Notes from the SFU “On Broadway…” Design + Transportation Lecture

Broadway (the part near Cambie) has a lack of pedestrian features. There are no spaces to linger, the street is almost too large to cross, the cafés do not have street furniture… But West of Arbutus there are roughly 10,000 less cars and a much more pedestrian centered experience. Interesting…

Broadway goes across the entire length of the city, and despite adapting a pseudo-name, continues into Burnaby. It has, at times, an absence of street trees.

What makes a great street? Is it the buildings? The amount of Traffic?

How long is a street?

How wide is it? How large is the space between doorways?

Strøget Copenhagen, Denmark: there is a street which accommodates 16 people per meter, per minute.

The best streets are comfortable : )

Is there wind? Is there shade when it’s hot? Is there sun when it’s cool? Buildings and trees control these factors.

There are certain qualities that engage the eyes. Is the street nice to look at?

“I THINK PEDESTRAINS SHOULD HAVE REIN OVER ALL STREETS IN URBAN AREAS.” – Elizabeth Macdonald (and I couldn’t agree there)

Every road has a priority, be it cars, bikes, transit, or pedestrians.

Things to check out: NYC: Pavement to Parks Movement.

There is a proposal to add parking lanes and a centered pedestrian median to Broadway.

Elizabeth Macdonald: Professor of Urban Design at the University of California, Berkeley.

Allan Jacobs: former Director of City Planning for San Francisco and author of Great Streets.

Vancouver is an abundance of good things : ) cave of wonders after cave of wonders.

Went to do a photo shoot in the Main Street area and discovered this magical little vintage furniture store with a really chill owner (who I told about SuperForest.org!), in addition to all the other wonders of that urban nook. Then went to the farmer’s market and met this awesome organic hippy farmer with a tie dye shirt and so much amazing kale (as well as other tasty things). Plus all of the beautiful people who you see in the city. Yayyyy!

Check my photostream yo!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jremps/

Love!

Jenni

Back on the Bike!

Today I got back on the bike! After falling and bruising myself i’m up again! I realized I wasn’t going to make my bus and I needed to get to school for my course so the bicycle was my only option. [SIDENOTE: Speaking of which, I think the bicycle needs a name. Suggestions?] I rode very cautiously and avoided the hill that led to my demise last time. I had some trouble finding the right are of the secure bike lockup that SFU Surrey offers. When I finally did get in there I realized I had no idea how to chain my bike up properly so I hastily tried to copy the bike next to mine. After class I had rehearsal and by the time I was back in Surrey it was 9:30PM and dark out. Since I had a black jacket on and have yet to find headlights I rode mostly on the sidewalks. It was very wet out. I really like the noise it makes when it rains though, and I found it to be quite cleansing for me.

I’m looking forward to my future as a bicycle commuter. I can’t wait to be one of those skinny active people who have the freedom to travel wherever, whenever. I mean workouts, spandex, getting to ring a bell… What’s not to love? Perhaps i’ll be able to give it a good rep and a new image less dorky image… who am I kidding haha x D

Also, while I was out I saw several other cyclists and had an amazing discovery. This is an awesome way to meet people! All of the bicycle commuters I know are vegetarian and they all care about the environment. This could be a great way to make friends and meet like-minded individuals. Futurehusband anyone? hehe.

See you on the road peeps.

Being a Weirdo in the Modern World

I sometimes feel that it is rude to force my beliefs on others. Just becasue I belive in certain things and chose to live a certain way doesn’t mean everyone should, right? I wouldn’t like it if a bunch of religious fundamentalists forced their belifes on me… but then I can’t see anything outside of my way of thought. To me there is no reason to not be vegan. There is no reason to buy bottled water. There is no alternative way to live. To someone else though, I am the religious fundamentalist. I am the crazy person. And what separates us really? Deep down we are all human. But just as I can’t see how joining the army is the right thing to do, many people can’t see how living an environmentally friendly life is right.

I’m trying to find a balance. My beliefs dictate that I should be sharing and spreading my knowledge, I suppose that’s what this blog is meant to achieve. After all, if nothing had spoken to me about these alternative lifestyle choices I wouldn’t know they exist. The point of individual change is to inspire and promote societal change. But then, what the best way to do that? Lecturing people about eating meat when out for dinner with friends just becomes a damper on a fun social outing. It’s hard to find the right way to communicate. Seeing someone accept a plastic bag at the store makes me want to scream out at them but of course that wouldn’t be polite or socially acceptable…

Why is this so hard? Because if it was easy it wouldn’t be worthwhile I suppose.

I’m making some more changes this week. With the summer semester starting i’m going to stop using public transit (so travel by bicycle and foot) and buy only local foods. Possibly other things too. It’s late and I need to contemplate what I want to implement in my life. I need to decide what I want to achieve.

Sunny Sunday

I want to write about today (the day before yesterday) before I forget about today (the day before yesterday). Today I went to Laughter Yoga for the first time in a few weeks. If you don’t know what Laughter Yoga is then a) you are missing out b) you should visit laughteryoga.ca and c) if you wait a while i’ll do a post with a more in depth explanation. Anyway it was such an interesting day. I was reading on the skytrain when this older alternative guy came up to me and asked if he could borrow a pen, promising not to steal it. He said he had an idea and had to put it on paper. I assumed he was writing a poem or a note or something like that. I lent him a black one and some minutes later he returned with my pen and showed me an awesome drawing on a piece of cardboard. I wish I could have snapped a photo but he had to get off and it all happened rather quickly.

The weather was lovely and when I got to Commercial Drive there were so many funky people around. It was like everyone came out of the woodwork. I was happy to be a part of such a broad and eclectic piece of counter-culture. On the way to LY I encountered so much cool found text… for example…

“If the world is gonna end I wanna live my life…”

– random passerby

The laughter session itself was really fun and I enjoyed a really nice smoothie after. Then we heard music and this happened….

Only on the drive : P
After that some helpful friends showed me where to get a non-leaky top for my water bottle (sidenote: for my mom’s bday I got us these pricy kleen kanteen stainless steel waterbottles, however I picked the sport top cap option, not realizing it wasn’t meant to keep fluids inside haha).I accomplished a seven month goal! Woo! Then I had to walk to Hastings to take a bus to rehearsal. There was a bus sitting at the stop with the emergency lights on and a large number of displaced people milling about. Luckily another bus came within a few minutes and most of the people evaporated. I guess “This too shall pass” : )