Friday, April 30, 2010

Active Transportation

While Nathan is touring around Europe, you have the extreme pleasure of hearing my two cents. I do hear that Nathan will stop in Scotland and I just want to let him know that if he accesses the blog while eating sheep guts all is well here mate. Just don't let those Scots convince you that kilts are really not skirts!

Kelly Davis of The Health Express took time out to email me a link to her blog and some excellent TED video lectures on healthcare. As I learned from attending the Active Transportation session last week (and I do plan to blog more about that when I get the slides), public health leaders are taking time to provide more input into community planning, transportation and related matters. So, it is appropriate that we learn more about that health connection.

Click here for the 10 incredible TED lectures on health care list courtesy of The Health Express. While all these are well done, I particularly liked the "Take Health Care Off The Mainframe" lecture. Health care built around home-based solutions that are personal and networked, now how cool would that be?

I grew up in the States where our entire state had less than 1 million people. I'm not ancient, but just before my teen years I can recall visits from our family doctor on a Sunday at our home. If one of us was really sick on a weekend, he would come to us and provide a quick check-up while you lay in your own bed. After giving you orders and a prescription if required, my Mom would then feed him and his wife before they dashed off. There was never any charge for these home visits, and people certainly socialized during the whole exercise. Now that's networking!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

On Holiday

I am on holidays in Europe and will be back posting on Monday, May 10th. I'll be sure to take a picture of the streetcars that we want back from Brussels! See you.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Regional Policing

The Province newspaper had an interesting opinion piece by Supt. Cooke is the officer in charge of the Langley RCMP on regional policing:
The Lower Mainland is policed by a number of tremendous agencies that work well together as a matter of routine. It is unfair to suggest that questions over who is going to pay to police special events is in any way an indictment of the policing model we currently utilize.

Public Forum on ALR April 28

Received the following in my inbox:
A plethora of issues will be aired at an ALR Forum in Langley on Wednesday April 28. The Salmon River Enhancement Society and the Farmland Defence Society of BC have joined to sponsor the Forum to shed light on issues such as fill and the spate of recent development and exclusion applications for farmland in Langley .

Doug McFee, Director of both Societies says, "We have seen an unusual number of development applications for land in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) in the Salmon River Watershed over the last year." Some of these applications may create precedents that will weaken farmland preservation in all parts of BC." McFee continues. "Development arising out of these proposals also has the potential to worsen flooding in the Fort Langley floodplain and cause harm to the Hopington aquifer and the Salmon River."

The feature speaker for the evening will be Harold Steves of Richmond. "No one is more qualified to talk about the ALR than Harold Steves" says Mr. McFee.

Harold Steves is a third generation farmer. The Steves farm was one of the first in Richmond with Steveston being named after his family. Harold was instrumental in lobbying for ALR legislation in the 1960's and 1970's. He has continued to lobby relentlessly for farmland preservation as a councilor in Richmond and as Chair of Metro Vancouver's Agriculture Committee. Harold formed the Farmland Defense League which has had a renaissance in recent years as pressures on the ALR have increased. Harold is uniquely positioned to talk about threats to farmland in BC and the need to draw a firm containment boundary around Lower Mainland urban centres.

Sian Krannitz, known to Langley residents for leading the fight against the massive fill proposal for Glen Valley , will speak to that issue and the overall issue of fill in the ALR. Mr. McFee adds, "we are also fortunate that local farmers Dave Davis and Heather Pritchard have agreed to talk about the difficulties they face farming with land speculation and so many other issues in the way." Ms. Pritchard is also executive director of Farm Folk/City Folk Vancouver so she can speak on a number of ALR topics.

The Forum will start at 7 pm at DW Poppy Secondary, 23752 52nd Avenue. There will be plenty of time for questions from the floor.
Contact Doug McFee at 605-534-6727 for more information.

Township of Langley Grant

Good news, we have received a $2,500 community grant from the Township of Langley to help with our "Sustainability on the Edge" series. On next event will be focusing on active communities and the transportation system that support it. It should be a great event.

South Fraser OnTrax would like to thank Township Council for their support of sustainability in Langley.

Monday, April 26, 2010

National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy

You know the federal government is big when you can constantly discover new departments, agencies, and committees. Last night I discovered the National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy. This roundtable is made up of “sustainability leaders active in businesses, universities, environmental groups, labour, public policy, and Aboriginal communities across Canada.” The roundtable has been around since 1988 and was created by Brian Mulroney. Anyway in 2009, they released a report called “Achieving 2050: A Carbon Pricing Policy for Canada”.

Some highlights:
-An economy-wide carbon price signal is the most effective way to achieve the Government of Canada’s medium- and long-term emission reduction targets and reduce cumulative emissions released into the atmosphere.

-That price signal should take the form of an economy-wide cap-and-trade system that unifies carbon prices across all jurisdictions and emissions and prepares us for international linkages with our major trading partners.

-An effective carbon pricing policy needs to find a balance between certainty and adaptability— it should be certain enough to transmit a clear, long-term price signal to the economy upon commencement to encourage technology and change behaviour, yet adaptable to changing circumstances and future learning.

-There is a cost to delay in the form of higher carbon prices later to meet targets, and a cost to maintaining Canada’s current fragmented approach to carbon pricing policies in the form of reduced GDP and higher carbon prices over time.

-Canada’s economy will continue to grow under this policy—it is forecast to be twice as large in 2050 than today—but this will be smaller than if no carbon pricing policy were adopted.

-New federal/provincial/territorial governance mechanisms and processes should be put in place to achieve a harmonized Canadian carbon pricing policy.

-Technology development and deployment, along with the electrification of the energy system, is central to emission reductions and is stimulated through an economy-wide carbon price signal, as well as appropriate public investment in carbon capture and storage and renewable energy.

-Complementary regulatory and technology policies in the transportation, buildings, oil and gas, and agricultural sectors are also required to ensure broad-based emissions coverage at an overall lower price, reduce total emissions, and meet government targets.

Another BRT bites the dust

Well, it hasn’t even been built yet, and it looks like the City of Winnipeg is having second thoughts about their in-construction Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system. According the CBC, a City of Winnipeg committee “has recommended $100,000 be spent to explore the option of light rail transit in Winnipeg.”
Katz first raised the idea last week of looking at light rail transit because construction and operation of such a system is not as expensive as first believed, he said, adding one kilometre of rapid transit costs $38 million. Light rail costs $50 million for one kilometre.

A light rail system also has the potential to stimulate development of infill neighbourhoods along its corridor, Katz noted.
While OnTrax supports all kinds of transit options, study after study after study proves that light rail is the best mode to a.) get choice riders onto transit and b.) stimulate economic development.

Read more:

Friday, April 23, 2010

City of Langley Grant Awarded to OnTrax

We are very pleased to announce that South Fraser OnTrax has received a $1000 community grant from the City of Langley. We plan on using this funding for an event which we are calling “Saving Green: Sustainable Living, Sustainable Financing.” The event will focus on how we can live in a sustainable manner while still saving money. A keynote speaker will address the ways in which a sustainable lifestyle can save money, providing relevant examples. There will also be a panel QA period for those in the community to engage with sustainable living experts. We will keep you posted with the details as we move closer to this event.

South Fraser OnTrax would like to thank the City Council for support sustainability in Langley.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

City of Langley Sustainability Study - Questionnaire

One of our blog readers, Jeff, pointed out that the City of Langley's sustainability website has a questionnaire as part of the consultation process they a undertaking. Here is one of the questions:
8. Please indicate the priority you feel the City of Langley should give to the following reduction initiatives for transportation:

a.) Promote consumer purchase of the most fuel efficient vehicle to meet transportation needs.

b.)Continue to improve public transit infrastructure, such as public transit shelters.

c.)Construct transit priority measures, such as H.O.V. lanes and transit signals.

d.)Work with senior government to improve regional transit (e.g. light rail projects).

e.)Continue to invest in bicycle lanes, cyclist controlled signals and bicycle parking.
I know that option (d) and (e) will be at the top of my list. If you are a residents or owner of property in the City of Langley, please take this survey.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Built Environment Summit

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending a full-day summit that covered many of the issues related to the built environment and Active Transportation. This summit was organized by the British Columbia Recreation and Parks Association and they have an excellent website that can be accessed here. Participants included municipal planners, Chief Administrative Officers (CAO's) from several communities, some UBC planning students, TransLink & MoT staff, Health Authority personnel, private planning industry leaders and even a couple of politicians.

Active transportation includes such things as walking and cycling. These are health-promoting transit options that are now being recognized by public health officials, hence their participation yesterday. It also includes the removal of barriers for physically challenged people to increase their opportunities to access sidewalks, intersections, crosswalks and trails. Inclusion is very much a part of Active Transportation Planning.

Township Cllr. Grant Ward attended at my urging and we also sat with Cllr. John Herbert of the Municipality of Oak Bay. I am awaiting from materials from the event so that I can post some graphics that were presented. There was a host of issues discussed and they will lead to a series of blog posts here, so stay tuned.

Dan Burden spoke on Walkable Communities and served as our keynote speaker for this event. Burden has worked across the USA and Canada as an expert in Active Transportation. He is the Executive Director of Walkable and Livable Communities Institute, Inc. Time Magazine listed Dan Burden as one of the six most important Civic Innovators in the World. I can see why! I will focus this post on Dan's message...

Dan talked about how the car matters in our society. But, cars have not delivered everything we wanted. In the 1920's and 1930's we tore apart our cities and some efficient public transit systems to pave massive roads and make way for the auto industry. Burden has been doing lots of work in Detroit - car capital. He spoke about the City of Detroit and how devastated they are as a result of these efforts. They are now trying to get back on track.

Dan showed us a US Federal Housing Administration (FHA) document from that period that instructed planners to disconnect streets by create cul-de-sacs and through other means. A move that disconnected people, neighbourhoods and walkability. It is interesting to note that Dan quoted a modern survey on community volunteerism. Despite the largest concentration of retired folks, the State of Florida has the lowest volunteerism. Burden relates that to their car-focused built environment, which is slowly changing city by city.

Dan gave graphic example after example across North America where cities are returning to a "people focus". He said the purpose of cities is to "Maximize exchange", which should equate to minimizing time spent in transport. Seattle is seeing this change and Burden spoke about new planning guidelines there. No building of any more commercial developments without a residential component, and no residential development without a commercial component.

Lastly, Dan Burden sees the need for a "Finishing School" and that is what his organization is working towards. This is a school where our planners, engineers, transportation planners, architects, landscape architects, public health and other professionals bring the best together to serve as "Community Planners".

Dan Burden will be the guest speaker today, Wednesday, April 21, 2010 at 7:00pm - 9:00pm at the SFU City Program - SFU Harbour Centre, Vancouver. You can access information on the FREE session here and you must pre-register at the link on that website. Only 300 seats are available and checking last night there were 253 registered. Dan is well worth making the effort to hear.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Single-point interchange

One of the better designs for a freeway interchange with an arterial road is the single-point interchange (SPI). An SPI uses less land and is safer as it reduces conflict points. The following two pictures show the older style cloverleaf and the new SPI.

The Langley 200th Street interchange is the perfect example of a SPI and shows its efficiencies. 200th Street was widened from 2 lanes to 6 lanes and actually now uses less space. In fact where the old interchange was, they are now putting in major developments. This leads me to believe that there is lots of wasted land because of the inefficient cloverleaf and freeway design in our region. The following pictures prove this point.

200th Street in Langley

Inside the former 200th Street cloverleaf

Monday, April 19, 2010

TED Talks - Intersections

Reader Jamie sent us a link to a great presentation that is part of the TED Talks series. South Fraser OnTrax has been following traffic safety from day one, and one thing that makes intersections safer are roundabouts. In fact, a signalized intersection (traffic light) is the most dangerous type of intersection. The following the presentation talks about the safety improvement from installing roundabouts including how they can drop fatal crashes by 90%. Roundabouts also save fuel which is good for the environment. The presenter goes one step further and talks about changing the way three-way intersections works. I suggestion that you check out this 4 minutes clip.

Greater Langley Cycling Coalition - VACC New Meeting Location

The Great Langley Cycling Coalition has a new meeting venue starting on May 11th, 2010. Please update your information. Also, check out their Yahoo! Group and stay in the loop for all things cycling in Langley.

Murrey Creek Meeting Room
Township of Langley Civic Facility
4th Floor 20338 65 Avenue
Langley, BC

View Larger Map

Friday, April 16, 2010

Open House April 22nd - Community Energy and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Plan

I received the following in my inbox, and I'd thought I would pass it along.
The City of Langley and its consultant, Hyla Environmental Services Ltd., are hosting an Open House concerning a proposed Community Energy & Greenhouse Gas Emissions Plan from 3:00 pm to 8:00 pm on Thursday April 22nd in the City Hall foyer. The Community Energy & Greenhouse Gas Emissions Plan will identify a target for reduced greenhouse gas emissions to be incorporated in the Official Community Plan as required by Bill 27, the Local Government (Green Communities) Statutes Amendment Act.

The City of Langley welcomes the participation of all community agencies, businesses, and residents in this important project. A discussion paper and questionnaire will be available at the Open House and on the City’s website. For further information, please visit the City’s new Sustainability webpage (see link below) or contact me directly.
Sustainability Webpage:

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Meeting Last Night - Traffic Safety

We had a great meeting last night with RCMP Supt. Norm Gaumont who is the officer in charge of Lower Mainland Traffic Services. He presented on what his group is doing to reduce traffic related fatalities in the Lower Mainland and all of British Columbia. Gaumont started the presentation by asking us what we though the safest road is in the Lower Mainland. It turns out that Highway 1 is the safest because of the congestion on the route. While there are fender benders all the time, they are not fatal. He expressed concern that the new eight lane expansion will turn Highway One from the safest route to a possible death trap as they don't have the resources to enforce such a large road. He also pointed out the importance of installing medians in roads as they reduce fatalities in a big way. On the topic of speed, Gaumont said that photo-radar was one of the best tools to reduce speed related deaths and he would like to see photo-radar back in place. It is amazing how much data there is on traffic safety, and it is great to see how the RCMP use this data to help save lives. After looking at the data, they found that the most dangerous speeders also drink and drive and don’t wear a seat belts. By stepping up impaired driving and seat belt enforcement, they reduced speed related death. In fact more people die from not wearing seat belts then all the murder in BC each year! PS: smoking pot and driving is just as fatal as drinking and driving.

One of the new areas that Lower Mainland Traffic Services is looking at is pedestrian and cycling safety. On the pedestrian front, drivers turn right at intersections into people killing them. On the cycling front, driver go into bike lanes and kill cyclist. Gaumont believes that a massive education campaign targeting all road users will be the most effective way to reduce these fatalities. Gaumont also said that building bike lane on secondary streets and building separated bike lanes will improve safety. He talked about installing rumble strips just outside of bike lanes to notify driver that they are encroaching on it.

Finally, Gaumont said that we need to change the helmet law for motorcyclist as we basically don’t have a helmet law. We also need to step up enforcement of the bicycle helmet law. Unfortunately he doesn’t have the money needed to step up enforcement. Of the $60 million a year his division gives to local municipalities, he receives $0 back. He is hoping to change this. Please check out the presentation and audio below.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Surrey Rapid Transit Study Stakeholders Workshop

Last night I had the chance to attend the first stakeholders workshop which is part of the Surrey (/White Rock/Langley City) Rapid Transit Study. It was an interesting evening and it was great to see how everyone in the room seemed to be on the same page. We were placed into small groups to talk about the draft project objectives which will help shape the network technology and corridor choices that will be narrowed down by fall 2010 for the public consultation process.

The seven major objectives that people agreed on for rapid transit were: financial, transportation, environmental, urban development, economic development, social/community, and deliverability.

At the workstation, we talked about the need for real transportation solutions today and not some big shiny project 30 years down the road. We also talked about the need for a cost-effective project, but that cost-effective means good for the pocket-book, environment, and people in the community. The majority of people said that we should be using existing roads and rail infrastructure, and shouldn’t be trying to build new corridors. There was even discussion about using road pricing. It was really amazing to see the change in people's opinion in the South Fraser about public transit in the last 5 years. It seems that our sub-region is speaking with one voice and I hope that the provincial government is listening. While some people in the room were skeptical about this process and think that the government has already decided to build SkyTrain, I am hopeful and exciting to see how the major objectives we talked about last night will be turned into a rapid transit system. We talked about the need for a flexible system that includes everything from transit shuttles for business parks, conventional buses, rapid buses, and light rail.

All I’ll say is that we better not be getting over-priced SkyTrain as the final solution!

OnTrax Meeting Agenda

REGULAR MEETING – April 14, 2010
Speaker: RCMP Supt. Norm Gaumont
Officer In Charge – Lower Mainland Traffic Services

7:00pm – 9:00pm

Township of Langley Municipal Facility
4th Floor, Yorkson Creek Meeting Room
20338 – 65 Avenue, Langley

6:45pm – 7:00pm Self-Registration /Greeting
7:00pm – 7:10pm Quick Group introductions
7:10pm – 7:12pm Introduction of Supt. Gaumont
7:12pm – 8:00pm Supt. Norm Gaumont
8:00pm - 8:15pm Q & A
8:15pm – 8:25pm Break / Final Discussions with Supt. Gaumont
8:25pm – 8:45pm Call to Order - Reports
-Finance Report
-Update ToL Grants
-Update South Fraser Rail Task Force
-Update City of Langley Community Grant Application
-Possible Programs 2010
-State of Advertising / Promotion / Website & Blog/ Help Needed/ Fundraising
8:45pm – 8:55pm Other Business / New Business

Download a copy of the agenda for our document archive.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

OnTrax Meeting Tomorrow

Just a reminder that we have our next meeting tomorrow night with special guest speaker Supt. Norm Gaumont, the RCMP Officer in charge of the Lower Mainland Traffic Services (LMD). I thought I would share his bio with you.
Supt. Norm Gaumont has been with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for the past 24 years. He started working in Traffic Safety in 1999 as the Traffic Services Commander in the southern interior of British Columbia, known as West Kootenay. He helped developed the new Traffic Services Management Information Tool (TSMIT) which is presently being implemented across RCMP jurisdiction to help manage municipal and provincial traffic units.

In December 2002 Supt. Gaumont was promoted to the Officer in Charge of Traffic Services for the Province of British Columbia. As the Officer in Charge, he facilitates the overall direction and policies associated with both Municipal and Provincial traffic programs across British Columbia which encompasses approximately 600 traffic officers. In the past seven years through his leadership British Columbia has seen fatalities decrease by 25%. In 2006 Inspector Norm GAUMONT on behalf of “E” Division Traffic Services won the International Association of Chief of Police Road Safety Award in the International category for Road Safety. In 2007 British Columbia Traffic Services won the Canadian Counsel of Motor Transport Association road safety partnership award. Supt. Gaumont also worked with the Asian Development Bank in China to improve the Chinese Road Safety programs over a 3 year period. This was done in conjunction with road safety leaders from England, Germany and Australia. In January 2010 Supt. Norm GAUMONT was transferred as the OIC for the Lower Mainland Traffic Services program.
See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 14th from 7pm to 9pm
4th Floor - Yorkson Creek Meeting Room
Township of Langley Civic Facility
20338 65 Avenue

Monday, April 12, 2010

How not to build TOD

I received two links from co-founder of OnTax, Joe Zaccaria, this weekend. This first link is to a site called the Sustainable Cities Institute. It is funded by the Home Depot Foundation and is a clearing house for information on sustainable city building. It is worth checking out.

The second link is a blog post about how not to building Transit Oriented Development (TOD). As you know, TOD is about accommodating the transportation hierarchy. Pedestrians being the most important, followed by cycling, transit, and finally automobiles. The author of the post points out what can go wrong when intra-government communication breaks down. In this TOD project one level of government actually installed signs alerting the public to bike parking while another level of government forgot to install the bike racks! It gets even worse:
Tuesday arrives and I lock my bike up to a light pole on the public plaza. I'm joined by Ron Durgin of Sustainable Streets and Enci of illuminateLA, both of whom take a one hour survey of the W Hollywood Hotel &; Residences with me. When we return to the small empty room off to the side of the elevator, we find Lieutenant George Grein, Retired, of the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department. He has just interrupted a drug deal in the future home of the Metro's safe, secure, and effective Hollywood & Vine bike parking. We are later joined by Sergeant Cliff Yates of the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department who is the supervisor for this area of the Metro. Both Grein and Yates concur that isolation and seclusion are bad ideas for bike parking and that the evidence of human waste, transient accommodations, and drug activity would support my contention that the bike parking should be located elsewhere.
Joe commented:
I recently visited LA and after looking at the W from a nearby cafe I checked it out. I am a CPTED professional and I immediately saw these deadzones that you speak about in your article. I also wondered about the public realm planning as I walked around. I've been involved in hundreds of large-scale design projects all over the worlds and I would say this project should be documented in a book entitled, "How Not to Build TOD".

How could your Metro get it so wrong? Perhaps like most transit authorities, you have a senior executive and management staff that don't use transit, bikes, etc? After all, it’s tough to design proper TOD when you are constantly tooling down the freeway in your BMW!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Off the Cuff

I've been featured in today's edition of the Langley Times, I suggest that you check it out:
*Who is Nathan Pachal?

He’s a 26-year-old Langley resident and transit advocate whose full-time job is working for CityTV and Omni TV. In his off hours he works to bring light rail to Langley. He sits on Langley City’s parks and environment advisory committee and South Fraser OnTrax.

Auto trips down, transit up

As we wait for two of the largest highway projects to complete in Metro Vancouver’s history, new data from TransLink says that we are traveling less, but smarter. The amount of trips people made per day rose until 2004 at 3.24 trips per person. In 2008, it dropped to 2.65 which is lower than 1994. This is all while our population has been rising.

Transit usage has increased from 9.7% in 1994 to 12.5% in 2008, with the largest improvement between 2004 and 2008. We have seen major enhancements in transit service over the last few years, but I would suggest that the cost of fuel has played a large role in people’s shift to transit. I've been saying this for years, but pricing cues are the best way to get people to shift away from single-occupancy vehicle usage.

This study supports earlier studies that say the vast majority of trips stay within their respective sub-regions. People in the South Fraser, travel in the South Fraser. The government really needs to step up and fund transit in a major way for the South Fraser, there is no excuse.

One area that needs major improvement is the cycling and walking mode share which has stayed flat over the last year 15 years. While many municipalities have been building cycling infrastructure, we still have a long way to go before the “mother with child” type feels safe taking their bike out: even more so in the South Fraser.

I’ve contact TransLink for the 2008 TransLink Trip Diary Survey and will post more information once I get a chance to read it.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

No such thing as free parking

One of the hot button issues in Langley is parking. People seem to think that we don’t have enough and that we should be giving people all day on-street parking. This is completely wrong. On-street parking should be around 30min to an hour depending on traffic volume, and should be metered. Now for some history:
The world's first installed parking meter was in Oklahoma City, on July 16, 1935. Mr. Magee had been appointed to the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce traffic committee, and was assigned the task of solving the parking problems in downtown Oklahoma City. Apparently, folks who worked in the area were parking on downtown streets, staying all day, and leaving few spaces for shoppers and others who visited the central business district.

Magee's solution was to install parking meters, charge for the use of the parking spaces, and turn over those spaces that would otherwise have been filled by all day parkers. In addition, the parking meters would generate revenue for a growing city.

It must have worked, as the idea of metered parking eventually caught on worldwide. From that early beginning, the use of parking meters by municipalities, colleges and universities, and private parking facilities has increased to the point that today, in the United States alone, there are an estimated five million parking meters in use.
Doesn’t this sound like Langley? On-street parking should be for customer, not employees. In fact, we have too much parking in general:
There's just one problem: parking isn't free. In fact, according to Shoup, "the cost of all parking spaces in the U.S. exceeds the value of all cars and may even exceed the value of all roads." Parking costs billions of dollars a year.

Shoup is an economist, and it shows in the perspective he brings to bear. "[E]conomists do not define the demand for food as the peak quantity of food consumed at free buffets." Nevertheless, planners define the demand for parking as the peak quantity of spaces used when parking is free.

Developers simply pass the cost of "free" parking to property owners, who pass it to tenants, who pass it to all customers in the form of higher prices. "Off-street parking requirements encourage everyone to drive wherever they go because they know they can usually park free when they get there."
In the small town of Vernon, we had parking meters since the dawn of time. Even before places like Kelowna. Vernon’s downtown was also more dynamic than Kelowna’s. Besides metering on-street parking, Vernon did something that we should be doing in Langley. They built a mixed-use paid parkade (shops on the bottom, parking on the top) for longer-term parking. Paid parking is good for business as it promotes turn-over of parking and lowers the cost of doing business. Paid parking is good for the environment as it promotes more efficient trip planning, transit usages, and requires less land.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Next OnTrax Meeting

Come learn about the RCMP’s road safety program with Supt. Norm Gaumont, the RCMP Officer in charge of the Lower Mainland Traffic Services (LMD). Superintendent Gaumont will present on the RCMP Road Safety Strategy for the Province of British Columbia and the LMD. There will be opportunity for one-on-one discussion about traffic safety for all mode of transportation. Be sure to mark your calendar!

Wednesday, April 14th from 7pm to 9pm
4th Floor - Yorkson Creek Meeting Room
Township of Langley Civic Facility
20338 65 Avenue

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Transit Usage

Statistics Canada is a treasure trove of information when it comes to information about public transit in Canada. I found a report from 2000 called, “Factors Affecting Urban Transit Ridership”. The report looked at transit ridership in the 1990’s. Between 1990 and 1997 transit ridership dropped in Canada.

The report looked at some of the reason why including: family size, monthly cost of transit passes, employment opportunities, taxes, fuel costs, parking fees, automobile insurance costs, vehicle operating costs, demographics, ridership loyalty, parking rates, convenience, a change in work schedules, telecommuting, distance to work, and community size. The report also looked at how road pricing can encourage transit use. During the early 1990’s, transit saw service cuts and increased fares in most urban areas. The report concluded that:
In the 1990s, most Canadian urban transit operators implemented both service and fare changes. Generally, service hours have decreased whereas fares have increased. The general impact has been a decrease in ridership coupled with an increase in revenues. Results vary on a city by city basis.
In 1998 until today, transit ridership has been steadily increasing. In that same time period, we saw major investment in transit infrastructure and service. According to the most recent data from Statistic Canada “ridership levels rose to 123.0 million passenger trips in January, a 7.9% increase from the same month a year earlier.”

If the provincial government still believe in its Provincial Transit Plan increasing fares while not improving service is a bad way to increase ridership. When you look at all the studies and real-world examples, the writing is on the wall: we must look at road pricing and parking pricing in some form throughout the region.

Monday, April 5, 2010


The City of Langley currently has a cardboard recycling centre for its residents. This centre will be closing later this month. Many businesses, many not from Langley, were using the centre to dump their cardboard instead of paying for recycling service. The City’s contact was for pickup once a week and currently they are doing pickups every day. This is a big expense. Given the fact that in Langley City all residents have curb-side recycling, this is not a big deal. Businesses that were taking advantage of this free lunch will now have to purchase recycling service. In Langley City, businesses will have the opportunity to purchase recycling services from Emterra Environmental.

Emterra will be offering single-stream recycling for businesses in Langley City. This is a first in Metro Vancouver and should make it easy for businesses to recycle more than the standard cardboard boxes. Giving the fact that the following laundry list of items are banned from the garbage, this is a very good thing.
  • Corrugated cardboard
  • Newsprint
  • Office paper
  • Gypsum drywall
  • Yard & garden waste
  • Beverage containers (except milk)
  • Blue box recyclables
  • Lead-acid (car) batteries
  • Medications/pharmaceuticals
  • Paint, solvents, flammable liquids, gasoline & pesticides
  • Vehicle tires
  • Oil, oil filters and empty containers
  • Electronic waste including personal computers, printers & TVs
Also in exciting new, Metro Vancouver is thinking of setting up something called EcoCentres throughout the region; one for every 100,000 people. These centres would accept items that cannot be put in the standard curb-side recycling and can’t be thrown in the garbage. Right now it can be confusing to figure out where you have to drop of banned items. This one-stop shop will be a welcome change to the multiply locations that one must travel to today when dropping off banned items.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Fare Gate for Buses

Minister of Transportation Shirley Bond, after returning from a visit to Brazil with staff from the ministry, has decided to install fare gates on all TransLink buses. As you know, TransLink no longer requires bus drives to perform fare checking after declaring all buses “fare paid zones” last year. Based on a survey, TransLink pegs fare evasion at around 3% on the bus network. Minister Bond doesn't buy that. According to local media:
"It [3 per cent] is almost a ridiculously low figure," she said, based on a tour of the gated bus system in Novo Hamburgo, Brazil.

"When I provided that [3 per cent] figure to the head of Trensurb, he laughed out loud," she said.

"Young people come up to me all the time and tell me they never pay," he said.

"It [evasion] is probably closer to eight to 10 per cent" in B.C., said Bond, which would put losses as high as $70 million a year.”
The article goes on to state that Bond really enjoyed having a dedicated fare checker on each bus and can’t wait to see this in Metro Vancouver. When asked how TransLink was going to pay for the estimated $200 million in fare gates plus new fare checkers, Bond said:
“With the upcoming changes we plan to introduce to TransLink’s governance, our government believes that TransLink will have adequate funding for this project.”
More property tax?