As I was freezing my ass off in our new modern bus shelters yesterday, I realized that its time to bring the blog back to the local.
First, I note that “modern” is defined as not having doors, no insulation, frozen loogies on the glass, none of that pesky insulation at ground level to prevent feet frostbite, loads of snow in the shelter and on the seats, and large holes at the top of the shelter for ease of wind penetration. I hesitate to swear on the blog, but these shelters can only be described as shit. Please, please tell me that this is some interim stage and that they will all have doors and go down to the ground. God help us.
The second thing that brought me back to Winnipeg is the absolutely unbelievable plan to spend $18.5 million to help IKEA undercut the local furniture shops while refusing to spend $2 million on safer active transportation. We apparently have endless funds for box stores, car transportation, and sprawl, but nothing for people who want to live healthy lives without getting run over. Livible communities be damned! We’ve got easy to assemble furniture!
Nicolas Hirst does a good job of discussing these contradictions (though he is pro-IKEA). He also ties in the Human Rights Museum and the NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) rejection of 331 apartments in a city desperate for more rental units. In general, I agree with Hirst in that we have little plan:
“If I were IKEA, I would want to see the city becoming a younger, smarter place. I would see the human rights museum as a huge step. But I would wonder at the lack of vision at city hall. Young people need apartments to live in, and cheap ways of getting around the city. When is council going to get it?”
Bang on. The problem is in long-term planning. We seem to want to make small changes, patch the potholes, instead of considering the bigger picture. Our imagination is at fault.
Finally, I would like to announce the formation of IMBY. As I write this in my Donald Street apartment, I’m looking out the window at hundreds of surface parking lots located at the edge of the soon-to-be complete Sky-Walk system. Hmm…if 331 apartments are to be built, why not here on Donald and hooked up to the system? In summer, spring, and fall, these “hip youngsters” would populate the downtown and walk to the Forks, baseball stadium, Exchange, and Osborne Village; during the coldest days of winter, they would find themselves hooked up indoors to thousands of jobs, hundreds of shops, the arena, the Millenium library, Portage Place, etc.; and all-year round they would have fast bus connections to the entire city. Anyone have $2,000,000 to give me to buy a couple of those surface lots?