Hadden park, a bit of history

November 12, 2013

Most of the below come from Megan Carvell Davis affidavit in [1]. She had already stated the issue in a comment on the bike lane vs the park post, but then unaware of the covenant exact terms, I have no commented on that before. The below is under the light of this covenant attached in [1]:

Some historical context

Hadden park (right part) and Vanier park (left) circa 1907...the staircase seems at the same location as today

Hadden park (right part) and Vanier park (left) circa 1907…the staircase seems at the same location as today

The land known now as Hadden park (originally given to CPR as a provincial crown grant in 1886) was promised to be a harbour, according to the CPR wishes:

Kitsilano plan by the CPR - circa ~1920

Kitsilano plan by the CPR – circa ~1890

The CPR always had some development plans for this Kitsilano area, and those encountered opposition at the time (“already many nimby there!”): Even the park board objected to see this area (the land east of Chestnut, was also slated to be an indian reserve by the federal government), to be turned into a major facility for shipping, this in July 1919 [1]. The area was then looking like below:

toto

1919 aerial view of Kitsilano, and what is now Hadden and Vanier parks

Picture from 1982 Ogden avenue, circa 1923- future Hadden park is second grown bush – it will be restored in a more “natural” state by 1928 – (credit photo CoV archive ref AM1376-: CVA 1376-691)

“According to the 1933 journal of Major J.S. Matthews, Vancouver’s first city archivist, on his final trip to Vancouver in 1928,
Mr Harvey Hadden, a real estate business man from London, expressed the view that he would “like to do something for Vancouver which had done so well for him-in his real estate investments”. Hadden accepted the proposal of his former architect and friend, Mr S. M. Eveleigh that there should be a waterfront park connecting the Kitsilano Indian Reserve to Kitsilan Beach.” [1]
In October 1928, Mr Hadden, gave for a $1 and subject to a covenant, to the city of Vancouver, the properties he had just purchased from the CPR. That is block 136 and 137 (DL 526), then valued at $41,000, are shown below:

subdivisionDl526

Hadden donation to the city consist of the block 136 and 137: only those block are covered by the covenant Hadden donation to the city consists of the block 136 and 137: only those blocks are covered by the covenant

The city accepted the gift, and the covenant.

Hadden park, as we know today, consists of

  • Block 136 and 137 (DL 526) as donated by Mr Harvey Hadden
  • “Closed road” Maple and Cypress, North of Ogden, on April 27, 1931
    • The Centennial Totem pole erected in October 1958, is in the Cypress ROW north of Ogden
  • “water lots” 5780 and 5781 granted by the Province of british columbia, on June 12, 1935
    • Part of those land has been filled up, noticeabily to erect the maritime museum in 1958, and the unleashed dog area is also on this area

The covenant
The term of the Hadden Trust are that Hadden Park (that is stricto senso applying to block 136 and block 137 as illustrated above)

  • “shall be used as and for a Public Park or recreation ground and not for any other purpose whatsoever”
  • “shall be improved and put in shape as a public park or recreation ground, but in carrying out such improvements the Board of Park Commissioners shall keep the property as near as possible in its present state of nature subject to such alterations or changes as may be reasonable necessary for its preservation and for the safety and enjoyment of the public. it being the desire of the grantor that those using the Park shall as far as reasonably may be enjoy the same in its natural state and condition”

The maritime museum

In the 1950′s, the city had acquired the St Roch vessel and was looking for a place to moor and preserve it.
After much controversy, a decision was made to house the St Roch into a new building: the maritime museum. This will be built circa 1958, on land granted by the Province in 1935: The “water lots” 5780 and 5781 have been partially filled for that purpose, and that has been considered at one point as not violating the covenant by the city [3]. The fact that the blocks 136 and 137, have lost de facto, their waterfront status, is considered as a violation of the riparian right of the said blocks, this, according to the Hadden park conservators [1].

The dog off-leash area

The covenant, stipulates that “the grantee shall use and maintain the properties for park purposes and the beach for bathing more especially for women and children”. In 1998, the park board approved Hadden Park Beach as an off-leash dog area, while that dogs are not allowed on bathing beaches, according to the park bylaws [2].

The enforcement of the covenant in that matter per-suppose, that the blocks 136 and 137 have riparian right, but the city viewpoint could be that:

Mr Hadden rights did not extend below high water mark as he did not hold title to the water lot which was at that time in the name of the crown. He therefore had no power to convey any rights with respect to bathing on the beach [3].

The letter and the spirit of the covenant

The spirit of the covenant could not have been respected that well, but so far the letter of the covenant has been relatively well respected (neither the maritime museum, nor the totem pole are on properties donated by Hadden). Basically, the only alteration the properties has seen since 1928, has been the installation of benches (already there circa ~1940), and can be considered, as a reasonnable alteration forward a better enjoyment of the park. The construction of a bike path, directly on block 136-137 could certainly set a major precedent:

the "approved" bike path  routhe into Hadden park. Some cyclists currently use the path on the right, but is it legal?

the “approved” bike path routhe into Hadden park. Some cyclists currently use the path on the right, but is it legal? (credit photo facebook)


Main source is the lawsuit filled by Megan Carvell Davis [1]

[1] lawsuit filled by Megan-Carvell-Davis-vs-City-of-Vancouver, on Nov 4th, 2013

[2] park by laws City of Vancouver, Jan 1st, 2008.

[3] Corporation counsel letter to city, November 20th, 1957, as attached in [1]

Edited after Stephen Rees comment
At the 1995 Fall

  • Up to 1987, the 9 was the only cross-town service along Broadway. and started to have runs to UBC only after University Bld got Trolley wires in 1988.
  • Before, 1987, UBC was reached from the Broadway corridor by the bus 10 (nowadays route 14), which had been extended to UBC in fall 1968 (then it was working in combination with the Hasting express bus)
  • With the advent of the Expo line in 1986, BC transit will start an express service from Commercial (now Commercial-Broadway) to UBC, in fall 87, numbered 81 the first year, then 31:
    • The bus 31, was a typical rush hour only express service with pick up only at all local bus stop East of Oak, for the West bound direction (and drop off only for the east bound), then non stop to UBC.

1996, Introduction of the 99 B line service on the Fall

The original B line Logo – credit flikr user: mag3737

It is the first time Broadway has an uninterrupted service from Boundary to UBC, and service extendining on Lougheed Hwy up to Lougheed.

      The preliminary service is weekday only, but is running all day long (without evening serice), and receives a special branding: the “Bee Line” logo.

      express route 31 is discontinued

      The line will reach the UBC loop after enlargment of it, in the spring 1997. The Clark stop will be added at the same time

      Sasamat is added in the Fall 1997

The service is an instant success, and the offer needs to be reinforced as soon as Nov 1996, where peak morning frequency is already at 4mn between Commercial and UBC [2]

.

1998: Full deployment in the fall

The bus b8025, in its original B line livery.

The bus b8025, in its original B line livery. The 99B route featured Low floor buses which were a novelty in 98 in Vancouver. the special livery was also new and came unspoiled by advertising. buses were coming with a bike rack what was also new – This bus (b8025) was part of a second order to face increased demand) credit photo Peter MacLaughlin, 2000

A new fleet of 21 low-floor articulated buses with a distinctive B-Line paint scheme and bike rack was deployed. All that were novelties on the Vancouver bus system in 1998. Service is extended on week-end and evening [2]. The Brentwood-Boundary loop route (109) is then discontinued.

The ridership increased by 20%, prompting an order for 5 additional buses

Bus bulges are installed at the Sasamat bus stop, in May/June 1998 [5], as a demonstration project: Besides it, the 99B line never benefited of any BRT like fixed infrasrtucture

2002 and after: the SkytrainMillenium line days

  • The Skytrain line replaces the B line east of Commercial in 2002
  • In 2003, Translink introduces non stop bus between COmmercial and UBC (99 Special) to handle additioan demand generated by the introduction of the U-Pass
    • The students, continued to board the first 99 showing up, rather than waiting for the 99 Special, which was then not alleviating crowding. the 99 special service has been discontinued with the introduction of the route 84:
  • In Jan 2006, the opening of the VCC-Clark station allows the opening of a new route from it to UBC (#84), supposed to relieve crowding on the Broadway corridor
  • Fraser, and Arbutus stop are added in 2009
Transit service along the Broadway corridor

Broadway99Broadway10 Transit service along the Broadway corridor, in 1995, 1999 and 2010

Ridership evolution

year daily ridership
Oct 1997 8,500 [2]
Nov 1997 10,000 [2]
1998 16,000 (*) [7]
1999 20,000 [7]
2002 26,000 [7]
2007 45,000 [8]
2011 54,350 [9]

(*) The Original BC Transit estimate was 12,000 [2]

The line is extremely busy, with long line up before boarding at several stop, as Commercial pictured here. People line-up on 3 queues (one per door).

The line is extremely busy, with long line up before boarding at several stops, as Commercial WB pictured here. People line-up on 3 queues (one per door) – credit photo Vancotybuzz

Some reasons for the success.

It is worth to notice a great emphasis on the marketing side, and its technical limitation [6] :

  • A distinctive product:
    • The B line branding is applied to any aspect of the bus service: bus, bus-stop, map and schedule
      It is worth to mention that the bee line logo copyright has been challenged by an individual: the controversy did some stride in the mediaa, bringing exposure to the product itself
      The buses looking “different” don’t get unnoticed by drivers.
      The line has his dedicated bus stop
      The accessible low floor buses has been a disruptive point in the industry (same has occured with trams in the 90′s)

But one, must not forget the “geometry” fundamental of the line:

  • Where it was ~37 bus stop between Commercial and Alma (route 9), the 99B was offering only 6 (now 8) along the same 8.5km segment.
    • The time gain is especially consequent (up to 40% time gain)
  • The strong Central broadway anchor (before not directly accessible from the Lougheed corridor
  • At the exception of Allison and Heather (Vancouver General Hospital), All stop connect with other network bus lines:
    • The B line, especially in its eastern part (pre millenium line), is conceived as to be feeded by local buses.
      The B line runs on as much as of the entire corridor broadway-Lougheed, making it very legible
      In practice service east of Commercial was relatively limited, but people coming from the Lougheed corridor, was able to board on a fast service offering limited stop service in Vancouver

The route 44 (limited stop from down town to UBC), having replaced the express route 85 (local on the downtown peninsula, then non stop up to UBC) participate from the same philosophical approach as the 99B.

The 98B line
The line opened on August 7, 2001, after a 4 1/2 month transit strike

At the time of the introduction of the 98B, the B line logo has changed, and Translink color are blue and yellow (instead of red and blue, former BC transit color)


The 98B line will capitalize on all the 99B lessons, but will add some BRT like features:

  • Dedicated Right of Way (number 3 road in Richmond), and bus lanes in Vancouver (Marpole)
  • Specially designed bus shelter, with real time information system
  • premeption of traffic signal (at least in Richmond)
    • The system was originally deployed to accelreate fire department response: it was not clear it was very efficient for transit operations

It is possible that Translink, could have liked to discontinue all direct services from Richmond, to having them feeding the 98B line…In fact rush hour direct services has been preserved, but the 98B line replaced a rather confusing array of bus routes (401, 403, 406 and 407) with a legible, direct, and frequent service, between Vancouver and Richmond Center. The line has been discountinued in fall 2010, as being replaced by the Canada line


[1] The Buzzer, BC Transit 1987 Aug 28

[2] The Buzzer, BC Transit 1996 Nov 29

[3] The Buzzer, BC Transit, 1998 Aug, 21

[5] TCRP Program report 65: Evaluation of Bus Bulbs, National Academy press, Washington D.C., 2001

[6] Vancouver’s BLine Experience, Jeffrey Busby, TRB Annual Meeting 13 January 2013.

[7] TCRP report 90: Bus Rapid Transit Volume 1: Case Studies ( Annex B Bus Rapid TransitVancouver British Columbia, Translink #98 and #99 B lines), National Academy press, Washington D.C., 2003

[8] “Planning of Vancouver’s Transit Network with an Operations-Based Model“, Ian Fisher, May 1 2009, Translink

[9] “Bus System Performance Review”. May 31, 2012 – Translink

At a time when “both TransLink and the City of Vancouver are aiming to establish a common vision for bus service in downtown Vancouver“, it is still interesting to have a look at what has been done in past in that respect

In 1975, the Bureau of Transit Services, then depending from the Minister of municipal affairs prepared a transit service plan to complement the City land plan [1]:

1975 Vancouver Downtown transit Plan

1975 proposal for the Vancouver Downtown transit Plan, extract from [1]

This plan is important in many aspects, and mainly the adopted methodology

It lays down the general picture in which a downtown plan can take shape

Thought not in service in 1975, the West Coast Express concept were already discussed, and the terminals and vessels, for the seabus, were under construction. The skytrain was still a quite distant concept [2], but the LRT discussed in the plan is clearly considered as a pre-metro, aimed to be underground in the Core Business district.

But More importantly,

It lays down 7 principles guiding the plan
Those principle are subdivized into 3 common service characteristics:

  • Direct Routing
  • (1) Don’t divert routes to serve specific needs: Diversion means a less attractive service for most of the travellers
    (2) Use secondary services connecting to main ones, to serve “out of the way” area (rather than divert main routes)

  • Minimize unecessary transfers
  • (3) Use the downtown grid for “random schedule” transfers

  • Minimal walking distance to final destinations
  • StraightThru
    (4) Go Straight thru the “center of gravity” of an area, and not its periphery, which increases the total walking distance by half.
    (5) Transit and pedestrians: the concept of pedestrianization and transit must not be treated independently.
    The study cites Jane Jacobs [3] to support the idea of bringing together the transit network with the pedestrian area [6]
    (6) Prefer two way operations over one way, since it offers the maximum coverage
    (7) Prefer nearside bus stop over farside, sinec it allows the passengers to alight before have to wait at a traffic light.

Many, if not all, of this principles are what Jarret Walker calls the geometry of Transit, and that is the reason why they are still as valid in 2013 as they were in 1975:

  • Principle (7): Thought some cities like Montreal and Toronto, have bus stopa on the nearside, most of the cities adopt a farside model, since it usually allows a better general traffic output, and modern LRT/trams use also farside bus stops, since it allows a more efficient signal preemption
  • Principle (1), (4) and (6): They are very strong transit geometry principles which have justified the conversion of Manners Mall in Wellington New Zealand, from a pedestrian only street to a transit mall.
  • Principle (4) and (5) are why transit needs to be considered as part of the urban fabric

Some comments on the DT plan
The geometry of transit largely comfort the relevance of the historic streetcar grid:

Robson bus 5 ( Ex-Saskatoon Brill trolley 2363), at Robson square, in May 1980. Note the “Shoppers Free” Bus sign – Photo, courtesy from Angus McIntyre

  • The choice of the streets is guided by principle (4)
    • At the time of drafting the plan the Robson bus was using the couplet of one way streets Smythe/Robson: a two way service along Robson is clearly the privilegied choice.
  • The streetcar service along Hornby, was expected to use the Arbutus line outside the DT core: the routing thru Hornby plan is consistent with the 1972 Erickson plan developped for the court house complex.
    • The advent of the Canada line kind of fullfill this vision.
  • The Robson square is envisioned to be a pedestrian oriented area, serviced by transit in full accordance with principle (4), and the Arthur Erickson’s vision for Robson square:
      The only traffic through the square will be inner city buses, linking the West and and False Creek. Since buses function as people movers, they are seen as a compliment or enhancement to the pedestrian activity of the civic square [...]


The underlying philosophy leading to the plan, articulating pedestrian areas around transit, and not the reverse, illustrates the dramatic shift of the current Vancouver council approach, which dismiss the transit geometry, as illustrates the Robson bus circling the square
to serve a “specific need”.

At the end a transit service is envisioned on Nelson to complement the planned development of the westend, as well as a pheripheral line, to serve the “social and recreational” place on the pheriphery of downtown:

Remarkably, they are echoing recurring wishes for Transit in downtown, but the plan warms that “…there really is not much to be gained in professing support for programmes to get more people to use public transit without commitment to actions to give transit priority use of streets in Downtown Vancouver and in other urban centres in the metropolitan area.”

Alas, the current Vancouver council policies could not be farther apart of this commitment to transit.

One can also consult [5] for a different coverage of [1]


[1] Draft memorandum on transit service planning to complement downtown peninsula plans of the City of Vancouver, Bureau of Transit Services, BC Minister of Municipal affairs, Sept 19, 1975. (13.6MB file)

[2] the underlying concept had been drafted by Harry Rankin by 1970, see The Case for Rapid Transit…in 1970

[3] The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Jane Jacobs, Random House, New York, 1961

[4] 51-61-71 Project, block 71 Schematics, Arthur Erickson Architects, 1974

[5] Vancouver’s 1975 downtown transit plan, John Calimenete, April 7, 2010

[6] This view is echoed by Jan Gehl, among others, providing rational for Transit on Sydney’s George Street.

A parisian bus stop

November 19, 2012

There is little piece of urban furniture we interact more than with a bus stop pole, and still this element of the urban fabric is too often neglected (his brother the bus shelter has usually better fortune). Below an essay on the Parisian bus stop pole:

It is in 1922 that Paris and the Seine department agreed to have bus stop installed on the streets. At this time, some are part of lampposts, they will be mounted on independent pole, what is now the general practice, at the time of the replacement of the gas lampposts by electrical ones:

A Parisian bus stop circa 1930, Place St Michel – Side circles present the route number while the sidewalk face present the route followed by the bus (The street face present the bus stop name) side credit photo (1)

Save for the RATP color scheme of the time, up to the 1970, the bus stop shape didn’t changed, becoming a clear Parisian identifier:

Left picture: Bus stop from side adopted a bicolor scheme after 1930- Sophie Litvak model by Georges Dambier for Elle 1952. Right picture: Place St Michel in 1967- Jean Claude Brialy (left), and Serge Gainsbourg (right)

The side circles, will be replaced by a trapezoidal shape somewhat in the 70s. In addition to make a cleaner volumetric form with no protuberance, It provides a distinct shape to the bus stop, easy to discriminate from the road signs, which are mainly circles, triangles and squares.

The definitive and unmistakable trapezoidal Parisian bus stop shape makes it easy to discriminate among the forest of street signs, more noticeably the road signs (circles, triangle and square). Here The Louvre museum stop in 1983 - credit photo left (4)

Today, the same bus stop (slightly relocated at the time of the renovation of the Louvre in 1983-89), has kept the same form. Modern technology able to provide real time information is integrated into it. The color scheme, green jade, is the one used by the RATP since 91.

Nowadays, the same bus stop, carry all the last technology, including the real time information (those bus stop, manufactured by Moviken/Cromateam, are powered by solar panel) but the shape has not changed- credit photo (3)

The Parisian bus stop has many qualities, well epitomized in the picture below:

bus stop at the Louvre. Visible enough, but neither visually or physically obstructive – credit photo (2)

Thought not all bus stop provide real time information, the 11,000 RATP bus stops are now outfitted with 20,000 QR/flash code [5]

Usually, a Parisian bus stop is not lacking of information -clarity of it may be-. In any case, they all come outfitted with QR code - credit photo left (4) right (5)

Lately, the City of Paris, wanting to go one step forward had launched an idea competition about “smart urban furniture”. One of the winner is the ibus stop:

The ibus stop, by Seolane Innovation, preserves the historic shape of the Parisian bus stop, which prove to be versatile enough to allow integration of new technologies


The Parisian bus stop is so versatile, it is used as a flower pot, by some urban gardener activist.


[1] http://fr.topic-topos.com/potelet-d-arret-sorbonne

[2] Richard Cruttwell

[3] flik ruser tobiwei

[4] www.geo.fr

[5] www.blogencommun.fr

Block 51: the North Plaza

October 26, 2012


This post is assumed closing our historic errand series of the Blocks 51-61-71:

The north Plaza of Block 51 is the square sitting north of the VAG. Thought it is part of the block 51, and more generally of the Block 51/61/71 complex, this square has a life of its own.

After the opening of the second courthouse in 1912, This square will very quickly become the ceremonial Vancouver square. Its location along Georgia street, providing frontage to a preeminent and formal government institution, makes it almost a non brainer:

Mayor James Findlay welcomed the Duke and Duchess of Connaught to a civic reception at the newly-completed Vancouver Court House on 18 September
1912

The early days

  • A first fountain, commissioned to sculptor Charles Marega in 1912, had been installed as a memorial to King Edward VII right along Georgia. It was initially equipped with bronze cups on chains, but these were quickly stolen and never replaced.
  • On august 29, 1913, a flag pole has been erected in the middle of the square. It was said the tallest flag pole in Canada

The Vancouver Court House square

It was apparently a staple to be photographed on the front step of the courthouse,and the Vancouver archive are full of group picture [1]

1966: The Centennial fountain

respecting the formalism of the space, the city idea for the square in 1964 was as pictured below:

1964: City vision for the block 51 north plaza (4)

It happens that W.A.C Bennett had another agenda. He commissioned R. H. Savery (design) and Alex Von Svoboda (sculpture/mosaic) to design an “XXL” fountain, 72′x26′ and 16′ high:

The Savery/Svoboda fountain model, showing the original plan for the plaza

According to [5] quoting an official report: the “symbolic twin-pillar centrepiece” is “meant to represent mankind rising from the sea and depicts gods of Celtic mythology”.

The $250,000 fountain will be controversial right from the beginning, and will be called the secret Bennett Project[5], erected behind blind walls. W.A.C inaugurated it at night, during a rainstorm, after having inaugurated the Grouse tramway, on December 15th, 1966. The semi-private ceremony was perturbed by a so called act of vandalism: someone had poured detergent in the fountain, making huge bubble [4][5]

The old fountain has been put in storage up to 1983, when it has been reinstated along Hornby street.

Vancouver people have never been fond of this fountain [2] and we can give here a couple of keys why:

  • The fountain looks over-sized, in respect of the square size, and more especially the old courthouse building
  • Disregarding aesthetic taste, The chosen Artistic choice, doesn’t pair well with the Neo-classic building

To be sure, the Vancouver administration hasn’t made any effort to improve the fountain setting, and the fact that the today VAG is turning its back on Georgia doesn’t help the matter. More generally we can consider that all the intervention on the Rattenbury’s building after 66 (lobby on ground level, rooftop patio…) are unfortunate acts of vandalism

The Erickson proposal

The Erickson view for this square in 1966, was not much different of the one of the city:

1966 Erickson/Massey Proposal: The view along Howe Street looking south

In his 1973 proposal:

  • It was envisioned as a largely hardsurfaced plaza — adapting itself readily to multiple uses according to [6], but model photography suggest nothing much more than a lawn

This part of the complex design has never been implemented, allowing the Centennial fountain to stay up to today [8].

2009: the VPSN competition
In 2009, the VPSN held a design idea competition, “Where’s the square?”, and one of the co-winner of the “people choice” was HAPA collaborative, with their entry, “red carpet”:

Vancouver Red Carpet – Hapa Collaborative – entry of the 2009 VSPN Where’s the Square Competition

We will find some remarkable analogy with the City Hall 1964 vision, and this HAPA proposal epitomizes quite effectively what is the Vancouver collective conscience and wish for this space. It also shows a remarkably solid consensus overtime on the idealized vision of this square.

2011 The Concert-hall by Bing Thom

On March 4, 2011, The Vancouver Concert Hall and Theatre Society proposed a Bing Thom plan for a 1,950-seat concert hall underneath the existing plaza fronting Georgia Street.


The 2011 Bing thom proposal for an underground concert hall – credit (3)

notice how this vision fits well with the HAPA proposal.


[1] Verbatim of John Atkin intervention at the Block 51 event, a look forward, VAG, Oct. 17, 2012

[2] That includes John Atkin, who even qualified it as too noisy![1]

[3] concerthallcomplex.org

[4] VancouverProvince, December 16th, 1966

[5] VancouverSun, December 16th, 1966

[6] heritage vancouver society newsletter, Volume 17 Number 1, June 2008

[7] Redevelopment in downtown Vancouver : report No 5, City of Vancouver, 1964.

[8] In fact the fountain is excluded of the Block 51 lease agreed between the City and the Province. That along original negotiation line dating back January 1974- (Vancouver City council mn, January 8, 1974)


This post follow up on the history of the Blocks 51-61-71

Prologue: The 70′s at City Hall

The 70′s was years of intense civic engagement worldwide and public interest for civic participation was something city hall, controlled by the NPA for the last previous 40 years, was not prepared to deal with. The Chinatown revolt on the freeway plan in 1967 is something the city hadn’t see coming.
That had eventually lead to the formation of “The Electors Action Movement” (TEAM), and COPE in 1968, which made inroad to the council in 1968 (Philips and Hardwick for TEAM and Rankin for COPE). the four ensuing year, 68-62 was electric ones at city hall. Each development put forward by the administration was supported by the NPA, fought by COPE and TEAM, and ended to be defeated in drama, the apex of it being probably the third Georgia crossing in 1972, resulting in a full blow fiasco for the couplet NPA/administration. The only major project of the time which had been able to move forward was the Eaton center (sic). The NPA and the city administration was so distrusted that the NPA didn’t even present a mayoral candidate in the December 72 election, which was won by the TEAM. The first major decision of the new mayor, Art Phillips, had been to dismiss the director of planning of the time, Gerald Sutton-Brown. other dismissals and administration re-organization was on the TEAM menu leaving a vacuum in the city hall affair

1973

The W.A.C Bennett government is defeated by the NDP, in the Provincial election of August 1972. The Provincial plan for the Vancouver Courthouse is stopped. Naturally (sic), considering his previous work on the site, Erickson will be the architect of choice.
The Premier of the time, Dave Barrett, had said something, Bing Thom, then member of the Erickson’s team, translated as “You need to go fast, because we don’t gonna be reelected” [3]. This and the fate of the aborted previous project was also more than an encouragement to do so.
In the meantime the consequence of the politic turmoil at city-hall, involving many dismissals among civil servants, was leaving a vacuum in the Vancouver civil administration giving the Erickson’s team pretty much free rein on what to do in the city, so allowing a speedy process [3][8] :

Ownership question

As seen before, the Erickson proposal was to locate the provincial offices on block 61 and the court house on block 71, leaving block 51 for civic activities. To move forward with this spatial organization required to resolve some ownership issue:

  • Block 71, including lanes, was sold to the Province for $4.6 millions in 1974
  • Block 51 is leased to the city of Vancouver, by the Province, for $1 per year for 99 years started on August 29th, 1975
  • In return, the city of Vancouver leases street sub-surface and air-space to the Province for 99 years started on August 29th, 1975 [1]. exception are
    • The city own the air-space above Robson
    • The Province can sublease Smythe and Robson sub-surface (it can’t on Howe).

The province was also proposing to install and maintain street furnishing including trees on Robson street, and other detail which could still need to be sorted out.

Civic context

The original 66′s design for the block 51-61-71 could have been built with minimal alteration but two important things had happened in the previous years:

  • Following the freeway revolt, the rapid transit idea was getting steam, especially with Rankin as alderman [9], and a plan for downtown was as illustrated above, which was calling for a rapid transit station at Hornby and Georgia
  • More importantly for the project itself, was the public outcry at the tower, but also the conveyed idea that block 71 could have been a green-space

People didn’t want the tower, but wanted the green-space.

The 1973 Erickson analysis
The city was seen like illustrated below, where Robson Square at the highest point of the peninsula, is not considered at the crossroad, but as a destination in itself [10]:

73 Erickson case analysis of Robson square. It is at the center, but not a connector (notice how Robson and Granville are clearly disjointed)

The concern for the building height and its corollary, shadow, starts to commend the shape of the court house:

73 Erickson case study: Height and global shape of the court house, are assumed to minimize shadow casting

That leaded to the below proposal in late 1973, early 1974:

Overview of the Erickson project in 1974

The city Square (left) is located south of Robson on Block 61 while that the east part receive a sunken plaza (right)

Some striking elements:

  • Robson street is interrupted between Howe and Hornby, both being only connected by a pedestrian passerelle.
  • A sunken Plaza on the East side of the block 51/61, featuring a food court on block 61, and a sculpture garden on the block 51
  • A “city square” on the block 61
  • The north side of the old court house, facing Georgia, is in the original proposal a large reflecting pond. This aspect of the design disappears very quickly -the model above seems to show a lawn- certainly due to the lease term of the block 51, which excluded the Centennial fountain

Those elements will be altered in the subsequent project development, but basically the overall design is already fixed:

The Erickson proposal in 1976

A low profile building, with terraced garden designed by Cornelia Oberlander supposed to emphasizes north-south pedestrian continuity between the blocks with multi-level; pedestrian connections[11]

The thing will be built pretty much as planned. Nevertheless the city took issue with at least three components of the proposal.

The rapid transit station location

  • To accommodate the rapid transit plan of the time, the proposal was provisioning a station access along Hornby on block 51.
  • For some reason, the city didn’t like this idea and was wanting it along block 61. That is what has been built [3]

The Trees

Erickson architects was planning to have London plane trees on Howe and Hornby street, and had purchased them right at the start of the project [13]. While a staple and beloved tree in London, Paris or New-York, the city engineers objected to this species, and provided numerous reports explaining that the Acer rubrum was a better choice. This curious bickering could have passably irritated the Erickson team, but the Acer rubrum has been the planted species

Robson street

Mirroring his fordism view of the city, Erickson was looking at keeping separate the Robson shopping mall (then made of small shops) of the Granville one (then envisioned as the high end fashion mall) [10]:

The bridging of the Robson street shopping area with Granville one was not something seen as desirable in the Erickson view, who was preferring to see them separated - credit (10)

The bus routing was supposed to support this vision:


The center is not seen as at a crossing of major road/arteries, but as a destination. credit (10)

Accordingly, the original vision was calling for an open sunken plaza without at grade connection between Howe and Hornby to de-emphasize Robson. Nevertheless, it was a telecommunication duct below Robson they couldn’t realistically move, also they have choosen to ” hide” it below a pedestrian passerelle [3].

The city engineers didn’t like too much this idea for the reason below [4]:

  • A too narrow strip above the sunken plaza was breaking the continuity of sidewalk along Robson street, and they wanted to preserve the ability to return the traffic in case of the scheme was not working as expected

By early 1974, The province, the city and the architect, AEA, will agree on a bus only connection. Arthur Erickson rationalized the agreement as below:

“The only traffic through the square will be inner city buses, linking the West and and False Creek. Since buses function as people movers, they are seen as a compliment or enhancement to the pedestrian activity of the civic square, whereas the present car traffic would present and irreconcilable conflict.”[12]

  • Robson street was one way street at this time, with a peak transit traffic of 11 bus/hour in the West direction, leaving the transit lanes empty most of the time, what was not seen as a best use of the road space by the city:

The city was calling for foundation allowing a 4 lanes -80 foot- wide street (what has been granted), but was satisfied with the construction of a 3 lanes- 50 foot wide- street (that is the Robson street width between the domes). Another problem at this time was the Connaught bridge (or second Cambie bridge) landing at the foot of Robson at Beatty: the city was pushing its views by painting them as interim, up to a relocation of the Cambie bridge, able to move the traffic away of Robson.

Completion

The defeat of the NDP government in the 1975 general election, by the son of W.A.C bennett, Bill Bennett could have signed the abandon of the project again. Something, Bing Thom among other had worked at avoiding by pleading their case to the new Premier [3]. The Province court will move in the new building on September 6, 1979. The entire complex cost had been reported to be $139 million in 1979 [2]. The Vancouver art gallery will move in a renovated old courthouse building in 1983

The project will have received several awards, more noticeably, It won the American Society of Landscape Architects President’s Award of Excellence in 1979, where the jury commented on the “extraordinary integration of landscape architecture with architecture–consistent and coherent.” Envisioned as a “linear urban park, importing nature into the city“. In 2011, The RAIC architecture jury rewarded Arthur Erickson Architects with the Prix du XXe siècle. The jury had commented

Thanks to its splendid horizontality and its complex system of landscape terrace, pools and waterfalls, this vast urban landmark is able to embody a West Coast sense of space and relationships. Bridging between law and the arts, it epitomizes the urban monument in its highest civic aspiration”

(Amen)


[1] The originally proposed lease was on a 50 years period. it has been extended to 99 years , and starting date choose, to match the lease agreed with the Pacific center.

[2] This day in history: September 6, 1979, VancouverSun, September 6, 1979

[3] Verbatim of Bing Thom intervention at the Block 51 event, a look back, VAG, Oct. 15, 2012

[4] Memorandum to Vancouver city Council, Blocks 51/61/71, November 29, 1973

[5] It was in this post 72 context, that Stanley King came to propose his co-design method, object of the movie chair for lovers

[6] Robson Square, The Canadian Architect, May 2011

[7] Urban Development Standards: The Block 51-61-71 Project, Arthur Erickson, JAE, Vol. 29, No. 3, Canada (Feb., 1976)

[8] It was also an opportunity for Erickson to have the city adopting much of its proposed standards and guidelines [7][3]

[9] see The case for rapid transit in…1970

[10] Development standards case study 1. Arthur Erickson Architects, Vancouver B.C. June 21, 1973

[11] Department report, Vancouver B.C. June 21, 1974

[12] 51-61-71 Project, block 71 Schematics, Arthur Erickson Architects, 1974

[13] Following Erickson recommendation, the Province bought, at apparently discounted price 300 London plane trees which had been over-ordered for the World’s fair in Spokane, WA. Later the city refused to plant them, they have ended on a waterfront promenade in Victoria [14]

[14] Seven Stones, A portrait of Arthur Erickson, Edith Iglauer, University of Washington Press, 1981

Blocks 51-61 and 71 are the ones sitting between Howe and Hornby, and between Georgia and Nelson, numbered from North to South

the early XX centuries

The first courthouse built in Vancouver in 1888, and will be demolished in 1912. It will become Victory square in 1924.

At the turn of the century the court house was located on what is now Victory square. It will be relocated on Georgia in 1912 in the building designed by Francis Mawson Rattenbury. (nowadays house of the VAG). The annex facing Robson will be added in the 30s.[7]

In those days, the building main entrance face a ceremonial square onto Georgia street [1]:

The Vancouver court house circa 1912

.

While the South side seems to use to be a lawn:

The South side of the Vancouver courthouse seems to use to be a lawn


The 50′s

City of Vancouver was eyeing the Block 61 (South of the today VAG), to transform the whole area in a civic center, by relocating noticeably the public library and the BC electric building.

  • An Auditorium is considered for block 61 in 1949
  • After an exhaustive study to select a location for a public space in 1958, block 61 is selected in 1960.

Most of the block 61 is acquired-thru expropriation- by the city by early 1964. At this time Downtown Vancouver is a sea of parking lot:

Aerial view of block 61 and surrounding circa 1964 – credit (2)

The 60′s

The Province had expansion plan for its court house since 1955. The original 1955 plan to add a building on Robson having encountered firm opposition, the Province had acquired the land behind Hotel Vancouver and some parcels on block 61… But in 1963 it was considered critical to add a parking structure to the Hotel Vancouver. a deal was stroke:

  • The Province sold its land north of Hotel Vancouver to the Hotel, for purpose of building a parkade
  • The City sold block 61 to the province, for the court house expansion and other governmental uses, understanding it will also include a civic square

The sale occurred in 1964, and land ownership was then as illustrated below, with Eaton owning block 52 and 71:

Land ownership in 1964 of blocks 51, 61 and surrounding

In 64, the block 51-61 was envisioned as below by the Vancouver city planning department:

1964: City intention for blocks 51-61 according to (4)

The Province was seeing the things slightly differently, with the adding of building on block 51, and some commercial developments:

The Province intention for block 51 and 61 not revealed before April 65 according to (4)

Retail corridors like Hasting were already seriously declining and the city was not seeing commercial development on block 61 as desirable. The city strongly opposed to the Province proposal for this reason.

…At least, it is the story telling of the city brief [4] to be presented in 1965 to the Premier W.A.C Bennett:

The 1964 Redevelopment plan

The redevelopment plans published by the city in 1964 [2] were already integrating an additional building on block 51

Block 51, 61 and surrounding as envisioned by a 1964 city report

The design then considered by the city didn’t seem to consider a major public square. The development of pedestrian precinct, fully segregated from motorist traffic, was considered along the lines below:

Vancouver 1964: considered Pedestrian precinct fully segregated of motor traffic

That said, the city will have the Vancouver art council to commission Arthur Erickson Geoffrey Massey and Bruno Freschi to offer a counter proposal for which we have a specific post:

the 1966 Erickson/Massey proposal

Robson square and the provincial court as originally envisioned by Erickson in its 1966 proposal

Needless to say the Province was decided to move on with its plan leaving the square question open:

1966-1972 : Where is the square?

The Province design was not considered offering an attractive enough space for a civic square. The city approached the Province to buy back block 61 without success. so the city resolved to consider [8]

  • block 71 as a civic square., a then considered very poor alternative.
  • block 42 because it was owned by the city (purchased with the proceed of the block 61 sale).
  • a one block in the area bounded by Hasting, Seymour, Georgia and Hamilton street
  • have scattered open space in the city

And a last alternative, echoing the Erickson 66 proposal:

  • Acquisition of block 51 for a civic space

In the meantime, the city acquired block 71 from Eaton, since the site was considered as suitable for a ‘central’ park, if not a civic square, and could be used to trade with other properties, again echoing the erickson 66 proposal.

The Province, on its side, was busy moving on the new court house:

The Plan in early 1972

The year 1972 starts with the following design, from aprioiri Thompson, Berwick, Pratt and Partners, poised to be built:

the court house at block 51-61

The proposed high-rise, beyond its height, 698feet accomodating 55 storeys, was a 200 feet wide slab tower along Smythe, twice bigger than the Electra building (by the same architect). It was obviously against any by-law; the Province is not legally bind by city by-law; but this was not the major contentious point with the city administration. The proposal have its fair share of oddities:

  • Block 51 and 61 was needed to be zoned commercial
  • No sidewalk was planned on the south side of Robson
  • A 14 feet passageway between the old court house and a new building was planned, to connect it to a 25 feet wide interior court yard
  • The proposal was assuming that the block 71 should be a park, providing an open setting to the tower

While the city engineering department was considering the provided parking space (630), as noticeably insufficient (they were asking for 1200), the civic design panel had considered that “the tower structure itself, is well designed and in an acceptable location” but that the “most important problem is considered the lack of open space separation between the proposed new building and the [old] court house”[6].

…Needless to say the resident had a very different opinion on the slab-tower.

August 30, 1972

The W.A.C bennett government is defeated by the NDP, in the Provincial election: The project is stopped, but it is not the end of the story, to be continued here


all source from [4] unless otherwise noticed


[1] More informal gathering space was at Larwill park, at Georgia and Beatty.

[2] Redevelopment in downtown Vancouver : report No 5, City of Vancouver, 1964.

[4] Block 51 and 61, D.L. 541 City Planning Department, Vancouver BC, June 1965

[6] Memo to Vancouver City council- “BC Centre and court House additions Block 51 and 61″, May 31, 1972

[7] date from [4], Notice that there is a discrepancy with what say Wikipedia

[8] Memo to Vancouver City Council- “A civic square for DownTown Vancouver”, September 22, 1969

in the 1960′s the Province and the city of Vancouver were in thorny discussions regarding the development of critical downtown blocks known as block 51 (where the Vancouver Art Gallery sits) and the block 61 on its immediate southern edge. The city, unhappy with the direction imposed by the Province, had the Vancouver art Council to commission Arthur Erickson and Geoffrey Massey, to develop a counter-proposal [1], what they will do in 1966:

Robson square and the provincial court as originally envisioned by Erickson/Massey in their 1966 proposal

The Erickson/Massey proposal was redefining an area much larger than block 51 and 61. It was including also block 71 and 42, among other:

The Massey/Erickson’s proposal for block 61 and the downtown core

One will eventually draw some parallels with the Le Corbusier‘s plan Voisin for Paris. While the cold reception of his plan had contributed to make Le Corbusier person non grata in Paris…Vancouver gave a much warmer reception to the Erickson modernist ideas! [2]

In detail, this plan, extend the government activities on block 71, reserving the block 51 to civic activities. Erickson was considering that:

“If the downtown is to survive as a shopping center street, it must compete on equal term with the suburban shopping center, it must provides adjacent parking, free pedestrian traffic flow without crossing traffic lanes and some degree of shelter and pleasant surrounding for the shopper.”

Accordingly, the traffic movement was addressed in a multi-layered system, in which car and pedestrian were atop, while bus and truck, considered as service, were put underground:

1966 Erickson/Massey proposal: traffic organization, notice that most of car traffic crossing is done using under/over pass, like suggested for the Burrard/Georgia intersection

His rationals for the segregation of traffic per mode -also promoted by Le Corbusier then for different reasons- lead him to design Robson street and Granville street, the identified main retail Malls (by Erickson, as by the city), on at least 3 levels:

1966 Erickson/Massey proposal: Granville Mall is multi level, transit at lower level, pedestrian-called “shopper”, above

  • atop, a covered pedestrian mall on one to 2 levels
  • below, a bus tunnel, where the bus, in the Erickson view, are understood as parking shuttle
  • and at lower level, a service lane for truck traffic

Robson
A case of more interest to us in the context of the current city plan

1966 Erickson/Massey proposal: Section along Robson street, showing the transit tunnel, the truck tunnel, and 2 level of covered shopping level above.

The Strasse becomes a Shopping arcade

The Robson Strasse, transformed into a shopping arcade. there is some opening -for light and ventilation- allowing you to see the buses at lower level

The access to Robson square is done thru the second level of the Shopping arcade – to not impede car traffic on Hornby street.

The Square

1966 Erickson/Massey proposal: Georgia cross Burrard thru an overpass. Robson square is connected to Robson street on the West via a passerelle…on the East the connection is unclear. It seems the pedestrian is expected to go/from Eatons and pacific shopping centre.

How to get there?

Of course, all that had to be serviced by an appropriate network of freeway, and Erickson was also calling for a ring road:

A ring road was proposed to connect all of the then envisioned extensive freeway network including , Brockton, a third crossing of the Burrard inlet

Some comments

Eventually there is a rational to believe that Erickson was better architect than urbanist, thought some will probably explain that the Erickson mastery is not enough understood:

The general development form, with strict separation of movement according to transportation mode, implicitly negating the social function of the street, was a staple of the time, and is usually concomitant to a general organization of the space on multi-level. Such schemes have almost universally proven to be a failure

That said this proposal is important, because it lays down many concept which will be applied in the design of the existing provincial court house complex. One of the most important is not to consider an extension of the Provincial court (from block 51 to block 61), but a relocation of it ( from block 51 to blocks 61/71), freeing block 51 to civic usage. The concept of the sunken plaza, is also introduced in this proposal.

Some other concepts will appear in a different form in the Vancouver urban landscape…like the covered mall of the proposal, which will later translates into the rain-screen above sidewalk- in fact more inline with what was envisioned by Eugène Hénard in its vision of the Parisian street of the future…in 1900.

The street of the future, as seen by Eugène Hénard, shares significant commonalities with the Erickson vision. The main difference being that Henard keeps the transit and all human activities on the surface. he eventually didn’t fathom the space required by the automobile

It also states some important analysis:

  • bring the people as close as they want to go

While the car was considered as the mean of choice. Tansit was considered as an important complementary component to the accessibility, and was brought right into the high street of the town, including of course Robson street and square.

Analysis/critics and concern expressed on the Eatons centre; can also be considered as prescient for the time:

“Cemp-Eaton development could very well help the surrounding commercial areas instead of showing a blank face to them. We see the Cemp_eaton project as a vital catalyst to the downtown but are anxious that it not to be inward-looking and self-cenetred, threathening the existing shopping of Granville Street by creating its own subtarrean shopping centre, divorced from the existing shopping pattern.”

As well, a good analysis of why the downtown Vancouver didn’t follow the path of other downtown in North America:

“The downtown Vancouver has strong characteristics, principally from the uniqueness of its site, the surrounding sea, the beaches, the harbour, Stanley Park, and the crossing to the mountains.Largely because of this, the West End has emerged as one of the unique residential precincts in the world”

Cities downtown will eventually learn later, that to be thriving, they don’t have to compete on equal term with the suburban shopping center, but have to offer what they can do the best: a “real” urban experience in all its complexities… which supposes a certain level of “entropy” in its spatial organization


source: A Proposal for Block 61 and the Downtown Core. Erickson/Massey architects, Vancouver, 1966


[1] Bruno Freschi was also part of the team (source, VancouverSun, May 18 1966) thought his name didn’t appear on the author list of the proposal

[2] It was of course some dissident voices. The more noticeable was the one of the jurists, and the attorney general of the time, Robert Bonner. They had commissioned the architect Vladimir Plavsic to draft a “counter-counter proposal” (I don’t have more information on it, but for the record, Plavsic was a “brutalist” architect: he has designed the 805 Broadway Medical Dental Centre known as the Frank Stanzl building).

It is the center of Paris and was the site of the largest known wholesale market of its time. Since the market has moved away in 1969, the site, having received an underground shopping mall and a subway station seeing close to 1 million passengers a day, has become arguably the biggest urban conundrum of Paris. We gonna study it a bit- This first post layout some general context (at a level allowing me to classified my notes on the topic, so a bit heavier than necessary on the level of historic detail)

The geographic context

The very center of Paris

Paris with its successive city walls. Les Halles are where the Montmartre road (blue line) meets the Paris "great cross" (red lines, the fine lines are the historic route, the thick ones have been layout circa 1850)

The centre of Paris is at the center of the “great cross”:

  • Historically, it was defined by rue St Honoré for the west branch, and rue St Denis (doubled by rus St Martin) for the North Branch.
  • Mostly to resolve traffic issue, This cross will be doubled by the rue de Rivoli (West branch), and Boulevard de Sébastopol (north branch) [8].
  • In 1900 the cross will be doubled by the subway: line 1 for the East West axis, while the line 4 will roughly follow the North-South axis – they are respectively the first and second most used subway lines of the network.
  • In 1977, the opening of the first lines, A and B, of the regional express subway (RER) will also follow this cross…

The Montmartre road is coming from of the Montmartre hill following the terrain topography. A historically important road, but not necessarily for commercial reason, at the difference of the great cross roads: the meeting of Montmartre road with the great cross defines Les Halles – historically a triangular shape (between W and NW roads), as most of the medevial square sitting at the crossing of roads, used to be. It is important to note that the Halles has developed exclusively in the NW quadrant of the “active” great cross, basically almost never impeding the traffic on it. It was not the case of Montmartre street, since outside the market activities blocking the street, it was also the site of various celebration, and the pillory was here too:


Left: Execution of Aymerigot Marcel, from Froissart's Chronical, Vol.IV, part 1, 1470 - Right: A "celebration" at the Halles by Philibert Louis Debucourt - It was to celebrate the birth of the French heir on January 21, 1782. The tower seen in the middle is the pillory

A short history


Detail of the Halles district and market across the age, 1300, 1600, 1790 and 1830 - red line refer to the W and N branches of the historic great cross (rue St Honore and St Denis), and the blue line to the Montmartre road- credit (16)

Thought a market was officially existing since Louis VI the fat, circa 1117 – which in fact was instituating a function already occurring on a necropolis site [5]- Les Halles history starts in 1183, when the King Philippe II Augustus decided to move a trade-fair on the site called the Champeaux. A history version suggests it was a Jew ghetto – Philippe II Augustus will have expelled them and seized their goods and houses in 1182 [2]-then build two covered market in 1183. They are thought to have been massive enough-100metres long and 10 height, with a vaulted ceiling, all in stones [5]- to have impressed their contemporaries: they will be called “Hala” (halles in french, the English term “hall” is poor translation, and we will keep the french term) and it is the beginning of the story.

Left: Halles Champeaux (circa 1183) - right: Halla interior

At first the market food trading is marginal. The market will start to flourish then will decline in the 14th and 15th centuries and the halles will fall in ruins. A Francis I reformation ordinance in 1543 will try to correct that. New halles will be erected to extend and replace the old ones circa 1551, that along market organization changes. The emergence of new trading usage (shop…) will make the market focusing increasingly on food trading. Soon enough it will be known as the largest market in Occident.

Halle a la saline

Halle a la saline – circa 1784

Lot of things will change around, except 2 landmarks which today are still structuring the site- St Eustache Church and the Innocents Fountain-marked with a “red target” on all the maps to help the reader to contextualize the site:

Les halles neighborhood, The halles today site and original site. St Eustache church and the Innocents Fountain landmarks highligted


St Eustache Church

It is a relatively unassuming Gothic style church, with an unfinished and at odd neoclassic frontage [9] – the kind of you can expect in many french cities. Its recognized best profile-highlighting its gothics features slighlty enhanced by some renaissance style details- is seen from its South East side, basically from the Innocents fountain.
It is the obvious landmark of the neighborhood. Most of the photographs and paintings of the district include it whenever possible: When you see St Eustache, you know where you are.

St Eustache church (in front the "Prouvaires" market): 24 barracks built between 1813-1818- circa 1850 (Photo Marville)

The Innocents fountain

Easy to find. On the way, more exactly on the historic Montmartre road axis- between the Halles and the “great cross” intersection- and dominating the middle of an unencumbered and well defined ~80mx60m square: a size big enough to accommodate a substantiate activity making a good hangout, but small enough to be able to recognize a person in it (see the notion of social field of vision in [7]): this unassuming structure is a landmark: it is “THE” meeting spot of the Halles.

Notice the today square’s name, place Joachim du Bellay, is virtually unknown, overwhelmed it is by the “Innocents” fountain name everyone know.

St Innocent fountain, and market. Notice the umbrellas in the forefront, they will play an important role in the Halles history- Photo Marville circa 1855

A bit of historic background for the Innocents fountain

Innocents cemetery during the Middle ages

The fountain- thought have been existing since 1274 [5][10]- has been a bit peripatetic. Originally this site was a cemetery, the St Innocents cemetery, and the fountain was sitting at the NE corner of it. A cenotaph was sitting in the middle of the cemetery.

Odours

The cemetery- an “overflowing” mass grave-the level was 2meters above natural level [5]- surrounded by an ossuary, has been closed circa 1785 under hygienist concern of the time and pressure of the neighborhood complaining about its “mephitic” odours [6] (the cemetery has been transferred into the catacombs) . The fountain has then replaced the cenotaph. Though merchants was conducting business in the cemetery before its closure, it became the regular market we see in the photo above in 1789-as planned by a 1750s plan.

Project of conversion of the "Innocents" cemetery in a new market dated 1747 or 1767 (notice North is downward)

before be surrounded by shelter for merchant, circa 1811-1813 [2], the Innocent market will receive 400 red parasols in 1800 [5], an anecdote which will eventually have a huge influence on the future of the site. The Innocents market will last up to 1858 when it will be relocated in the Halles Baltard, and give room partially to a park, an opportunity to relocate the fountain for the last time so far.

"Innocents" market by Thomas Naudet circa 1800: 400 parasol had been installed to shelter the merchants (credit wikigallery)

Some other building of interests

The Halle au Blé

The Halle au blé with the Médicis Column as it looks today from the Halles (credit wikipedia)

In its today form, this building could have eventually been a landmark in a provincial city, but in the Parisian landscape, it looks like another official Parisian building… Its circular and repetitive from makes it a poor orientation helper. The lately added main entrance on its west side, make the building turning its back to the Halles site.

A bit of history

It was a building to trade grain and flour. It has been built by Nicolas Le Camus de Mézières between 1763 and 1767, and was part of a larger neighborhood development following a circus layout. This building has been considerably altered in its history to the point it bears little relationship with its original design:

  • Jacques-Guillaume Legrand and Jacques Molinos added a wooden framed dome in 1782, it will be destroyed by a fire in 1802
  • François-Joseph_Bélanger will rebuilt the dome with an iron frame and copper surfacing in 1806-1811
  • After another fire in 1854, the building will be closed in 1873, and radically transformed by Henri Blondel in 1885, to give its today appearance, and to host a commodity trade market.
  • Nowadays, it is used by the Paris Chamber of commerce


Original Halle au blé, as designed by Le Camus de Mézières (top). it will receive a wooden roof by Jacques Molinos and Legrand (middle) and will get a dramatic transformation by Blondel giving its today appearance(bottom)

The surrounding buildings have followed a similar track.

rue de Viarmes, circa 1885, left (photo Godefroy)- and now, right (credit wikipedia)

The Médicis column

It is the column seen next to the Halle au blé building. Commissioned by Catherine de’ Medici in 1574, it predates the building itself, but has always stand still there a bit at odd. Blondel was planning to demolish it in the context of its renovation work: Jean Charles Alphand, to whose Paris owns most of its most celebrated parks, will have intervened against such a fate.

The Halle au Draps

We mention this building because it was probably the traditional shape of the non food related Halles, and it relates to what have once been one of the most important and flagship trade activities of the medieval halles of Paris: drapery.
The illustrated Halles, a 50x400foot building, has been built by Legrand and Molinos in 1786, it will lost its vaulted, wooden framed roof in a fire in 1855. following that, the then almost moribund drapery market, will be transferred to the Halle au ble. The building will be demolished in 1868. The advent of the department stores surrounding the halles, like Le Bon Marché, Samaritaine, the BHV or the Grands magasins du Louvre, will make them the place of choice to buy drapery

The "halle aux draps" by Nicolle Victor Jean (circa 1830)- Probably a very traditional shape for the non-food "mortar" built Halle, it has been demolished in 1868

The market in 1850′s

The Halles, for the food related market, are largely very medieval in their typology, and the last addition like the Prouvaires market built by Jean-Jacques-Marie Huvé between 1813-1818 (see photo above) or the halles for the fish and butter market, built in 1822 by Hubert Rohault de Fleury, don’t revisit this style, thought they are almost contemporary of the Covent garden market in London.

In former time and in addition to Les Halles, Parisian houses in commercial districts had an open ground floor, where market activities was held. this form used to be called “Piliers” (from the building foundation pillars)-they form a 4meters wide gallery on the east side, and a 2meters wide one elsewhere [5], but in fact the market was sprawling in all the surrounding area. The Giuseppe Canella’s canvas below illustrates it:

"les halles" circa 1830 and the Tonnellerie's "Piliers" - notice the roof shape of the covered market

the market is the largest known central market of its time and live mostly at night: people, including 7162 counted sellers, start to come around 11pm, to serve an estimated 40,000+ customers, and are supposed by bylaw to have freed the street by 9am or 10am (in winter).
The market roughly occupies 3.6 hectares -2.2hectares for flower, fruit and vegetable only- partitioned as following:

  • 1 hectares of Halles (covered market)
  • 0.6 hectares on open space
  • 2 hectares on public street

Traffic is a huge issue- there are counted 4,000 carts occupying an additional 2 hectares. handcart, basket storage, and livestock occupy an additional 0.5 hectares (number above from [11], [12] provides similar numbers, 5.5 hectares for the whole market).

The area is a fertile ground for endemic prostitution and other activities associated with more or less shady nightlife [15]. The retail market is functioning all the day, making the area active 24hr a day.
Adding to the picture the smell of the rotten food (odours have always been a strong marker of the site [15]), it doesn’t necessarily make a desirable place to live, and in fact the neighborhood, “unhealthy, badly built and crowded, is of a repulsive appearance” [14]: It is the “worst” slump of Paris where the living population density level has been reported at up to 100,000 people/km2 [1][15]. Diseases are widespread and the neighborood will be a nest of the 1832 cholera pandemic [13]

Thought there were many men, for packing work- called fort des halles- many of the merchants were women, and the market was associated with a high level of gossiping and obscene language by the moral bourgeoisie of the time [13]. Eventually due to the market sprawl and ensuing disorganization, the government had little control on its activities, market stall allocation, tax collection..etc…. The government will try to get better control on it… It will be the object of another post:

In this Marville photo (circa 1855), all the structuring edifices mentioned in this post are appearing. but what is the focus of the photo is the Halles Baltard: it will deserves a post of its own


[1]The autumn of Central Paris, Anthony Sutcliffe, mc Gill Quueens Univeristy Press, 1970

[2] Mémoires de la Société de l’histoire de Paris et de l’Île-de-France, Volume 3, Paris, 1876

[3]it was kind of an European tradition when the government was in need of money. We refers to the June 24, 1182 expelling ordinance. It was called la “Juiverie des Champeaux”. This version doesn’t appear- neither is dismissed- in the recent literature (like [5]), but up to recently the literature was frequently referring to [2] to support this version.

[4] Paris, ses organes, ses fonctions et sa vie dans la seconde moitie du XIXe siecle, Paris, 1874 (as translated in [13])

[5] Les halles de Paris et leur quartier (1137-1969), Anne Lombard Jourdan, 2010

[6] Histoire physique, civile et morale de Paris, Vol.6, Jacques Antoine Dulaure, 1837

[7] Cities for people, Jan Gehl, 2010

[8] The Rue de Rivoli (street) has been opened in different stage between 1806 and 1835, for the Western part, and the last section completed in 1855 [1].

[9] It used to be chapel, St Agnès, built in the 13th century. The construction of the current church began in 1532, the work not being finally completed until 1637. Jean Hardouin-Mansart de Jouy has started to had a new neoclassic style frontage in 1754. The work will be continued but not finished by Pierre-Louis Moreau-Desproux up to 1772.

[10] The original fountain with only 3 exposed faces- has been redone in its current style by Jean Goujon (sculptor) and Pierre Lescot (design)- 1546-1549. The fourth face has been added by Auguste pajou in 1788, when the fountain has been relocated in the middle of the place.

[11] La politique Nouvelle, Juin, Juillet Aout 1851, Paris

[12] Revue générale de l’architecture et des travaux publics: Volume 8, edited by César Daly, 1849, Paris

[13] Urban Renovation, Moral Regeneration: Domesticating the Halles in Second-Empire Paris, Victoria E. Thompson, French Historical Studies, Vol. 20, No. 1, 1997.

[14] “Question du déplacement de Paris,” Lanquetin, Prefecture de la Seine, Commission de Halles, April 1840 (as cited by [13].

[15] Les Halles: images d’un quartier, Jean-Louis Robert,Martine Tabeaud, 2004

[16] http://www.paris-atlas-historique.fr/

I have been first intrigued by a “rapid transit map” dating of the 1970, but it was more than a map: Below an extensive Verbatim of “Beat the Traffic Rush”, The case for rapid Transit, Alderman Harry Rankin, 1971


Do the people of Vancouver and surrounding municipalities want a freeway system which will:

  • Crisscross and divide up residential areas with ugly structures of concrete and steel?
  • Funnel all automobile traffic from north, east and south into the narrow peninsula that comprise Downtown Vancouver?
  • Create unprecedented and impossible traffic congestion and traffic jams?
  • Pollute our air to the danger point until it becomes as bad here as in Los Angeles?
  • Saddle our citizens with an enormous debt which will burden homeowners with huge boost in taxes, and tenants with still higher rents

OR

  • Bring people instead of cars into Vancouver’s downtown area and to place of employment?
  • Move people quickly and efficiently at low fares, saving time and money for transit users?
  • Keep down debt and taxes?
  • Reduce air pollution?

Do we want to see a rapid transit system in the Greater Vancouver region which will:

Provide frequent and efficient service between municipalities and within each municipality so that everyone will have far greater freedom and ease of movement?

We can have one or the other.

We won’t have both.

Which one we get- freeway or rapid transit—is not only important for the reasons given above. The undeniable fact is that the kind of transportation system we end up with will decisively shape the nature of the growth and development of our cities and municipalities for decades to come.

Our future is very much at stake in the choice and decisions that will be made.

You can help decide what that choice will be.

THE FUTURE

Rush hour TRAFFIC

Population by the year 2000 will have doubled

1970 2000
1,000,000 2,000,000

Metropolitan employment employement will have more than doubled

1970 2000
375,000 850,000

Downtown employment will increase by at least 50% and possibly double

1970 2000
93,000 143,000-205,000

The number of morning rush hour commuter trips into downtown will increase accordingly.

1970 2000
39,000 61,000 – 88,000

Many of these rush hour commuters will need public transit, for those roads into downtown will have limited capacity.

1969 2000
15,700 29,000-56,000

(From brochure By GVRD)

Freeways Are Already Here!

We will have to make a choice very soon because powerful interests are at work endeavoring to impose a freeway system on the Greater Vancouver area. The city of Vancouver is the local point. Here freeway plans are already well advanced-more so can most people realize. Vancouver City Council is trying to sneak in a freeway system piecemeal, one section at a time. This way the total effect will not be felt at once. People will not know what is happening. The freeways sections are being planned and build in such a ways that each completed section logically demands another.
This is of concern not only to Vancouver. While Vancouver cannot build freeways its own boundaries, yet once these freeways are built in Vancouver you can be sure they will not abruptly end at city boundaries. They will be extended into adjacent municipalities. Then we’ll all be saddled with freeways whether we like or not.

Vancouver Transportation Study

Vancouver Freeway recommended Plan in 1968 (click on it to get a better view)

The essential aspects of the freeways scheme were outlined in the Vancouver Transportation study, 1968, prepared for Vancouver city Council by BBQ&D of San Francisco. It called for:

  • A New Georgia viaduct
  • An East-West freeway continuing east from the Georgia viaduct along Union and Prior streets and connecting up with Highway 401
  • A north-south freeway in the Ontario and Quebec street corridor, also linked up with the Georgia viaduct.
  • A third crossing of Burrard inlet (called Brockton crossing and located just east of Stanley park).
  • A waterfront highway from the Brockton crossing to the north-south freeway, and going through the CPR’s Project 200.
  • A Taylor expressway going along the North shore of False creek where the CPR is planning another West End-type of apartment jungle.

The Vancouver Transportation Study studiously ignored the question of rapid transit. It stated that the city of Vancouver and B.C. Hydro agreed that no provision for rapid transit was required in the freeway system except for a 60 foot median strip in the centre of the east-west freeway from Gore Avenue eastward “for possible future grade separated rapid transit facilities in this corridor.”

The Vancouver Transportation Study has never been officially adopted by the Council. Yet a majority of Council is trying to implement the report piece by piece.
The citizens of Vancouver met this report with open hostility.
The Chinese community vigorously protested the connection between the north-south freeway and the Waterfront Highway which would go along Carrall Street and cutup Chinatown. Council had to drop this plan and consider a connection along Gore street.

The resident of the East End rose up in arms against the east-west freeway which would go through the heart of their area, cut their district in half and compel the expropriation (and removal of destruction) of about 1,200 homes. So Council had to drop this scheme too.

But Council didn’t give up by any means. It went ahead with plans to replace the Georgia Viaduct, shelving some of the other sections for the time being. But what it built was much more than just a replacement. What we have now is a two pronged viaduct designed as the hub of a downtown freeway system. The Vancouver Transportation Study admitted (page 25) that “the Georgia viaduct replacement is in effect a western extension of the east-west freeway”. There is now sits awaiting decisions about connector links at each end.

Compelled by to drop its Union-Prior corridor route for an East-west freeway, Council’s next step was to set up a Liaison Group included aldermen Wilson, Broome, Rankin, city officials, a team of consultants responsible for selecting a route, and representatives of five community organizations from the East End.
The study team of consultants has selected a new route that would go in a south-easterly direction form the East End of Georgia Vaiduct, avoiding the densely populated areas, and linking up with Highway 401 in the vicinity of boundary Road and the Grandview Highway. A conservative estimate places the number of homes that would have to be demolished at between 90 and 105. However, this does not take into consideration the construction of ramps that would bring this figure closer to 200. It is significant that the connector link they have selected makes no provision whatsoever for rapid transit.

The community representatives on this Liaison Group have given their views on the new alternative route. They have turned it down flatly.
“While the $60 million freeway route now being proposed by the consultants is less reprehensible thean the Union-Prior corridor earlier considered” they said in a statement to Council signed also by Alderman Rankin “it is still a freeway, and freeways our citizens don’t need and don’t want.” They then proposed that council drop all its plans and get busy on a rapid transit system.

Council’s unofficial plan is now to connect the west-end of Georgia Viaduct via Georgia and Dunsmuir streets with a new freeway crossing of Burrard Inlet, Council has opted for a tunnel rather than a abridge. Ottawa has offered to pay the cost of the tunnel, but only on condition that its contribution will be recovered in tolls. The provincial government has pledged $27 million for tunnel approaches.

But a third crossing, whether a bridge or a tunnel, is not the urgent need its promoters represent it to be. All survey show that the bulk of the traffic entering Vancouver comes from the east and south, not from the North Shore. In fact traffic the traffic volume to and from the south and eats is approximately the volume of traffic to and from the North Shore. But because Liberal politicians promised another crossing to North and West Vancouver business interests, and because of pressure from freeways promoters, plans for the crossing are being pushed ahead.
Other planned sections of the freeway system scheduled to come before Council sooner or later are links which will connect Burrard and Granville bridge with Georgia viaduct and with the third crossing, the north-south freeway, along the Quebec Ontario street corridor, a Waterfront Highway, and the Taylor Expressway.
Then our half a billion dollar eyesore and traffic congester would be complete—fro a few years, that is, when inevitably there would be a demand for still more freeways. Once caught up in the freeway cycle, there’s no escape.
That’s the plan that is being implemented piecemeal. It is still in its initial stages, but every completed section makes other sections more certain. If we are going to stop it at all, the timer is now before it has a chance to go much further.

Adverse Effects of Freeways

The adverse effects of freeways are obvious and numerous. If you want to see Vancouver would be like in five or ten years from now if it gives through with its freeways plans, just look at Seattle and Los Angeles.
Freeways are an eyesore which will artificially divide up cities and municipalities.
It is fundamentally wrong to siphon all traffic into the narrow neck of land (bottleneck would be a better word) which constitutes Vancouver’s Downtown area.

More and more of our choice land in Vancouver’s Downtown would have to be taken over a great expense and used for parking lot, and many city streets widened to serve the freeway system. Freeways will further aggravate the lopsided growth of Vancouver where far too much development is going into the Downtown area.
Since the freeway system would be spread over the whole Lower mainland, all its citizens would be saddled with enormous debts and increases in property taxes.

The experience of all cities which have freeway systems clearly proves that freeways solve nothing. They contribute to the very problem which they are supposed to solve—Traffic congestion. And the accident and death toll from the hundreds of thousands of cars on our freeways systems will continue to mount, as will the already too high insurance rates.

Who Wants Freeways?

Why then, are freeways being promoted by Vancouver city council?

The answer is that powerful special interests want them. They are the business interest who stand to profit directly from them. First among them are the big real estate interest and devlopers. The CPR has project 200 – the complex of hotels, apartment and offices – which includes 5,000 parking stalls to be linked to the freeway. The CPR is also building a huge apartment complex on the north shore of false creek; Taylor expressway was designed to service this area. The Bronfman interests, Eatons, and the Toronto Dominion Bank want traffic directed to Block 42-52. Near Stanly Park the Four Seasons and Bayshore Inn interest want the freeway to serve them.

Then there are the car manufacturers and the oil interests who push for freeways everywhere and the big construction firms looking for lucrative multi-million dollar contracts.

These are the private interests that want the government and the public to spend half a billion dollars on freeways just to serve them! No matter where you live in the Lower Mainland – these selfish interests are determined that you must foot the bill for freeway to enhance theirs profits.

No wonder the citizens of the Lower Mainland in increasing numbers are saying NO! We’re not going to subsidize the freeways with our hard-earned dollars and pensions!
The majority of our citizens are already opposed to freeways and their number is growing constantly. They include a wide variety of community organizations, ratepayer and tenant groups, trade unions, anti pollution groups, and increasing number of city planners and aldermen—in fact, citizens from almost every walk of life.
For the most part the groups and individuals opposing freeways are also supporting rapid transit. They look upon it as the only realistic alternative. It’s a view I wholeheartedly share.

We can’t ignore the fact that the number of motor vehicles is growing twice as fast as the population in the Vancouver region. If we don’t take control of the situation now, the demands of the car will soon control us completely!

The phoney “Balanced Transportation System” theory

Some politicians and municipal officials, feeling the pressure of the opposition to freeways and the support for rapid transit, have come out with a “compromise”. They say we we don’t need to choose freeways or rapid transit, and that we can have both. This argument they clothe in the fine and sounding phrase, “a balanced transportation system”.

I want to say without equivocation or hesitation that this is a lot of nonsense. It doesn’t come from people who don’t know better. It come from people deliberately trying to mislead and deceive the public. It is coming from people who are busy promoting freeways while doing nothing about rapid transit.

The reason we can’t and won’t have both freeways and rapid transit in the Lower Mainland isn’t only because we can’t afford both. The cost would be staggering. Even more important is the fact that freeways and rapid transit serve opposing purposes and interests that can’t be reconciled.

Isn’t the fact that Vancouver city council is building freeways while just paying lip mservice (and hardly even that) to rapid transit proof enough that it has made a choice? It isn’t building any “balanced transportation system” — it is building freeways!

What Is Rapid Transit

Perhaps at this point it would be worthwhile to go into the whole question of rapid transit more deeply.
What do we mean by rapid transit?

As the term is usually used, it means any form of public transportation operated over its own exclusive track or roadway and separated from other traffic.

Examples of rapid transit are the subways of Toronto, Montreal, London, Paris and Moscow; the elevated trains of Berlin and New York; the one-mile monorail in Seattle; and an exclusive bus roadway in Washington D.C.
Rapid transit systems are often supplemented by others from of rapid transportation including commuter trains, express buses, ferries and hovercraft.

In the Lower Mainland we could use all of the above or any combination of them, to suit our special needs. What we’re after is a good travel system that will get people where they want to go, when they want to go and at low cost.

Rapid transit us designed primarily to move people, rather tha cars, swiftly, efficiently and economically, to and from work, to and from the Downtown area of Vancouver, from one point to another within a city or municipality, and from one city or municipality to another.
Let me add that advocating rapid transit does not imply that we don’t need or shouldn’t use cars any more or that traffic roads don’t need improvement. All that rapid transit is trying to do is to eliminate unnecessary car trips. People will continue to use cars for shopping, visiting family trips and the like, and adequate roads and parking facilities must be available. But wherever it is not essential to go by car, rapid transit should offer a cheaper, faster and more comfortable service. In fact it must be made so advantageous that people will use it whenever they can.

[…]

Rapid Transit Study

Rapid Transit Study, GVRD, 1970 (extract of Harris Rankin case for rapid transit) ((click on the picture to get a better view)

The Greater Vancouver Area Rapid Transit Study of September 1970 was prepared for the Joint Transportation Committee of the greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD) and BC Hydro and Power Authority. (the regional district, by way includes West Vancouver, North Vancouver City, North Vancouver district, Vancouver, Richmond, Delta, Burnaby, New Westminster, White Rock, Surrey, Lions Bay, Port Moody, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Fraser Mills, plus three electoral areas, Ioco-Buntzen bay, University Endowment Lands and Bowen Island.)
It proposed a rapid transit network consisting of four main corridors to be completed by 1990.

  • Arbutus Corridor – Granville and Pender in Vancouver to Centenial Park in Richmond—10.2 miles
  • Granville and Pender to Surrey—13.5 miles
  • Kingsway corridor—Granville and Pender to North Road—10.9 miles. This would go on toward and connect up with other form of fast transit serving Port Moody, Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam. It would also serve the PNE and North Vancouver (via second Narrows Bridge)
  • North Shore—Granville and pender across new Burrard crossing to Upper Levels Highway.
    • Link to east via Lonsdale and 21st (North Vancouver)
    • Link to West via 15th Street (West Vancouver)

It estimates rapid transit passenger volume per peak hour inbound as follows

1970 2000
Arbutus 4600 21,200
Kingsway 9900 18,400
Hasting 5700 12,900
North Shore 4500 9800

At peak periods, trains would run every two or three minutes and at six minute intervals during off-peak periods.

The study states that the Kingsway Corridor has enough traffic today to warrant its construction immediately, and estimates that it would take 7-10 years to get in operation.

The Kingsway Corridor would “leave the downtown area by means of an elevated structure parallel to the new Georgia Viaduct and turn south near Main to cross over the CNR yards. It would be underground below Prince Edward, Kingsway and 22nd Avenue to Nanaimo. At this point the line would occupy the BC Hydro right of way between Nanaimo and Willingdon, using open cut construction…Stations on this line could be located near Main, Broadway, Knight, Nanaimo, Renfrew, Central park and Willingdon”.

It proposes that the rapid transit network be complemented by feeder bus routes and parking lots fro those who wish to park their cars for the day (“park and ride”) and for those who pick up or drop off passengers (“kiss and ride).

The study also points out that in Montreal and Toronto, 70% of the peak of travel oriented to the central business district is by public transit. This shows the potential for our area.

How do we Get Rapid Transit?

This involves several important questions such as

  • Who should be responsible for establishing a rapid transit system in the Lower Mainland?
  • What Practical steps should be taken immediately to implement rapid transit?
  • Who will pay for rapid transit?
  • What political action needs to be taken?

A Regional Transit Authority

It will be obvious to all that rapid transit cannot be brought about by each municipality if it is left to do or not do its own thing. It is essentially a regional matter and must be tackled on a regional basis.

We already have a regional structure in the Greater Vancouver Regional district. Its directing board consists of members appointed by the various municipalities included in the district—15 cities and municipalities plus 3 unorganized districts.
The GVRD should set up a transit Authority for the whole region with the responsibility and authority, under the direction of the GVRD, to establish a transit system for the region.

Under no circumstances should the Transit authority become an independent or autonomous body. (we already have one sorry example of this in the PNE in Vancouver. Although all its facilities are publicly owned, its operation has been turned over to a small group of businessmen who use our publicly owned facilities for the benefit of private professional sports promoters who get use of our facilities for next to nothing).

The Transit Authority must be appointed by and be directly responsible to the GVRD for all its action. Only in this way can public control be maintained. Don’t forget that if and when we get a rapid transit system, the special interests who oppose rapid transit and support freeways would be only too happy to see rapid transit run in trouble.

[…]

Who pays the Shot?

The first point that should be made is that rapid transit services (and an upgraded bus service, too) should not have to pay their own way through fares. Rapid transit should be regarded as a service, as essential to a community as sewers and water, and the costs should come out of general and special revenues.
The bulk of the cost to build and subsidize a rapid transit system should not be placed on the property owners and tenants of the municipalities. These costs should be met by grants from senior governments. The fact is that the difficuylt financial situation our cities and muncipalities find themselves in is not of their own making. It is the direct result of a distribution of taxing authority under a British North America Act adopted over a century ago and now completely out of date, and the contributing failure of senior governments to adjust their contributions to municipalities to the changed needs of the times.
Urban center are growing at an accelerated rate. Today only 7% of our entire population is engaged in farming. It is estimated that by the end of this century, 90% of the population will live in large urban centres. The economic council of Canada predicts that by 1980 one third of all Canadians will be concentrated in three large metropolitan areas- Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. Several of our cities already have larger population than several of our provinces.
Hand in hand with this urban growth has come the demand for all manner of essential services – police and fire protection, street, sidewalks, welfare costs, education, parks. These costs have grown enormously. Yet our municipalities must rely mainly on property taxes to raise the necessary funds. All the other significant means of raising revenue (income and corporations taxes, resources tax, liquor tax, gasoline tax) have been reserved by senior governments. Municipalities must go hat in hand to senior government for grants to meet their rising expenses.
This situation needs correction and it can only be done by senior governments. Obviously some constitutional changes are needed. In this case of rapid transit though, no constitutional change is required –only the agreement of Victoria and Ottawa that they will pay the bulk of construction and operating costs.
The provincial government has already committed itself to pay some of the cost. On October 27, 1970, Provincial municipal affairs minister Dan Campbell, stated that “the provincial government is of the opinion that the financial input to the transportation picture in the Greater Vancouver area…should be on the basis of a 37,5% outright grant from the provincial government on a progress-payment basis to the transportation authority; 37,5% outright grant, again on a progress payment, cash payment basis by the federal government and 25% input from the regional district, again on a cash progress-payment basis”.

The proposal leaves considerable uncertainty since it does not commit the provincial government directly to rapid transit, but only to “transportation” which could include anything and everything. Furthermore, it is conditional on grants from Ottawa and a heavy 25% percent load on the region. However it does acknowledge the need for aid by senior governments and does offer a basis for negotiations.
In my view we should press for 100% of capital costs to be paid by senior governments, plus a share of the operating costs.
The rapid transit study proposes a new retail tax, increases in property taxes and increases in gasoline taxes as ways and means to raise whatever money the GVRD must pay for rapid transit. I don’t think much of any of them because they all place the biggest burden on the people least able to pay, working people and low income groups that comprise 80% of the population. As an alternative, I would propose land assembly and assessment of big properties at their true market value.

Land Assembly

A profitable means of raising funds for rapid transit is through land assembly. When a rapid transit route –the Kingsway corridor, for example—is definitely agreed upon, the transit authority should acquire substantial sections of land along the route, especially in the vicinity of the transit stations. This land is bound to increase greatly in value due to new attractiveness added to it by the rapid transit corridor and the rezoning upwards that would be necessary. When the transit corridor is completed the Transit Authority could develop this land and sell it to private developers. Million of dollars in revenue could be raised in this way.

The principle is a sound one. Since the new land value are created by public action, the benefit should accrue to the public and not all go to private real estate speculators and developers as has always been the case in the past. This method has been used in Britain for some time in connection with public housing projects.

[...]


Maps have updated from the scanned original pamphlet (cover pages missing)

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