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Metro Cities Roundup: Halifax crosswalk flags, Lyft comes north, and the fate of Edmonton's accidental beach

Inspiring urbanism and the biggest news in cities from across our Metro markets and around the world in the last week.

Will Edmonton's accidental beach make a comeback next summer? Metro asked Mayor Don Iveson.

Kevin Maimann / Metro Edmonton

Will Edmonton's accidental beach make a comeback next summer? Metro asked Mayor Don Iveson.

It was a week that saw Lyft officially launch on Canadian shores and Halifax crosswalk flags get the thumbs up from city council. But stay vigilant, city-lovers. Amazon could always be lurking. Read on to see how Calgary is preparing for the influx of tech scouts.

TOP NEWS

Halifax council voted to lift the moratorium on crosswalk flags, believing — unlike staff who studied them — that the flags make pedestrians safer. The council also voted to explore policies through a social lens, an effort needed in order to inject of holistic understanding into what a city can do for its people.

Metro Edmonton sat down with Mayor Don Iveson to talk about the year in pot laws, transit woes, and of course the fate of the accidental beach.

An expansion of Toronto's rapid transit network (the first in more than a decade) had the city riding the TTC for free in celebration and seeking out new adventures in farther flung regions.

Calgary took a step forward in the move towards easing the way for homeowners to build secondary suites. City council voted to make basement apartments or units above garages a matter for staff to decide, moving the debate out of council chambers.

INSPIRING URBANISM

A Toronto woman secured a decommissioned public bus and overhauled it into a mobile shower facility for the city’s homeless. The bus will also come equipped with washrooms, toiletries and clean towels. She was inspired by similar projects in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Australia.

Edmonton businesses on the hunt for new digs are looking behind Main Street, as more developers and entrepreneurs build up lane ways.

An Edmonton charity rolled out a real-time data collection app to help cater better to the needs of the homeless and marginalized people accessing its shelters, food banks and other services on a daily basis. “I’ve been looking for better technology to use in the sector. I think there’s a void of tech knowledge," David Woodruff, data coordinator with the Boyle Street Community Services told Metro Edmonton.

A Toronto land trust is crowdfunding to get the money together for a down payment and deposit on its first residential property. The move comes as a similar model opened its doors in Vancouver a few weeks ago. Advocates say land trusts are the kind of creative solutions needed to the affordable housing crisis gripping large cities.

A planned streetscape revamp of Calgary's Stephen Avenue has some councillors dreaming of large patios and European vibes, while city staff wish to at least find a better way to grow street trees on the stretch.

HOT TOPICS

Amazon scouts could be anywhere at any time, walking among us and infiltrating Calgary to scope out its potential as a site for HQ2. So the city's economic development organization is urging everyone to be on best behaviour in case the person you hold a door open for or give a seat to on the bus is the one who decides the city's fate.

Cyclists in Calgary are feeling left out as bike theft climbs and seemingly little is done to curb it.

Advocates are raising the unique plight of seniors amid the increasing home affordability in crisis in Vancouver, an issue that is typically dominated by stories from young people.

As part of its poverty reduction strategy, Nova Scotia's provincial government launched a pilot program to provide free bus fare to Haligonians and their families if they receive income assistance or employment supports. The benefit previously required a doctor's note.

One of Toronto’s oldest cycling advocacy groups is closing, saying it worked itself out of a job.

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