The Vancouver Special

Vancouver Special on Keefer St. (photo from sillygwailo on Flickr)

If I remember correctly, I spent about 2 years of my childhood in a Vancouver Special. Most of my years in Vancouver were actually spent living in post-WWII bungalows built in the 1950’s. The Vancouver Special didn’t come to exist until the 1970’s.

I do know quite a few people that grew up in Vancouver Specials and who actually live in one now (a few of them are actually homes in Burnaby). I guess they are the quintessential Vancouver home. It was almost cliche in the 1980’s when you’d drive around town and see tons of Vancouver Specials. The 1980’s version that I grew up with had red Spanish roof tiles. I later realized that Vancouver Specials were not just the Spanish roof homes, but they included a variety of other 1970’s homes that dotted the east side of Vancouver.

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Cost savings by not owning a car

The Globe and Mail featured an article talking about Mr. Money Mustache. I had never heard about him before, but apparently he is a Canadian-trained computer scientist who decided to do something different with his money – stash it away.

One of the key ways that he saves money is by driving as little as possible. The money he would have been spending on an extra car at home, he just socks away. Whenever he can, he rides his bike.

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Volvo Life Paint

I will admit upfront that I am more of a fairweather cyclist. If it’s raining, I hate riding my bike. Especially since I wear glasses most of the time, my vision is inevitably obscured by raindrops on my lenses if I ride in the rain. The other time I tend not to ride is in the dark. That’s why I seldom ride my bike in the winter in Vancouver. My cycling commute is usually from April to September. Why? It’s too dark when I leave work at 6pm to feel like I can safely navigate the alleys and streets of Vancouver by bike.

Enter Volvo Life Paint.

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Zurich’s Transportation

Those who follow my blog know that I’m a transit traveller. What does that mean? That means I ride transit in whatever destination I arrive. I must admit Zurich was not high on my list of transit travels. However, I am impressed by what I saw on this Streetfilms video.

I first saw the video on my WordPress Reader feed thanks to Stephen Rees. He asks the question: why should transit be grade-separated as subways or elevated rails?

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Vancouver Transportation Readings

Peace Arch border crossing traffic

As we are in the middle of the plebiscite, I’m sure the dedicated No voters have already vigorously mailed in their ballots. The same can be said of us Yes voters who are equally dedicated to the Yes side. However, I think there’s still plenty of you out there who may still be thoughtfully percolating over the issues. Here’s some more readings related to the referendum and issues surrounding transportation in Vancouver.

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Transit Funding Plebiscite FAQs


Here’s a good FAQ linked to by Stephen Rees on the current transit plebiscite. If you have not voted and seriously pondering the plebiscite, this FAQ looks like it is for you.

Originally posted on Stephen Rees's blog:

Maria Harris is the Director Metro Vancouver Electoral Area A and thus a Member of the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation. She wrote to me to tell of her creation of a list of Frequently Asked Questions – and of course – the answers. These are very thorough and objective. They are currently available as PDF File and will be available as a web page shortly.

She writes “I intend to update the FAQs if there are more questions that should be answered or if any of the answers need to be modified based on feedback I receive.” As you can probably tell, I have not yet sent any feedback but when I do it will be very brief. I am very impressed, and reading through her answers there was nothing that caused any surprise or instant urge to suggest a correction. Which is something of an unusual experience in general and especially in…

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