Stephen Rees's blog

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

Archive for January 2009

Burrard Bridge Open House

Posted at the request of Richard Campbell
Please come out and show your support for the Burrard Bridge Trial at the City of Vancouver’s open house. After 15 years it is time to settle the debate once and for all. The trial is the only way to do that. We need to make Burrard Bridge safer to walk and cycle over now.
A two lane trial is needed so there can be a barrier between cyclists and the high speed traffic on the bridge and so faster cyclists can past slower cyclists on the long uphill sections. It will be a bridge that everyone from eight to eighty will love cycling over. A one lane trial would only have a narrow bike lane that would not be separated from traffic and would not have passing space. It would likely be worse than riding on the sidewalk and not attract new cyclists.
With the bike lanes between the sidewalk and the traffic and no bikes to worry about, Burrard Bridge will be a joy to walk over and enjoy the great view.
Open House: Burrard Bridge Bicycle Lane Trial

Come out to an open house to discuss a trial re-allocation of one or two lanes on the Burrard Bridge to create improved cycling and walking facilities on the bridge:
Saturday, January 31 from 2 – 5 pm at the Roundhouse Community Centre, Great Hall Pacific Boulevard and Davie Street.
The council minutes:
The Burrard Bridge Two Lane Trial Facebook Group
Show your support for the trial, Join the I Support The Burrard Bridge Two Lane Trial Facebook group: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=44613493519
FAQ From the Friends of Burrard Bridge

Burrard Bridge Two Lane Trial FAQ: http://burrardbridgetwolanetrial.blogspot.com/

Written by Stephen Rees

January 28, 2009 at 10:09 pm

Posted in cycling

Translink announces Patullo Bridge re-opens tomorrow

with 5 comments

A very good strategy – underpromise and overdeliver. For a system which has very little spare capacity prolonging the closure as a way to incvreaase transit usage – as some have suggested – would have been very unwise indeed. Translink has greatly strengthened its credibility with this speedy return of the bridge to service.

Written by Stephen Rees

January 25, 2009 at 6:08 pm

Posted in Transportation

SFU City Program Free Public Lectures

Admission is free, reservations are required. Email cstudies@sfu.ca or call 778-782.5100.
Venue: SFU at Harbour Centre, 515 West Hastings, Vancouver, unless otherwise noted.

Kitchen Table Sustainability: Transform your community engagement with sustainability
February 5, 7 pm
Wendy Sarkissian

Hong Kong: Cultural Heritage Conservation in a City of Change
February 19, 7 pm
Lynne DiStefano and Dr. Ho Yin Lee, University of Hong Kong

China and the Urbanism of Ambition
March 12, 7 pm
Thomas Campanella, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The Life and Death of Cities: Accounting for Environmental and Social Sustainability
April 30, 7 pm
Paul James, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University

Shifting Gears II – Four lectures on transportation, health, and the built environment
Details to come

VIA Architecture Urban Design Lecture
Details to come

Written by Stephen Rees

January 25, 2009 at 5:35 pm

Posted in Urban Planning

Canada Line Bus Integration

with 6 comments

There was a bit of argy bargy in the comments section here not so long ago about this issue . I was being taken to task – but only being given examples in Vancouver.  Well maybe that is because the Canada Line bus integration plan was not then public but is now going to open houses. There is an advert in this weekend’s Richmond Review. I could find nothing on the Translink web site or in the Buzzer blog – and searches turned up nothing like this (except stuff a year old on the CMBC page) so I will have to do some copy typing. (Here is the public consultation page which may get updated by the time you read this). The Canada Line Current consultations page mentions them but provides no details at all. It is perhaps not quite as bad as being in a locked cupboard, in the basement, with a sign on the door reading “Beware of the Leopard” – but it is hardly up to current standards of openness.

Open houses on the Bus Integration Plan

Saturday Jan 31 10 – 4 at Brighouse Library, Richmond

Sunday Feb 1 10 – 4 at Steveston Community Centre

Saturday  Feb 7 9:30 – 5 at Oakridge Mall (Vancouver)

Sunday Feb 8 10:30-5 Vancouver Public Library

Saturday Feb 14 11-5  Tsawwassen Town Centre Mall

Sunday Feb 15 10:30- 4  Ladner Public Library

Saturday Feb 21 9:30 – 5  Semiahmoo Mall, Surrey

Monday Feb 23 2 – 8 Vancouver International Airport (“in front of Haida Gwaii”)

Written by Stephen Rees

January 24, 2009 at 7:11 pm

Posted in transit

Tagged with ,

B.C.’s P3 projects not immune to world financial meltdown

with 4 comments

I have been poking around this evening looking for the announcement that Kevin “done deal” Falcon was supposed to have made this afternoon. It got no coverage on the CBC Vancouver at 6 News – there was nothing in my inboxes or on Twitter. So it was something of a surprise to find the answer at the Vancouver Sun

But on Friday, Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon was poised to make a sudden, late-day announcement about the Port Mann. Then, 18 minutes before the press conference, it was cancelled with little explanation.

Even more surprising it comes in the middle of a substantial story posted at 6pm this evening examining how BC’s P3 model is faring. And the Sun looks like, at long last, it has rediscovered how to be a newspaper. The shakiness of the P3 deals was becoming more and more apparent as more and more banks were showing that they were not at all interested in taking on risk. It has taken the Asper’s organ a while to catch up but give them credit for a thorough piece of work – with another nice quote from my friend Eric.

Note too that on the Golden Ears Bridge risk was not transferred in terms of usage. The operator gets paid the same no matter how many cars go over it. So, just like the Canada Line if the traffic forecasts are wrong then we the taxpayers are once again on the hook. And after spending far too many years around transportation forecasts I think it is not an exaggeration to say that the ones that are right are the exceptions. Most forecasts are wildly optimistic – because they are produced very early on in the process, are used to get approval – and then are not usually revisited even though their assumptions may be proved to be questionable long before the project is delivered.

Friday afternoon is also the time that is typically used to bury items that have to be announced but that it is hoped no-one will notice. So to plan to have one then – and then cancel it is most unusual.

Written by Stephen Rees

January 23, 2009 at 7:23 pm

“No Gateway Bailout” protest at office of struggling project financier

with 2 comments

WHAT: Concerned citizens from throughout the Lower Mainland, including representatives of the Wilderness Committee and the Livable Region Coalition are staging a creative protest against the federal-provincial Gateway Project. They will be distributing special “Bailout Bucks” with information about the current state of the controversial Gateway bridge and highway building project, and calling on Premier Campbell, Prime Minister Harper and potential investors to Cancel Gateway, create Green Jobs, and invest in More Transit Now.

WHEN: this Thursday, January 22 from Noon to 1 PM

WHERE: outside the Bentall 5 Centre at 550 Burrard St. (corner of Dunsmuir) which is where the offices of Macquarie Bank (financiers of the Port Mann Highway 1 expansion component of the Gateway Project) are located.

“Back in September, 2004, BC’s Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon first announced a price tag for the twinning the Port Mann Bridge of $800 Million. The most recent numbers, as quoted in Project Finance Magazine, was $2.3 Billion, almost triple the original estimate,” said Ben West, Healthy Communities Campaigner with the Wilderness Committee.

Now, Macquarie Bank, one of the Gateway project’s financiers, has failed to meet a January 8th deadline for signing off on the project’s financing. It has been reported that Macquarie is struggling to raise the $2 Billion it would need up front due to the global financial crisis. The federal government will table a budget on January 27th that may pass the bill for the full cost of the Gateway project onto taxpayers.

“Now that we know the Macquarie Bank couldn’t raise the funds for the Gateway Project we want to make it clear that we don’t want our tax dollars spent on building what has been called the Gateway to Global Warming,” said David Field of the Livable Region Coalition.

“Any price for the Gateway Project is too high but this is ridiculous,” said Fields. “The twin meltdowns of the economy and our climate have shown us that old planning, like twinning the Port Mann Bridge, freeway expansion and the rest of the Gateway Project, no longer serve the public interest. We have a chance to stabilize our economy and our climate by investing in clean, green jobs and smart projects like reliable and affordable public transit.”

“It’s in the interests of all Canadians that the federal and provincial governments don’t try to use yesterday’s solutions for tomorrow’s problems. We need green budgets, not bail-outs of wasteful and dangerous boondoggles like the Gateway Project,” said West.

Written by Stephen Rees

January 21, 2009 at 9:16 pm

Posted in Transportation

Patullo could re-open in two weeks

with one comment

Translink Press Release

January 21, 2009

Local Permanent Structure to Replace Pattullo Bridge Wooden Trestle Found, Pile Driving to Begin Thursday

A structure that was used to bridge over an excavated station location during Canada Line construction, has been sourced as the replacement piece for the burned wooden trestle at the Pattullo Bridge.The bridge is an existing steel/concrete composite structure that will span the 60 ft gap left after the old timbers was dismantled and removed yesterday. It was located in the Langley, British Columbia yard of Surespan Construction by TransLink design consultants Buckland and Taylor.

In just two days, a turn-key agreement with Surespan was reached on the supply of all materials, fabrication and construction on the replacement piece for the Pattullo Bridge. That work will begin on Thursday. The company will begin pile driving tomorrow and construction will proceed on a 24 hour basis until expected completion, which could be within 2 weeks.

TransLink had been planning to replace the wooden structure this summer and had engaged Buckland and Taylor to design it. This design was nearing completion and Buckland and Taylor were very familiar with the requirements and constraints of a replacement structure.

“After the fire, having determined that the timber structure was unsafe for use, we asked Buckland and Taylor to source contractors and local materials for a modified design for a replacement piece for the wooden trestle,” said Sheri Plewes, VP Capital Management and Planning for TransLink.

“The criteria was to source a permanent structure that could serve for a 6 to 10 year timeframe, and be built as quickly as possible.”

While the bridge is undergoing that major construction, TransLink will take the opportunity to forge ahead with pothole repair and repaving plans on the bridge deck.

Written by Stephen Rees

January 21, 2009 at 4:29 pm

Posted in Transportation