York Urbanist

Archive for December, 2012

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2013

December 31st, 2012
Uncategorized

TOP EIGHT URBAN WISHES AND ANTICIPATIONS FOR YORK IN 2013
1. EMPHASIS ON RECREATION FOR ALL AGES
2. BUILDINGS THAT NOT ONLY MEET LEED STANDARDS BUT THAT DRAMATICALLY INSPIRE
3. PARKS CREATIVELY DESIGNED, APPROPRIATELY LOCATED, FOR ALL DEMOGRAPHICS
4. VILLAGES THAT THRIVE IN A SEA OF BIG BOXES
5. INTENSITY AND FLEXIBILITY IN URBAN DESIGN
6. JUNIOR STAFF WHO ARE ENCOURAGED TO LOOK AT THE WHOLE PICTURE
7. SMART INTERSECTIONS WHOSE LIGHTS ARE RESPONDENT TO APPROACHING VEHICLES
8. TRAILS FOR NON-MOTORIZED TRANSPORTATION CONNECTING NORTH, SOUTH, EAST AND WEST YORK REGION

Landscape meets Curling

December 13th, 2012
Horticulture, Recreation

Never expected to read about Glen Howard in my Turf & Recreation - Landscape Trades magazine. He wasn’t talking curling or beer….but Weedman, the team’s 2012 sponsor. The article, if you can read it, speaks to the challenges of acquiring sponsors for even the world’s top curling team. Weedman has stepped up and used it for their marketing purposes. Great job Glen, Wayne, Brent, Craig. Could you stop by Kleinburg after the worlds and work on my lawn?

Happy Holidays

December 12th, 2012
Uncategorized

Our small way of reinforcing the celebration of the holiday season. My modest gift is a powerpoint - click on the following words:  Happy Holidays from York Urbanist Open. Enable Editing. Slide Show. From Beginning.

Response to Provincial Cycling Strategy

December 6th, 2012
Trails, Transportation issues

Cycling Strategy will take much from the Province to ensure the viability of a full network. The Ministry of Transportation is currently reviewing the route for a highway linking Highways 401/402/407/400 from Guelph to Vaughan. There has been no mention of cycling in the document. A new limited access highway will create a barrier to crossing. In this case, north to south access will presumably be for vehicles across bridges over the new route. Cycle lanes on those bridges should be imposed as a requirement for providing Safety and Accessibility. Many of those crossing routes are currently used by cyclists, primarily for tourism and recreation. As a corollory, crossings of limited access highways need to be more generous in width to allow for pedestrian routes and afford wildlife corridors.

But in addition to those crossings, cycling may require mid-concession crossings. Limited access highways should be more permeable allowing for cyclists (and pedestrians) to cross at more locations than motorized vehicles. The study of cycling and pedestrian movements should be a significant part of highway design.


Transportation Planning should be part of City Planning.  Cycling will only increase if the distance between origin and destination is reduced.  Building limited access highways encourages suburban living. Suburban living has had the impact of discouraging commuter cycling.  Only by further encouraging “Places To Grow” will there be significant increase in utilitarian cycling.

 

See also: http://yorkurbanist.com/2012/11/gta-west-corridor-study/

 

Wait Until Dark – Trails

December 3rd, 2012
Recreation, Trails

Trails are 24 hour, year-round facilities, worthy of recreation investment dollars.

On November 30, five intrepids wandered the Humber Valley. It was not exceptional weather. There was some cloud cover. But with the darkness, there was a new awareness…of quiet in places and traffic din on the horizon….of urban orange glow to the south and darkness to the north. One’s senses are tested in different ways.

Would there be coyotes in packs? Could we see/hear nocturnal scavengers? The adventure is one of how our minds will react in the dark. We are all the more cautious in our steps through grasslands, but the destination at the height of land with a vista of lighted horizon and emerging stars is worth the trepidation of tripping hazards. It builds awareness of nature in what is becoming an urban oasis.

The Night Trail Trek is further enhanced by apps on one phone showing us the star formations. For our future treks, we imagined that night vision glasses would add adventure.

This one and a half hour recreation stint cost the government nothing, further utilized a capital investment from over 10 years ago and realized an economic benefit from the purchase of specialty equipment and post-trek libations in the local constabulary. Despite the latter economic benefit, the health component cannot be overlooked – a group exercising without the need for machines, generating no carbon emissions and breathing air filtered by the buffer of forests and leas.

At a cost of about $10,000-50,000 per kilometre of trail, remind me what other recreation facility provides such utility per investment dollar! And, challenge yourself to a night hike with your friends. You will be surprised at the different perspective you take on them and yourself.

See also: http://yorkurbanist.com/trails/trails-tourism/