A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.




 

Vancouver a Third-World City
Sunday, April 09, 2017

Desierto de Altar - Mexico - 1975


When we arrived in Vancouver with our Mexican-made VW Beetle I was constantly being told by mechanics that it was different from locally sold models. The car had extra places for greasing and the suspension was beefed up.

The explanation was a simple one. In Mexico City roads were full of potholes so cars had to be adapted to worse driving conditions. I found that if I did not wax my car at least twice a year, the paint would lose its shine to acid rain. Once a year I would remove the gas tank and clean it out with paint thinner. It was full of gunk that settled in the tank even though I had purchased an extra gas filter.

Tires did not last long and a flat tire was usually an honest reason for showing up late.

I now find that in Vancouver and in surrounding neighbourhoods and cities that conditions are beginning to resemble those of Mexico and in particular Mexico City.

Consider that yesterday while I was driving to Richmond to attend an evening concert at the Richmond Art Gallery I hit a huge pothole on the Oak Street Bridge. There was another one, as deep, that I managed to avoid. Returning home there was another pothole on the other side.

I remember reading in Life Magazine in the 50s ads about the concrete interstate highways (built by the Eisenhower administration so that army tanks could navigate them in a time of war) that had Bing Crosby and Bob Hope praising them to high heaven.

Back from a Buenos Aires trip in March I noticed that the freeways (all tolled) were in pristine condition. But the Buenos Aires sidewalks, veredas, are no better now than they ever were.

Vancouver is now going in the same direction with its smaller (it is a much smaller city) infrastructure. If I were not a retired – obsolete and redundant photographer I would study law and then sue the city for the damage that my car is suffering. Will someone have to die on the Oak Street bridge before anything is done about the patched, and patched and even more patch upon patch surface of this important bridge?

I wonder how many accidents have happened in the iffy intersection of Pacific with Burrard that now has been in repair for over a year. There is no announcement by City Hall as to what is being done and why it is taking so long.

I can report here why it is that so many of our pristine concrete streets are a mess. Every time an old house is torn down and a new one being built (with a garage for multiple cars) a new drain  system has to be installed. This means that the street is torn up and then patched (badly) with asphalt.
In Kitsilano where I now live one of my main corridor for moving around is Macdonald/Larch. The amount of potholes between King Edward and 49th is appalling.

It is nice, but troubling to observe that Vancouver is now steadily moving in the direction of being a third-world city.

And  sidewalks now are being asphalted. Buenos Aires here we come!

Addendum: When we left Mexico we thought we had seen the last of the topes (called sleeping policeman in some quarters). There seems to be no standard in Vancouver on how to build them. I some cases even if you slow down to an almost stop and then navigate one of these your car shakes to its foundations.



     

Previous Posts
Stanley McChrystal: Save PBS. It Makes Us Safer.

Those Fine Argentine O'Reillys

Terminan Siendo Seis

Champagne - Scotch & Red & Black Pumps

On Writing

Julio Cortázar - Instrucciones Para Subir Una Esca...

Julio Cortázar - Instrucciones para subir una esca...

Via Crucis - La Señal de la Cruz

El Teatro Colón

Vagancia en las Calles y Ventura en los Pechos.



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10/2/16 - 10/9/16

10/9/16 - 10/16/16

10/16/16 - 10/23/16

10/23/16 - 10/30/16

10/30/16 - 11/6/16

11/6/16 - 11/13/16

11/13/16 - 11/20/16

11/20/16 - 11/27/16

11/27/16 - 12/4/16

12/4/16 - 12/11/16

12/11/16 - 12/18/16

12/18/16 - 12/25/16

12/25/16 - 1/1/17

1/1/17 - 1/8/17

1/8/17 - 1/15/17

1/15/17 - 1/22/17

1/22/17 - 1/29/17

1/29/17 - 2/5/17

2/5/17 - 2/12/17

2/12/17 - 2/19/17

2/19/17 - 2/26/17

2/26/17 - 3/5/17

3/5/17 - 3/12/17

3/12/17 - 3/19/17

3/19/17 - 3/26/17

3/26/17 - 4/2/17

4/2/17 - 4/9/17

4/9/17 - 4/16/17

4/16/17 - 4/23/17

4/23/17 - 4/30/17

4/30/17 - 5/7/17

5/7/17 - 5/14/17

5/14/17 - 5/21/17

5/21/17 - 5/28/17

5/28/17 - 6/4/17

6/4/17 - 6/11/17

6/11/17 - 6/18/17

6/18/17 - 6/25/17

6/25/17 - 7/2/17

7/2/17 - 7/9/17

7/9/17 - 7/16/17

7/16/17 - 7/23/17

7/23/17 - 7/30/17

7/30/17 - 8/6/17

8/6/17 - 8/13/17

8/13/17 - 8/20/17

8/20/17 - 8/27/17

8/27/17 - 9/3/17

9/3/17 - 9/10/17

9/10/17 - 9/17/17

9/17/17 - 9/24/17

9/24/17 - 10/1/17

10/1/17 - 10/8/17

10/8/17 - 10/15/17

10/15/17 - 10/22/17