Two interesting quotes from this excellent article about urban suburbanites in Metro Vancouver from the Globe and Mail.
The first pisses me off:
They want to know, if the Evergreen line comes here, what will I do about the problems that come with it, like crime. They are asking about homelessness and social housing,” says Conservative MP James Moore, first elected in Port Moody-Westwood-Coquitlam in 2000
Public transportation brings crime (and is crime-filled) in one of the biggest media-created piles of crap in recent memory. Observe recent efforts such as the “bus” streaker or the victims that happen to be shot while on/near/by the Sky Train. Of course a Conservative MP would spout the line again, but I really doubt the urban suburbanites described in the story actually describe this as their biggest concern with the Evergreen Line; most probably just want to know when it is going to get built.
More revealing is this quote from the pollster near the end:
“What I run into is people who are exhausted. They don’t get enough down time or sleep time. They’re driven to the suburbs in the first place because they think it’s more affordable and they don’t realize the time and driving it’s going to cost them,” says Mr. Lyle. “They have no time to watch The National or read a newspaper. So when they do hear about an issue, they’re angry. They become populists.”
This isn’t exactly news, but it is interesting to see it stated in this way. After all, all those urban hipsters with their smart phones riding the bus/rail are can read the news a lot better than some poor shmuck driving hours to and from work each day.
Anyway, read the whole story. From my perspective the change bodes well for our future. Less big-C conservatives and more NDP/Liberal/Green voters only means a better Canada.
Just a reminder that the Town Hall meeting is scheduled for this Tuesday, April 12 at 7pm in the Garry Oak Room of the Monterey Recreation Centre.
BC Transit has posted the followup to their open house at UVic regarding future transit options for the university. Their findings were interesting:
- A bus loop close to the Student Union Building (SUB) and bookstore (and planned Village Centre) is preferred, “as students consider the SUB the centre of the campus”.
- There was support to keep major bus routes off Ring Road because of delays experienced at pedestrian crosswalks – instead, shuttle service should be operated around the campus
- Preferred bus routes to and from UVic and on campus: route options 1 and 7 received the most support; option 5 is the least desirable (check out page 5 and 6 of the presentation boards to see the route options.)
- Longer walking distances on campus would be acceptable if they are offset by faster transit service, more express buses and a campus shuttle
- Reliability of service and pass-ups off campus are more of an issue than the frequency of service or walking distances on campus
- There is a strong support for staggering class start times as a way to alleviate pass-ups and other service issues
- Personal security is a concern at the bus loop at night, and for people walking across campus at night to the bus loop or a bus stop
This list does include some fascinating contradictions and unanswered questions:
- People don’t mind walk across campus but are also worried about personal security while doing so. Huh?
- What exchange options did people prefer?
- Do people realize what a walk across campus would actually mean in terms of time?
- Where are people actually clustered during the day? UVic has class times and enrollment for the entire campus. I would love to see a map of that.
- What is this “Village Centre” that they mention? Does it have to do with the discussions about putting in a traffic circle at the corner of Finnerty and Sinclair?
- Is UVic even willing to discuss changing class times? This has some pretty serious knock-on effects on instructor and classroom scheduling.
Bike lane with bioswale on Shelbourne
Courtesy of Sightline Daily, which is from the similarly-named Sightline Institute out of Seattle, everything you need to know about stormwater:
An overflow of 15 million gallons of sewage and stormwater fouls the shoreline of picturesque Port Angeles, putting the waterfront off limits to the residents and visitors of the Olympic Peninsula town due to health concerns.
Portlanders are socked with some of the nation’s highest water utility rates in order to pay for the city’s $1.4 billion “Big Pipe” projects.
Northwest scientists document coho salmon dying in urban streams with their bellies full of eggs, perishing before they can spawn.
The culprit in each of these stories is the most mundane of villains: the rain. As rainwater streams off roofs and over roadways and landscaped yards, it mixes a massive toxic cocktail. It scoops up oil, grease, antifreeze, and heavy metals from cars; pesticides that poison aquatic insects and fish; fertilizers that stoke algal blooms; and bacteria from pet and farm-animal waste. A heavy rainfall delivers this potent shot of pollutants straight into streams, lakes, and bays—threatening everything from tiny herring to the region’s beloved orcas to our families’ health.
Given we are still stalled on the Uplands sewage separation, let alone any sort of treatment of our stormwater, I think fixing this problem is a long time coming. That being said, the CRD has been pretty successful with their source control projects and have some good information about bioswales, both designed to prevent all those pollutants mentioned above from getting into the storm drains in the first place.
Cities in Canada get a rough ride. They get less than their other OECD-brethren and are expected to do more. Toronto even pays for welfare cases, courtesy of Mike Harris and his “Common Sense” revolution. Given we have an election campaign running, the Council for Canadian Urbanism (Conseil d’ Urbanisme Canadien en francais) released their 10 point “call-to-action” today:
1) A progressive and influential National Urban Policy, that recognizes the critical role of the success of cities in Canada’s future.
2) A National Housing Policy that addresses the acute and growing need for affordable housing.
3) A National Transportation Policy that particularly addresses the need to expand active, cost-effective and sustainable forms of transportation, such as transit, rail, walking, and biking.
4) Effective Federal programs that will make us a world leader in combating climate change. There is a need to align the above three national policies in achieving this goal.
5) A national dialogue involving the Federal Government, Provinces and Cities on the development of new sustainable, long-term funding and legislative tools for urban resiliency.
6) Future Federal funding and stimulus programs focused on spending that supports urban resiliency and “smart growth” (i.e. complete and compact communities, expanded transit and rail, renewing aging urban infrastructure, enhancing cultural and civic amenities, etc), rather than on “shovel-ready projects”. A corresponding de-prioritization of, or halt to, stimulus funding that promotes auto-dependency and urban sprawl.
7) Tax reforms that support full-cost accounting of housing choices (which would reveal the well-researched and well-understood economic advantages of compact, walkable communities and sustainable transportation modes that require less infrastructure and lower public expense).
8 ) Federal tax incentives to promote the construction of purpose-built rental housing.
9) Reinstatement of the long-form census to enable reliable planning to better understand, and meet, future needs.
10) Electoral district reform that addresses democratic and fair representation of the population in urban areas, and recognizes the increasing urbanization of Canada.
(h/t to Price Tags)
Much delayed, but here are some pictures of Oak Bay from our snow storm last month:
Oak Bay Municipal Hall in the snow
Tis the season for new plans at BC Transit and UVic isn’t being left out. With the Victoria Regional Rapid Transit and 25-year Transit Future plans well in the works, some of the smaller parts of the system are getting attention, such as James Bay earlier this year.
BC Transit has more than a few challenges up at UVic, space being one of them. The reason why the 15X doesn’t stop in the exchange is lack of space and although the planners in 1994 did a good job with the then-new transit exchange, the truth is that they couldn’t anticipate something like the U-Pass driving ridership through the roof.
Although the need for space started the process and it isn’t clear from the boards (PDF), BC Transit is planning on more than just a potential new exchange or exchanges at some point down the road. In the near future they are looking not only to re-jig where buses stop, possibly taking over more space in the old exchange or in front of the old counselling building, but also a fundamental re-routing of buses.
Spurred by the recent budget crisis, there is also talk of a fundamental re-think of bus routes could affect nearly every rider today, changing major routes such as the 11, 6, or the new 10. This would be the first major change of routes within my lifetime if it does come to pass.
BC Transit is early in this process with UVic, so they are still looking for comments, wehich can be emailed to email@example.com, taking the online survey, or one of likely several upcoming open houses in June and September of this year. More information can be found at the Get Involved page.
The date for the town hall meeting I mentioned the other day has been set: April 12th at 7pm. It will be held in the Garry Oak Bay Room of the Monterey Recreation Centre. As the notice states (PDF), the agenda will be left open, although my suspicion is that it is going to be dominated by secondary suites and development issues.
If you are an election geek like me — I have voted in every election I have been eligible for, save possibly one early municipal election — ThreeHundredEight is exactly what you need for this federal election. Describing itself as “inspired by the fantastic FiveThirtyEight (a US polling blog run by Nate Silver, now under the wing of the august New York Times), ThreeHundredEight “provides projections for Canadian federal and provincial elections in a non-partisan manner, and focuses primarily on the topic of political opinion polls.”
Run by Éric Grenier, the name comes from the number of seats in the House of Commons, following the convention of its namesake, which refers to the number of seats in the US House of Representatives. Despite the name, the site actually covers provincial politics as well, as this recent post on BC Liberals vs BC NDP shows. With seven elections this year guaranteed (Federal, PEI, NWT, Manitoba, Ontario, Newfoundland & Labradour, Saskatchewan and Yukon) and a possible BC election, Éric looks to be busy.