Slow news day led to media drive-by hit on Car Free Day

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      For people living in the West End and Mount Pleasant, this is one of the most glorious weekends of the year.

      That's because it's Car Free Day on Denman Street from Robson to Davie. Sunday (June 17) is Car Free Day along Main Street from East Broadway to East 30th Avenue.

      Both start at noon, featuring free music, safe play zones for kids, food vendors, and a whole lot more at two of the city's most enjoyable street festivals.

      But you wouldn't know all this if you were watching the Global B.C. News last night.

      Its lead story was about how awful life was going to be for motorists travelling around Vancouver this weekend.

      There wasn't anything else of greater magnitude, it seemed.

      The reporter pointed out that East Broadway was going to be closed near Commercial-Broadway Station because TransLink is replacing a walkway.

      Traffic was going to be tied up along East 1st Avenue because FortisBC is replacing a gas line.

      And, yes, there were going to be those car-free festivities in the West End and on Main Street. 

      The implication was that these celebrations were just going to add to the discomfort.

      There was not a word about the positive sense of community and cleaner air that's created when roadspace is reclaimed from carbon-spewing automobiles.

      Yet some of the same people who grumble about car-free days are just as apt to bitch about high Vancouver home prices.

      That's because they don't make the connection between the amount of land allocated to roads and the prohibitive cost of housing.

      In Paris, there are more than 20,000 people per kilometre, thanks to its thin streets. It's a very livable city with few high-rises and relatively affordable home prices, given its international appeal.

      The City of Vancouver, on the other hand, has scores of high-rises with a density of fewer than 6,000 per square kilometre. That's due to the massive amount of real estate allocated to cars and trucks.

      Home prices here are in the stratosphere.

      The reality is that Vancouver needs more car-free days and less space devoted for motor vehicles—not the other way around—if we ever want to come to terms with the housing crisis. 

      It's time for far more media attention on this issue and a little less on the replacement of a gas line in East Vancouver.