Stephen Rees's blog

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

Archive for February 6th, 2008

Shorter News Items

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A not quite random sample of what has come across the ether this morning

Tokyo’s Train Station Art is a look at how the subway can be made more appealing – and would be good example for any system to follow. Of course that does mean that advertisers would lose some prime sites, but I think the loss of revenue would be worthwhile. Even so, it won’t be a patch on the Moscow subway – nothing is too good for the workers!

A bus that gets 30 miles per gallon? Well it is so far just a concept – and is only a 15 seater at that. (“Jetsons” – what a tired reference. ) “Kitsap Transit, a Bremerton-based transportation agency, is working up a prototype for a bus that will use less than half as much gas as its current fleet. They’re getting help from the Vehicle Research Institute at Western Washington University.The bus will be a fuel/electric hybrid.” Actually a Vancouver based firm is already producing a similar sized hybrid van for Purolator: most mini buses are based on a van chassis.

Bush budget includes $100M for Sound Transit does not sound like very much to me. After all they are going to need $1.8 billion to pay for a 3.2-mile underground line to open by the end of 2016. It will connect downtown Seattle to the University of Washington and sounds even more expensive (per unit of distance) than our Broadway to UBC project.

And a new text book is out, which I hope someone buys for Kevin Falcon. No, I have not read it. But I am absolutely certain the the very concept is utterly foreign to our Minister of Transport

Written by Stephen Rees

February 6, 2008 at 12:41 pm

Garden City Lands

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A blog has now been set up to deal with this issue

And the following letter appeared yesterday in the Richmond News under the heading ” City Engaged in Fear mongering”

Tuesday, February 05, 2008
The Editor,

Coming this week to a theatre near you is a series of drop-in open houses. The City of Richmond is promoting them as an opportunity “to provide information about the Garden City lands proposal and to encourage the public to be part of the design and decision-making process.”

Be part of the design and decision-making process? That should be interesting! Up to now there has been nothing for the public to see that would help them to visualize who would get what, and for what, if this Agricultural Land Reserve treasure in the heart of the city is removed from the ALR.

The Canada Lands Company, the Musqueam Indian Band and the City of Richmond are putting together a second application to the Agricultural Land Commission to get these contested lands removed. There will be a massive effort, funded largely with our tax dollars, to build a case that these lands should have their ALR protection taken away. That action would allow residential and commercial towers to be built on them, along with perhaps enough park and other amenities for the increase in population.

What’s different about the second application, as compared to the first one that the commission rejected back in 2006? This time around, an underlying “buy in or else” threat is being aggressively pushed to build fear. And the concepts of community wellness, healthy lifestyles, urban agriculture and environmental sustainability have been borrowed from alternative plans presented by citizens. But those plans were proposed for the entire Garden City lands, not just for the parcels — far less than half the property — that the city might eventually get about five years from now.

No doubt the open houses, like the discredited Richmond Community Survey, will be designed to create an impression of public support for taking the lands out of the ALR. Be aware that you will have the opportunity to make your views known in a public hearing process, which the city is legally required to provide. It is the next step after the open houses.

Regardless of what your opinions might be on this issue, the Garden City Lands Coalition, a new community group with a mandate to keep the lands in the ALR, urges all Richmond citizens to attend one of the upcoming open houses on Feb. 8 to 11. Be part of a process concerning a very important piece of Richmond land.

A wise decision has the potential to make our community a city of the future — with the foresight, imagination and courage to protect our fertile farmlands with pride, recognizing the food-insecure world we now face.

The Garden City Lands Coalition,

Richmond

Written by Stephen Rees

February 6, 2008 at 8:46 am