Well, one all candidates is done. Speaking last was the distinct advantage of getting to listen to everybody else, but you do get to stew in your own nervousness for over 20 minutes while everybody else talks. Jason Ross of ModernDemocracy.ca was there again with his video cameras, which was excellent, so those you following at home can see. I tried collect all the questions I could while they came up, and I think I managed to get most of them:
- Child care – How are you going to provide more spots?
- Secondary suites
- Traffic on the avenue – How are you going to deal with heavy traffic on the avenue and surrounding residential streets
- Young families – How do you attract more to Oak Bay
- Affordable housing – How to you provide more
- Town hall meetings – Why haven’t we had more?
- Oak bay lodge
- Smart meters, and health
- Deer issue – What is Oak Bay and the CRD doing about it?
- Community engagement young families – How do you engage young families in the community
- CRD accountability
- Sewage infrastructure
- P3′s water/sewage – Do you support keeping water and sewage infrastructure and operation public
- Composting -When is it coming to the rest of Oak Bay?
Thanks to everybody that came out. If you missed it, we have another opportunity next Tuesday, November 7th, 7-9pm, at Emmanuel Baptist Church. Thanks to the North Henderson Residents Association and the Community Association of Oak Bay for hosting these.
The latest round of debate about the Uplands Sewage Separation project will happen during tomorrow night’s council meeting (PDF). This is the last meeting that Council can decide to move forward with the low-pressure system to respond to the federal and provincial funding deadline of Jan. 29th. The directors of the Oak Bay Community Association have also released a statement asking council to consider the financial impacts on the entire municipality when making a decision. Expect a packed room, so arrive before the 7:30pm start time.
Also up for tomorrow night is the public hearing and last reading (PDF) of the proposed greenhouse gas reduction amendment to the Official Community Plan (PDF). It is not available online, but you can view it at the Oak Bay Municipal Hall tomorrow until 4:30pm. As of Friday there were only a few written submissions, but some people may speak to the issue at the meeting itself. I have previously expressed disgust at the lack of binding targets, but that is a debate for another day.
For those interested in active transportation (biking, walking and transit) Saturday’s forum was a great place to be. Hosted by the Community Association of Oak Bay, participants at the day long forum not only learned about new initiatives in the local area, such as the CRD Bike/Ped Plan, as well as what other cities have been doing. Michelle Kirby has a great write up at the Community Association’s website, plus there is the Times Colonist article, so I won’t repeat what they said.
For me the most exciting part of the day came last, with a short brain-storming and group discussion about various improvements to bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. Thanks to Sue for supplying us with a few larger maps for drawing and sketching. Lesley Ewing has compiled a list of them and I will be sharing some of the best over the next little while.
All in all, an excellent day. Watching the rugby players in the rain made an interesting backdrop to the whole event.
Montreal’s pioneer bike sharing program, the first in Canada, has just launched with 3,000 bikes spread across 300 stations. This is only a small part of a very ambitious plan of stations across Montreal. Just take a look at the map of stations to get an idea. Like it’s inspiration Velib,the first 30 minutes are free, the rest of the day is $5 and frequent users can get monthly or yearly rates. They both also share cute contractions for names, bike + taxi in the case of Montreal and velo + liberte for Paris. Lastly, Velib is also not “dying”, so ignore all the hysteria.
In other good yet tragic news, Daniel Marc Akerley has been sentenced to just over a year and half of jail time for his hit-and-run of Byron Harris in Port Alberni. Sadly he only got convicted of one count of criminal negligence causing bodily harm. Sorry, but this was attempted murder or at a very least, assault with a deadly weapon. Why, when they charged him with attempted murder, did they let him plead guilty to such a minor offence? And more importantly, will this guy ever be let back behind the wheel? I am not exactly holding my breath for that. But I have beat this drum in the past.
It is no secret that I like tag clouds. They provide a great way to see what people are saying by popularity. They have really taken off in the past few years. Even the CBC was gotten into the act, with a tag cloud of the platforms of the three major parties in the 2009 election.
Creating them is a bit of an art with funky algorithms and the like. There are quite a few tools out there, but Wordle seems to be the most common. I used it for my announcement of my candidacy in the 2008 municipal elections, for example. So I figured I would run the raindrops and rainbows from the Safer Cycling Oak Bay table at the fair on Sunday and see what I got:
Things people liked about biking in Oak Bay
Things people disliked about biking in Oak Bay
A few things pop out at me: There was a strong current of environment and community running through the likes. Nice to see that bikes not only help the environment, they help everybodies health and help build community as a nice side benefit. The dislikes centred around two themes: respect and lack of infrastructure. People wanted to see more respect between drivers and cyclists, especially with regard to both needing to follow rules of the road. Bike parking and lanes were much talked about, as well as the growing number of potholes in roads.
As I said yesterday, I am very pleased at the amount of feedback we got and that people took the time to think about what they wrote. I am truly looking forward to the next few months. If you wanted to give us feedback in person, the next time to do so will likely be at Bike to Work Week coming up from the 11th to the 17th. When details are worked out, I will post more.
At the Community Fair yesterday we put out two piece of bristol board, sticky notes and pens and then we asked people who came by to tell us about biking in Oak Bay, both what they loved and what they would like to see changed or disliked. We got some great feedback, as I have transcribed below:
- Healthier and environmentally better way to travel. Oak Bay is awesome for biking
- Riding along the waterfront (Dallas Rd.)
- Path along the water
- New bike lanes on Henderson
- love riding on Oak Bay’s quiet streets
- Part of Foul Bay Bike lane
- Slow traffic in Oak Bay
- Quiet bike lanes. Sidelanes and back alleys
- Bike lanes
- Roads that are generally quiet
- Bike lanes. Secure locking ???. beach dr & oak bay avenue
- Quiet streets for making long traverses across the community
- Fresh air and exercise
- New bike parking at municipal hall
- close to community, parking easy, fresh air, calories burned
Of course, life is not all roses. Sometimes there are thorns:
- Disrespect by cyclists and motorists for each other
- bicyclists who ride in the middle of the road instead of the cycle lane!
- cars parked on Beach Drive
- No road bike lane by Marina and Glenlyon
- Need more bike trails
- Roads where there is not enough room for bikes + car (McNeil Ave)
- Lack of bike trails and lanes
- Access to Galloping Goose from Oak Bay
- Cyclists who ignore the rules of the road
- Need bike lane on Foul Bay
- Oak Bay needs more bike lanes
- nervous of traffic
- Parking along Cedar Hill X Rd up to Uvic is very dangerous!
- Oak Bay needs more bike lane & bike racks
- traffic calming devices. potholes in street
- Not enough bike racks in the village!
- Cyclists who don’t follow the rules of the road. Cyclists who don’t have lights.
- Foul Bay & Oak Bay intersection
- not much bike parking on the avenue
- clear glass from bike lanes
- –> Please signal –> Wear helmets
Each line is a single note. Where possible I have tried to preserve the formatting/spelling/etc.
We also got a few comments about the pedestrian experience:
- For wheelchair: Good in the village, Foul Bay rather rough
- Safe, clean sidewalks that have been redone
- More attention to care of sidewalks on non-busy roads
- crosswalk at Brighton + Foul Bay to fit with the Brighton Ave Centennial path
Thanks again to Jill Croft and the whole OB Comm. Association for organizing the event, the OB Emergency Preparedness people for being so kind as to share their space and time and to Jane and David who came out and peopled the SCOB booth with me. Here’s looking forward to next years.
Despite the beautiful weather, today’s Community Fair and Emergency Services expo was well attended. The community fair had booths from Safer Cycling Oak Bay, the Oak Bay Green Committee, Oak Bay Volunteer Services, the Bowker Creek Initiative, Native Plant Society, Oak Bay Rotary, the Oak Bay Green Map and Oak Bay Kiwanis. Check out the photos below for a quick look at some of the booths, although ironically not the SCOB booth.
Oak Bay Green Committee table
Oak Bay Volunteer Services table
Oak Bay Lawn Bowling club table
Oak Bay Community Association Fair sign
Oak Bay Native Plant Garden table
Municipality of Oak Bay table
Oak Bay Green Map table
Oak Bay Block Watch table
Oak Bay Kiwanis table
Our Safer Cycling Oak Bay booth was a big draw. Nearly everybody that came by gave us some feedback. Our raindrops (dislikes) and rainbows (likes) posters got lots of sticky notes filled with people’s thoughts. I will be posting them in the next day or two once I get them transcribed.
Thanks to Jill Croft and the whole Community Association for organizing such as event. Jill was also kind enough to take the above photos, as I was stuck at the SCOB booth due to the number of people who came by.
Safer Cycling Oak Bay will be at the Oak Bay Community Fair today between 11:30am and 1:30pm. The fair, which is co-hosted with the emergency prepardness people, is in the Oak Bay Recreation Centre’s indoor soccer pitch. We will be there to talk about what we are working on, to meet more people from around Oak Bay and learn what they love and want to change about biking in Oak Bay.