Stephen Rees's blog

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

Archive for August 11th, 2008

A Killer Commute

with one comment

Rafe Mair in today’s Tyee correctly identifies the problem with the sea to sky highway. “Even after its upgrade, the road to Whistler won’t be safe.” But it is not the road that is the problem. It is the drivers. And he has that right too – so maybe the subeditor put in that strap line. Rafe even goes so far as to call for a re-introduction of photo radar, which might work but is unlikely.

I repeat what i have suggested for the Patullo Bridge. Average speed cameras use technology already common for traffic surveys and signal controls. They are ideal for sections of road that have few or limited accesses – a bridge or a length of highway cut out of the side of a cliff on fjord. Not only that, but they could be calibrated to work with variable speed limit signs. We currently use fixed speed limits which nearly everyonme ignores most of the time. But a safe speed may be well below depending on weather and traffic conditions. Variable speed limits are also in use in Britain – but not here.

People drive fast because they can. They buy very expensive cars that are advertised heavily for their performance – and that means how fast can it go – now much torque – its road handling – speed through twisty bits and so on.  Motor sports are used to test and promote cars – often at speeds far beyond anything reasonable on public roads. That is why the ads have (in tiny print) warnings about professional rivers and closed roads. But when Mr Toad gets behind the wheel of his super duper GT extra special he does not feel like sitting in a nice orderly procession. He wants to get there first!

And the more expensive the car, the greater the sense of entitielment to break the law with impunity. And Gordon Campbell by scrapping photo radar simply endorsed this behaviour. It is like giving a drunk the keys to the liquor cabinet.

The death toll on our raods is, to me anyway, unnacceptable. That of the Sea to Sky was so bad it was used to justify speeding it up! Common sense must prevail – and so must the rule of law. The current situation where scofflaws go unpunished and the innocents are slaughtered (along with the idiots) cannot be allowed to continue.

Written by Stephen Rees

August 11, 2008 at 3:15 pm

Posted in Road safety

Tagged with

Valley light rail is worth a look

with 3 comments

The Province today has a surisingly positive approach to the re-opening of the old BCER Interurban line.

They tie it to

Last Monday, however, visiting rail expert Brent Graham from Melbourne, Australia, advised Langley Township councillors to go for light rail in a big way.

“Visiting rail experts” are always worth listening to. The fact that resident rail experts have been syaing this for years counts for nothing.

And of course the real problem is that Kevin Falcon “knows” it won’t work – and has all kinds of reasons why it will therefore not even be tried. The fact that he has tied hos political future to widening the freeway is merely coincidence.

Written by Stephen Rees

August 11, 2008 at 2:45 pm

Posted in Railway, transit

Tagged with

“Bring Community Rail Back to the Fraser Valley Now!”

with 4 comments

Councillor Kim Richter’s blog Langley Free Press has pictures from the event in Douglas Park last weekend and nice things to say about this blog.

VALTAC truck Langley BC 20080809

Written by Stephen Rees

August 11, 2008 at 7:27 am

Posted in Light Rail