Thursday, November 16, 2017

TransLink looking at building better B-Lines

TransLink uses the B-Line brand for its limited stop, high frequency bus service in our region. This service is successful. The 99 B-Line, which operates along the Broadway corridor, has higher ridership than many rail rapid transit systems in North America.

Unfortunate, on-street customer amenities are non-existent. Things like on-street fare validation and all-door boarding become critical to ensuring that these routes remain reliable as they become busier. Better amenities also attract new customers to transit service.

A 99 B-Line stop. Select image to enlarge. Source: Wikimedia Commons

As our streets become more congested, bus priority measures must be implemented to ensure that bus service stays on schedule and travel times don’t increase for riders. For example, Surrey recently added queue jumper lanes on King George Boulevard to speed bus service through major intersections. On Broadway in Vancouver, the parking lanes are converted to bus lanes during peak travel periods.

As part of the 10-Year Vision for Metro Vancouver Transit & Transportation, 11 new B-Line routes are in the works. The current customer amenities and bus priority measure planned for these routes were to be similar to the 96 B-Line which is to say, limited. This might be changing.

As TransLink has been planning for the implementation of these new B-Line routes, they’ve heard from the public and other stakeholders (like local government) that bare-bones B-Line won't cut it for a quality, speedy, frequent bus service. The Mayors’ Council will now be discussing making new B-Line service better. The following slide is from the latest Mayors’ Council agenda package.

Options for making a better B-Line. Select image to enlarge.

The consensus is that people want to see “Better 2” service across all B-Line routes. This includes all door boarding, information kiosks, shelters, read-time info, and bus lanes and/or other priority measures along major corridors.

In order to help fund these improvements, TransLink is proposing to match municipal contributions for “Better 2”. This of course needs to be confirmed, and it is expected that there will be a final discussion on whether to build better B-Line service in early 2018.

This is what better B-Line service could look like. The examples are of RapidRide bus service in Seattle.

A RapidRide information kiosk with real-time information and off-bus fare payment. Select image to enlarge. Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/sounderbruce/

A RapidRide bus stop which includes enhanced customer amenities. Select image to enlarge. Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/sounderbruce/

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Metro Conversations presents “Nasty Women”: Gender in Politics

Trump’s now infamous remark calling Hillary Clinton a “nasty woman” has become a rallying cry for women across the political spectrum to take a stand against the sexism and misogyny they face in politics because of their gender.

On Wednesday November 22nd, the fourth Metro Conversations will be addressing this topic. Metro Conversations was started by a group of four like-minded elected officials from across Metro Vancouver. Rather than a lecture format, panelists will speak about their experiences and audience members will be encouraged to add their voice to help shape the conversation.

“Most people outside of politics aren’t aware of the blatant misogyny women have to contend with in their role as elected officials” says Councillor Kiersten Duncan from the City of Maple Ridge who is the main organizer of this event. “It creates an unsafe working environment which inherently discourages women from getting involved in politics”. Councillor Duncan credits her colleagues Councillors Nathan Pachal from the City of Langley, Patrick Johnstone of New Westminster, and Mathew Bond from the District of North Vancouver for coming up with the idea.

“It’s surprising how normalized misogyny is, many people don’t even realize they’re being inappropriate,” says Councillor Pachal.

“What was acceptable 20 years ago isn’t acceptable today, times have changed,” notes Councillor Johnstone. “Many older elected officials have a hard time adjusting to this.”

Councillor Bond hopes that women interested in running in next fall’s municipal elections will consider attending, hoping that this event will give them insight into some of the challenges they will face. Panelists include Councillors Laura Dupont and Glenn Pollock from the City of Port Coquitlam, Bonita Zarillo from the City of Coquitlam, and Mayor Nicole Read from the City of Maple Ridge.

This free event will take place:
November 22nd at 7:00pm (Doors open at 6:30p)
M. Wright Art Gallery Room at the Gathering Place
200 - 2253 Leigh Square Place, Port Coquitlam

Everyone is welcome. Seating is limited, and it is recommended to register to reserve your seat.

Reserve your seat at Eventbrite

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Metro Vancouver looking to study single-use coffee cup deposit system

Would you be willing to pay a small deposit on single-use cups or food containers? Most single-use cups and containers are recyclable, but they still end up in the garbage or discarded onto the street.

Light-weight foodware which includes cups and containers make up 10.7% of the material that ends up in street bins by weight in Metro Vancouver based on 2016 data. The City of Vancouver found that this translates into 50% of material by volume in their street bins. This is significant.

In contrast, containers with a deposit make up 4.4% of the material that ends up in street bins by weight. 2.4% of that is glass which is heavy. Our deposit system is helping to effectively recover certain types of containers. Our region has a binners community whose members collect containers that have deposits from our street bins and other public spaces.

Tides Canada is a national charity which supports initiatives across the country that support positive environmental and social change. In our region, one of their initiatives is the Coffee Cup Revolution where a pop-up coffee cup recycling depot at Victory Square is setup for a few hours.

Slide from Binners’ Project presentation delivered to Metro Vancouver’s Zero Waste Committee. Select image to enlarge.

In 2016, 175 binners collected 50,000 coffee cups to receive 5 cents per cup in a few hours. 210 binners collected 53,783 coffee cups within three hours on October 16, 2017.

One of the major goals in the Metro Vancouver Regional District Integrated Solid Waste and Resource Management Plan is to reduce waste. As such, the regional district is looking to support the Coffee Cup Revolution initiative with $6,000 annually for three years. This funding would be used to improved data collection, develop a waste characterization study, support round-table discussions, and provide a portion of the coffee cup refunds and pop-up recycling depot costs.

63% of waste was diverted from going to a landfill, or ending up in a waste-to-energy facility in our region in 2016. The street bin diversion rate was only 40% in 2016. There is still much more work to be done.

Considering the contribution of single-use cups and containers to our region’s waste, I could see the regional district advocating to the provincial government for an expanded deposit refund system for containers in Metro Vancouver.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Langley City Traffic Calming Progress. Making Streets Safer.

Earlier this year, Langley City council approved funding to implement traffic calming measures in three areas of our community. Based on neighbourhood feedback received this summer, traffic calming measures will be moving forward as noted in the following images.

Traffic calming around Condor Park. Select image for more details.

Traffic calming around Brydon Park and along 198 Street. Select image for more details.

Traffic calming around Linwood Park. Select image for more details.

Work will now begin to implement these traffic calming measures. Over the next week, speed bumps will be installed. The remaining traffic calming measures such as curb extensions, signage, bollards, painting, and fencing will be completed by the end of this winter. These projects are weather dependent and traffic delays are expected.