Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Connecting with municipal leaders across Canada

Last month I joined municipal leaders from across Canada to shape policy and share ideas at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference in Toronto.  Some of the research I did shows up in other blogs.  The Cherry St. Bridge visit story has real local relevance.

 I also spent time exploring an emerging pedestrian commercial destination at the Distillery District, a development model that may have some exciting lessons for Victoria.  Toronto's street vendor culture isn't as exciting as what I've seen in Portland and Mexico City (grilled grasshoppers anyone?), but like Victoria and Vancouver, they too are trying on different models to liven up their streetlife and create new opportunities for small entrepreneurs.

Photos of my quick observations of a "scramble" signal where traffic is stopped in all directions to allow pedestrians to criss-cross a busy intersection will soon be posted at my flickr galleries of active transportation studies alongside the other nuggets from my collections.

The key message by local leaders from cities big and small was on partnerships and the challenge of addressing the municipal infrastructure deficit that we are all facing. 

It's a pretty current issue in Victoria where the costs of any one of the Blue Bridge project options under consideration are considerable and the complete package serves more than just Victoria's citizens who are footing most of the bill.  The federal government is poised to make the biggest investment in Victoria in our history but we have to choose the right project - seismic work included.  But where's the province and where's the region on the regional trail or railway elements that serve much more Greater Victoria and much of Vancouver Island?

Good questions.  Click on the title to catch up on the issues that got attention at FCM.  Mine joins a short list of blogs that FCM member politicians are writing across the country.

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