the riots.

Gordon Price asks whether the City should be spending money to promote professional sports like hockey over other arts and cultural events, and who benefits.

The Bulkhead Project is an open, food-producing garden on False Creek.

Image: framestealer, via flickr

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