Narrow Streets, More Housing

July 31, 2012

Vancouver City’s ReTHINK Housing competition has thrown up at least one winner that I can fully support — the idea of reducing roadways from 66′ wide to 33′ and using the new found land to build affordable housing.   The housing would be affordable because the city already owns the roadway and so the cost of land in this proposal is essentially zero.

The proponents suggest three different types of housing usage for the recovered strips. They estimate that the City could gain 10,000 ground level housing units and a $2 billion fund from just 50% of the possible space using the least dense type “without demolishing a single unit of existing housing, or undertaking a single rezoning.”

I would suggest that along some of these recovered areas we could also place new transit services of various types, while leaving the remaining roadway for walking, cycling and, I suppose, cars.

Here in Grandview we are used to 33′ lots (even many that are just 25′) and there seems to be no difficulty in creating a very livable community under such conditions.  This is a creative idea that conjoins the idea of affordable housing with a less-cars-is-better sensibility, and I am glad to hear via Twitter that it is an idea that is being considered seriously at City Hall.

Coaster #5

July 31, 2012

Reason #207 NOT to Use Facebook

July 30, 2012

A company called Limited Run is going viral with this complaint on their FB page:

Hey everyone, we’re going to be deleting our Facebook page in the next couple of weeks, but we wanted to explain why before we do. A couple months ago, when we were preparing to launch the new Limited Run, we started to experiment with Facebook ads. Unfortunately, while testing their ad system, we noticed some very strange things. Facebook was charging us for clicks, yet we could only verify about 20% of them actually showing up on our site. At first, we thought it was our analytics service. We tried signing up for a handful of other big name companies, and still, we couldn’t verify more than 15-20% of clicks. So we did what any good developers would do. We built our own analytic software. Here’s what we found: on about 80% of the clicks Facebook was charging us for, JavaScript wasn’t on. And if the person clicking the ad doesn’t have JavaScript, it’s very difficult for an analytics service to verify the click. What’s important here is that in all of our years of experience, only about 1-2% of people coming to us have JavaScript disabled, not 80% like these clicks coming from Facebook. So we did what any good developers would do. We built a page logger. Any time a page was loaded, we’d keep track of it. You know what we found? The 80% of clicks we were paying for were from bots. That’s correct. Bots were loading pages and driving up our advertising costs. So we tried contacting Facebook about this. Unfortunately, they wouldn’t reply. Do we know who the bots belong too? No. Are we accusing Facebook of using bots to drive up advertising revenue. No. Is it strange? Yes. But let’s move on, because who the bots belong to isn’t provable.

While we were testing Facebook ads, we were also trying to get Facebook to let us change our name, because we’re not Limited Pressing anymore. We contacted them on many occasions about this. Finally, we got a call from someone at Facebook. They said they would allow us to change our name. NICE! But only if we agreed to spend $2000 or more in advertising a month. That’s correct. Facebook was holding our name hostage. So we did what any good hardcore kids would do. We cursed that piece of shit out! Damn we were so pissed. We still are. This is why we need to delete this page and move away from Facebook. They’re scumbags and we just don’t have the patience for scumbags.

Does anyone really need more reasons to quit Facebook?

A Good Day Out

July 30, 2012

Yesterday was a day for community.  At 11am we visited the City’s Community Plan outreach event at Grandview Park.  The main purpose was to display the results of the surveys they have been undertaking this spring.  The displays were well-execute: interesting, easy to understand and colourful.  There was a steady stream of visitors, some no doubt attracted by the free hotdogs on offer!

After spending some time in the Park, chatting with a lot of friends and acquaintances, we strolled across the road to Fet’s, one of our favourite spots on the Drive.  We got a place on the patio, there was the suggestion of a cooling breeze, and we both ate too much!   Fet’s has always been good under Eric and Allura, but now that a second generation is taking the lead (with sons Travis in the kitchen and Ryan front of house), they are reaching ever higher standards.

In the evening (after a well-earned nap) there was a street party in the 1200-block Lakewood Drive.  The east side of that block has a whole run of glorious heritage houses from 1910 and 1911, and the party was to celebrate that heritage.

I’m sure that all the folks on the block were there, along with the Carnival Band, a great spread of food, bunches of other folks from the neighbourhood, and many of the Grandview Heritage Group.  There was a short talk by historian Michael Kluckner, and a wonderful speech by resident Jim who explained in some detail how the houses were put together back in the day.

The sun was hot, the smiles were broad and everyone had a great time.

Looking Inside A Heritage House

July 30, 2012

It is not often that we get the chance to see the interior of a 1909 heritage house that has retained many of its original features.  A week or so ago some of us were lucky enough to see the interior of Brookhouse at 1872 Parker Street, vacant, before it is re-developed.  I have posted an illustrated article on this at the website of the Grandview Heritage Group which I hope you will find of interest.

Just Say No

July 28, 2012

BC Premier Christie Clark is getting a lot of press for walking out of the Premiers’ discussions on a national energy policy while her concerns about the Northern Gateway pipeline are unsatisfied.  She is getting castigated in the eastern press (and I include Alberta and Saskatchewan in that description) for being anti-Canadian, while a bunch of local right-of-centrists on Twitter are cheering her on.

I think she is still on the wrong side of the fence.  As I understand the bottom line of her concerns, she will approve the pipeline if BC makes more money from the deal.  That’s a dead wrong position and can only lead to the eventual approval for the project if Alberta wakes up, smells the coffee, and opens up their cheque book.

The NDP, most interior First Nations and, I believe, the majority of the BC population just want to say no.  We don’t need the pipeline, we don’t need the crude oil, we don’t need the risk.  There is no amount of money in the world that could pay for the damage a big spill in our north or on our coast could cause.

Andrew Coyne and other Easterners have suggested that, in the end, the Feds could legally force us to have the pipeline.  If they think that Clark’s intransigence today is harming Canada, they should see what might happen if the people of BC are over-ridden on this by Ottawa!


Well done the Brits!

July 27, 2012

I’m not generally a supporter of the Olympic movement — the Games spend money that could be better spent elsewhere and they are dominated by US network and sponsor considerations.  That being said, the London opening ceremony was simply stunning.  Well done Danny Boyle and all the volunteers!