A Living Exhibit of City Planning Best Practices

Capilano State Park
One of the many suspension bridges at Capilano State Park in Vancouver.

Post by Daryl Chan, MURP candidate ’15

I’m Daryl and I’m an urban planning graduate student from UCLA. I decided to spend my Spring Break in Vancouver. And let me say, I love Vancouver. And it’s certainly not because of the weather. I saw blue skies in Vancouver for the first and probably the only time yesterday.

So far, Vancouver has been this strange and wonderful juxtaposition of dreary grey skies, springtime blossoms, and a living exhibit of city planning best practices on display. In my studies, I focus on transportation planning and, for this, Vancouver has been quite the experience.

We began this morning with a trip to Capilano State Park. Capilano features a series of suspension bridges along cliff sides, across a canyon, and through the canopy of North America’s largest rainforest. Fast forward through lunch along Robson Street and a few of us ended up at the Museum of Anthropology, learning valuable lessons about First Nations’ community planning. We learned a lot of different things in Vancouver, but it’s the small details that I appreciate the most.

A few of the things that struck me so far:

  • the on-street parking along Granville Street in downtown Vancouver. It’s not really on-street but on the sidewalk. It’s as if the cars are intruding upon the pedestrian right-of-way.

Granville Street

  • The blinking green lights at many intersections that alert motorists to pedestrian crossings.
  • The variety of bicycle infrastructure spread around the city (landscaped planters protect painted bike lanes, sharrows, and separated bike lanes). We rode along one of the  first protected intersections in North America, which fully separates bicycles from oncoming traffic.

freeway

  • On the trip to Capilano State Park, the reversible travel lanes. Los Angeles could definitely use some of those on the 405.

bridge

My biggest complaint, so far, is actually the price of transit. It’s $2.75 to ride the bus! Sure, it’s CANADIAN dollars. Sure, the bus comes by very frequently. And more often than not, I can find a seat. But $2.75!? It seems like an odd amount to ask for. We’ve taken taxis because of the price and because there are fourteen of us. But thank you Translink! I look forward to free transit for the next three days. This week is only about to get better. And wetter.

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