FACT CHECK: Viral Images Claim To Show A 15-Minute City Speed Gate In Vancouver
Multiple photos shared on Facebook purport to show 15-minute city speed gates that have been installed in Vancouver.
The speed gates were installed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a press release from the City of Vancouver. A spokesperson for the City of Vancouver said they were aware of the unsanctioned stickers in an email to Check Your Fact.
The concept of a 15-minute city has been linked to socialism and allegations that it will take away personal freedoms among conspiracy theorists, according to Wired. The conspiracy theories around 15-minute cities have particularly gained traction in the U.K., CNN reported.
“The 15 minute city is quietly creeping into Vancouver. I was told the location was between Oak and Granville on 13th Ave.,” the Facebook post, shared over 1,000 times, purports.
The claim is misleading. The speed gates were installed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a press release from the City of Vancouver. The gates were initially meant to be a temporary measure, but were permanently installed in October 2022.
Although the speed gates are not connected to the idea of a 15-minute city, a June 2022 press release from the City of Vancouver announced “The Vancouver Plan,” which is based on a 15-minute city principle. The concept of a 15-minute city suggests that “everyone living in a city should have access to essential urban services within a 15-minute walk or bike.”
Stickers reading “15 minute City Ready” have been appearing on the speed gates, according to Reuters. These stickers were not applied to the speed gates by Vancouver officials, the outlet indicated.
“We are aware of these unsanctioned stickers on our yellow Slow Street gateways. The Slow Streets initiative was launched in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to make it easier for people to exercise and access businesses in their neighborhood,” a spokesperson for the City of Vancouver told Check Your Fact via email.
“The initiative has since helped to reshape how we view and use local streets, providing a safe and comfortable street environment for different users. The yellow gateways are intended to reduce vehicle speeds. The gateways create a pinch point where Slow Streets meet major streets, allowing only one direction of vehicle traffic at a time. Drivers will be required to slow down as they enter the neighborhood, but are not prohibited from using these streets,” the spokesperson said.
In addition, the spokesperson directed us to the Slow Streets program website for more information. (RELATED: Was Canadian Sniper ‘Wali’ Killed In Mariupol In March?)
Likewise, there are no credible news reports indicating the speed gates are specifically 15-minute city speed gates. The City of Vancouver also has not addressed the claim via its website or social media accounts.