The City of Guelph has just published a User Guide to Local Government, which is attempting to make its processes and data more transparent and accountable to the public. The Guide introduces the user to the roles of the council, staff, and committees at the City, community engagement, and all kinds of in-depth information about bylaws, plans and policies.

In addition to introducing residents to Guelph’s history and demographics, the guide makes it easy to understand the structure of city council and administration (e.g. elected and appointed roles, standing committees), the corporate strategic plan, the financial and people practices strategy, and ways to get involved in the community. Basic information such as how to vote, the ward system, and how to get involved in planning processes is balanced by tips for those who want to become more engaged (e.g. become a member of a board, become involved in a community garden, volunteer). The guide is available online which makes it very user-friendly and accessible.

While the Guide attempts to take the mystique out of local government for residents, it will also be used in an orientation program for Council members after this fall’s municipal election. The City plans to use it with elementary and secondary school students during Local Government Week in October. As many of us planners know, providing people with more information is always a good thing–often a barrier to good planning is misinformation among various stakeholders. The more people understand the long-term goals of municipal governments, and the tools we use to achieve them, the easier our work will be.

In what is possibly the biggest municipal story this year, Toronto mayor Rob Ford will be removed from office by December 14th–two weeks from now. Over a measly $3,150, which Ford himself referred to as “an insignificant sum”, the mayor of Canada’s largest city has been ordered out of office. Justice Charles Hackland issued the verdict: that Ford had contravened the City of Toronto Code of Conduct in using city resources (including letters sent using official letterheads) to raise money for his football foundation. Even though Ford refused to reimburse the money, as recommended by the Integrity Commissioner and City Council, this alone was not enough to topple him from office. The crux of the matter was that in any member of council faced with a violation of the Code of Conduct is disqualified from speaking or voting on the matter when it is discussed at council, since council has the right to levy a financial sanction. However, Ford voted on the issue at a February 7, 2012 council meeting. This puts him in contravention of the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, for which the penalty is immediate removal from office. The judge declared that Ford’s seat is now vacant, but he suspended the operation of his declaration for 14 days to allow the city to make the necessary administrative changes. This leaves Ford 14 days to file an appeal, which he is certain to do (“Rob Ford’s appeal will be filed ‘in the next couple of days'”, Toronto Star, November 27, 2012).

While many feel that Ford “got what he deserved”, Rosie DiManno writes that it may have been better if Ford had lost in a re-election, rather than the courts (“Little to celebrate in way Ford got the boot”, Toronto Star, November 27, 2012). She feels that Ford’s supporters will reinforce efforts to have him re-elected. Adam Goldenberg agrees (“Rob Ford lost the batle, not the war”, Ottawa Citizen, November 26, 2012), saying that Ford won the mayoral race as an outsider, and the ruling makes him an outsider once more. It certainly puts Toronto into uncharted territory as a rush of candidates prepares to run for mayor in a by-election. But the mayor of the country’s largest city has a major impact: Justice Hackland wrote that such an influential mayor has first and foremost a responsibility to act with integrity; news of Ford’s removal from office trended on Twitter around the world on Monday. And it wasn’t the first time Ford’s opponents have resorted to the letter of the law in exposing the man’s errors: just a few short months ago, an emergency council vote was held following the issuance of a legal opinion on the matter of Ford’s cancellation of the Transit City plan.

As for Ford, as he put it,”This comes down to left-wing politics. The left wing wants me out of here and they’ll do anything in their power to.” We didn’t hear much about the “right wing” supporting him in his successful bid for mayor, and we rarely heard Ford describe himself as a right-wing politician. Rather, his campaign promise to “trim the fat from city hall” fell flat, and the fiscal conservative finds himself in the ironic position of being removed from office over a few thousand dollars. Adam Goldenberg of the Ottawa Citizen characterizes Justice Hackland’s decision as “a model of judicial modesty, which conservatives like Ford are supposed to love.”

Several writers have addressed the difficulties in governing Canada’s largest city; undoubtedly councillors face some major challenges in the weeks ahead (“Toronto councillors critical of Rob Ford’s defiance”, CBC News, November 27, 2012). In “What kind of mayor does Toronto need?” Toronto Star columnist Christopher Hume says that the city needs a mayor that understands transportation solutions, who can lead other Canadian cities towards more equitable fiscal arrangements for cities, who will celebrate the city’s diversity, and who will lead it towards planning for climate change. It needs a mayor who understands rules and is able to abide by them, but can unite people from polarizing viewpoints and make compromises.

“Toronto is a hugely complicated, even contradictory, organism, beyond the control of any one person or institution.” –Christopher Hume, Toronto Star, November 28, 2012

Ford will be absent while Toronto scrambles for a new mayor (“Rob Ford out: Mayor can’t run in by-election, city lawyer says”, Toronto Star, November 27, 2012), but nothing will stop him from running again in 2014.

Update: Ford appealed Hackland’s decision and won on January 25, 2013.

Bike parking at Amsterdam Centraal Station

Anyone who’s visited Amsterdam could tell you that while it’s “the capital of European biking”, it has serious parking problems. I’m currently teaching a class on metropolitan transport planning at the University of Amsterdam, and two groups of students have chose to study biking issues: one will examine the ever-rising rate of cycling injuries and the other the problem of parking.

A recent article in the New York Times mentioned that the City of Amsterdam plans to spend 120 million euros on cycling infrastructure in the next eight years. And it should, considering that it has  881,000 bicycles for its  780,559 citizens. While car-obsessed countries might be envious, there are some serious drawbacks to cycling’s increasing popularity in a city built on precious reclaimed land: while cycling increased 14% from 2001-2011, the number of cyclists seriously injured in accidents also increased to 56%. And building enough parking spaces for bikes is as much of a problem as it is for cars in the US or Canada.

Amsterdammers treat their bikes like Americans would treat a second-hand beater car with a rusted-out engine. Bikes are left out in the rain on a daily basis, they’re often left unlocked, and as one student told me, “they have little value.” Contrast this with Vancouver, where people go out of their way to rent the few coveted bike storage boxes provided by TransLink to protect them from the rain. In many North American cities it’s not unusual for cyclists to carry their bikes up several flights of stairs rather than leave them outside. Bikes are more expensive in the US (in Amsterdam you can pick one up for as little as 50 euros) they’re also more complicated: you need gears, and derailleur gears don’t respond well to daily rain.

Underground parking at Amsterdam Zuid Station

Another pervasive cultural practice in Amsterdam is owning three or four bikes; most people leave them in various places so they’ll always have access to a bike when they need one. In a city where every square centimeter of land is precious and most housing units are too small to store bikes (either indoors or out), this adds up to overcrowded bike racks, bikes blocking sidewalks, bikes affixed to every possible railing and pole, and bikes left for weeks in one place without being used. While some organizations will remove bikes left overnight (including the University of Amsterdam) this practice is controversial, as most people believe they have the right to park anywhere they want and for as long as they want. Covered bike storage is available for commuters at some places for a fee, but many people will cycle out of their way to park for free, leaving nearby neighbourhoods cluttered with two-wheelers. Shades of The High Cost of Free Parking, anyone?

The City plans to create an additional 38,000 bike parking spots at the rail and transit hubs over the next eight years. But more crucially, they plan to create more bike parking laws and enforce those that already exist, such as ensuring that Amsterdammers don’t leave their bikes for over 14 days in high-demand locations. It seems that the Dutch have discovered that unlimited free parking doesn’t work–even for bikes.


We’ve all read or heard about crumbling overpasses in Montreal, overburdened water treatment plants in Vancouver, and aging highways in Toronto. Inevitably, the physical components of our cities will face a new challenge in the coming decades: climate change adaptation.

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities will release a set of recommendations today, asking the federal government for long-term investment in municipal infrastructure. FCM is part of the Municipal Infrastructure Forum launched earlier this year, which includes governments like the City of Toronto and the City of Ottawa, and business leaders such as the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and the Insurance Board of Canada. Members of the Forum announced principles for a new federal long-term infrastructure plan in Toronto on November 8, 2012. FCM conducted a study of 123 municipalities in 2009-2010 and reported on them in the Canadian Infrastructure Report Card. A major focus then was the declining quality of wastewater infrastructure, with over 40% of wastewater plants, pumping stations and storage tanks in “fair” to “very poor” conditions. Half of the roads surveyed fell below the rating of “good”. The report also found that many municipalities lack the capacity to assess the state of their infrastructure: they have limited data on their wastewater treatment plants or on buried infrastructure such as distribution pipes, some don’t have regular condition-assessment programs for their roads or a capacity/demand assessment process. They are also limited by financial and staffing constraints. But climate change is already beginning to take its toll: today, the forum notes that one in four wastewater plants needs major upgrades to meet federal regulations, storm events that used to occur every 100 years now happen every 20 years, and the insurance industry pays out more than $1 billion per year in sewage back-up claims. Stable, long-term funding will be more cost effective than replacement and will contribute to cities’ resiliency as the climate becomes more unstable.

FCM is encouraging municipalities to engage in the discussion on municipal infrastructure: a growing list of communities has already passed resolutions endorsing Target 2014, calling on the federal government to ensure that a new infrastructure plan is in place before the current federal programs (worth two billion dollars per year) expire in 2014.

Many congratulations to my colleague and co-conspiritor at SCARP, Dr. Cornelia Sussmann. Cornelia finished her Ph.D. this August, unfortunately (for me!) just after my move to Amsterdam. She has been a friend, mentor, collaborator and valuable sounding board before, during, and after my Ph.D. years at SCARP.

Dr. Sussmann’s dissertation, Towards the Sustainable City: Vancouver’s Southeast False Creek, tells the compelling story of sustainable planning initiatives in a city that tops the “most livable” lists each year. Through in-depth interviews and analysis of the Southeast False Creek project goals and targets, she showed that only minimal reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and ecological footprint were achieved–quite an underachievement for a LEED-ND Platinum-rated project that won a UN Livability award. However, the City of Vancouver may have achieved important political, bureaucratic, industry and public support with this “stepping stone” project. After all, in the past three years the City has embarked on The Greenest City initiative, a comprehensive and broad-based attempt to make Vancouver the world’s greenest city by 2020. While the technical achievements of Southeast False Creek won’t impress our Professor Emeritus Dr. Bill Rees, they illustrate the messy collision of planning politics, construction and development paradigms.

Dr. Sussmann is currently working as a post-doctoral fellow at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in a continuing collaboration with SCARP alumni Dr. Meidad Kissinger (Ben-Gurion University).

Canada’s housing boom was recently hailed as one of the longest in the Western world. But as 2011 drew to an end, housing market experts issued dire warnings that the housing market is cooling. Merrill Lynch, the Bank of Canada, TD, Royal Bank of Canada and the Bank of Montreal have all said that Canadians could face challenging markets for the next two years, particularly in BC and Ontario.

Despite Toronto’s red-hot market, Rob Carrick of The Globe and Mail says one of the best ways to build wealth in 2012 is to avoid “drinking the housing market Kool-Aid”. Among his other tips: “Explore your inner renter” (Gen X and Gen Y, and Boomer editions). Carrick is one of many experts advocating renting over housing as the market destabilizes. US apartment vacancies hit a ten-year low in December at 5.2 percent as rising foreclosures, tighter mortgage lending standards, and low housing starts made rental housing the best-performing segment of commercial real estate for two straight years. In addition to traditional low-vacancy locales like New York City, low vacancy rates abound in New Haven, CT, Minneapolis, MN, Portland, OR, and San Jose, CA; rents rose the quickest in Chattanooga, TN and Austin, TX. Canadians, holding on to the dream of homeownership with the grim desperation of Americans before the mortgage crisis, remain unmoved.

Last month, The IMF (that’s the International Monetary Fund, not the Impossible Missions Force) called for a review of the rules that govern Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, one of the largest financial institutions in the country, which operates without formal oversight. The IMF suggested the crown corporation needed stronger risk management because CMHC backs mortgages with less than 20% down through mortgage insurance, Canadians have record levels of household debt, and some cities have housing-bubble prices. With household debt at a record 150 percent of disposable income, the IMF warned that a drop in housing prices would be a blow to indebted consumers. The Canadian economy, which grew by 3.2 percent amid global financial meltdowns, is expected to weaken this year.

With the country in its 13th year of rising home prices, experts have been predicting a price adjustment for many years. CMHC has taken several steps to tighten mortgage lending and last year the federal government made changes to the National Housing Act to compensate the government for the risk it is taking through CMHC’s mortgage insurance. With the US housing market still in recovery and the Chinese government taking steps to prevent a housing collapse this year, Canada is poised for a tumultuous 2012.

Talk about timing. A few weeks ago, in time for provincial elections in Ontario, Manitoba, PEI, and Newfoundland and Labrador, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities released a report urging the federal government to support public transit and affordable housing in cities. This in itself is nothing new: FCM has long advocated stable funding for public transit and affordable housing in municipalities, who have been struggling to pay for new infrastructure and operating costs. The twist: FCM maintains that better transit and affordable housing can actually help immigrants integrate, and that municipalities should offer them along with services such as English language training (download their report: Starting on Solid Ground: The Municipal Role in Immigrant Integration). This echoes the findings of my Ph.D. dissertation, which found that flexible approaches to housing and transportation increased community resiliency.

This week, FCM and the Canadian Urban Transit Association met with members of the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities to discuss the idea of a National Public Transit Strategy. They argued that fast and efficient transportation connections through public transit are crucial to strengthening the economy. MP Olivia Chow, NDP critic for transport and infrastructure, introduced a private member’s bill on September 30th (Bill C-615, An Act to Create a National Public Transit Strategy) calling for the federal government to work with municipalities in the creation of a national transit strategy and create a stable source of funding for municipalities. She noted the economic benefits and the disadvantages of long commute times: Canada’s big city mayors have been pushing for a national strategy since 2007. In the CBC’s unofficial poll on this topic, 88% of readers agreed that Canada needs a national transit strategy. I needn’t go into this issue here in Vancouver: this week, an Angus Reid poll of 504 Vancouver residents showed that 85% want improvements to transit service and 75% felt those improvements should be funded by the provincial government. As I wrote in my last post, the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation votes today on the adoption of the Moving Forward strategic plan, which includes a 2% hike in property taxes and the beginnings of a new provincial-municipal funding agreement to help pay for transit improvements.

It looks like public transit is becoming a hot issue among cities of all sizes. The Regional Municipal of Waterloo is in the process of constructing an LRT line (currently in the planning process) funded by the provincial and federal governments. A strong motivation for the Region, which includes the municipalities of Kitchener, Cambridge and Waterloo, was increased immigration to the area, a point they raised at this year’s Metropolis Conference on Immigration and Migration in Vancouver. It’s very humbling to see the recommendations I made in my Ph.D. dissertation being echoed at the municipal, regional and federal levels. Considering the numbers of immigrants settling in Canadian cities every year (approximately 250,000 Permanent Residents and 200,000 Temporary Workers), governments need to do a better job of helping them integrate, and that includes more housing and transportation options. Maybe after decades of research and policy innovation in municipalities, we’re finally reaching the tipping point: let’s keep a close watch on Bill C-615 and Bill C-400, the bill creating a national affordable housing strategy (Bill C-304, the former private member’s bill of the same title and wording, was scrapped after the May 2011 election).

Less than four short months ago, I stood at the back of a standing-room-only crowd in a film studio in Burnaby. Two thousand people packed the building; there were still hundreds waiting outside. Suddenly, the crowd began to cheer wildly, waving orange signs and Canadian flags as a slim, well-dressed man strode energetically up to the stage. As the excitement built up, he ran up the steps, waving and smiling, shaking his now trademark cane in defiance of a recent hip replacement. This was his last stop on the campaign trail, and his party was enjoying a surge in popularity. Two days later, the New Democratic Party won an unprecedented 103 seats in the federal election, and slim, well-dressed “Smilin’ Jack” Layton became Leader of the Opposition. 

It is a sad reality that Layton, who led the NDP to its most powerful position in its 50-year history, should not live to see the next Parliamentary session. Layton lost his battle with cancer quite quickly and unexpectedly in the early hours of Monday, August 22nd, and a nation mourns his passing. Many of us were looking forward to his sharp debating tactics and keen insights while defending the working class, urging protection of the environment, and supporting urban issues in Stephen Harper’s first majority government. The NDP as Loyal Opposition was the sole consolation, many of us believed, for the unsettling Conservative majority that came about on May 2nd after polls had consistently predicted another minority government.

Layton was a true leader: charismatic, passionate, fair, and deeply committed. And yet, he embodied contrasts. Layton grew up in a home steeped in politics; his father, was Conservative MP Robert Layton and his mother, Doris Steeves, was a grand-niece of William Steeves, a Father of Confederation. Although he received a Ph.D. in political science and taught at Ryerson University, Layton moved quickly  into public life as a Toronto city councillor. From 1984 to 1991, Layton was one of a handful of left-wing councillors, known for cycling, coming to council meetings in jeans and opposing mega-projects such as SkyDome. He became head of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities in the mid-1990s. After a couple of unsuccessful campaigns to become an MP, he was elected leader of the NDP in 2003; he won the Toronto-Danforth seat in a 2004 by-election.

Like many politicians, Layton worked hard at refining his image, crafting his responses to the media and developing insightful critiques of policies and agendas. He made lots of public appearance and became something of a media darling in the 2000s; “Smilin’ Jack”, he had become. He wasn’t universally popular; no NDP leader could be. Yet there was something real, something of the ordinary and everyday Canadian, that remained in that calm, well-honed political persona. As John Ibbitson writes, “Always there was, at his centre, this unshakable belief in social justice, married to principled conviction that politicians should treat each other and the voters who gave them their mandate with some measure of decency and respect.” That honesty shone through this spring’s campaign trail, as Layton poured beers at a Montreal bar and sparred with Michael Ignatieff during the English-language debate. Despite his education, his political lineage, and his polished public image, Layton appealed to Canadians as the guy next door, the politician you’d most like to have over for drinks. Compared to Ignatieff, who struggled to connect with voters not just because of his Ph.D., but because he did not appear to have an unwavering commitment to Canadians or to the public service, Layton appeared dedicated and genuine.

Layton’s commitment to public service were evident even when, less than a month ago, he disclosed that he was fighting a new type of cancer. He promised to take a few months over to deal with his health and then return when Parliament resumed in September. As The Globe and Mail reports, he met with NDP staff just two days before his death to hammer out two letters: one to Canadians, and the second to his party outlining the direction for the coming months. As always, he was optimistic, but also realistic:

“Hope and optimism have defined my political career. … As my time in political life draws to a close, I want to share with you my belief in your power to change this country and this world. Your energy, your vision, your passion for justice are exactly what this country needs today.” Jack Layton, August 20, 2011

Jack Layton’s death will rock the NDP’s foundations as much as the death of its first leader, Tommy Douglas, who also died of cancer after a political career that shaped this country through the introduction of its most cherished social welfare programs. The NDP will struggle rudderless during the months to come, but they will be the Official Opposition for at least four years. They will have to quickly elect a new leader and work desperately to maintain a strong presence in Parliament among the Canadians who voted for Jack, and not necessarily the NDP.

I only saw Jack one other time, also at a distance. A few years ago he was in Vancouver for the annual Gay Pride Parade, where he rode in a car festooned with orange NDP balloons, waving and smiling at the thousands who lined Denman Street in support of the LGBT community. He was present just six weeks ago at Toronto’s Pride Parade, an event that Mayor Rob Ford boycotted. In the jaded world of politics, Jack Layton had an integrity that spoke to Canadians regardless of their political leanings: he was committed to doing what he believed was right. He now stands among those great Canadians who fought for the greater good–Tommy Douglas, Nellie McClung, Pierre Trudeau, Terry Fox, Lester B. Pearson–whose deaths struck us to our very cores. Canada was built upon the work of these.

The City of Vancouver Housing and Homelessness Strategy, approved Thursday July 28th, is a bold move in the context of Canada’s increasingly unaffordable housing markets. The comprehensive, ten-year plan calls for the creation of 38,900 affordable homes in the city: 7,900 supportive and social housing units, 11,000 rental units, and 20,000 condos and “ownership” units. To help finance construction, the city intends to offer $42 million in land and capital grants to developers. 3650 of the supportive and social housing units will be built in the next three years. 1,700 of these were previously announced, but 1,950 are new developments which the city will build and run with BC Housing and non-profit associations, a model that has worked for decades in Vancouver. BC Housing will contribute 276 of the units, developers will build 205 (mostly due to density bonusing) and the city will seek funding for the remaining 319.

Until now, the city has remained in limbo in terms of building affordable housing, despite millions of dollars in contributions to its Affordable Housing Fund through density bonusing and a 20% social housing requirement for major rezonings of lands to multiunit residential use. Leaving construction of affordable homes to private developers hasn’t worked, so the city will partner with developers by providing grants and land in exchange for social and supportive units. The city will also lever its land resources and capital projects against funding from provincial and federal governments. The plan also calls for the city to approve more laneway housing and secondary suites. New affordable rental units have been achieved recently through the City’s Short Term Incentives for Rental Housing (STIR) initiative.

Like many municipalities tired of playing chicken with upper levels of government, Vancouver now has its foot firmly on the accelerator. The housing affordability crisis in Canada has reached ridiculous proportions, but we’re still working on the national affordable housing strategy (Bill-C-400), which replaced Bill C-304 from the previous session. Industry warnings of a housing market collapse have been circulated. And yet, the price of renting has increased much slower than the price of ownership over the past twenty years, as Canadian Business illustrated recently (“Rental Complex”, July 14, 2011). This article, the latest in a series of pieces in the popular press exploring the follies of ownership in today’s market, exposes the increasingly doomed love affair Canadians seem to have with homeownership:

“With widespread warnings that we’re approaching the peak of the housing boom, with Canadians more indebted than ever…why aren’t more of us re-examining the math? The reasons are cultural and emotional, backed by ill-conceived public policy. This Canadian Dream is an expensive delusion. There’s never been a better time to rent.” Joanna Pachner, Canadian Business

Along with increased acceptance of renting, the fallout from the US mortgage crisis includes recognition that the suburban, single-family home is no longer in huge demand: households without kids will increase by 90% from 2010 to 2020, according to Arthur Nelson, professor of planning at the University of Utah. This means far fewer buyers than sellers for single-family housing and an increased demand for multi-family and rental housing. As demographics and attitudes towards housing shift, the City of Vancouver is once again on the leading edge of policy innovation, though the plan is not without its critics. Hopefully elements of the plan will be evaluated throughout implementation, and discussed in other municipalities, which could help accelerate Bill C-400–the absence of a national affordable housing strategy has been holding up programs and funding between all three levels of government.

Ah, the postwar era. So much blind optimism…so many planning mistakes. Back in the 1960s when highway building was de rigeur, the City of Vancouver considered an ambitious downtown highway proposal that would have destroyed many neighbourhoods in the central city, including Strathcona. The Georgia and Dunsmuir Viaducts, completed in 1971, were the only two sections of highway built, in part because they replaced an older viaduct that needed major repairs. Thanks to the mobilization of the Strathcona community, a series of successful protests prevented the rest of the proposed highways from being built. The decision was a defining moment in Vancouver’s history and left the city with a remarkably intact downtown, although the ethnically diverse Hogan’s Alley neighbourhood was lost to the Georgia Viaduct.

During last year’s Winter Olympics, city planners decided to close the viaducts, along with several major streets downtown, for safety reasons. TransLink and municipal governments actively promoted public transit use, increased service, and encouraged walking and cycling for the Olympics’ 22-day run in February 2010. The Olympics showed City Council and local residents that traffic on the viaducts could be completely replaced by increased bus and SkyTrain service; there is now a serious proposal underway to tear down the viaducts, which many consider a physical barrier to East Vancouver.

Georgia Viaduct: street view

Vancouver Director of Planning Brent Toderian and city engineer Jerry Dobrovolny recently released a report stating that the number of heavy trucks using the viaducts is now half of what it was in 1996. In the past decade, planners have also introduced key initiatives encouraging trips made downtown by cycling, walking and transit, and discouraging driving trips. The viaducts are now responsible for about 20 percent of trips into the downtown peninsula, but Toderian says this percentage will decrease even more as more people switch to the sustainable modes. Toderian and Dobrovolny are requesting that City Council continue analysis, beginning with public consultations in 2012, and including an Eastern Core Strategy with detailed land use and transportation options for the viaducts, recommendations on planning principles and policy directions. What a fantastic, and long-lasting, insight from the Olympics!

Many other cities have removed freeways in recent years, as I wrote in an earlier post. New York City agencies are currently considering tearing down the Sheridan Expressway, a 1.25-mile structure that is considered a barrier to the Bronx River. The Sheridan carries about 35,000 vehicles per day. It took 60 years, but post-war innovations to planning problems are finally giving way to new–or should I say, old–solutions.