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rbt

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... but we all know that Detroit is not really a walkable, transit-friendly city.

Detroit is a wonderfully walkable; just don't expect to accomplish much on your walk. There is very little in the way of traffic and drivers actively stop and wave you across the street if you even hint that you wish to cross as a pedestrian. Sidewalks are generally litter free and unusually well maintained in areas where they haven't been reclaimed by vacant lots.

Very few pan-handlers and folks generally say hello when you go past. There is lots to look at (particularly in vacant lots if you're interested in plants or wildlife (saw wild pheasants a few weeks ago). They can't afford to spray so there's some great stuff growing in those lots.

Obviously you're not going to run very many errands on foot but if you're just going for an aimless stroll I strongly recommend Detroit as the place to do it.

Bus coverage is just enough that you can walk endlessly in any direction and get a ride back to where you started.

I've spent 2 weeks in Detroit so far this year (2 separate trips). Considering renting a flat for a month or two in the fall.
 
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W. K. Lis

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Interesting little bit of information from this link at

Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Repeat a lie often enough …


Am I being a pedant? Or does my commitment to speaking the truth just keep getting me into trouble? I like Mike Harcourt. I have met him, and even “worked” alongside him: well they call them “workshops”. But he repeats a canard in his latest letter to the Vancouver Sun that irritates me

Vancouver … we are the only major North American city without a freeway (thank goodness).”




I just created the map above: I was surprised that the City Boundary does not appear on Google maps so I added a very crude dashed line along Boundary Road. The map area to the left of that line is the City of Vancouver. You will note that Highway 1 also known as the TransCanada Highway and “the freeway” is to the left of the line too. Vancouver does have a freeway. Not very much maybe and it just runs through the north east corner of the City and for some distance in a tunnel. But it is a freeway and it is well within the City limits.

Mike Harcourt was indeed instrumental in making sure that a freeway was not built through Chinatown – and downtown. Well done Mike. I salute you. But that does not mean that Vancouver is without any freeways at all.
 

junctionist

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Vancouver has no urban freeway into its downtown core like the Gardiner. Pointing out a freeway on the edge of the city is just semantics that misses the point.
 
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MisterF

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True enough, but by the same token limiting "Vancouver" to the municipal boundaries is semantics too. "Vancouver" the urban area has several freeways.
 

ssiguy2

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Winnipeg by the same token has no freeways as the Disraeli is really just a one km regular road that happens to have an overpass. London Ontario, although certainly not a major city, also has no freeways except the blip of 40 and Weinge Expressway which are on the extreme outskirts of the city.
 

Hipster Duck

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True enough, but by the same token limiting "Vancouver" to the municipal boundaries is semantics too. "Vancouver" the urban area has several freeways.

I'm sort of joking, but part of the reason why Vancouver didn't build any freeways into its downtown core must be because British Columbians wouldn't know how to design a decent road network if their lives depended on it. In many ways, Vancouverites were spared, but in other ways they weren't.

Vancouver's freeway network is a dog's breakfast of disconnected routes, more often than not just brief divided 4 lane sections with 90 km/h speed limits that inevitably give way to traffic lights. Through traffic is often routed onto inner city roads, often originally designed as residential side streets, some of which are dangerously narrow (see 12th Avenue between Clark and Main, or 1st Avenue between Clark and Nanaimo for example). Until the South Fraser Perimeter Road (another quasi-freeway with dangerously tight turns and sporadic traffic lights) was built this year, there was no decent way for trucks to get from the Trans-Canada to the cargo port at Tsawwassen. As a result, trucks would often wend their way slowly through New Westminster and then onto the perennially jammed and underbuilt Queensborough bridge.

We tend to think that freeways are bad for urbanism and cities and that they catalyze sprawl. This is only half the story. Freeways are necessary for routing through traffic and, especially, truck traffic away from inner city arterial roads where they can be equally unpleasant as urban freeways. Europeans understand this; they don't allow anything beyond arterial roads to enter their inner cities, but build very comprehensive ring road and freeway systems to industrial areas and around cities without allowing their freeways to become de facto urban arterials serving intra-city needs. Vancouver has the worst of both worlds: its planners are vehemently against freeways, but then don't acknowledge that through traffic and truck traffic has to go somewhere, and often route through traffic through some of the most urban and congested areas.
 
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MisterF

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I'm sort of joking, but part of the reason why Vancouver didn't build any freeways into its downtown core must be because British Columbians wouldn't know how to design a decent road network if their lives depended on it. In many ways, Vancouverites were spared, but in other ways they weren't.

Vancouver's freeway network is a dog's breakfast of disconnected routes, more often than not just brief divided 4 lane sections with 90 km/h speed limits that inevitably give way to traffic lights. Through traffic is often routed onto inner city roads, often originally designed as residential side streets, some of which are dangerously narrow (see 12th Avenue between Clark and Main, or 1st Avenue between Clark and Nanaimo for example). Until the South Fraser Perimeter Road (another quasi-freeway with dangerously tight turns and sporadic traffic lights) was built this year, there was no decent way for trucks to get from the Trans-Canada to the cargo port at Tsawwassen. As a result, trucks would often wend their way slowly through New Westminster and then onto the perennially jammed and underbuilt Queensborough bridge.

We tend to think that freeways are bad for urbanism and cities and that they catalyze sprawl. This is only half the story. Freeways are necessary for routing through traffic and, especially, truck traffic away from inner city arterial roads where they can be equally unpleasant as urban freeways. Europeans understand this; they don't allow anything beyond arterial roads to enter their inner cities, but build very comprehensive ring road and freeway systems to industrial areas and around cities without allowing their freeways to become de facto urban arterials serving intra-city needs. Vancouver has the worst of both worlds: its planners are vehemently against freeways, but then don't acknowledge that through traffic and truck traffic has to go somewhere, and often route through traffic through some of the most urban and congested areas.
I'd heard about that road but I just assumed that it was going to be built as a full freeway. I guess not. They sure did ruin what could have been a nice section of waterfront near the Fraser Bridge had the truck traffic been routed away from it. I wonder why they didn't just build a freeway between 99 and the TCH in the rural area near Langley. It seems like that would have been a more direct, less disruptive connection.
 

innsertnamehere

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Parts of it are a freeway, specifically the rural portion. A few sections are closer to highway 7 in Richmond hill though, which is still very fast.
 

W. K. Lis

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I find it interesting Vancouver (and Victoria) gets the Trans-Canada Highway to go through even a small corner of the city, while Toronto gets zero.

TransCanadaHWY.png
 

BurlOak

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they should really have a stretch of the TCH go down the 401 to Detroit.

There is something called the National Highway System and it does go through Toronto to Detroit, among other routes (i.e. a lot of border crossings).

prb0569e-2.jpg
 

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junctionist

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I always wished Canada had a federal freeway system like America's Interstate system or Germany's Autobahn. Chretien's government wanted to make it happen, but they realized it makes more fiscal sense to focus spending on key trade routes. I think it should be done gradually.
 

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