The State of the ‘Couv’

Today I bring you an update of the state of things in America’s Vancouver. Yes my friends an unofficial look at the status of affairs from an unelected, reasonably well-informed person, but one whom tends to comment wildly with little more than anecdotal evidence. Yes it’s just me; off my rocker but on my high horse, and here I go again 😉

First off, did the city and county actually read my series of posts lamenting the short left hand turn lanes and quick change protected arrows? Did they react to my quasi-attack on the traffic engineers? I doubt it, but maybe I had a tiny influence. I can’t say my posts created any real change, yet real change has come. Many people, some in influential positions, must feel the same way. I am seeing all over the Greater Vancouver USA, left hand turn signals that switch from protected arrows to a flashing caution allowing our motorists to still turn left (when safe of course) after the protected arrow has expired. Can I get a big fat AMEN! Kudos to the traffic planners for fixing a true source of road rage 🙂

On to even bigger things. The first of many tower cranes that will appear on the Vancouver skyline has arrived. These monolithic cranes are a harbinger of a large-scale structure that will soon rise up from a deep hole in the ground. Many people view these cranes as a sign of economic success, that is anecdotal at best, but I specialize in anecdotes, so it works for me. They do however, generally indicate that larger projects are happening and without a doubt, that means money is flowing in, rather than out. ‘In’ is good 🙂

Whether one likes the idea of a city taking the initiative to push a project like this through with a variety of taxpayer-funded incentives, or not. It happened already, so all civic risks aside, we as a community should delight in the fact that a world-class waterfront is forming right before our very eyes. I believe that this project will do several positive things for America’s Vancouver. It will take a beat down crusty old mostly industrial, waterfront from the 1950s and transform it into a modern urban gathering place. It will draw business and people into the community. It will also spark ‘cottage’ development in the city and we have already been seeing that before the cranes arrived. See my post a few weeks back.

I still believe that the Mayor and council need to work on getting the Orchards annexation complete. That area has been in limbo since the city sewer went in decades ago. There are some 70,000 people already living in orchards. Most of them already have Vancouver City water and sewer. They likely have been slated to annex to the city as well. Vancouver USA is “officially” the fourth largest city in Washington State, but it is the defacto number two. Get on that annexation already city peeps. See annex here.

The Three Creeks region that includes Hazel Dell, Lakeshore, Felida, Mount Vista, and Salmon Creek may prove more difficult but also necessary for the long-term economic success of Clark County. These neighborhoods collectively form the Three Creeks region of unincorporated Vancouver and also have about 70,000 residents already in place.

I may have my quibbles with city government, but urban areas are typically better served by a municipal government rather than a county government. I have a map attached that I made a few modifications to. The original is on the City of Vancouver website, here.

I took the liberty of adding the orange shading to areas within the UGA that are already largely urbanized and mostly developed into city density neighborhoods. The area marked Greater Orchards is already predominately served by City of Vancouver Utilities. There are roughly 175,000 people in the green area that is the ‘official’ incorporated city of Vancouver. The yellow area which includes all of my added orange area is the current UGA or Urban Growth Area for Vancouver. The orange area has roughly 140,000 people living there. Not another hammer needs to strike a nail and the defacto city of Vancouver has over 300,000 people. They are her now and many of them have been here for decades.

Those that remember the days of long ago when Fisher’s Landing was farms and countryside, and the “landing” was actually just a boat landing on the Columbia River at Fisher’s Road (AKA 164th Avenue). Well that was then and it’s a bit too late to return to the status of sleepy village. That ship sailed when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941. The urban city industrial developments led by Kaiser Shipyards in WWII should be enough enough but the city erected a 15 story tower 20 years later in 1965. That should have ended any delusions of a town forever sleepy and quaint.

The ‘Original’ Vancouver has become a city that is in that odd spot of being too big and not big enough. The notion that the ‘Couv’ is nothing more than a suburb of Portland is really no longer fitting. It’s high time we move ahead before other competing cities start stealing away our opportunities. Make the annexations and get those jobs on the north shore where they belong. It seems that at least some of our city leaders get it.


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