Metro Vancouver is growing, both in terms of population and jobs. That means the number of people commuting to work is growing and putting a strain on our transportation system. The nature of that strain depends to a large extent on how people are getting to and from work. The Canadian census started collecting data on how people get to work in 1996, which allows us to see how commuters and commute choice have changed over time.
City of Vancouver council rejected the development application for 21 purpose-built rental townhouses in Vancouver’s exclusive enclave of Shaughnessy last week, and the owner is now proceeding with building a mansion on that lot instead. Councillors gave a variety of reasons for the rejection. Some were voicing concerns of about the compatibility of hospice use with the 3 ½ storey townhouse development next door, which seems far fetched as a quick look at St John’s hospice at UBC (the low building on the right in the picture here) shows.
Today I saw a particlarly uninformed tweet claiming that “the most important areas to densify are near transit and are mostly upzoned already”. I tend to agree with the first part, but the notion that our frequent transit network is “mostly upzoned already” is plain wrong. I suspect that a lot of other casual observers share the misconception. So I decided to take this as an opportunity for a quick post to quantify zoning in our frequent transit network.
Canadian census data is freely available, alas not in a very convenient format for older data. Census data back to 1991 are available from Statistics Canada with an open data licence, digital geographic data is only available back to 2001. Older census data is available in digital format via paid subscription services from private entities with restrictive licences. But all data is available for free as open data in paper format.
A quick note following up on a discussion earlier today, where the question came up on how to compare single family with condo (or rental apartment) density. This point comes up a lot and becomes increasingly important as Vancouver densifies. In Vancouver, some single family homes are heavily suited. Legally a single family lot can have the main unit, a secondary suite and a laneway house. Roughly a half of single family homes have a suite, and a couple percent have laneway houses.