The new Vital Signs 2008 report card is out from the Vancouver Foundation. I was very excited to be one of the participants in the survey for this year. It seems like most of the grades that were given by others are pretty close to what I was thinking.
Transportation and getting around is the top concern of those surveyed. It received a C+. There are some impressive numbers like a 10% increase in bike routes in the region and a 38% jump in gas prices since last year. Car is still king in Metro Vancouver making up 75% of all trips in the region. Also, the number of registered cars is growing a lot faster than the number of people. Where do people get the money to own so many cars?
Housing affordability is definitely a big item of concern for everybody. It was rated a big fat D-. Ouch. When I did the responses this year, the housing market still had not totally quieted down, so the feeling of skyrocketing house prices may have been fresh in everyone’s mind. But no surprises in these results. Rental and low income housing are hard to come by. Our incomes are not really keeping up with housing prices. Homelessness is on the rise by 22% this year with an estimated 2,660 people spread across shelters and on their own in the elements. Sometimes it feels more like that when I walk city streets.
The enviroment is the next section of interest to me. Although we as a region are now recycling more than ever, we are also creating more garbage than ever. Also, with the rise in registered vehicles, we must be driving more than ever. The summary lists better public transportation as the key concern in improving the environment according to the citizen graders.
If you have the time, read through the website summary. If you prefer the PDF, click here and read at your convenience.