Mark Roseland

Clouds of Change had a really important, interesting story about cycling, and it relates to the whole thing about the environmental community not getting urban sustainability. In Clouds of Change, we put out a discussion paper and had a public meeting at City Hall with all kinds of very interesting speakers. Lots of people participated.

There was literally no, zero, bicycle infrastructure in Vancouver at that time — you just took your life into your own hands if you were out there on the streets. One of the recommendations in Clouds of Change was to create a bicycle rectangle, two north-south and two east-west streets; basically, you would be able to get around if you took out a lane of traffic or a lane of parking on these four streets, and you'd have this rectangle.

We got enormous opposition, and not from the usual suspects — not from the merchants and so on, but from the cycling people. And particularly the couriers and the elite cyclists. This was really fascinating. At that time, there was a book by John Forester [Effective Cycling: ed.]. It was very popular, and his argument was basically that cyclists just have to be better, and learn how to cycle in traffic. And plus offer them training and so on.

Of course, the couriers and the elite cyclists love this stuff, but they’re basically insane compared to most people — your average person who's trying to get groceries, or has a kid on the back.

Even if their data was correct, which it turns out it wasn't, the perception of safety is almost as important as safety itself. So the whole point of the Greenest City momentum was to change modal shift, was to get people out of their cars and onto their bikes, and you're not going to do that if people feel like it's incredibly unsafe.

So it was a real eye-opener to realize that it was the cycling community that was opposing the most progressive cycling legislation. That was very, very interesting.

Gordon Price

You can use cycling as a metaphor, as well as the reality of it. Because it's an expression of who we are, and it's integrated into the fabric of the community in a critical way, while at the same time it's having these effects of reducing the amount of traffic and dependence on cars.

A healthy alternative that makes people feel better, in response to these global issue. It's such a win-win-win.

Hopefully, it matches up with your caucus, because if you're successful, you're going to get credit. And I think the NPA made a big strategic error in not doing that. It did not fit the narrative.

As a citizen and a councillor, I'm very proud of it. But it was too early.

Mark Roseland

We were a bit ahead of our time, in terms of the things that we did with Clouds of Change, which then kept being reincarnated in Vancouver.

Sam Sullivan called it ‘ecodensity’. It doesn’t seem to matter who the mayor or the council majority is, it basically continues — the Greenest City Action Plan.

In 1992, I started teaching urban sustainability and sustainable communities at SFU. All my students were doing projects that were related to stuff that was going on in the city.

For example, southeast False Creek, which wasn't developed then — and it wasn't going to be, for years and years and years — got its start in Clouds of Change. That's when it was first articulated that the city should have a model sustainable community. My students essentially produced plans for the city for Southeast False Creek

A lot of the things we proposed were actually done later. We were basically proposing the conceptual framework, the strategic direction. It was before there was any rezoning done. Yaletown was a mess, southeast False Creek was still industrial let-go. Things have really changed a lot.

If you look at the trajectory over the last 25 years, nobody's tried to roll it back, which is pretty cool. We've been going in that direction in becoming a greener city.

People argue over doing this versus doing that, but nobody is trying to turn this around and go back.