After spending nine months going around the world in 2007, I concluded there are two types of travel. You can go to unusual places and seek out the familiar. Or you can go to familiar places and seek out the unusual.
On a recent trip to
One example is political campaign signage. In
In some municipalities, signs can be installed on both public and private property. Thankfully, in
However, despite our claim to be a sustainable city, a small fortune is spent on manufacturing and installing plastic signs with little if any reuse potential. Not so in
I might add that paid radio and television commercials and other forms of media advertising are also prohibited during the same period.
The result is less visual blight, less pressure on candidates to raise money from donors and a more equitable approach to evaluating candidates.
I was disappointed campaign finance reform was not approved in B.C. for this fall’s municipal elections. Hopefully new regulations will be in place prior to the next elections, and we should learn from the French practises.
The French can also teach us when it comes to driving and parking. A Vancouverite now living in
While the French are often aggressive drivers, they generally demonstrate a greater respect for the rules of the road.
They do not pass on the inside and they signal when they turn. They understand the concept of giving way at intersections and roundabouts, which are common throughout the country.
When in congested traffic, drivers know not to try and pass through a controlled intersection if they are not certain of being able to clear the intersection before the light switches to red.
Compare that to how things are in downtown
To encourage motorists to respect the law, speed radar and red-light cameras are common. They are often accompanied by illuminated signs letting offending motorists know how many demerit points they were just penalized.
The French, like other Europeans, manage time-restricted free parking by requiring a parking disc or clock disc to be displayed on a car dashboard showing the time when the vehicle was parked. Parking officers can inspect the disc to determine if a car has been parked too long.
I would also like
While these units are not perfect, they can help detect when a motorist should not be driving. I purchased a portable breathalyzer many years ago in the
While we can learn much from the French, they can certainly learn from us, too. One of their most urgent challenges is how to manage graffiti, especially in urban centres. It is heartbreaking to see the amount of graffiti in French cities (and most other cities around the world). By comparison,
As Courier readers travel outside of
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