Views / Opinion

Metro Cities: Here are the New Year's resolutions Canadian cities should be making

If there's one thing cities from Vancouver to Halifax shouldn't mess up in 2018, it's this, writes columnist Tristan Cleveland.

Sarah Simon, husband Julien and their five-month-old daughter Chloe enjoy some family time in their living room at their Kamloops, B.C., home. The family has recently relocated to Kamloops from Vancouver for more affordable housing.

Jeff Bassett / The Canadian Press

Sarah Simon, husband Julien and their five-month-old daughter Chloe enjoy some family time in their living room at their Kamloops, B.C., home. The family has recently relocated to Kamloops from Vancouver for more affordable housing.

While we’re slaving at the gym for that New Year’s resolution, our cities ought to try some personal improvement too. Here are the resolutions cities from Vancouver to Halifax should make for 2018, according to columnist Tristan Cleveland.

Vancouver: Two words — build rental

Condos may sell for a trillion dollars, but phooey, Vancouver must build some rental before everyone under 40 leaves the city. The city recently unveiled a new housing strategy that encourages rental construction and the mayor is pushing other levels of government to allow for rental-only zones.

Calgary: Get down with TOD

Calgary is making it happen: new dedicated bus lanes and light rail! Only trouble is, not much development was built up around the Blue Line. As the city gets moving on plans for the Green Line and Bus Rapid Transit, make sure the plans and infrastructure successfully support major development around the stations. It's that kind of "Transit-Oriented Development" that makes trains and bus lanes really worth the money.

Edmonton: Don’t let an app ruin light rail … again. *Facepalm*

It’s annoying when Microsoft Word is buggy, but at least it doesn’t delay a $655 million light rail line or make it run at half-speed, like the train signalling software in Edmonton does. There are enough things that can go wrong with the next round of rail extensions, but darn it, Mayor Don Iveson won’t let a buggy app be one of them. He has set a deadline of April 30 for a resolution.

Toronto: Start a new decision-making diet — more evidence, less politics

Toronto is stuck spending billions on a subway and a raised highway with no reasonable evidence to say either were good ideas. Meanwhile, the city desperately needs affordable housing and better transit investment. It’s hard to make progress with bad decisions weighing the place down, so get a new recipe book with “evidence” in the title, and cook up some decisions that make the whole city better off.

Halifax: Painting lines is fun, but this year we’ll build real bike lanes

Halifax decided in December to complete a minimum grid of real, protected bike lanes — with bollards and concrete barriers — by 2020. We love art, but in 2018 we’re taking up carpentry: more than paint is needed to separate cyclists from eighteen-wheelers.

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