Ever seen Mayor Gregor Robertson on a bike without a helmet?
Can’t say I have. But, apparently, you would have seen His Worship sans casque when he was in Paris recently.
Oh, mon dieu!
That’s because that city’s public bike share program—that would be the program where you rent a bike and take it for a spin—doesn’t believe in helmets. I’m thinking it has something to do with a bylaw imposed by the City of Lights Coiffeurs’ Union.
Besides that, I just can’t imagine seeing Gerard Depardieu in a brain bucket while tooling along with a baguette in hand.
The mayor disclosed his helmet-less escapade after being quizzed by reporters Monday on how the city plans to implement a public bike share program that abides by the provincial government’s mandatory bike helmet law.
“Personally, I’m a supporter of wearing a helmet,” he said from city hall, where his hair looked just fine despite donning his safety chapeau earlier in the morning. “I’ve had a couple of friends whose lives were saved by helmets when they were riding.”
Two weeks ago, the city heard a presentation from the city’s director of transportation, Jerry Dobrovolny—another cyclist—in which he concluded no public bike share program in the world has cracked the helmet problem.
Mexico City created a helmet law exemption for adults after its bike rental program’s first year of operations. Tel Aviv recently exempted adults in urban areas. In Brisbane, the city bought 400 helmets that remain on the bikes and are not cleaned.
So it’s up to Alta Bike Share of Portland, which is working with Bixi of Quebec, to find an arrangement that will satisfy Robertson and his council before the program is launched in 2013. “I’d like to see Vancouver succeed at a public bike system that includes helmets and the opportunity to export that technology to other cities where people would actually use helmets, if they were available,” the mayor said.
The mayor’s comments come as cycling-crazy delegates from around the world pedal in to Vancouver for the Velo-city Global 2012 bike conference, which runs until Friday.
In other city hall news that requires more of a thinking cap—and a calculator—city staff finally have an update on the proposed Little Mountain development.
I say finally because it was way back in July 2007 when B.C. Housing and the city signed an agreement to redevelop the 1954-era housing project east of Queen Elizabeth Park.
That agreement included ensuring the 224 social housing units would be replaced in the new project and those tenants would get first dibs on moving back in. An additional 10 units have since been added to the plan.
The report gives guidance to council for a future anticipated rezoning application from Holborn Properties. So it’s still unclear exactly how many or how high the other buildings will be on the site, which covers more than 15 acres.
But—and here’s where you need a calculator—the staff report says there could be 1,250 to 1,400 market housing units in the new development.
That will depend on what council decides in terms of density.
If it’s 1,250 market units, that would mean $14.6 million in development cost levies to the city plus another $9.5 million in community amenity contributions.
If it’s 1,400 market units, the total would be closer to $33 million for the city.