Stephen Rees's blog

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

What anti-bikelane advocates don’t want you to see

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This is the exact comment blogger Aaron Dixon left on a Victoria, BC anti-bike lane Facebook page that quickly got deleted twice because it was deemed as ‘spam’. Enjoy.

via What Anti-Bike Lane Advocates Don’t Want You To See

Written by Stephen Rees

January 19, 2018 at 5:41 pm

Taxpayers cannot afford private financing

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This blog has long railed against what in BC is called “P3” and in Britain “PFI”. My objection started with the observation that while private finance appears beneficial because the debt disappears from the government accounts, this is merely a book keeping legerdemain. The debt is still real, still gets paid off by us, and gets higher simply because the private sector cannot borrow at the same rate as the government. The interest on private sector borrowing is higher.

The Guardian headline today comes as no surprise.

Taxpayers to foot £200bn bill for PFI contracts – audit office
Cost of privately financing projects ‘can be 40% higher’ than using public money

This news comes hot on the heels of the Carillion debacle.

I had hoped that, by now, our new provincial government would have made some announcement on unwinding BC’s disastrous P3 initiative. If it has, I must have missed it. But then Mr Horgan seems as enamoured as Christy with Site C and LNG so I would not be at all surprised if he is not also dead keen on pumping yet of our money into these rip offs too.

Jeremy Corbyn is now committing the British Labour Party to abandoning outsourcing altogether.

I was going to suggest that, at the very least, BC adopt what most other countries now insist on – a public sector comparator, since I believe that, in most cases, the need for the private sector to make profits makes them uncompetitive against the public sector, but I must also insert a plea for some recompense against some of the more corrupt practices here such as insisting that we pay for electricity we do not need from private sector companies that are large contributors to the BC Liberal Party. If anything P3 – BC style –  has probably been worse than the UK PFI.

Written by Stephen Rees

January 18, 2018 at 11:27 am

Posted in privatisation

Tagged with ,

Atlanta vs Barcelona

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I do like a good graphic. You know that old saw about a picture being worth a thousand words. And I have long been an advocate of better land use planning being essential to good transportation planning – and vice versa. This illustration is taken from a new draft publication from the Province of Ontario “Community Emissions Reduction Planning: A Guide for Municipalities” (downloadable as a pdf).

This Guideline has been prepared to support provincial land-use planning direction related to the completion of energy and emissions plans. The plans will typically include community-wide and municipal/corporate greenhouse gas (GHG) inventories, the setting of emissions reduction targets, and the development of strategies to reduce GHG emissions.

The Government of Ontario has established provincial GHG reduction targets of 15% below 1990 levels by 2020, 37% below 1990 levels by 2030, and 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. This Guideline describes how the activities of municipalities are vital to achieving these targets and for planning low-carbon communities..

The Guideline has two core objectives: to educate planners, other municipal staff, citizens, and stakeholders on the municipal opportunities to reduce energy and GHG emissions (in particular for land-use policy); and to provide guidance on methods and techniques to incorporate consideration of energy and GHG emissions into municipal activities of all types. To support the second objective, a detailed planning process is described.

Community Emissions Reduction Planning Ontario graphic

What we were supposed to be doing in Metro Vancouver was supposed to be emulating Barcelona to avoid the fate of becoming Atlanta. The way to do that was summarised as “protect the Green Zone, build a compact urban region with complete communities and increase transportation choice”. Instead of investing in transit, the Province of BC decided to widen the freeways, build huge bridges and generally lock us into car dependence. You might also have seen that BC’s greenhouse gas emissions have been increasing in recent years. The two are not – as you can see – unrelated.

Written by Stephen Rees

January 17, 2018 at 4:43 pm

Posted in Transportation

WPC: Silence

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via Photo Challenge: Silence

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I am a bit dubious about a challenge that asks for silence but then illustrates it with a picture of the ocean – at Big Sur – and states

The only sounds came from the ocean, the birds, and the chapel bells that rang several times a day.

Sorry Cheri that does not sound like silence to me. Now, on the top of a mountain there might be birdsong – and probably the noise of the wind – but I do not recall there was much of either at this location. Manning Park, southern BC, and in what the map said were “subalpine meadows” next to Blackwall Peak (2063m). One of the quietest places I can recall because at the end of September there were very few people.

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Pingback notes  the top link takes you to a much earlier WordPress challenge – not today’s photo challenge. That is embedded in the text above the map. Odd how often WordPress challenges muck up pingbacks. The first one comes from using the “post about silence” tag in the WordPress reader version. The second from the instructions from the DailyPost version.

Written by Stephen Rees

January 17, 2018 at 11:05 am

Posted in photography

Tagged with , , ,

That graphic again

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You have seen this more than once on this blog.  I am adding this to my collection of street space stats picsCanberra bsu car walk

They put 40 cars for 69 people. That is 1.7 people per car – way more than most North American cities manage. We get around 1.2.

 

Written by Stephen Rees

January 11, 2018 at 4:51 pm

Posted in Transportation

Interesting Job Opportunity: Be The Change

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We have an exciting opportunity coming up: we are hiring a new Communications Manager and Program Coordinator!

Do you know of a keen community member that has the passion, perseverance, capacity, and skills to be a core Be The Change Team member? Or any networks of people that are in alignment with our mandate of education that empowers personal and collective change towards a more thriving, just, and ecologically sustainable world, that may have people with the desire to participate in holistic cutting-edge education that you can share this with?

We need someone that has very strong written and verbal communication skills, competent in project planning, and is in alignment with our mandate and approach.  Ideally, this candidate would be under 30 years old and have their Permanent Residency, Canadian Citizenship, or landed Refugee status to be eligible for a wage subsidy.  Latest application date: January 17th, 2018.

Current exciting initiatives this new team member would work on:

You can find out more about the position here: www.bethechangeearthalliance.org/job_opportunities

Thank you for forwarding this on and we hope you are having a wonderful start to the 2018 year!

Erin

Erin Leckie – Executive Director
604-269-9874 |  http://www.bethechangeearthalliance.org/


I am grateful for the opportunity to live, work, play, and learn on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the 
xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil Waututh), and sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) peoples.

Written by Stephen Rees

January 11, 2018 at 4:27 pm

Posted in employment

Weekly Photo Challenge: Weathered

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Weathered

This is a photo I took in May of 2011 at the Seattle Art Museum. The text below it is taken from the museum’s web page.

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Curve XXIV

1981

Ellsworth Kelly

American, 1923 – 2015

Ellsworth Kelly arrives at his work through a prolonged experience of observing nature and the distilling of observations and sensations to simple lines, planes and forms. Although its silhouette appears entirely abstract, Curve XXIV suggests a rust-hued autumn gingko leaf. The narrowest of relief sculptures, it projects and expansive space: its surface coloration and texture echo painting-a reflection of the artist’s fascination with the overlap of these art forms.
3/8″ weathering steel, 76 x 228 x 3/8 in.; 5″ off wall (193 x 579.1 x 1 cm), Gift of the Virginia and Bagley Wright Collection, in honor of the 75th Anniversary of the Seattle Art Museum, 2016.17.2, © Ellsworth Kelly

Provenance: [Leo Castelli, New York]; Purchased from gallery by Virginia and Bagley Wright, Seattle, August 1, 1981.

Now on view at Olympic Sculpture Park


 

You can also see other weathered pictures of mine from the flickr group “Rusty and Crusty” 

Written by Stephen Rees

January 10, 2018 at 1:36 pm