Written by the late Errnie Crist in 2007.
The North American City is the product of the automobile. It shaped our lives, our culture, and our economic priorities. Land was plentiful, oil cheap and Henry Ford an American hero who turned mass production of cars into a religion.
However, the imperatives for radical change are now upon us. Our reliance on the automobile to commute in the city is past.
Whether we can make the transition to a new 21st century and human environment or not will determine our survival. Global warming is not a myth, the economic cost of single vehicle transportation is not a myth, nor is the waste of land nor is the staggering cost to our health and the depletion of fossil fuel. Change is no longer an option. It is a challenge we will either meet head on or we will suffer serious consequences.
The new 21st century liveable city is designed for people not cars, stated world renowned city planner Hans Blumenfeld on his visit to Vancouver almost 30 years ago. Indeed there are no cars to speak of and to the extent that they exist, they are the exception not the rule.
Transportation in the new city is based on mass transit. It is efficient, convenient, cheap, and pollution free. It is virtually noiseless and pleasing to the eye. It is in harmony with the city’s architecture. It is part and parcel of a new human friendly environment in which people speak to each other and relax while traveling at great speed moving to their destination. It is an antidote to alienation and comprises everything from rapid trains, noiseless street cars, to buses, ferries and mini buses.
The new city has plenty of trees, parks, playing fields, indoor and outdoor recreation and cultural facilities. Most neighbourhoods are self contained for efficiency and yes, there are high-rises. Indeed, compact developments are the rule rather than the exception while total green space is enhanced and pedestrian friendly.
However, the new proposal for high-rises in Lynn Valley is not conducive to this objective. It is the exact opposite. It is outmoded and reactionary.
Far from decreasing reliance on the car it will enhance it. Far from less pollution, there will be more. Far from generating less traffic congestion, there will be more. The reason is that the most important element of enhanced liveability, as outlined in numerous vision statements by the worlds most credible town planners, will be missing, namely a transportation system which reflects this concept and must be its backbone.
If the proposal for high-rises in Lynn Valley, in the name of motherhood and apple pie, is implemented as it will unless the people stand up now and stop it, everything which is outdated now will be worse. Any and all talk to the contrary is at best wishful thinking or an out and out hoax as was the previous densification of the Lynn Valley Core sold to the people of Lynn Valley as a “Pedestrian Oriented Town Center”.