Author Topic: Tell me about living and moving in Vancouver  (Read 1749 times)

gaja

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Tell me about living and moving in Vancouver
« on: March 21, 2017, 05:29:00 AM »
Attended a really inspiring lecture by a transport planner from Vancouver, Canada. According to him, they have now reached a lot of their goals to make the city more walkable. People are driving fewer kilometers every year, more people are walking and biking, and 26 % of the inhabitants are member of a car share pool.

For those of you who have visited or are living in that area - is this the reality? Because if this man is telling the truth, I'm considering moving. Or at least visiting.

honeybbq

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Re: Tell me about living and moving in Vancouver
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2017, 09:23:58 AM »
I live nearby (in WA state) and have visited many many times over the past 20 or so years. It used to be where we'd go hang out in college because the drinking age was 18. I've grown up from that and enjoy it now as a vibrant lovely city. I'm sure you'll get some people who actually live there and can tell you more -- but it seems like it went through a crazy boom in terms of real estate and influx of money from Asia (millions of dollars for a condo) and now it might be coming back down as millennials and others are rejecting the super fancy and expensive lifestyle.

If you're never been, I certainly suggest a visit. It has a wide variety of lovely outdoor spaces (Stanley park is of course a favorite) to skiing and hiking in a variety of locations closeby. I'm not big on watersports, but you can snow ski in the AM and surf in the ocean in the afternoon. Granville island is a great place to walk around and people watch, get lunch, etc. The suspension bridge, Grouse mountain (you can hike up if you reject the gondola fee!), etc. There's never a shortage of fun things to do. The restaurants have a large Asian influence so there is no shortage of good Thai, Korean, dim sum, bubble tea, etc.

It's beautiful, clean, and Canadian. I'd move there in a heartbeat when I retire if it's still affordable!

Islander

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Re: Tell me about living and moving in Vancouver
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2017, 06:10:25 AM »
The cost of living in Vancouver is.very expensive. It is very hard to find a rental and housing prices is through the roof. A lot of younger families such as ours has left the city. Traffic is very bad in Vancouver and it feels like it's always rush hour.

Other than that it is a beautiful city. For us being a family with 2 young children we moved to Vancouver Island where the pace is slower and a home is 1/3 of Vancouver. We were able to buy a brand new home where as Vancouver what have gotten you a 400sq feet shoebox home. If your single or kidless check out Vancouver but if you've got a family Vancouver island is way more affordable and family friendly.

joonifloofeefloo

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Re: Tell me about living and moving in Vancouver
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2017, 08:28:57 AM »
I lived there, with and without a car. I neither loved nor hated Vancouver. I tend to love our lives anywhere, but Vancouver itself was meh for me.

As with most places, its walkability depends on where you live in relation to your preferred activities.

A lot of people there rely on cars (theirs, a co-op's, or someone else's via carpooling or borrowing) for the very popular activities of hiking and trail running, for example, or to transport hockey gear, or to take a load of homeschooling kids from the Science Centre to a birthday party, etc.

Others live and play in, say, the West End, Kits, or Commercial Drive, each of which offer all the essentials (library, groceries, schools, rec, medical, etc) and lots of play!

One catch is that there is a very low vacancy rate + high rents (unless in a subsidized build, such as a co-op developed in partnership with the federal govt), so people are finding it harder to find a sustainable home where they live and work.

I see "walkable" as distinct from car-free. One can be car-free, yet heavily reliant on bus, skytrain, carpooling, car co-ops, etc. So, they are driving less or biking more, but that doesn't mean "walkable." I'm a great walker -have walked up to eight hours to get home, lol- but for me truly walkable means: peaceful, enjoyable, quiet, safe, relaxed. I found only a few parts of Vancouver to be those.

marielle

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Re: Tell me about living and moving in Vancouver
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2017, 09:03:10 AM »
I visited a month ago. I wouldn't say walkable unless you live in downtown and never go anywhere outside of that area. But a lot of things are further away so that's not realistic. Bike + walking I would say definitely yes, you can go between downtime and North Van easily by bike for example. There bike lanes everywhere, including the bridge between downtown and North Van. The bridge bike lane has a concrete barrier separating it from the road. Walking + transit is easily doable. Daily passes for transit were about $7 USD. A monthly pass is between $70 and $130 USD depending on how far you need to go.

damyst

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Re: Tell me about living and moving in Vancouver
« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2017, 02:08:08 AM »
I've lived in Vancouver for nearly a decade now. I love it here, and the car-free lifestyle is a major part of the reason.

People use "Vancouver" to refer to either the city proper, or the Metro Vancouver area, which is 4x larger in population. I suspect the statistics you quoted are for the city proper. The rest of the region is not a uniform dormitory wasteland, but it has a long way to go to get to where the city is now.

Even in the city proper, most of the land area is taken up by a grid of low-density single-family homes. Calling these areas walkable is a real stretch - some residential streets don't even have sidewalks! But there is a sizeable dense core around the downtown area, and - crucially - many of the major through streets act as backbones for dense, walkable, mixed-use neighbourhoods. This zoning map tells the story.

Region-wide planning policy prioritizes dense mixed-use development and car-free transport, gradually expanding into the older residential-only zones.
This is especially true in Vancouver itself, which has virtually no room to expand outward.
I recall hearing the mayor say that the stock of single-family homes is part of the city's past but there is no room for them in a sustainable future.

The key architectural artifact in this transformation is the mixed-use condo tower. In new construction, the first 1-2 floors are always reserved for services (shops, offices/clinics, public amenities etc). This turns out to be more or less exactly the right amount of commercial built-up space, given that these neighbourhoods have very few commercial plazas, no strip malls, no big box stores.
Nowadays, when I visit other cities and see residential or office towers with a giant useless lobby on the ground floor, it really saddens me.

There are virtually no increases in car-carrying capacity in the city. In fact, some arterial road capacity has been taken down, to make room for bike lanes, or more mixed-use development.
This is causing real pain to real people, and many locals are furious with the program.
Some of them haven't yet come to terms with the fact that car-commuting in this region is impossible to sustain.
Others say that, given the astronomical cost of housing in Vancouver, this agenda ends up pampering the rich while choking the less fortunate.

In the end, whether Vancouver is a car-free urban paradise, or an overcrowded slum plagued by traffic jams, depends on your priorities and lifestyle choices.
Mustachians of the HCOL persuasion may find it very appealing. Just ask Zikoris.