On Old Viaducts And Bob Rennie Getting A Sandwich Named After Him


by Sean Orr | The biggest hyperbole, everOpinion: Vancouver viaducts demolition to be the worst transportation policy in city’s history. Worse than putting them up in the first place, only to have them dead-end at Prior Street? Worse than Project 200? Worse than the 3-lane Lion’s Gate Bridge? Worse than digging up Cambie for the Canada Line? Worse than Rails to Rubber? Worse than Translink?

But it’s not just about transportation. It’s also about space. After being in New York for the first time and seeing the non-spaces that overhead highways and subways create, I kind of like them now. You need to break up the continuity of the cityscape with breathing room for nothingness. Stuart Parker gave the example of Chicago’s elevated streets a couple of years back: “it can create a rent shadow, an island of affordable rents in the middle of downtown…” We could use some more of that.

A counterpoint by Brent Toderian, someone with actual city planning experience who insists it isn’t just another developer give-away:

Ultimately this isn’t about cars or concrete. It’s about making a more connected, sustainable, resilient downtown and city. It’s about the potential for new and better public spaces; social and affordable housing; mixed-use, walkable and transit-supported neighbourhoods; and a better connected city and waterfront, with a healed scar and stronger neighbourhoods where the Viaducts used to be.

The cynicism that is rampant on the comments section of the renderings is nevertheless telling. People think that either the park will be full of homeless drug addicts or sanitized condos. But it’s increasingly difficult to blame Vancouverites for their cynicism.

And here’s why: Bob Rennie gets a sandwich named after him. You can’t even make this stuff up. It’s Peak Vancouver and Banana Smoothie Republic rolled into one $23 grilled cheese sandwich. It’s perfect. It’s disgusting. It’s us.

Speaking of bad decisions: A Stephen Harper airport in Calgary: Will it fly? Even though, as Charles Demers reminds us, “airports are deeply unpleasant; niqab-unfriendly; high surveillance; massive greenhouse gas emitters” and would be a fitting tribute, perhaps something like the East Calgary Landfill would be more fitting.

Or perhaps this never-built oil sands project: Shell Scraps Carmon Creek Oilsands Project, Will Take $2-Billion Charge. This is a victory, right?

Speaking of victories: Canada Post halts controversial community mailbox program. But what about all those lazy-ass seniors Deepak Chopra was so worried about?

There’s a metaphor here: Why Canada’s New Prime Minister Can’t Go Home Again. “The Harpers used part of 24 Sussex as a foster home for dozens of cats, taking in special-care felines with an upstairs space set aside with litter and toys…” Wait, so Harper’s entire reign of terror can be explained by T. Gondi?

Although it doesn’t explain the coming loonie convention that will be the Conservative Party leadership derby. Doug Ford? Kellie Leitch? And you thought Ben Carson versus Trump was wacky…

Vancouver police launch online bike registry to stop bike theft epidemic. Nah, it’s way more fun waiting for it to go up on Craigslist and then brazenly stealing it back from the thief…

Bonus: Halloween special with Andrea Lukic.

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