Monday, August 31, 2009

Build it and they will come

This weekend I had the chance to ride the Canada Line again. I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of people that are riding it. The Canada Line is the perfect example of how people are more willing to take rail over bus. In fact, I rarely hear anyone talking about how they are waiting to ditch SkyTrain for a car, but I always hear people on the bus saying how they want nothing more than to get their car back. In fact a friend of mine who used to take the bus with me to King George SkyTrain, now drive there and pays $5 a day to park.

The Canada Line essentially replaces a bus route with far less capacity. The Canada Line was packed pretty much from day one; no clearer example of how rail will always attract more riders than bus. If light rail was built in the South Fraser, imagine the impact it would have on people's transportation options. Instead of driving, people might actually take transit. Just as building more roads will attract more cars, building light rail will attract more riders. Where is our light rail?

Story from the Vancouver Sun:
The Canada Line could reach its ridership goals sometime next year rather than in 2013 as forecast, TransLink spokesman Ken Hardie said Friday.

Kathleen Lapointe, who lives in Richmond, took the train into Vancouver for a course and said she’s “planning to use it all the time now.”

“I’m very happy,” she said. “I’m so glad it’s here.”

Friday, August 28, 2009

News Update

As you as probably aware, next year we are get our PST/GST replaced with HST. It would appear that this new tax isn’t very popular, and now it looks like it won’t be good for TransLink’s bottom line. TransLink could loss the parking sales tax which currently generates $15 million a year and was to be kicked up to $30 million a year to keep TransLink afloat. Check out the story “HST could quash TransLink's pay parking tax” on BCLocalNews for more information.
The province could agree to remit to TransLink the equivalent of the seven per cent provincial component of the HST it gets from Ottawa.

But there's no obvious way a customized, higher amount could be charged on pay parking lots on TransLink's behalf.

"That just came out of the woodwork in the last two weeks," Prendergast said.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


So, I found a great website on the history of SkyTrain technology. SkyTrain came to Vancouver as a result of the Ontario government of the 1970’s decision to step-up public transportation infrastructure in a big way. This company was called Urban Transportation Development Corporation (UTDC). Anyway, as a condition of federal funding for Vancouver’s rapid transit network in the 1980’s, we had to purchase UTDC equipment. (It was supposed to be conventional light rail.) In the 1986 UTDC was sold to Lavalin, who in 1991 sold it to Bombardier.

Transit Toronto has a page on the UTDC Kingston Transit Development Centre, where SkyTrain was invented. Here is a picture of the first SkyTrain car. There are more pictures on the page.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sustainable Food Fair

Last year, we had to pleasure to hear from Langley Environmental Partners Society (LEPS) at one of our meetings. You can read about what they do on one of our earlier blog posts. Anyway, they have an event coming up this Saturday.

The LEPS Sustainable Food Fair is coming up this Saturday (August 29th) from 10am to 2pm at the Langley Events Centre in the Banquet Hall. This is your opportunity to taste some local products, purchase directly from the producers/processors and learn a bit about what it available in our region. Participating vendors include A Bread Affair, Glorious Organics, Honeybee Centre, Lotusland Vineyards, Dead Frog Brewery and more!

I have personally tried Lotusland Vineyards and A Bread Affair bread, and must tell you that they are great products.

Tickets can be purchased at the LEPS office (#201, 4839-221 Street) in advance for $15.00 or at the event for $20.00. For more information please contact Andrea Lawseth at or 604-532-3515.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Surrey Transportation

Sometimes it is good working at a multicultural TV station because you find interesting things out in the Surrey Area. For example, I found out that the City of Surrey has a Transportation Committee. It was interesting reading their meeting minutes.

As you may know, 88th Avenue is one of the only continuous West/East routes in the city. 88th Avenue also feeds into the Alex Fraser Bridge. As a result, 88th Avenue has become a very busy route. Since at least 2000, the City of Surrey has been looking at way to ease congestion. On July 21, Surrey’s Transportation Committee made some interesting observations.
The intersection at King George Highway and 88th Avenue has excessive delays and almost one collision per day according to the report. They were presented with the following four options to help solve that issue:

Do nothing - will lead to increased congestion over time and collision incidents. Not viewed as an acceptable approach

Interchange or jug-handle at KGH/88 Avenue - , out of context localized solution requiring huge expenditure ($20-30 million) and will simply shift congestion issues to adjacent intersections. Not considered an appropriate approach.

Widening 88 Avenue to 6 lanes - would involve significant property acquisition, reconstruction, impact to property owners and extremely high cost to the City. Not viewed as a viable option.

Complete missing road links – 84 Avenue from KGH to 140 Street and 124 Street from 108 Avenue to KGH.

The City should not install a roundabout at 88 Ave/ KGH at this time due to latent travel demand and the increased traffic flows that would impact adjacent intersections.
They recommended completing 84th Avenue. Interesting to note that the City of Surrey recognizes latent demand and new transportation infrastructure.

On the Roberts Bank Corridor front, it looks like things are moving along with an expected overpasses construction start date of June 2010. According to the committee minutes, it looked like the City of Surrey was recommending building an overpass at 54th Avenue/53rd Avenue (the road I live on), but the City of Langley rejected that idea.

Anyway, check out the minutes for an interesting read.

As a side note, in an effort to rebrand Whalley to Downtown Surrey, Whalley Ring is recommended to be renamed City Centre Ring Road.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Second Daily Amtrak Train

So in a bit of older, but never-the-less important news, there will be improved Amtrak rail service to Vancouver. We have been following the story of Canada Border Services Agency and Amtrak. The basic story is Amtrak was ready to expand rail service to Vancouver, but the CBSA wanted to change way too much money for providing customs services. Thanks for our friends at Transport 2000 for the tipoff.
Thursday August 20th is the first day of the new second daily Amtrak train service to Seattle and Portland. The new service departs Vancouver at 6:40AM and arrives in Seattle at 10:55AM. The return train leaves Seattle at 6:40PM and arrives in Vancouver at 10:45PM. Transport 2000 BC wishes to congratulate all parties involved in making this happen including the Canadian Border Services Agency, Amtrak, Washington State Department of Transportation, Oregon State Department of Transportation, and the Government of British Columbia.

This improved service will enable travellers in Vancouver to make same day visits to Seattle and for the first time in years, to travel all the way to Portland by rail. Two daily departures from Vancouver will increase flexibility for travellers, increase transportation options, and provide a stress-free relaxing alternative to freeway travel along the congested I-5 corridor.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Langley Politics - Shame on the ALC

I’m glad that I’m not the only one who thinks that the Agricultural Land Commission not posting minutes of its decisions on its website is ridiculous.

Trip to the Mountain

Last weekend I had the chance to visit Mount St. Helens. I recommend that everyone take that trip once.

One the way down to Mount St. Helens, I was shock at the amount of traffic on I-5 and the other freeways in the regions. I was equally as shock with the lack of traffic on older arterial roads. While I-5 was jammed in Tacoma, South Tacoma Way (a road that runs parallel to the freeway) was empty. It was almost if people have given up on non-freeway roads. Still in Seattle they have been pretty much been expanding the freeways since I can remember, and they are still jammed. I-5 is 10-lanes in some sections. I-405 is currently 6-lanes; there is a plan to increase it to 10-lanes. Even with all that expansion, they still realize that tolling and transit is the future. In 2007, people in Seattle voted no to road expansion and in 2008 voted yes to more transit.

Coming back from Washington State, I’m always reminded at how much more compact we are in Metro Vancouver.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

OnTrax 2009-2010 Meeting Schedule

Interested in light rail, streetcars, transit oriented development and sustainable planning for the South Fraser? Then please join us at our South Fraser OnTrax (SFOT) meetings. If you have already registered on our website or Blog, please consider encouraging your friends to do the same and have them join us!

All Meetings:
Place: Township of Langley Civic Facility, 4th Floor
20338-65 Avenue, Langley
Time: 7:00pm - 9:00pm (Second Wednesday of the month, except November)
Room: Yorkson Creek Meeting Room

Meeting Dates:
September 9, 2009
October 14, 2009
November 10, 2009
December 9, 2009
January 13, 2010
February 10, 2010
March 10, 2010
April 14, 2010
May 12, 2010
June 9, 2010
July 14, 2010
August 11, 2010

Further 2010 dates to follow next year.

You can download a PDF schedule.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The ALC - Round 2

So today, I've sent out another letter to the Agricultural Land Commission requesting a fee waiver under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. You can see the text of the letter below. They will have 20 days to reply to this request. I'm very frustrated with the whole process. This information should be freely available, and it shows a lack of transparency on the part of the ALC. What's going on? The fact that I was told via email that they would not provide by-municipality ALR data, yet I was able to get that basic information via my Freedom of Information Request, speaks volumes...
August 18, 2009

Information and Privacy Director
Provincial Agricultural Land Commission
133 – 4940 Canada Way
Burnaby, BC V5G 4K6

Dear Information and Privacy Director:

Re: Freedom of Information Request – ALR Decision Minutes and Land Area. Reference Number #292-30/2009-7

I have received your letter responding to my Freedom of Information request on August 17th, 2009.

Under the B.C. Freedom and Information and Protection of Privacy Act, I am requesting a fee waiver for the following records:

“Allow as Requested” and “Allow with Conditions” Minutes of Resolution/Commission Decisions on applications filed with the ALC between 2000 and 2005 within the Greater Vancouver Regional District.

These records are a matter of public interest as it relates to the environment. These records are also, essentially, the meeting minutes of a public body and therefore should be freely accessible. As an example, one can view council minutes online from at least 1992 for the City of Surrey, Township of Langley, and the Corporation of Delta. Also, the BC Utilities Commission allows for record searches back to 1974, and will provide one copy of each record free of charge.

Sincerely yours,

Nathan Pachal, CTech
South Fraser OnTrax

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Update in the ALC Saga

If you have been following this blog, you know that I have been working on gathering data on the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) in the South of Fraser. It has proven to be very difficult. Anyway, a month ago I sent in a request to the Agricultural Land Commission requesting decisions from 2000 to 2005. (Anything past 2005 is online.) I was shocked when I received the following from the ALC today. You can download the whole letter from the document archive. They want $1381 to fulfill my request! I will be contacting the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner, as I believe this information should be accessible and a matter of public record. Going back 10 years is not unreasonable. Anyway, the adventure continues...

As a note of interest Langley Township has 38% of all ALR land in Greater Vancouver. The South of Fraser has 70% of all ALR land in Metro Vancouver.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Canada Line

Well, I waited in line for the 1pm opening of the Canada Line today in Richmond. I decided to post up a photo documentary of my trip from Langley to the Canada Line in Richmond, ending in Downtown Vancouver.

There was much celebration including a speech from the Mayor of Richmond, Malcolm Brodie, about how Richmond is all about transit and not the auto. Also interesting was to see the lion dance at the official opening and the Richmond Centre station.

I would like to point out one major issue that I see with the Canada Line in the future: system expansion. The theoretical maximum capacity for the Canada Line on the Richmond section is 8,000 people per hour per direction. Right now the Expo Line’s theoretical maximum capacity is 9,600 to 11,600 people per hour per direction on the Surrey section. Because of short platforms, upgrading the Canada Line will prove to be pricy. Also, the Canada Line configuration at Richmond Centre is single track, I would image that any expansion would require rebuilding the Richmond Centre station.

Anyway, it was a great day to see the new Canada Line.

Friday, August 14, 2009

How to get choice users to ride transit

When I say choice users, I mean people that have the option of driving a car or taking transit. I’ve been taking the West Coast Express back from work and I’ve overheard some interesting conversations about transit in the region, and why people choice to take it (or not.)

When people make a decision about driving a car, they factor in speed and cost. In urban centres transit can beat out driving because the road network is fully utilized. Also in the South Fraser, where there is no rapid transit, express bus service, and limited regular service, driving will almost always be faster than transit.

Taking transit is almost always cheaper than driving a vehicle, but that’s not how people perceiving it. People do not factor in insurance, maintenance, and many of the other hidden costs of a vehicle; only gas, tolls, and parking costs are factored. In the South Fraser, the cost of travel therefore becomes a tossup between auto and transit. Give the fast that transit is slower and perceived as having no cost benefit, it’s no surprise that transit usage is rock bottom in the sub-region.

How can we fix this imbalance? I have to give credit to our local municipal politicians for seeing the light (so to speak) on transit in our region. I think this article from the North Shore News sums it up pretty nice:
All three North Shore mayors agree that TransLink will eventually have to start tolling the region's transportation routes, including the North Shore's major bridges.

"Part of our challenge is (dealing with things like) the Evergreen Line. The SkyTrain is a very expensive way to move people; it's very capital-intensive. The interest rates we pay on previous capital projects like the Canada Line are part of how we got here."
On the local level, people seems to agree that transit service needs to be improved and it seem like road pricing is on the table as a funding source. With improved transit service and a perceived increase in the cost of driving a vehicle, I believe that we can improve people and goods movement in the region. It is the province that will determine if we have a balanced transportation system, or if we will travel back to transportation planning in the 1960’s.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Be Part of the Plan Report

As you a probably well aware, TransLink did a series of consultation called Be Part of the Plan. The consultation went hand-in-hand will the transit plans that TransLink put together for the mayors to approve (or not.) The options include drastic service cuts with $0 new funding, maintaining current levels of service for $260 million extra a year, or for $450 million extra actually improve transit in our region. The $260 million would come from increasing all funding sources available to TransLink including introducing a new vehicle levy. To really make transit an option for people, TransLink would need to have the provincial government approve new funding sourcing like road pricing. Anyway, I wanted to highlight some of the information contained in the consultation report.

First, I wanted to highlight rapid transit in the South of Fraser. While other sub-regions talked about SkyTrain expansion, people in the SoF talked about “the types of technology being considered, especially light-rail transit and inter-urban rail.”

Also not surprising were people’s view of transit service in the SoF:
There was a lot of discussion about the lack of service currently available south of the Fraser and the need for more buses.
Also, interesting to note was that people wanted more transit service, but they didn’t want to pay for it.
It should be noted that many of the people that said “no” to current funding sources still supported moderate or significant investment levels.

There is strong support for funding sources that influence behavioural change for example, kms travelled, fuel tax, tolls, efficiency of vehicles, etc.

Participants consistently indicated that carbon pricing and road user fees should be considered as the top two options. These were preferred because people understood the relationship between the impact on the environment and the transportation network and the need to pay for sustainable alternatives. In some cases people referred to the “Polluter Pays” principle. However it was also apparent that many people did not understand the current Provincial carbon pricing policy or its objectives. One suggestion - businesses pay for bus passes for their employees and they get a tax break that is paid for by the carbon tax.
Have a look at the report on TransLink’s website.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Live Work Units in the City of Langley

A few weeks ago, we sent off a letter to the City of Langley expressing our concerns about the proposed redevelopment on Park Avenue and Douglas Crescent. On main concern was that this development proposal is residential only. We believe that this development, at a minimum, should contain live/work units. We believe this is in the spirit of the Downtown Langley plan which states:

Park Avenue: As reflected in the name, this special design district recommends a higher quality compact 4 storey development fronting on Douglas Park. Park Avenue would be “calmed” for local access so the development is almost an extension of the park and associated recreation activities. The development program will include:
-4 storey residential development built in clusters with green centre courts;
-Retail commercial or office fronting on Douglas Crescent; and
-Retention of historic Federal Building located at the corner of Douglas Crescent and 204th Street.
We are concerned because Page A2 of the Downtown Langley Master Plan Feasibility Study stated that the development at the corner of Fraser Highway and 201A Street would have 16 Live/Work units on the ground level. I do not believe any units where built. They are about 600sq. foot one-story apartments. They do not appear to be suitable for live/work. We are concerned this is happening again on Park Avenue.

Anyway, we received a reply from the City. You can download the letter from the document archive, but I wanted to highlight the following:

The subject proposal is consistent with the high-quality residential character envisioned for the Park Avenue special design district. At the same time, the site’s C1 zoning allows for a range of commercial land users, some of which can be incorporated in a live-work configuration such as in The Muse development at 20238 Fraser Highway. While the integrity of the ground floor retail component is essential to the success of the Core Area on the north side of Douglas Crescent, the City believes that great flexibility is appropriate in the Park Avenue area where the primary goal is to create a desirable residential district in close proximity to Douglas Park.
Looking like we will have to push for live-work at the public hearing...

Monday, August 10, 2009

Transportation Safety Stats

I thought it would be interesting to note that public transit would appear to be the safest form of transportation. It is also interesting to see that bicycling is one of the more dangerous forms of transportation. I would assume it has to do with bike/car conflict. This is why I am such a strong supporter of separated bike lanes.

Deaths per billion journeys
Bus: 4.3
Rail: 20
Van: 20
Car: 40
Foot: 40
Water: 90
Air: 117
Bicycle: 170
Motorcycle: 1640

Deaths per billion hours

Bus: 11.1
Rail: 30
Air: 30.8
Water: 50
Van: 60
Car: 130
Foot: 220
Bicycle: 550
Motorcycle: 4840

Deaths per billion kilometres
Air: 0.05
Bus: 0.4
Rail: 0.6
Van: 1.2
Water: 2.6
Car: 3.1
Bicycle: 44.6
Foot: 54.2
Motorcycle: 108.9

Source: INFORMED SOURCES October 2000: Risk, perception and the cold numbers

Picture Monday

Track Sharing in Perth, Western Australia from Wikipedia
(Light Rail and Heavy Rail)

Vancouver putting cycling first.

Friday, August 7, 2009

No to Road Pricing, MoT

So it would appear that the new Minister of Transportation, Shirley Bond, does not support road pricing according to an article in the Burnaby News Leader. I can understand not supporting road pricing in most of BC as it is not needed , but I really think the Province needs to review their outdated road pricing (tolling) policy. On a side note, I believe that the only three places that would ever see road pricing would be Metro Vancouver, Victoria, and possibly Kelowna.
"We're not contemplating at this point changing our road-pricing policies," Bond said, adding the province's policy remains that any tolled roads or bridges must still offer an untolled alternative.

Road pricing is favoured by transportation experts, who say it offers the best way to control congestion, raise money and steer traffic to off-peak times through reduced rates.
Also in the article is mention of the Province's review of TransLink. To find the kind of money TransLink wants would require one of two things. 1.) The Province releasing TransLink of it debut servicing obligations. 2.) Cut wages at Coast Mountain Bus / Contract out bus service to a company that pays really low wages. I don’t think ether option will happen.
Bond has also ordered a review of TransLink by B.C.'s comtroller general that she hopes will identify potential savings, and look at capping executive and board salaries.
The review is to be complete by the end of September. TransLink's commissioner will also issue findings on the 10-year plan options by the end of August.

A hard look at costs and expenses is something CEO Tom Prendergast has said was already done in the early months of the 10-year plan process.

Light Reading

Here are some light rail stories from around the Net. First up is some news about Seattle's new Link light rail system's ridership and the honour system (which our Province is doing away with on SkyTrain).
"Two out of three times on the train today I got checked for my ticket. And that's a good thing," said Millar, president of the American Public Transportation Association, which sets industry standards and lobbies for transit agencies in Washington, D.C.

"That shows they're paying attention to their revenue base and that's important. You want people to get used to how the proof of payment system works, and you really haven't had that here before. There were clearly some people who had questions about how things work."

"There are several rules of thumb, but usually after about six months, you'll have about half of what you'll ever have," Millar said. "And after about a year-and-a-half – unless you have big change in levels of service or land use – you'll probably have what you're ever going to have."
Meanwhile Baltimore, Maryland, with regional population of 2,668,056, has decided that light rail is the future of public transit.
Earlier this week, and after seven years of working with citizens, community groups, transit advocates, Mayor Sheila Dixon and County Executive James T. Smith Jr., we announced the preferred alternative for Baltimore's Red Line. Consistent with our statewide vision for transportation that includes new roads and mass transit, together we are taking the next step to build a 14-mile east-west light rail system stretching from Woodlawn and Security Square Mall in the west, through downtown Baltimore to Canton and the Bayview Hospital complex to the east.
Finally, Kansas City is looking for $60 million US in funding to build a starter streetcar line.
There is no bigger fan of modern, American-made streetcars than U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who most likely will have a say in approving Kansas City’s upcoming application for a $60 million TIGER grant to pay 100 percent of the cost of a two-mile starter streetcar line from River Market to Union Station.

“I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a group of workers so proud of what they’ve built together,” LaHood said in an early July visit to Portland, Oregon, which has a streetcar-based transit system and is also the home base of Oregon Iron Works, builder of the sleek United Streetcar model that so impressed LaHood.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

User Fees

Every so often TransLink releases surveys from their TransLink Listens online panel and from a general Ipsos Reid poll. I wanted to show you the slide on how people would like to fund transportation improvements. I find it interesting that a variable road user fee was not included.

The results were typical. People who use vehicles as their primary mode of transportation support higher transit fares and generally do not support a vehicle levy. People who use transit as their primary mode of transportation support the idea of rising property tax and generally do not support the idea of increasing transit fare. Also, people in the South Fraser generally had less support for paying more money for transit than people in other regions. It seems that in the areas with better transit service, people are willing to pay more for it.

This tells me a few things. If people can see a value in something, they will pay for it. People in Vancouver see more value in transit than people in Langley because transit is more viable in Vancouver. Also, people plan don’t like paying more money for nothing in return.

Road users at not used to the concept of a user fee. I think that variable road pricing would get more support than a vehicle levy, as people would be able to see the direct benefit of traffic congestion reduction on the roads. Still, it will take people time to warm up to the idea of a user fee. People I’ve talked can get pretty religious when it comes to the concept of road user fees. They have this notion that the government's most important role is to provide “free roads”. Road user fees would have to be phased in. The first step would be to build HOT lanes (or High Occupancy/Variable Toll Lane.) If the MoT converted the HOV lanes and two of the new general travel lanes into HOT lanes on the Highway 1 Project (as an example), it would be a success. People would have the choice of paying money for faster travel, or just stay in one of the four general travel lanes. 38% of TransLink’s revenue come transit fare (a user fee). Why are major roads still “free”?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


This past August long weekend, I travelled up to Kamloops to visit a friend who was stage managing at a Shakespeare Festival. Travelling up and staying in Kamloops reminded me of some of the realities of what I will call “organic” growth.

The first change that I noticed, of course, was the removal of the toll on the Coquihalla Highway. I have spent the majority of my life living in the Okanagan, so travelling to the Coast and paying the toll was just something you just did. I actually find it odd that the toll was removed considering that the Province government was looking at privatizing the highway back in first half of this decade because it cost so much to maintain. By removing the toll, the government basically sent the message that road should be free even though modern economic thought (including the BC Chamber of Commerce) support the idea of road pricing.

The second shock was to see a Wal-Mart built right at the interchange to Merritt. It reminded me of the US mid-west where Wal-Marts are at every other interchange and the Main Streets are dead. I find it odd because I remember that when the Coquihalla was built, commercial development was not allowed to occur along the highway to ensure that communities along the highway would still have business.

As is typical in most North American cities, Kamloops has a downtown, but most of the business is now located along the freeway.

It was funny reading the Kamloops OCP which in one breath wants to support downtown, mixed-use, and walkability, but in another breath states that they must build auto-centric “regional commercial” at the edge of town. Regional commercial is a euphemism for big-box retailing. To state that regional retail need to be in commercial-only, auto-only areas has more to do with getting a quick buck than quality planning. Regional commercial can excites within the context of a well planning, mixed-use community. Vancouver is the perfect example. The City of Vernon, which in the past 7 years opened the flood gates to big box, now states in their 2008 OCP that they will allow higher density residential around their big box area to encourage sustainable modes of transportation.

Kamloops basically has three major areas: The North Shore, Downtown, and everything on the hill/highway. The North Shore and Downtown are the older parts of Kamloops and looks like their heyday was in the 1970’s. It would appear that most of the new development in Kamloops is along the highway in an area called Aberdeen. Kamloops has plans to revitalize its Downtown and North Shore, but with the amount of new commercial and residential development in Aberdeen, that will be a hard thing to accomplish.

On a positive side, the Kamloops area is on the top ten list of sustainable modes of transportation at 10.6% (Victoria is the top area at 26.3%). It also has the third highest transit use at 3.8% (Metro Vancouver is 16.5% and Victoria is 10.2%). Thompson Rivers University is located in Aberdeen which is a plus for bus service in the area. It has a student population of 10,558 or 12% of the total population of Kamloops. University students are more likely to take transit. Also, there now seems to be an effort to do the whole mixed-use thing in the Aberdeen area. Let’s hope it works out.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Transportation and the Air We Breathe

I live in the South Fraser region of British Columbia and even our own provincial government indicates that we have poor air quality. Do we want to do something about it and if so what? TransLink admits that we have a public transportation deficit and is even going as far as having many small transportation forums to find out what the public really wants.

For the rest of my discussion I am going to directly quote from Readers Digest July 2009.
The ribbon of steel that used to tie us together is almost gone. Now we have the airlines and bus companies, and we pretend to have a national highway. In many places-Northern Ontario or the Interior of British Columbia-it dwindles down to two-lane blacktop, and the local residents will tell you these narrow sections make our national Highway a death trap.

The Americans completed a four-lane national highway system 50 years ago. We are still awaiting ours.

The Europeans have used high speed railways to tie their countries together. After 50 years of studies, we are still considering a high- speed rail link to connect Windsor to Quebec City, Vancouver to Calgary and Calgary to Edmonton.

If we wanted to tie Canadians together, if we wanted to be nation builders, we would start on these rail links right now.
The above are some of the thoughts from Readers Digest, so for a long range plan I would suggest we start on our own public transportation and that in my humble submission would be modern Light Rail. Our provincial government is already building the Port Mann Bridge that will accommodate this and it can run down the side of the freeway. I have come from a railway town and trains are comfortable, affordable, sustainable, and punctual and can keep going even in ice and snow.