Posts tagged saskatoon
Posts tagged saskatoon
Saskatoon Dog knows my problems.
Geometry tells us that the traditional four-way intersection is inherently dangerous. When you plot all of the potential points of conflict on a diagram – and transportation engineers actually do this – it turns out that vehicles have 32 distinct opportunities to collide into one another at the nexus of two two-lane roadways. Cars can crash into each other while merging or diverging from a given lane. Then the worst action happens right in the middle of the interchange, at that perilous point where vehicles turn left across oncoming traffic.
During the recording of our latest our yxe podcast, we were talking to City Councillor Mairin Loewen mentioned that city are trying to break their dependancy on overpasses to fix high traffic intersections. Costly to build and maintain, other solutions need to be developed that are more sustainable. One of the intersections, Attridge and Central Ave. in Saskatoon is continuing to gain more and more traffic as the city expands in the northeast and is particularly dangerous.
What are some solutions? The city has stated that they would like a complete reworking of this intersection, it needs more than minor improvements. The Atlantic Cities has a few suggestions of new interchanges but I think citizens would revolt if a traffic circle was deemed the appropriate fix. North America is still warming up to the traffic circles and Attridge and Central is too busy for one anyway.
Perhaps one of the solutions is the Jughandle, Superstreet or the Diverging Diamond, but factor in the hope that these areas also remain pedestrian and cyclist friendly, there is still lots of need for new innovative solutions.
The fact is, ever since cars were kicked out of central Copenhagen, the downtown has been thriving. “For a while now, Copenhagen has had a policy of taking away three percent of the inner city parking every year, on the theory that if people can’t park, they won’t drive. If you do it slowly enough, nobody notices. I always say that quality of a city shouldn’t be determined by counting how many pedestrians you have, but by the number of people who have stopped being pedestrians, and have decided to sit down and stay awhile. We found that for every fourteen square meters you take away from cars you can count on one extra cafe terrance seat. That means for every parking spot removed, you get two more people sitting and enjoying life.”
As quoted in Straphanger by Taras Grescoe, the current book I’m reading. It’s making me really want to travel to Denmark. (FYI - Copenhagen is farther north than Saskatoon.) I’ll be posting more tasty bits, but right now I’m imagining life in Copenhagen. They seem a little sassy there.
Sometimes, a shop owner still tries to claim his business was ruined because the city removed four parking spaces. But now the mayor can point to real figures and say: “There are six thousand more people passing your shop a day than there were five years ago. Are you sure you’re a good businessman?”
With the demolition of notorious high-rise housing projects such as Cabrini-Green over the last decade and a half, Chicago became a model for a new approach to public housing. A new study tracks former high-rise residents to see how they’ve fared.
As the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) prepares to release a revised version of its 12-year-old Plan for Transformation - “the largest, most ambitious redevelopment effort of public housing in the United States” - a new study by the Urban Institute of 381 families that once lived in the Madden-Wells and Dearborn housing complexes seeks to examine just how successful that influential plan has been.
According to Antonio Olivo, “Public housing residents in Chicago are marginally better off today than when they lived in the high-rise towers that have since been torn down, though more social services are needed to prevent a backslide, a study scheduled to be released Monday finds.”
“Continuing problems with poverty and crime in their new neighborhoods point to a potentially dark future for many of those nearly 16,000 families, particularly children, the report by the Washington-based Urban Institute says.”
What the study seems to make clear is that more than a change of scenery is required to improve people’s lives.
“You still have a lot of people with very severe health problems, low levels of employment, lots of criminal justice involvement, all the kinds of things that they had before,” Susan Popkin, the lead researcher in the study said. “Where we saw the improvements in terms of people’s mental health, physical health and employment was when the housing was coupled with very intensive supportive services for a subset of residents.”
Another obstacle: despite the goal of the CHA to move public housing families into “areas of opportunity” that are socially and economically diverse, “just seven of the 381 families tracked by researchers live in areas which fit that category.”
Housing needs to be by resources that help people. Currently Saskatoon is discussing limiting affordable housing in the core neighborhoods. They should be much more concerned with building supports to help the people in the area, as opposed to diluting a concentration of services.
There are much better, detailed arguments against the proposal here, such as how higher costs make it extremely prohibitive for groups to build affordable housing in the suburbs. This particularly resonated with me:
Shirley Isbister’s comments to The StarPhoenix are right “…But Isbister says the whole philosophy of moving social services and housing out of the core is based on a false premise that affordable housing is the problem, not the solution to neighbourhood problems such as crime and drug abuse.”
If you want to hear Eugene Cho, the author of this article, speak in person he is coming to Saskatoon April 13th, 2013 for a conference called, Survival of the Weakest.
Showing an image of sprawled-out Mexico City,Ricky Burdett, Professor of Urban Studies, London School of Economics, told the crowd at the Innovative Metropolis conference hosted by the Brookings Institution and Washington University in St. Louis that we are now living in the era of the “endless city.” These cities are endless because they are humungous and also joining up together into megapolises, region-cities. But within the endless city, there are differences. As an example, Burdett said the average commute in Mexico City is 4 hours each way, while it’s just 11 minutes in Hong Kong. In other words, some are strained to the max and not very efficient while others work pretty well.
I found the part about Sao Paulo to truly describe a dysfunctional city. Over 1,000 people commute by helicopter in Sao Paulo, which is the same number as do in New York City and Hong Kong.
Many growing cities are chewing up their ecological functions. “Sao Paulo’s extraordinary city center has only grown outwards, pushing the poor out of the city.” The result: the edges have now been decimated, with people living in shacks right up to the city’s water reservoirs. Parks have almost all been totally consumed. The same story could be told for many other developing world cities.
The article concludes by stating, “Well-connected density is more likely to occur through tighter urban redevelopment projects than through more amorphous sprawled shapes,” and that reducing distances between where people live and where people work is paramount in a city that works well.
The problem/opportunity in many cities, especially prairie cities is that there are no natural barriers that hem the city in. Higher density is confusing for folks who can travel 10 minutes to the edge of the town and watch their dog run away for three days (you know, the old saying). The flat plains do nothing to determine the limits of a city.
The point is the importance of density can be confusing for some people. It takes bold decisions by elected officials and city administration to plot a course for urban centres long-term. It also involves educating people on what a world class city can look-like and be, and also the pit-falls that other cities have experienced. No one should have to take a helicopter to get to their office in the same city, we can at least all agree on that.
Cities like Berkeley, Arlington and Cambridge experienced something different. Even as they cut back on surface parking, the number of people and jobs climbed upward, as did incomes. Less parking in these places has meant the urban fabric can be stitched back together and there is more space for shops, restaurants, jobs and other things that make cities great. More importantly, the parking isn’t needed. People own cars at higher rates, but they don’t use them as much. Instead, they live close to the urban core where upwards of 30 percent walk or bike to work.
Saskatoon still has not figured out this concept. The car is god here, leaving us with longer and longer commutes, a downtown wasteland of parking lots, and detached and isolated citizens who don’t know their neighbours.
It is true that our transit sucks and our winters are cold. But let’s have a radical vision, that really isn’t all that radical, because many, many other cities have already figured it out. More roads does not equal less traffic. Cities should not be built for cars but for people.
My New Year’s resolution is to do better. One of the areas I want to learn more about and improve is my photography skills (or lack there of).
I know everybody and their mother considers themselves an amateur photographer but I do not. All I do is push the push the main button down when I want to take a picture. There’s definitely a lot more to a good photo than that.
I signed up for a photography workshop this up coming weekend, with Greg Johnson, the Tornado Hunter. He takes amazing, breathtaking photos. I’ve been following him on twitter for a while and he takes amazing shots of the prairie landscape and changing weather patterns. While I want to focus more on portraits, I hope a lot of it will carry over.
Today after work I decided to take some photos so that I could have something to compare to after I take the course. These are my ‘before’ I took the workshop pics. I’ll post my ‘after’ shots next week!
Lovely, thought provoking talk on perpetual growth by Icelandic writer and thinker, Andri Magnason. His pyramid analogy is quite the highlight.
Makes me think of all the roads and bridges we want to build in Saskatoon without thinking about other solutions, such as better public transit and less urban sprawl.
In short, we’re hypocrites. We want a different kind of city, but won’t make the hard choices needed to create one. We want five-star service at two-star rates. And still we complain because the residential snow removal strategy is called “April.”
Wasn’t I just saying this?
Go to a small urban park in a densely populated European city and notice how many people are there playing chess, watching their kids, kicking a soccer ball around.
When not used for organized sports, our parks are empty, designed to look at, not use.
A great urban environment doesn’t need vast expanses of green space. It needs better people-oriented space. But if we’re going to keep it the way it is, let’s at least pay enough to make it work.
Go ahead, council: raise my taxes. Make my day. Really.
Like, hello Saskatoon!
Every year it’s going to snow. So it’s going to snow in your little cul-de-sacs and every year you won’t be able to get out. And every year the snow plows will only come by after they’ve done the eleventeen million other roads because you wanted to live in the freakin’ new new suburbs.
And therefore we need new bridges to get you to your new new suburb. But the old ones are literally rusting away. So maybe some more money for infrastructure, you think? Yes, you’ll have to raise my taxes, but my golly, I’ll gonna like it. Hell it may cause me to even vote for you.
Like raise my taxes and I’d still vote for you? That is a freakin’ political pickup line! Time to own up to your sadistic political-selves city council and do something we’re all going to enjoy in the end.
Save On Meats launches sandwich token system to help feed Vancouver’s poor
Mark Brand wants to help feed the homeless one breakfast sandwich at a time.
Brand, the owner of Save On Meats at 43 West Hastings in Vancouver plans to unveil a program where people can purchase tokens to give to the homeless on the streets who are panhandling for money.
The token is good for a $2.25 breakfast sandwich at the popular restaurant in Vancouver’s gritty Downtown Eastside.
“It is a neighbourhood that desperately needs this,” Brand said on Wednesday of the plan.
The plastic token is the size of a toonie and the recipient can get a sandwich at the restaurant’s takeout window or inside after the window closes at 4 p.m.
What a great way to help others and get more people aware and into your business. I know there are some great business in Saskatoon who are always willing to help the less fortunate even if it’s having an unhygienic, low-functioning panhandler drink coffee in their coffee shop whenever she wants too.
I know some Saskatoonians stay clear of the MacDonald’s downtown. It’s a gathering spot for many people who are down on their luck but want to eat out. It’s also a place to gather with family or friends, when they maybe be in too tiny apartments to accommodate guests, staying in hotels, or staying in group homes and want to respect their landlords and fellow roommates. A couple of people I know liked to eat there because they can order soft food and have painful or no teeth. The staff let people stay for a while and tolerate a lot of loitering out front. Maybe it’s not a place you would choose to go, but it’s a needed gathering place in Saskatoon that builds community and strengthens connections.
Anyways, just wanted to share some of the businesses that may not be making huge donations this Christmas but are doing what they can to help others.
Solutions to use the South Saskatchewan River all year long in Saskatoon:
The new St. Petersburg Pier - a.k.a. The Lens
I’ll give them this - it looks gorgeous in theory. But if you guys only knew the shitstorm this thing has stirred up around here. There’s no way this ends well.
Love the feeling of being on a cruise ship but need to be home for dinner with the rest of the ex-pat retirees? Try the new $50 million St. Petersburg Pier.
Other ideas for the St. Petersburg Pier included a hot wheels track - which 8-year-old me loves, but semi-adult me hates with a passion.