Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

“TransLink expands Metro Vancouver bus service by 105,000 service hours”

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artic-unloads-at-bridgeport

The headline comes from a Vancouver Sun article. There is not much in the way of context – other than two previous announcements of smaller increases earlier this year and a reference to the Mayor’s plan for expansion.

So I went to the Translink web site and dug out the 2016 Transit Service Performance Review which informed me that last year Translink delivered 3,897,000 bus service hours, which was a 1% increase on 2015 – which is also the compound annual growth rate for the last five years.

Which means that was has been announced is a 0.02% increase in bus service, if we assume that all these quoted figures are annualised.  And, of course in 2017, it is less than that since these new service hours will only be delivered in the last quarter of the year.

So good, that we are getting more bus service in this region. But the rate of population growth is “6.5 per cent since the last census in 2011” (also a Vancouver Sun report, but of census data). So we are only just keeping pace with the increase in the number of people, let alone making a bigger impact on transportation trip making (“mode share” in planning jargon).

So one cheer for Translink and raspberries to Postmedia for simply printing a press release without any analysis.

We must commit to a much faster increase in transit use – which means more service hours for buses, more transit services of all kinds and much more priority for buses operating in traffic – which is most of them, most of the time. Just to give you some idea of what the plan needs to look like, take a gander at this new expansion map for Sound Transit.

Written by Stephen Rees

August 22, 2017 at 1:38 pm

Posted in transit, Transportation

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BC Natural Gas Revenues

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Screen Shot 2017-08-22 at 10.52.29 AM

The graph comes from a tweet by Eric Neilson.

When you listen to Carole James present her interim budget in the fall this picture is what you need to bear in mind.

Written by Stephen Rees

August 22, 2017 at 10:59 am

Merv Adey and Blogging

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There is a tribute to blogger Merv Adey on the Georgia Straight web page. Merv blogged at BCVeritas and was very active on twitter where he contributed a lot to the hashtag #bcpoli. He also followed me there, which I found a great compliment.

But when I read Charlie Smith’s piece I was most taken with his final paragraphs.

Merv chose another path in life. But I have no doubt that had he been given the breaks that I received, he would have reached a much larger audience than he ever did on his blog. Not that this ever bothered him.

I only tell this story as a reminder to mainstream media journalists out there to respect bloggers like Merv, Laila Yuile, and Norm Farrell, even when they’re scorching your work.

Just because someone has a comfy position in the press gallery or hosts a talk show or edits a newspaper or has a column doesn’t necessarily mean they’re more talented, have deeper insights, or they’re a better writer or superior researcher than a blogger like Merv.

It might only mean that they got lucky when they were young because someone offered them a job when these types of jobs were far more available.

Merv often demonstrated a great deal of humility in his writing. Let that stand as an example to the rest of us.

Written by Stephen Rees

August 22, 2017 at 10:01 am

Posted in blogging

Vancouver Mural Fest – part four

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Looking at the photos posted by others, it dawned on me that the map was if not unreliable perhaps a work in progress. So I set out again to cover the gaps.

In the mosaic click on any image for a larger version

And, once again, a number of murals were incapable of being captured into one shot so I have been doing some stitching again. These images are all on the flickr album and the Mural Festival site is also being updated with much more information, some of which I have copied here and to flickr.

Click on the image to be taken to the flickr page to get a much larger version

DAVID SHILLINGLAW - "We Are Croutons Floating in Cosmic Soup"

DAVID SHILLINGLAW – “We Are Croutons Floating in Cosmic Soup”

Artist Statement: The mural explores aspects if the human experience. Signs and symbols, patterns and forms that attempt to communicate a universal language. Inspired by board games and hieroglyphics, my mural works create a visual space to visually negotiate, a collection of separate parts that connect and can be read in multiple directions. The content is full on bold colour forms, a collision of shapes, some recognisable, some more ambiguous.

Kids at Heart

This one is not actually part of the festival: it was painted by Kids at Heart and is at the Beaumont Gallery

JENNY RITTER - Community Mural left
Community Mural - right

Two halves of the Community Mural

This mural is an exploration of water, as illustrated by artists and musican Jenny Ritter. Imagery includes, swimming, boats, creatures etc. Using a monochrome palette of blues, members of the community painted the mural using a paint by numbers technique.

Trees Burn While Flowers Bloom
TYLER KEETON ROBBINS – “Trees Burn While Flowers Bloom”

“Artist Statement: Look closely at the brush strokes – you will see trees, flames, smoke, yet blossoms. This mural is based off a painting depicting British Columbia’s natural ecology, how it is currently being impacted and in turn how nature and we as a community overcome.”

Carson Ting "Ride Wild"
Carson Ting “Ride Wild”

In this piece, we depict to arms reaching from both ends of the mural. In the middle, we have two stationary vehicles waiting at the light. On the left, we see a large arm and hand holding a wheel entering the scene to help fix a broken black car. The left black car has opened up like a Russian doll to reveal a rabbit character sitting on a bicycle. In a similar fashion, the right side depicts a yellow car held by a giant hand. The yellow car also reveals a rabbit sitting on a bicycle inside. The concept behind this mural is based on a fun portrayal the modern commuter’s psyche in Vancouver. We are often faced with the dilemma of whether we should drive or cycle to our destination, but deep down we are often caught longing to be riding freely on our bicycles. This piece will hopefully help remind us to break out of our reliance on cars and ride our bicycles as free as wild rabbits. This mural is generously supported by Native Shoes.

Written by Stephen Rees

August 21, 2017 at 3:53 pm

Posted in Art

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Marine Mammal Rescue

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One of our regular walks is along Spanish Banks from Jericho to the dog beach. This morning, we got lucky. As we were walking back to the car a van pulled into the parking lot.

Marine Mammal Rescue at Spanish Banks

The guy in the broad brimmed hat is the Life Guard. He went with the van driver, who was carrying the grey plastic animal container, to a line of red buoys that mark the limits of the swimming area to a part of the beach marked by traffic cones.

Marine Mammal Rescue at Spanish Banks

At that distance it was a bit hard to see what was going on. As usual we had failed to equip ourselves with binoculars or a proper camera, so these are iPhone images.

When the Marine Mammal Rescue operative got back to the path I asked him if I might take a picture.

Marine Mammal Rescue at Spanish Banks

Lucky me. Lucky little seal – although he was a bit unhappy and making wailing noises. But I am sure he is in good hands. The Vancouver Aquarium has been going through a tough time lately. The Parks Board have brought in a new by-law against keeping cetaceans in captivity. This is a problem for this program.

I must admit to considerable ambivalence about this issue. If it were not for movies like “Free Willy” and “Blackfish” I wouldn’t know very much about it but I do know my children greatly enjoyed every visit we made to this aquarium and others on the West Coast. I do know that I felt uncomfortable watching sentient beings performing: I dislike aquaria now almost as much as I disliked circuses as a child.

I also know that the Vancouver Aquarium is a very important tourist attraction for Vancouver – and the paid admissions help fund the rescue service. And getting this little seal back into his natural environment would not happen without them. It is equally uncomfortable to think of him as crow bait.

There is a donate button for this service on the link I provided. There is also a blog.

Written by Stephen Rees

August 20, 2017 at 3:26 pm

Posted in photography

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12th & Cambie today

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I got invited to an event by a contact on facebook

“Racists and Islamophobic groups are rallying at City Hall to spew hatred against Muslims, immigrants and people of colour in our communities. We, the anti-racist majority, want to be there in a peaceful counter protest to say no to Islamophobia and no to racism!

This rally is to counter the racist rally at Vancouver City Hall, organized by WCAI Canada (“Worldwide Coalition Against Islam“):

Hosted by the ad hoc group; Stand Up to Racism Metro Van. We are teachers, students and activists who want to stand up to Islamophobia and racism in our community.”

For a while there it seemed like a good idea to go to the counter rally and perhaps photograph the people supporting fascism, as I understand that has had a useful role on social media. In Charlottesville a number of individuals identifying themselves as Nazis have now lost their jobs. (Giving rise to chant “If your nazi, and you’re fired, it’s your fault …clap… clap clap” )

According to CTV

“Joey De Luca, the head of the Worldwide Coalition Against Islam Canada, was expected to address his supporters, according to the rally’s Facebook page. About two dozen people RSVPed to attend.

De Luca was expected to be joined by Brad Salzberg, the founder of the Cultural Action Party of Canada. CAPCDA is a B.C. political party seeking to preserve English, French and First Nations culture, according to its website. The anti-immigration group Soldiers of Oden is also expected to attend.”

I took 48 photos which you can find on facebook or flickr, but here are some of my favourites

Oppose the Racists in Metro Vancouver!

Oppose the Racists in Metro Vancouver!

Oppose the Racists in Metro Vancouver!

Oppose the Racists in Metro Vancouver!

Oppose the Racists in Metro Vancouver!

Oppose the Racists in Metro Vancouver!

This last one summarizes my feelings quite nicely. I do not like large crowds at the best of times, and the idea that there might have been confrontations was a bit alarming, but I was also very much aware of the warnings about being silent about fascism. 

Anyway, as far as a rally by fascists, that didn’t seem to get under way. It was swamped by the number of those who turned out to say the opposite. And those people seemed to quite enjoy the experience.

 

Written by Stephen Rees

August 19, 2017 at 4:12 pm

Posted in politics

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Removal of Railway Crossing Signals: Arbutus at 12th

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IMG_5920IMG_5923IMG_5929IMG_5930

I know that recently I read somewhere about the hopes of preserving the railway heritage of the Arbutus Greenway. It had a lyrical bit about nostalgia for the trains and an old guy painting one of the remaining signals. Of course, I can’t find that now.

I am quite pleased to see that the signals at 12th Avenue were being removed this morning. I do understand the nostalgia for the way railways used to be, but in this case I think it is more important that redundant equipment and signs out to be taken away. I want drivers to treat railway crossings with the respect they deserve. Keeping these signals in place after the tracks were removed simply reduces amount of attention a signal will get by people unfamiliar with the neighbourhood. If they get accustomed to ignoring signals here that might get transferred to other locations where trains operate but infrequently and unpredictably – in other words almost everywhere else in Canada.

Written by Stephen Rees

August 16, 2017 at 1:45 pm