Stephen Rees's blog

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

Archive for November 29th, 2007

Mayors obliging Falcon’s rule

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The Courier

The pilgrimage by Metro Vancouver mayors heading to Victoria to kiss Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon’s ring is a sign of things to come.

Now that TransLink is on the verge of disintegration, with one more meeting left before the new provincial legislation is put in place, politicians are reverting to form. That is to say, in a manner reminiscent before 1999 when the NDP turned responsibility for transit over to the GVRD, mayors are directly lobbying Victoria for transit favours.

This matters because Victoria – and especially Kevin”done deal” Falcon – does not give a stuff about a “Livable Region”.   Or indeed anything much beyond his own political ambitions and the financial success of his backers.

So anything that has been committed to paper in terms of priorities for investment goes back into the pot for reconsideration. And the first victim will be of course the much delayed “Evergreen Line” to Coquitlam. Ahead of the silly Rapid Bus for the Port Mann Bridge announcement, a lot of people thought that line would be diverted to the median of Highway #1 and blast off down to Langley. And, in an odd kind of way that did make some sort of sense, when seen through Falcon’s spectacles. But that would cost lots of money, and the private sector is getting more and more nervous about governments’ offers of P3’s.  The credit crunch and growing distaste for “commercial paper’ (i.e. corporate debt) is going to affect the ability of these companies to raise finance at reasonable rates, and I would expect that what I knew as “gilt edged stock” in Britain (government debt backed by taxing ability) will look a lot more appealing to investors seeking a bolt hole.

But what now will happen is that instead of brokering deals at the big gold building on Kingsway, the mayors will be stabbing each other in the back and spending a small fortune on HeliJet tickets.  Though the outcome may not be that different. After all, the last two rapid transit lines were determined by the Premier of the day, and neither had featured in any plan in the way they were built. And for all the bluff about ridership and economic necessity the political allegiances of the areas they served and the government of the day were notably congruent.

Unfortunately that is no help at all since Falcon needs Vancouver west side support nearly as much as he needs south of the Fraser – and neither are going to vote NDP any time soon.

Written by Stephen Rees

November 29, 2007 at 7:15 pm

New Look

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Canada Line Bridge

For some time I have been thinking the blog needed a new look. For one thing I did not like the small size of the photos. I do recognize that a narrower column may be easier to read, but I prefer the new layout and I hope that I will be able to post more pictures and conversations.

For what is the use of a book without pictures or conversations, thought Alice

Feedback welcomed of course – and let me know if a page is not loading properly since the images in the old layout got resized automatically – these have to be done manually, which does take a bit longer

UPDATE Nov 30

I have worked back to the beginning of October – my word I am prolific – and I stopped there. But I did discover that the new format can handle one task – and I have to do is reset the width of the picture, and it now resizes and preserves the proportions. The old one used to screw up photos royally if you did not give it width and height. I have also deleted some notices of events that have now happened and cleaned up some poor quality imported html. I really would like a button that just cleaned out all the html tags automatically.

Written by Stephen Rees

November 29, 2007 at 6:13 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Bill 43 forced through

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The Georgia Strait on the NDP response to Bill 43 and the quite realistic expectation that it signals the start of a process.

After all it worked to free the port and airport from any kind of control – and elsewhere Falcon is also announcing a continuation of the favourable tax treatment of the Port. And of course the people who run those operations are able to operate with almost no public oversight or the need to report to any elected body. It is therefore no surprise that airport operations are increasingly the subject of completely futile complaints by the people affected by aircraft noise, the shooting of protected species of birds proceeds with no interference and the building of a completely unnecessary port expansion is proceeding now with spoil dumping at Roberts Bank shown on the latest map from Metro Vancouver as a site of “very high biodiversity value” as well as fish and waterfowl habitat

“Ensure the long term proection of critical habitat areas”

Written by Stephen Rees

November 29, 2007 at 4:19 pm

Canada Line rolling stock in Richmond

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Canada Line rolling stock ii Richmond BC 2007_1129, originally uploaded by Stephen Rees.

I tried to get some pictures of the newly delivered rolling stock. The only way to do this at present is to stick a lens through the chain link fence. It looked like there are four, two-car sets at the operations and maintenance centre (River Road and Van Horne Way). I suppose I could have walked across the Oak Street Bridge, but trains wrapped up in plastic really do not make much of a subject.

According to one of the construction workers the wraps will stay on for a week or so but some kind of public event may occur before Christmas. At the time of writing nothing appears on the official web page, although usually reliable sources inform me that there will be a media event in mdi-December after the livery is applied

UPDATE Saturday December 15

There is a (very poor quality) image of the train in its new livery at the Richmond Review web page, and three press releases at the Canada Line web site which includes a cut out drawing of the new trains and a blurb on the new logo.

Written by Stephen Rees

November 29, 2007 at 3:49 pm

Posted in transit, Transportation

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