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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

West Vancouver Development/real estate  This is a quick video of West Vancouvers past 100 years. What we need to decide now is which direction we will go for the next 100.

Do we want high rise towers to increase the tax base and supply smaller scale housing? Or perhaps we want to keep developing up the mountain until the wilderness is gone? Personally I would rather go to sensitive density increase. We can build smaller homes, we can build even smaller laneway cottages in our backyards. Not every yard , but some.

 I am very excited to see a local developer proposing a small scale development at Esquimalt and 20th. At first glance the homes look like cottages that once graced the north shore. This will be coming to Council on April 4th.

 These type of small scale developments have little impact on our traffic. They encourage our residents to stay in the area when the time comes to downsize, and they allow for small families to move into a beautiful new home for the price of a  tear down. Not everyone is a good handyman, and some will take a smaller space fully finished rather than a bigger home that needs work.

The bottom line is that the status quo is not working. Yes we live in a wonderful, quaint , quiet seaside village but we have our head in the sand. We are currently pumping sewage into the bay right out front of us, our antiquated system has been in need of an upgrade for a long time. We need funds to deal with this and unless we are prepared to pay thousands of dollars  more in tax on our property then we need to address this density issue. We can go up, out or think little for a change!  We certainly dont want to go the way of the Omaha Mayor who has just proposed a toilet paper tax!!!
If you like my ideas, more info at

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Vancouver- a bike city?

It was so exciting when the bike lanes went it. I imagined life like back in my home country with masses of bikes everywhere. Going out for dinner with 2 or 3 of us on a bike- ok we aren't in Amsterdam but it sounded so good. Now, driving across the Burrard bridge or Downtown streets I see an empty lane with planters alongside. At most I have counted 3 bicycles. " If you build it they will come" hmmmm .....second part of that is......
 " if its not raining, hailing or snowing"
which... doesn't leave alot of free days to ride. But the idea was right and the direction was right so how can  we fix it. Whats part 2?
Perhaps they could be convertible  lanes with winter driving use and summer  full bike lane. People will argue that its dangerous and drivers will get confused but we have championed the mixed use lane with counterflow on our Lions Gate bridge and tunnel. Its not ideal but maybe an option.

Perhaps we could have bikes at various positions in the city that you rent and take out of the rack with your credit card and can return anywhere else into another secure rack. This way if it poured in the morning you could jump on a bus and when the sun came out you could do your errands and afternoon commute on a bike. These systems already exist in other Cities.
 But the darn helmet. If we could make the lanes safer with less juxtipositioning with vehicles maybe helmets wouldnt be necessary? I am hearing the backlash from paramedics already..... but sometimes we have to get out of our paradigm of thinking and go WAY out, to be able to come back in and think of solutions.

On the North Shore Mayor Mussatto tried in vain to get a bike elevator approved so that people cycling lower North Van could easily access central and upper Lonsdale, lets just say he is still trying. The system was from Denmark I believe,  an innovative track that carried your bike up hill - with a little swipe of your CC of course.

The coolest new option to get people on a bike  a foldable electric bike. The question is will they let us ride this in the bike lane? I hope so.You will get there faster so you wont get as wet!. The exercise will come from carting it around. And the bonus is, that at approximately $3600 USD its way cheaper than a car and now you can convert that 2 car garage into..... a laneway house!
hows that for a segway... hey, Segwey thats another option and another story.......