Michigan Central Station, Detroit (Photo credit: Matt Callow)
The subject of empty cities has been getting a great deal of attention recently, with the Life after People documentary and television series, plus the stream of pictures of abandoned buildings, both in Detroit from long economic decay, or newer houses left empty as part of the sub-prime crisis. Flickr’s abandoned pool is a great way to waste a few hours, as is Forgotten Detroit, although it appears that the latter hasn’t been updated in a few years.
But I think it is Tom Baker’s set on a modern LA devoid of cars that is the most haunting and provocative, hence the title of the post. LA, like Detroit, is a city defined by the automobile, although I think LA got the “better” bargain, as they got the sexiness without the industrial pollution of the manufacturing. Even But what Tom has proved is that hideous highways can be turned into art, as can be seen below, one of the nine images he has stitched together with a great deal of patience and time.
Empty intersection (Photo credit: Tom Baker)
Oak Bay is changing it’s antiquated Official Community Plan (PDF) to include some new verbiage about climate change. On Dec 7th, the public will have a chance to speak to council about the issue (PDF). All of this is driven by an agreement between the Province and Union of BC Municipalities and their members regarding combating climate change. This is quite laudable but the actual agreement between the various parties is very neatly undermined by the final section of the agreement (PDF), which reads:
This Charter is not intended to be legally binding or impose legal obligations on any Party and will have no legal effect.
So much for that. More information about the actual amendment as I get it.
Browning Park (Image Credit: CRD)
The Camosun Community Association is having a Bowker Creek Cleanup this Saturday, Nov. 14th, from 9:30 – 11:30 am in Browning Park. Bring workgloves and gumboots. (Google Map)
Browning Park is also the site of the next piece of the Bowker Creek Greenway, with Saanich Parks building a paved multi-use trail ala the Galloping Goose. Saanich Parks claims this is the first piece, CRD says the path they built through the BC Hydro lands (yes, those BC Hydro lands) as the first. Regardless, it is exciting to see the trail slowly being knit together.
Although we didn’t get as far as Browning Park, I did manage to join Ian Graeme of the Friends of Bowker Creek Society and Brenda Beckwith’s Grassroots Restoration (Environmental Studies 482) class for a walk along the creek from the Oak Bay border to Hillside Mall. Ian was, as always, a great source of knowledge and inspiration and I hope some of the students caught his bug. Given the headwaters of the creek are in UVic, it would be great to see more UVic students involved. Maybe we will see a few out this weekend.
Ian talking to the class
The new trail section is partly funded by the LocalMotion program from the Provincial Government, which also put money towards the Henderson Road bike lanes. LocalMotion has been an excellent source of money for bicycle and pedestrian projects over the years, as you can see from the full list of funded projects (PDF).
The next question is: who will step up to the plate and finish the next section? It wouldn’t take much to take Oak Bay’s section from good to truly world class, some of which involves connecting the parts that already exist already have together. Victoria could do wonders in reversing their short-sighted decision to culvert their section of the creek in the later part of the 20th century. Time, and a lot of community effort, will tell.
For those interested in active transportation (biking, walking and transit) Saturday’s forum was a great place to be. Hosted by the Community Association of Oak Bay, participants at the day long forum not only learned about new initiatives in the local area, such as the CRD Bike/Ped Plan, as well as what other cities have been doing. Michelle Kirby has a great write up at the Community Association’s website, plus there is the Times Colonist article, so I won’t repeat what they said.
For me the most exciting part of the day came last, with a short brain-storming and group discussion about various improvements to bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. Thanks to Sue for supplying us with a few larger maps for drawing and sketching. Lesley Ewing has compiled a list of them and I will be sharing some of the best over the next little while.
All in all, an excellent day. Watching the rugby players in the rain made an interesting backdrop to the whole event.
Mis-posted story on Oak Bay News website (Click for larger screenshot)
The web is filled with fail, as I pointed out the other day, and it appears that Oak Bay News is no less guilty than anybody else, as can be seen on the right.
Given how strict most old media places are about posting, I really wonder how this slipped through. Might it have been somebody getting access that they shouldn’t have?