March 16, 2015

8 reasons why I’m voting YES in the transit referendum

Car Free Day 2009

I get around everywhere by bike, public transit and on foot. So when my mayor presented the Mayors’ Council plan during a HUB committee meeting, I was super excited. More SeaBus? B-Lines in my neighbourhood? Bike lanes? YES!

All this and more needs to be funded somehow. There’s a lot of fact-slinging, grumbling and even partying happening, so I thought I’d offer my own personal reasons for supporting the plan. And some info along with it.

Here’s why I’m voting YES:

1. Safe cycling paths are the best!

More safe cycling paths means cyclists like myself — and those usually less comfortable riding in the city — can get to their destinations more easily. 2700 more kilometres of bike paths will encourage more people to take up cycling as a convenient, fast, safe and fun way to get around. Check out my 6+ reasons why bikes are good for Vancouver.

Erika lifting bike

I’m this excited. (Photo by Pia Massie)

2. 50% more SeaBus service, woo!

10-minute SeaBus service at peak times at 15-minute service otherwise will literally change my life. It’s so stressful to miss — or almost miss — one, especially when buses in my neighbourhood often fail to make this critical connection at rush hour. More frequent SeaBus means more freedom in our schedules. I’d hardly need to look at the time. Leave when you want, and you won’t have to wait long. I think this will be a huge draw for people who currently deal with backed-up bridge traffic. Speaking of which…

Continue reading 8 reasons why I’m voting YES in the transit referendum »

March 7, 2011

Vancouver’s buses get a little arty

Art in Transit panelsPhoto from The Buzzer blog

Oh my goodness! I’m nearly at my $300 fundraising goal as I write this. Please donate now to support the David Suzuki Foundation. Here’s why I’m fundraising with a daily post!

I was excited when I noticed a dramatic, beautiful piece of art hanging over my head on the bus the other morning. It was Emily Carr University student Alison Woodward’s work (see the eighth image here), one of 31 images by 18 artists studying at the school. It’s TransLink’s new pilot initiative, which is “building on the success of the Poetry in Transit program, which seeks to bring visual art into the transit environment through on-vehicle advertising panels featuring emerging artists.” I quite enjoy the Poetry on Transit panels when I find one I like, and so far, in Art on Transit, I love what I’m seeing.

Continue reading Vancouver’s buses get a little arty »

January 19, 2009

Changing the course of the city and country: green jobs and transit now!

Anti-Gateway demonstration

Last Monday’s anti-Gateway demonstration in Surrey; I’m in there somewhere! Photo from

Stephen Rees’s blog has been bursting with exciting news lately, nearly every single post. When I say exciting, I don’t necessarily mean good, but the headlines do indicate multiple turning points in a potentially positive direction in what has so far been a steadfast plot on the part of our provincial and even federal government to proceed with Gateway.* At a time when gas prices have begun to increase once more, international shipping is declining, and peak oil is on the horizon, our provincial and federal governments are teaming up to build more roads and expand the port on the premise that it will create jobs. While I agree that creating jobs in British Columbia is of utmost importance, the economic benefits of redirecting funding toward building transit would more than double the number of jobs — and they would be local. That keeps BC money in BC. In fact, a study by the Canadian Urban Transit Association found that three times as many jobs are created in public transit as highways. Public transit encourages smart growth, reduces congestion and pollution (thereby making a grand step toward the Province’s 33% reduction in GHG goal), and has minimal environmental impacts.

Want to help steer the government away from highway jobs and construction to green jobs and transit, all across Canada? Here are some petitions and events happening right now:


Halt the Gateway Project

Rail for the Valley: bring back passenger rail now


A Green Economy Makes Cents:

“On January 27, our federal government will introduce a new budget and invest billions of your tax dollars on stimulating the Canadian economy. Let’s make sure that as much of the stimulus package as possible is green.” Send a message to Finance Minister Jim Flaherty asking the government to invest in green jobs and green infrastructure. (David Suzuki Foundation)

A Green Economy Makes Cents

Read my letter. (Americans can use the Wilderness Society’s page to send a letter to Congress on the same issue.)

Continue reading Changing the course of the city and country: green jobs and transit now! »

November 3, 2008

Plan released for rail transit across Surrey

Transit for Tomorrow planSURREY – Surrey City Council candidate Paul Hillsdon announced today the centrepiece of his campaign — the Transit for Tomorrow plan. The plan, designed specifically to meet the growing transport demands of the South Fraser area (Surrey, Langley, Delta, and White Rock), would vastly expand the rapid transit system, with no need for local property tax increases or fare hikes.

“The Transit for Tomorrow plan begins to fix our woefully inadequate transit with fiscal prudence during these times of economic hardship. Construction of the lines will boost the local economy and create jobs, while addressing our transport, health and environment issues all at the same time,” said Hillsdon.

Continue reading Plan released for rail transit across Surrey »

June 16, 2008

Car-Free Vancouver Day

Car-Free Vancouver Day on Main Street

Photo by Rob_ on Flickr

Yesterday I joined my sister and my little nieces to one of several Car-Free Vancouver festivals. It was almost surreal to see a chunk of Main St. filled with people, “dancing in the stree-eet,” with absolutely no cars. The warm air was filled with various music, voices, children’s laughter, and sometimes the crashing and bumping noises of skateboarders on the half-pipe. We enjoyed a live performance from a guitarist/singer + DJ/violinist duo that would probably be called lounge jazz pop? The kids had some fun dancing to it. While the next band set up some dancers moved to, I think it was flamenco music, with various dance props (ribbons, etc.) The girls had their faces painted — a butterfly and a lovebug (ladybug on one cheek, heart on the other) — and posed for some adorable photos!

Continue reading Car-Free Vancouver Day »

April 28, 2008

Event recap: VALTAC forum on Rail for the Valley

On Saturday I attended a forum put on by VALTAC (Valley Transportation Advisory Committee), hosted at the Langley Township Hall. (Nice building!) It was a statement toward our poor transit network South of the Fraser that all five speakers drove to the venue. Stephen Rees joked that the TransLink trip planner wouldn’t even give him a trip itinerary because it would take either more than 3 hours or more than 3 transfers. My proximity to the Hall made it easy enough to get there, if you consider a bus late by 7 minutes then a 20-minute walk easy. And Langley isn’t exactly known for being pedestrian-friendly.

The forum was about getting better public transportation South of the Fraser, mainly via rail connections. There is much support for one solution, spearheaded by a group called Rail for the Valley, which would reinstate the Interurban that ran from about 1900 to 1950 all the way from Vancouver to Chilliwack. Maps at the venue showed the dense urban centres through which this rail line passes. (Today it is used only for freight.)

Continue reading Event recap: VALTAC forum on Rail for the Valley »

April 13, 2008

How the oil crisis will change the face of Fraser Highway

Increasingly, the news in the blogs I read has focused on climate change, biofuels and alternative energy for fueling transportation… and with good reason. We’re faced with a crisis, and we all know that. Many of the solutions already exist, in the past before depedence on oil became the norm for most transportation, and gave us solid plastic, plastic bags, chemical fertilizers, fat-free ice cream (propylene glycol, anyone?), and the American Dream: a big house on a big lot in suburbia. Well, Canadians have made that dream as much of a reality as our neighbours to the south, and in greater Vancouver, the hidden evil of it is present in perhaps no stronger a form than in the suburbs of Surrey and Langley.

Continue reading How the oil crisis will change the face of Fraser Highway »