Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sustainability on the Edge and Personal Choices

I am an ordinary man and I have learned a lot from an advisory group in Langley called South Fraser OnTrax. The reason I attend these meetings is mostly to learn from others such as Port Metro Vancouver, council members, environmental groups, the BC Truckers Association, TransLink, and mayors. For example:

In the first half of the 20th century people had choices with transportation whether it was walking, taking the streetcar, taking the train, cycling, and of course driving. Things seemed to work well until the more cars and trucks we had on our streets and faster speeds over longer distances lead to more injuries and deaths. In Detroit, there was even a large board on the corner of a busy street giving the death toll as the auto started taking over the road.

Needless to say our choices began to dwindle at this point in time as more personal cars and trucks became the norm. In most place in Canada, we do not have any other choice than our own vehicle. This seemed good, of course, until the price of oil destabilized and our single-mode transportation system started to break down. I cannot help but wonder how we thought this could have ever lasted.

When I worked in New Westminster, I took transit from the City of Langley into New Westminster. The SkyTrain took me over the Fraser River far faster and for less money than I could drive. While riding 502 bus to Langley, I studied an Industrial First aid Course. Studying this course on the bus saved me time. And unlike driving, I was in a far better mood when I arrived home after taking the bus. I did pass that course and riding public transportation became a part of my life. I am wondering what it would look like if we spent our next tax dollars on better public transportation instead of using them for roads and bridges and parking lots?

Monday, November 29, 2010

TransLink Funding

On Friday, the Mayors and the Province changed the voting date for TransLink's Supplemental Plans from December 9 to March 31, 2011. This is good news as both sides can now cool down from the funding Mexican Standoff. Hopefully the Province and Mayors can now sit down and have a proper discussion about long-term funding for TransLink.

What's really interesting about this whole process is that TransLink did some public consultation on the supplemental plan and found that while 80% of us think that the projects in the full-meal-deal supplement are important for the region, there was no clear support for how to raise the funding to provide said service. About half of the region supports a property tax increase while another half supports a Transportation Improvement Fee for every vehicle in the region at a cost of between $15 and $55 per year.

Two of the common themes I noticed from the public consultation report was that there was a desire to see more of a user pay system for roads in our region "the fee should be structured differently (e.g. based on vehicle usage or where people live)" and that the matter of equability needs to be addressed. In order to get buy-in from the South of Fraser, TransLink really needs to market the major improvements that the supplement will have in the sub-region. Of course until we get proper rapid transit out here, people will continue to think that they are paying for Vancouver's transit.

While I think that road pricing is a much needed tool to manage congestion and pay for capital improvement to our transportation system, assigning gas tax, vehicle tax, or road pricing to the operating budget of TransLink is risky business. As we saw in 2008, as people give up their cars for transit, TransLink has less money to provide transit. Property tax is probably the most stable funding source for TransLink in this region. It is also the most fair as people in Vancouver will be paying more property tax to TransLink than people in the South of Fraser.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Real Estate Coffee Shop

Our friend Michael Thorne from the The Real Estate Coffee Shop recently interviewed Joe and I on his podcast. We will also be on his podcast next week talking about our Sustainability on the Edge Event
In this week’s episode Michael Thorne sits down with Joe Zaccaria and Nathan Pachal of South Fraser on Trax. Michael, Joe and Nathan discuss transportation, urban planning, environment, and other issues that affect the liveability of the South of Fraser region.

Living Green, Saving Green Media

Here is the media from our Living Green, Saving Green Event that we hosted in the City of Langley on Saturday. If you listen to the audio, the first presentation is by the BC Hydro Power Smart Team about conserving energy around the home. Gordon Price is the second presenter and he talks about how urban form and transportation choice effects our bottom line, and how the reliance on cheap oil puts us in a risky financial situation. The last speaker is Lindsay Coulter, David Suzuki's Queen of Green, who gives tips about living sustainably around the house. This includes tips on which household products have the least impact to human health and the environment.


Download the Audio (Right-click to save audio)



Friday, November 26, 2010

Interesting Reads

I hope to see many of you at our Living Green, Saving Green workshop on Saturday, but in the meantime you should check out the following.

First off, the first Green Streets and Highway conference was held a few weeks ago. It was held with the support of the U.S. DOT Federal Highway Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and in collaboration with the Institute of Transportation Engineers and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. The conference included papers from Convincing Elected Officials to Build Green Roads and Beyond Green: The Emerging Practice of Sustainable Street Design to the very technical Carbon Nano Fiber Reinforced Cement Composite for Energy Harvesting Road and Trace Element Leaching from Recycled Pavement Materials Stabilized with Fly Ash.

According to the USDOT Blog Fast Lane:
Administrator Mendez and I are proud of DOT's representation at this week's conference. FHWA professionals numbered among the presenters and technical staff, and quite a few FHWA Division Administrators were in attendance. We believe it’s the largest showing by FHWA at any event of this kind.

So, can American roads be built to respect their surroundings and help sustain the planet? Administrator Mendez's answer was a confident "Yes."
In other news, an article in the Washington Monthly called "The Next Real Estate Boom - How housing (yes, housing) can turn the economy around." by Patrick C. Doherty and Christopher B. Leinberger looks at the changing demographic trends in North America and how the demand for urban living is now outstripping the demand for suburban living.
Many hope that when the economy recovers, demand will pick up, inventories of empty homes will be whittled down, and the traditional suburban development machine will lumber back to life. But don’t bet on it. Demand for standard-issue suburban housing is going down, not up, a trend that was apparent even before the crash. In 2006, Arthur C. Nelson, now at the University of Utah, estimated in the Journal of the American Planning Association that there will be 22 million unwanted large-lot suburban homes by 2025.

There are some obvious reasons for the growing demand for walkable neighborhoods: ever-worsening traffic congestion, memories of the 2008 spike in gasoline prices, and the fact that many cities have become more attractive places to live thanks to falling crime rates and the replacement of heavy industries with cleaner, higher-end service and professional economies.

But the biggest factor, one that will quickly pick up speed in the next few years, is demographic. The baby boomers and their children, the millennial generation, are looking for places to live and work that reflect their current desires and life needs. Boomers are downsizing as their children leave home while the millennials, or generation Y, are setting out on their careers with far different housing needs and preferences. Both of these huge demographic groups want something that the U.S. housing market is not currently providing: small one- to three-bedroom homes in walkable, transit-oriented, economically dynamic, and job-rich neighborhoods.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Quattro Charity Breakfast

Benefiting North Surrey Charities

-Bring non-perishable foods for the local Food Bank
-Free pancake and sausage breakfast with juice and coffee served
with appreciation by the North Surrey Lions Club (by donation)
-Bring toy donations for the Surrey Christmas Bureau
-Bring clean used clothing or blanket donations for the local branch
of the Salvation Army

Saturday, December 4th, 2010
9:00 am - 11:00 am
Quattro Discovery Centre
10768 Whalley Boulevard
(between 108th and 107A Street)

Event organized and sponsored by
Tien Sher Group of Companies
Developer of the Quattro community

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Picture of the Week - Central Surrey

One of the greatest transformations in the South of Fraser is happening in Whalley or what is now being called Surrey City Centre. This part of the region was your standard suburban commercial strip and is changing into a high-density downtown core that will rival Vancouver’s core. The following pictures are from the Park Place development by King George SkyTrain station.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Upcoming Event - Living Green, Saving Green

South Fraser OnTrax presents a workshop on saving money by living sustainably. Learn from David Suzuki Foundation’s Queen of Green Lindsay Coulter and SFU’s The City Program Director Gordon Price. Also, BC Hydro will talk on energy saving in the home and provide help with accessing various energy saving rebates and grants available.

Saturday, November 27, 2010
1:00pm – 3:00pm
Douglas Recreation Centre
20550 Douglas Crescent

Setup and Registration

Introduction and Welcome

BC Hydro - “Power Smart Tips for Home”

Gordon Price, SFU City Program – “Sustainable City Living”

Lindsay Coulter, David Suzuki's Queen of Green – “Small steps for a healthier planet start at home”

-Question and Answer Café with Gordon Price and Lindsay Coulter
-BC Hydro Power Smart Team Information Table Open and Team available to answer Questions

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sustainability on the Edge II - Media

For those of you that couldn't make it to our Sustainability on the Edge II event yesterday due to the snow and train accident, I've posted-up the audio and presentation slides. If you have never heard Dan Burden, please listen. He will inspire you to make a positive change in your community. He even talked about my home town Vernon, BC and how awesome it is! The presentations below are in the order of the presenters in the audio.

Time Index
Dan Burden: 00:09:20
David Pollock: 01:00:22
Charan Sethi: 01:14:40
Ramin Seifi: 01:31:50
Shawn Bouchard: 02:00:10


Download the Audio (Right-Click)



Saturday, November 20, 2010

Sustainability on the Edge Happening in Three Hours

Snow aside, Sustainability on the Edge is happening in just 3 hours from now.
Come in out of the winter wonderland. Kick back, relax and enjoy world-class speakers. All FREE of charge. Come in out of the cold!

Sustainability on the Edge
Saturday, November 20, 2010
9:00am – Noon
4th Floor - Township of Langley Civic Facility
20338 65 Avenue

On Saturday, November 20th, we will be hosting our 2nd Annual Sustainability on the Edge event. Our keynote speaker this year is Time Magazine's “One of the 6 Most Important Civic Innovators in the World” Dan Burden. He will be speaking on “How we got into this mess and our way out” along with other sustainability minded developers and local government staff. The snow has fallen and now we will be getting together this morning. Free registration begins at 8:30am!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Biographies of Speakers: Sustainability on the Edge II

Yesterday I posted the agenda and today I've included the biographies of the great list of speakers we have lined up. Hope to see many of your tomorrow.

Dan Burden Biography

Dan Burden is the nation’s most recognized authority on walkability, bicycle & pedestrian programs, street corridor & intersection design, traffic flow & calming, road diets, and other planning elements that affect roadway environments. Dan is also sought after by the health community, promoting neighbourhoods, villages, and cities that are designed for more active, interactive, and healthy living. Dan has 37 years of experience in developing, promoting and evaluating alternative transportation facilities, traffic calming practices and sustainable community design.

Employed by Florida DOT in 1980 as the first Bicycle Coordinator, Dan returned from an inspiring trip to Australia, changed his job title and became the nation’s first full time State Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator in 1981. Then in 1996, with many requests to help others, Dan and his wife Lys founded Walkable Communities, Inc., a non-profit corporation helping North America develop walkability programs and walkable communities. In 2005, Dan joined Glatting Jackson Kercher Anglin, Inc. and became a Senior Urban Designer, Principal, and Shareholder. Although Dan is contracted and paid through Glatting Jackson, he and his staff maintain and promote walkability information and knowledge through Walkable Communities, Inc.

There are few people in the country who know more about traffic calming practices, access management, building streets for emergency responders, intersection design, and other strategies for creating pedestrian and bicycle friendly communities than Dan Burden. He has taught bicycle and pedestrian facility design courses, livability, Smart Growth, and Sustainable Transportation in hundreds of different communities throughout North America.

Dan has personally photographed and examined walking, bicycling, placemaking, and town centre conditions in over 2500 cities in the U.S. and abroad. He worked as a bicycle consultant in China for the United Nations in 1994, and he has been to Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and many European countries to photograph their great cities. His pictures have been published in the New York Times, National Geographic, Better Homes and Gardens, Sierra Club calendars, and Weekly Reader. Presentations are always richly illustrated with examples from near and far.

-Time Magazine recently listed Dan as “one of the six most important civic innovators in the world.”
-The Transportation Research Board (National Academy of Sciences) honoured Dan by making him their Distinguished Lecturer in 2001.
-In 2007 EPA’s New Partners for Smart Growth gave Dan its first “Lifetime Achievement Award.”
-In 2000, The Association of Pedestrian and Bicyclists Professionals (APBP) honoured Dan with its first “Lifetime Achievement Award.”
-The League of American Bicyclists lists Dan as “one of the 25 most significant leaders in bicycling for the past 100 years.”

Charan Sethi Biography
Charan Sethi is President of the Tien Sher Group of Companies, developer and builders of community sensitive and transit friendly new home construction projects.

A licensed Machinist in England, Charan continued his trade upon immigrating Canada in 1979. Charan began an award-winning career as a Realtor consistently ranking amongst the top 1% in the Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board. In 2001 he also started developing new single-family and multi-family communities. Since then, Charan has completed single-family and multi-family residential developments and subdivisions throughout Surrey, Richmond, and New Westminster totaling over 1,400 homes. Charan’s current goal is to develop 12 acres of land in Whalley – part of the new Surrey City Centre. When completed, this development will supply over 1,900 residential units and 35,000 sq.ft. of commercial/office space to Surrey’s growing population.

Charan is an active member of the Greater Vancouver Home Builders Association, the Urban Development Institute, the Greater Vancouver Home Builders Association, and Richmond Chamber of Commerce and a Director of Surrey Business improvement. As President of the Tien Sher Group of Companies, Charan believes in giving back to the community including his sponsorship of neighbourhood festivals and the Surrey Christmas House.

Ramin Seifi Biography
Currently serving in the position of Director of Community Development with the Township of Langley. Registered as a Professional Engineer with the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC; and a practicing Member of the Canadian Institute of Planners. Completed academic education in United Kingdom with a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering in 1985 and moved to Canada in 1990. Over 25 years of experience in municipal engineering and community planning work in the private and public sectors in Europe and Canada. Lead and manage a team of approximately 70 professional, technical and support staff in 7 distinct yet inter-related departments ranging from long range planning and economic development to permits, licenses and inspections. A member of the senior management team, responsible for providing recommendations and advice to Council related to establishing strategic direction, policies as well as disposition of individual development applications. Serve as co-chair of the Urban Development Institute’s Langley liaison committee and represent the municipality on other external and regional initiatives.

David Pollock Biography
David started his career in engineering as a construction engineer in the United Kingdom spending four years building roads and large diameter storm projects. Upon his arrival in Canada in 1989 he moved to the consulting sector and worked for a variety of companies both in the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island focusing on the municipal sector. After ten years in consulting practice David moved into local Government working for Maple Ridge, White Rock and most recently the Township of Langley.

In addition to his work activities at Langley David is the incoming Chair of the Municipal Engineers Division of APEGBC and is on the Board of Directors for the Master Municipal Construction Documents Association (MMCD).

Shawn Bouchard Biography
A Serial Entrepreneur since 1994, Shawn has owned and run many businesses in different fields such as sales, finance, building trades, appraising, marketing and project management. Over the last 20 years Shawn has also been active in the community as a volunteer in three community organizations. All of these experiences have given Shawn a broad understanding of the needs of both business and community. Shawn is currently the principal of Capstone Group Holdings, vice president of Quadra Homes, serves on the board of the Pregnancy Options Centre (Surrey) and is a member on the Urban Development Institutes Langley Liaison Committee. Through Quadra Homes, Shawn is the project manager for Yorkson Creek, a 1628 unit master planned community in the Township of Langley, Cedar Downs, a 338 unit condominium project in Pitt Meadows, and West Harbour, a 220 unit single family project in West Bank.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sustainability on the Edge Agenda

Here is the agenda for our second annual Sustainability on the Edge Lecture Series. You can also download a PDF copy from our document archive. We will be selling pens and buttons to support events like this in the future for $2 a piece.

Saturday, November 20, 2010
9:00am – 12 Noon
Township of Langley Civic Facility Fraser
River Presentation Theatre
20338 – 65 Avenue, Langley, BC


Schedule of Events

08:30 – 09:00
09:00 – 09:05
Opening Remarks, Who SFOT is, Introductions & Housekeeping Matters – MC Jordan
09:05 – 09:10
Township Mayor Rick Green’s Welcome Message
09:10 – 10:10
Mr. Dan Burden ‐ Key Note “How We Got Into This Mess and Our Way Out”
10:10 – 10:30
Mr. Charan Sethi – “How to Change Your World – Being A Social Architect”
10:30 – 10:45
Mr. Ramin Seifi, P.Eng., MCIP, Director of Community Development –Township of Langley
“On the Road to Sustainability”
10:45 – 11:00
Mr. David Pollock, Manager, Operations – Township of Langley
“Making our Township More Sustainable”
11:00 – 11:15
Shawn Bouchard
“Attitudes for Successful Partnering!”
11:15 – 11:45
Panel Discussion (All Speakers) Written Submission Q & A
11:45 – 12 Noon
Closing Remarks – MC Jordan Bateman/South Fraser OnTrax

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

BCTA - Meeting Last Night

Last night, we had the chance to hear from Greg Kolesniak who is a policy analyst for the BC Trucking Association. While the first thing that may come to your mind is the connection between the BCTA and the Gateway Program, I was surprised to hear about the new research that they are starting.

Greg talked about how if you try to solve the issue of congestion with only supply-side solutions, you will shortly find that you have exhausted any spare capacity. The BCTA is now researching Transportation Demand Management (TDM) solutions for Metro Vancouver. I think there is an acknowledgement from all players that the Gateway Program is the last kick-at-the-can for supply-based congestion mitigation strategies and that TDM is in the future for Metro Vancouver.

The BCTA will be looking at all TDM from congestion pricing to distance based insurance. It will be interesting to see what they recommend for this region.

Besides TDM, Greg also gave an overview of the trucking industry in BC and you can find out more information in the presentation below.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Picture of the Day - Growing Up

All things being equal, cities seem to grow out before they grow up (figuratively and literally). Vancouver started its history as a community of one-story street-front commercial buildings and single-family houses with the occasional apartment building. It then slowly built up over the past 60 years. In the South of Fraser, it seems like the same pattern is happening. The City of Langley was built out long before my time and is in the process of building up now. The following picture is from one of the former single-family neighbourhoods North of the Nicomekl River.

53A Ave @ 203rd St

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sustainable Transportation Slide Show

As promised, New Westminster City Councillor Jonathan Cote provided this presentation from his talk at the NWEP AGM on November 9, 2010.

As Cllr. Cote points out, the urban landscape and development plays a vital role in the transportation and transit options we get. So, he says we need (and SFOT agrees):

  • Street Design
  • Mixed Use
  • Density

Friday, November 12, 2010

Upcoming Meeting and Events

Our next meeting is on Tuesday, November 16th. This month we will be hearing from Greg Kolesniak of the BC Trucking Association. He will be speaking about the economic benefits of the trucking industry in BC. He will also be available to answer any questions or comments you might have on trucking in the province.

Monthly Meeting: BC Trucking Association
Tuesday, November 16th
7:00pm – 9:00pm
Township of Langley Municipal Facility
4th Floor, Yorkson Creek Meeting Room
20338 65 Avenue

On Saturday, November 20th, we will be hosting our 2nd Annual Sustainability on the Edge event. Our keynote speaker this year is Time Magazine's “One of the 6 Most Important Civic Innovators in the World” Dan Burden. He will be speaking on “How we got into this mess and our way out” along with other sustainability minded developers and local government staff.

Sustainability on the Edge
Saturday, November 20, 2010
9:00am – Noon
4th Floor - Township of Langley Civic Facility
20338 65 Avenue

On Saturday, November 27th, our Living Green, Saving Green workshop kicks-off. Learn from David Suzuki Foundation’s Queen of Green Lindsay Coulter. Also, BC Hydro will talk on energy saving in the home and provide help with accessing various energy saving rebates and grants available.

Living Green, Saving Green
Saturday, November 27, 2010
1:00pm – 3:00pm
Douglas Recreation Centre
20550 Douglas Crescent

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

New Westminster Environmental Partners AGM & Sustainable Transportation Forum

As most of you know, I was on the platform last night for the Annual General Meeting of the New Westminster Environmental Partners meeting (NWEP). I'm not sure what the official count was, but by the end of the evening I would guess 60-70 people in attendance.

Stephen Rees did a pretty fair job of recapping what each speaker had to say on a high level and I would refer you here for more details. Addressing some of Stephen's comments, I would say that the NWEP wasn't necessarily trying to get "experts" to speak last night. Rather they seemed to be looking at sustainable transportation through several viewpoints.

I for one never call myself an "expert" on anything, including the consulting work that I've done for the past 30+ years. It's up to others to judge what value they derive from my work. Feedback from the audience was very good and most didn't want to leave at the end of the night. Stephen is an expert on many of these issues, and so I'm certain these meetings will frustrate him, as they can only scratch the surface of the entire realm of deeper, interrelated issues that could always be examined.

The forum did end with a Q & A related to the very issues that Stephen mentioned like the proposed replacement of the Patullo Bridge, the North Fraser Perimeter Road and work on United Blvd. that will all impact New Westminster in a big way. Some of the audience approached me later to talk about how much information they got out of the evening and came with some very comprehensive questions for all of us.

I very much enjoyed hearing from Jerry Dobrovolny, the Director of Transportation for the City of Vancouver (a New Westminster resident and former councillor). It was interesting to hear about his mandate from CoV officials that they NOT increase road capacity despite the widening of Highway 1 and the larger Port Mann Bridge that is soon to be delivered. He said the city controls signaling and such, they have facts and data on current demand and they will not be changing anything to accommodate more vehicle demand. This makes it imperative for the south of Fraser region to build extensive transportation options into these communities.

Jerry Dobrovolny's presentation included two parts. The first on the controversial Segregated Bike Lanes Project which you can access all the information here and data regarding the Burrard Street Bridge cycle project here.

The second half of Jerry's presentation was related to the 2010 Winter Olympics and data obtained during that time. I can't do the subject justice as he had many facts and figures from this huge event that you can find links to here. He made it clear that although other Host Cities collected data and devised plans BEFORE the games, Vancouver continued collecting data DURING the games with the help of UBC students.

I have an email out to Cllr. Jonathan Cote of New West and hope to post his presentation here later when I hear back from him. Hat's off to the hard working folks at NWEP for an excellent meeting!

My presentation can be viewed here:

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Cyclists' Bill of Rights

In BC we already have a Taxi Bill of Rights, maybe we should also have a cyclists' bill of rights based on the following from the Bike Writers Collective (we can just remove some of the US Constitution stuff and replace it with Charter rights).
WHEREAS, cyclists have the right to ride the streets of our communities and this right is formally articulated in the California Vehicle Code; and

WHEREAS, cyclists are considered to be the “indicator species” of a healthy community; and

WHEREAS, cyclists are both environmental and traffic congestion solutions; and

WHEREAS, cyclists are, first and foremost, people - with all of the rights and privileges that come from being members of this great society; and

NOW, THEREFORE, WE THE CYCLING COMMUNITY, do hereby claim the following rights:

1) Cyclists have the right to travel safely and free of fear.

2) Cyclists have the right to equal access to our public streets and to sufficient and significant road space.

3) Cyclists have the right to the full support of educated law enforcement.

4) Cyclists have the right to the full support of our judicial system and the right to expect that those who endanger, injure or kill cyclists be dealt with to the full extent of the law.

5) Cyclists have the right to routine accommodations in all roadway projects and improvements.

6) Cyclists have the right to urban and roadway planning, development and design that enable and support safe cycling.

7) Cyclists have the right to traffic signals, signage and maintenance standards that enable and support safe cycling.

8) Cyclists have the right to be actively engaged as a constituent group in the organization and administration of our communities.

9) Cyclists have the right to full access for themselves and their bicycles on all mass transit with no limitations.

10) Cyclists have the right to end-of-trip amenities that include safe and secure opportunities to park their bicycles.

11) Cyclists have the right to be secure in their persons and property, and be free from unreasonable search and seizure, as guaranteed by the 4th Amendment.

12) Cyclists have the right to peaceably assemble in the public space, as guaranteed by the 1st Amendment.

And further, we claim and assert these rights by taking to the streets and riding our bicycles, all in an expression of our inalienable right to ride!

Monday, November 8, 2010

New Westminister Environmental Partners AGM - FREE Admission

On Tuesday night, November 9, 2010, the New Westminster Environmental Partners will hold a forum on The Future of Sustainable Transportation at their annual AGM. This event is free and open to the public. All details of this event are listed above in the poster.

I am on the speaker's list as you will see below. I have been asked to share information on the future of sustainable transportation in the south Fraser region. I am very much looking forward to this evening, as my fellow speakers are quality people.

The Speakers List Includes:

Jerry Dobrovolny
is the Director of Transportation for the City of Vancouver and a former New Westminster City Councillor. He will discuss how the Olympics and Separated Bike Lanes are helping to Make Vancouver the Greenest City in the World by 2020. The presentation will include newly released data showing the shift in travel modes that occurred during games time, and discuss how cities can excel in a paradigm of peak oil and GHG reduction.

Joe Zaccaria is a sustainable transportation advocate from South Fraser OnTrax. Joe will present some quick facts from our neighbours in the south-of-Fraser region, including options to decrease motordom and make our communities walkable again. What is driving transportation needs in the south of Fraser? What is being planned and what is being hoped for? What does these mean for the whole region?

Jonathan Cote is a New Westminster City Councillor. He will talk about how urban design and form affect sustainable transportation. He will also talk about road pricing and other issues in the local (New Westminster) and regional (Metro Vancouver) context.

You can check out the NWEP website here for more details and complete information on the group. Memberships will be available for $5.00 at the meeting if you wish to donate and vote at this AGM. Come out and support this worthy community group that is making a difference!

New Westminster Environmental Partners AGM
Tuesday, November 9, 2010 - 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Student Union Lounge at Douglas College
700 Royal Avenue, New Westminster (Main Campus Address)

Picture of the Day

The Muse on Fraser Highway in Langley City
In our continuing series called "What do you mean there is more than strip malls and single family housing in the South of Fraser?", I present the live/work building. The City of Langley has three of this type of building which allows both running a business and/or living in the same unit. This type of development has been very successful in the City and we are likely to see more of this flexible building style in the coming years.

Friday, November 5, 2010


The City of Langley is currently looking at introducing a tree protection bylaw that would see a fine of $1,000 to $10,000 for cutting down trees that have a diameter of 20cm or larger on private property. The bylaw came about as a result of a poll which showed that 91% of City of Langley residents want their municipality to take a leadership role in sustainability and environmental protection. Also, some of the feedback heard from the recent consultation on Smaller Lot Sizes south of the Nicomekl River found that people were very concerned about the removal of trees caused by the scorched earth policy of some developer when building new projects.

The Langley Environmental Partners Society (LEPS) representative that sits on the Park and Environment Advisory Committee was concerned at last night's meeting that invasive species are part of the protected tree bylaw. I hope this is resolved before final reading of this proposed bylaw in December.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Road Design

Last night at the SFU/City of Surrey Transportation Lecture Program, I had the chance to listen to Paul de Leur, PhD from ICBC talk about road safety and design. I asked him what the safest kind of intersection and most dangerous was, and also the safest kind of road and most dangerous was.

Roundabouts are by far the safest type of intersection because they reduce the amount of conflict points in an intersection. T-bone collisions are replaced with side swipe collisions which are significantly less lethal. Signalized intersections that meet at non-90 degree angles are the most dangerous as there are a large amount of conflict points.

As far as road design goes freeways reduce the amount of minor collisions, but increase the amount of collisions that end in someone being dead as compared to any other type of road.

In Surrey, according to Jaime Boan, 7% of the total transpiration capital budget over the next 10 years is dedicated exclusively to cycling and walking. Of the City's road building budget, 25% gets spent on sidewalks and bike lanes. That's a pretty big change when you think about the fact that Surrey didn't even build sidewalks until the 1990's!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Driving Metering is the Solution to Congestion

I was watching the news last night and heard a story about a person in Calgary who was proposing a system of ramp metering to help keep the traffic flowing on the major freeways in that city. One example of a ramp meter is on the Mary Hill Bypass at Highway 1. While ramp metering might help with traffic flow on the freeway, it also creates longer queues on the local roads that connect to the freeway. For example if a ramp meter was installed at the 152nd Street on-ramp, you would have 152nd Street backed-up to Fleetwood! 108th Avenue and 104th Avenue would have issues as well. Likely many "solutions" that look at reducing congestion, the whole system in not evaluated. The Highway 1/Port Mann Gateway expansion program will shrink queuing at on-ramps and provide smooth sailing on the highway for at least the first few years of service. We all know that the highway will fill up again, but one thing that isn’t being changed in the local roads that connect to the highway. 1st Avenue is already congested with a 4 lane Highway 1, imagine what it will be like with a 8 lane Highway 1; I predict off-ramp queuing onto the Highway. Another example is the new Pitt River Bridge. In the afternoon instead of queuing at the bridge, you now queue just past the bridge. It’s all about moving the bottleneck.

Of course if you really want to solve congestion, the government should install driveway metering. You punch you travel itinerary into your auto and the system tell you when you can leave your driveway to ensure all roads are at optimal efficiency. Now that’s a solution!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Metro Vancouver Walkability Index

A report came across my inbox titled "Neighbourhood Design, Travel, and Health in Metro Vancouver: Using a Walkability Index". The report looks at the importance of creating walkable communities as it relates to human health. environment, and affordability. I have uploaded the report to our document archive for you to read, but I wanted to highlight the map of walkability that was included in the report.

While the South of Fraser has some ways to go to improve walkability if you look at the dark red on the map, it almost lines up perfect with the ALR boundaries or mountain areas with no development. It would be helpful if those areas were a different colour, so the real areas we need to focus on aren't drowned in a sea of red. If you remove the ALR from the map, you will see that with the exception of Vancouver, New Westminster, and some parts of Burnaby, as a region we have a great opportunities to improve walkability.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Picture of the Day - Mixed Used

The City of Langley has many mixed-use buildings within its border. This building is home to a delicious Thai restaurant and a consulting firm. You'll notice that it even comes complete with a bus stop at the front door. It doesn't get more sustainable than that...

Near 203rd St. and Douglas Crescent