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Joyce Station East Stationhouse

There’s been a flurry of transit related news this past week. Most of it about funding transit from the local Metro level and the BC provincial level. I haven’t had time to sift through the numbers, let alone blog!

joyce_stn_rendering

So let me work on something that’s a bit more tangible and easier for me to blog quickly about. My local SkyTrain station is under reconstruction. The whole east stationhouse is being rebuilt.

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Back after a “tendonitis” break

I’ve been in town, but not blogging. One, it had been really busy of late with work and life commitments. Second, and more importantly, I’ve had right hand/wrist/forearm tendonitis. I’ve been to my physiotherapist for a month or so just helping to get my arm back into working order.

I decided to try and not type as much outside of work in order to rest up my right arm and help it heal better. The physio says it should be okay now and I’ll follow up with him in a month.

So I hope to resume posting unless work and life commitments start to overwhelm me again.

Happy New Year – 2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog. According to the helper-monkeys, I had over 20,000 views. Really? It didn’t feel like that.

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 20,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 7 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Thanks to all of you who visited ever so briefly. Thank you very much to those of you who actually took the time to read through my posts. I hope you enjoyed them.

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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.

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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What a great transit day feels like

Canada Line train parked at Oakridge Station

Last Friday, I had a few errands to run. I had in my mind that I didn’t want to take the car. I was going to end up downtown and I knew it would be much easier to not have the car hindering me while going downtown. So I decided to take a combination of the bus and SkyTrain.

In the end, I had what I would call a great transit day. It’s amazing how much can get done by transit with a little planning. It also helps to have easy access to rapid transit and frequent bus service. You see. Transit can and does work in Vancouver. And that’s mostly thanks to TransLink.

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The Question of TransLink Waste – Daryl Dela Cruz’s Referendum Myths

In the upcoming 2015 Metro Vancouver Transportation and Transit Plebiscite, the question of waste at TransLink has loomed large. In fact, it’s the crux of No TransLink Tax campaign – a campaign running successfully on the visceral, instead of the logical. It’s a campaign that strikes a chord – no new taxes. It’s a simple and emotional statement. Why no new taxes? Well, because TransLink has squandered all of its existing money. Really?

Daryl Dela Cruz at Daryl’s Take and More has created a few blog posts addressing the matters of inefficiency and waste at TransLink. Continue reading

City Conversation: Behind the Transit Debate – Mar 19

Reblogged from Price Tags. It’s an upcoming debate on Myths vs. Reality in Transit

Price Tags

The next City Conversation this Thursday:

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Myths vs. Reality in the Transit Debate

“I’ve heard it so often, it must be true”

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Is Translink a bloated, inefficient and wasteful public agency providing terrible public transit? Provably no. But facts don’t matter, emotions do. What matters is that people believe it is true, and that they act on that belief. 

Are taxes too high? Compared to what— other cities or provinces? The benefits and services they buy? Doesn’t matter, as long as people believe taxes are too high. Government is too big, taxes are too high, the private sector is the most efficient.
Where did these ideas come from, and why do so many of us believe them? They’re part ideology, part economic theory that began 70 years ago. They’ve since been promoted by a collection of Canadian and American think tanks, adopted by successful politicians, and are influencing…

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Referendum: The Great Dupe

Thoughts from Gordon Price on what he’s dubbing The Great Dupe. More and more, I feel that Premier Christy Clark has set this referendum/plebiscite to fail – and fail miserably. Sigh.

Price Tags

My sense of the referendum at this point: It’s becoming increasingly clear, if it wasn’t obvious at the beginning, that this was a set-up:

  • To limit municipal and regional governments tax room and expenditure, as advocated by the Fraser Institute and others leading up to the provincial and civic elections, without the province having to wield the knife.
  • To avoid provincial commitments to transit, so they can be diverted instead to Motordom (hello, Massey) – effectively reversing the direction of the regional vision and plans.
  • To get the people of Metro Vancouver, transit-users included, to vote against their long-term self-interest, even as equivalent amounts of revenue are shifted to the top 2 percent of British Columbians.

To execute the strategy, it was necessary to vilify government – the job of astroturf groups with obscure funding but direct links to the anti-government network.  TransLink, without an identifiable leader and a board without electoral…

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CBC Video: “”Do our cities still work?”

Price Tags posted a YouTube video of “Do our cities still work?”. The original clip was aired on CBC’s The National . I think this is a great look at what we need to do for our cities in design. I think it’s also good to watch this video with the upcoming transit referendum in mind.

Price Tags

Here’s the National’s story: “Do our cities still work?”

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Interviews with Brent Toderian and Charles Montgomery, among others, with a lot of location shooting in Vancouver.  Makes one appreciate the contribution of this city and its urbanists.

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Merry Christmas with cups of good cheer

Christmas Day has come and I finally get a few days off. I will probably finish my Japan posts soon. It always seems to take half a year to finish blogging about a big trip. I hope you’ve all enjoyed reading about my travels and my occasional punditry on things that interest me.

For now, here’s a few cups of good cheer from a variety of coffee selling establishments that you may know.

Merry Christmas!!