Friday, March 22, 2013

Nanaimo Traffic Engineer Tells Council
We're Stuck With Island Highway
Ripping Thru Our Neighbourhoods

Listen to the logic behind Nanaimo Traffic/Transportation Engineer G. Foy's
presentation to City Council on March 11.

He explains to Council ( ) that because it only saves 10 minutes to use the Parkway bypass, "we feel the Island Highway will continue to be a major corridor within the city for a long time." 10 minutes and he accepts as fait accompli and authoritatively  (a Master Plan is being developed but apparently "we", whoever "we" are, have already made some decisions) informs Council that this destructive commercial highway is here to stay. Based on faulty and discredited logic. Nevermind that it's hostile to pedestrians and destructive to neighbourhhods, depresses both property values and general economic development on either side of it.  Mr. Foy would be well advised to familiarize himself with research being done by organizatons like Strong Towns and I'd recommend he read Jeff Speck's Walkable City. At City Hall the quality of life in our neighbourhoods should be everyone's number one priority. Even (and maybe especially) the Traffic Engineers.


Frank Murphy said...

Email to Councillor Anderson, Chair Transportation Committee

Subject: Transportation Master Plan
Date: 22 March, 2013 4:52:09 PM PDT
To: George Anderson
Cc: Mayor&,


Did Mr Foy misspeak here? A Transportation Master Plan that doesn't call for the phasing out of this commercial inter-city highway ripping through our neighbourhoods is I'm thinking, looking back from 5 years from now, not something you'd want your name attached to.


Frank Murphy said...

Reposted and comment at link here

Frank Murphy said...

Email thread with Councillor Anderson

Subject: Re: Transportation Master Plan
Date: 29 March, 2013 3:37:26 PM PDT
To: George Anderson

Hi George, I hope you're feeling better. I don't expect a reply to every email as I know you do register and consider citizens' comments.

That is what I understood Mr Foy to have said too and I ask you to consider:

He's way out of line here telling Council there's a fundamental decision already made while a planning process is going on. He's been disrespectful to Council; yourself as Chair, Transport Committee; the public process of citizen engagement.

It's said that engineers are great problem solvers but they need to be told what problems to solve. Left without clearer direction Mr Foy seems to think the problem that needs solving is how to get an automobile that almost certainly contains one citizen from one end of the city to the other as quickly as possible. Let's give Mr Foy a different assignment: Figure out how to build community, how to innovate in the area of mobility in the city. How to calm traffic, make walkability a priority, make transit and bike travel realistic options; How to communicate boldly that Traffic Engineers can't perform their function properly while the Planning Department continues to build unsustainable low density development that needs huge public infrastructure investments to make viable. Mr Foy has to recognize that the status quo he feels the need to defend is unsustainable. If he reports that some tweaking will get the job done, say thanks very much and then get better advice.

A decision to maintain a destructive inter-city highway through our neighbourhoods has to be supported by evidence that weighs benefits against harm done. Can Mr Foy provide data on the nature of this vehicular traffic, the
economic performance on either side of this highway or perhaps show evidence of its vital contribution to jobs, investment, property values, desirable neighbourhood centres? I'd suggest he walk Victoria Crescent and ask himself if this area will ever see revitalization as long as the highway separates it from the rest of downtown.

Nanaimo's in need of innovative thinking and it's plain that it's not going to come from the tired orthodoxy of the sprawl and mall model of the Planning Department and the stubborn insistence of the Traffic Engineers to maintain a flawed status quo.

Have a look at this and please forward to Mr Foy:

Can you direct me to the consultants who'll work on this. Are they Traffic Engineers or Community Builders? I'm concerned that we'll be asking the wrong people the wrong questions.

And well done on the eTownHall meeting last week George. Let's keep opening up our City Hall to the light of day!


On 2013-03-27, at 2:16 AM, George Anderson wrote:

Hi Frank,

I wasn't feeling well on the weekend and am now catching up on emails I haven't replied too.

In regards to Mr.Foy I believe what he was trying to say is that based on the layout of our city that both the park-way and the transcanada hwy/old island highway will continue to be a major routes for citizens of our community. I can tell you that the consultants will be looking at this issue as part of the plan, and when I speak with them next I will bring it up and reiterate to them the issue.



p.s: Thank you for keeping up to date on the plan and making insightful comments. These types of things as it is very helpful.

Frank Murphy said...

From The Atlantic CitiesThe Case for Walkability as an Economic Development Tool