Stephen Rees's blog

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

Archive for June 16th, 2013

Blog Post #2000

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It is a milestone, and I want to mark it.

The first post appeared in July of 2006 and was about the “C$3 billion road-building plan by the provincial government” as viewed by the Economist and Miro Certenig. That road program – and its consequences – was a theme that would recur frequently, and is still one that bothers me. It is now pretty much complete but as I have no real need any more to drive along #Highway 1 I am not as up to date as I might be on road works. You could always go to drivebc and take a look – at the time of writing it seems they are still working on the Cape Horn Interchange. Of course, I have never been very worried about traffic congestion on that highway – or any other. Absent any tolling mechanism it is pretty much self regulating. It has always been what car dependency does to us and the place we live in that concerned me.

The Port Mann Bridge

When I look at the list of categories, the range of subjects actually surprised me and I have of course forgotten a lot of what I wrote about. This has been a salutary reminder. Yesterday I was listening to Dave Olson talking at Northern Voice about the value of printed ephemera and other objects in understanding our stories. It was actually quite uncomfortable listening, since I have been in the process of decluttering. Much paper has been recycled, many objects have gone to thrift stores, and quite a lot to the landfill probably. I still have a lot of obsolete media. Tapes and LPs, slides and photographs, far too many books still. But lots of magazines went. And so did a lot of my own stuff. I am not at all sure that anyone will ever want to read my MSc dissertation, and the LSE seems not to have kept a copy. Not accessible from its web page anyway.

Dave Olson debunked the idea that the internet never forgets. There were many things which were once there that are now gone. Lots of dead links. I wonder how long WordPress will continue to maintain my archive. I certainly have no intention of stopping blogging, but I am sure that there will continually be some ebb and flow in volume. I will not establish a schedule for publishing, and I will only publish when I have something that I need to say, or draw attention to. And I am quite positive that there is no way this will ever become a book. Nor would I want it to.

WordPress.com has been a very good host as well as an easy system to use, and I have no intention of either monetizing the blog or registering my own domain. It really doesn’t matter how many plugins there might be, or alternative ways of dealing with comments. I am quite happy with this set up, and I am pleased that there are enough people out there to make it worthwhile continuing.

Screen Shot 2013-06-16 at 5.17.35 PM

These are the most recent monthly stats of page views. There are 108 people who follow the blog  and 701 on twitter. I have been posting less as I am wary of repeating myself, since the problems never seem to change, nor the responses to them. We do keep on doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome. I use twitter more often as that is a good way to be brief (my blog posts to tend to be of the “long read” format) and provide the necessary link. The mainstream media continues to retreat behind paywalls, but all that means is we get our news elsewhere. Usually more directly and thus unfiltered. I am very heartened by the activities of those who fight government and corporate preferences for secrecy and outright lying.

You are one of the people I am writing for. I started to write this because I felt the need to write, but from the very beginning knew that there would be people who preferred I did not. We have not been bothered by the worst troll lately. Akismet does do a very good job of controlling spam. But it is also true that when I get a post to moderate that is fulsome in its praise for this blog, I know it is spam. Most of you do not comment. There is, however, a stable of regulars who can be relied on to let us know what they think (MB and Redfrog get top honours and ought to start their own blogs, with honorable mentions to Voony and Roger Kemble who have. ) I try not to get too worked up about what commenters write, as they are entitled to their opinions and have mostly been very helpful in providing both perspective and often more information which has improved the quality of the discussion. I do read all the comments. And if I do not reply in the comments, that does not mean I am ignoring them. That will often become apparent in subsequent posts. And I have been surprised by the number of people I have met who say they read the blog but ignore the comments altogether. There are over 800,000 views now, and we will soon reach million, though I doubt very much indeed I will notice.

Because that was the other thing I learned, early on. I do not obsess about my stats. I am not going to get into data mining, and I am not going to adjust what I write in the hopes of broadening my reach. It is a bit like the number of views I get of a picture posted to flickr: or the ones that organization deems “interesting”. We know that is determined by an algorithm – but we do not know its parameters or values- and anyway it changes all the time.

It’s just nice to know that I am not shouting into a vacuum.

Thank you for reading. Please, don’t stop now.

And for those of you who think stats are important, I know this is not, in reality, the two thousandth post as quite a lot were short lived announcements that were deleted.

Written by Stephen Rees

June 16, 2013 at 5:51 pm

Posted in blogging

Kitsilano Farmers’ Market

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This is our regular Sunday morning walk in the summer. And usually, when I post pictures to flickr I post them as a set and, more often than not, and quite a bit of text to the set description. The new layout means that now, nobody else can even see what I write there. Really, really stupid and insensitive to how people use flickr – not that they care. So if you follow me on flickr this blog post duplicates what is on there, and the text now appears there under each image. And I know there are cyclists who follow this blog, so it is not at all off topic.

Kits Farmers' Market

My partner says she can see the tents from Arbutus Street when we drive past. That is because 11th Avenue is closed to traffic.

I have seen cricket and baseball being played at this location at the same time. But not this week.

Securing their cycles

Securing their cycles

As you can see, there is a large poster “Free and Safe Bicycle Parking” – so of course I had to ask why they were doing this.

They said they did not feel comfortable NOT paying at the Free parking – which actually asks for a $2 per bike donation (see next picture). They also said that it was a lot quicker to reclaim their bikes when they needed them.

But the young woman woman in the white shirt said it best: “We saw this space and it spoke to us.”

That’s art.

If you can donate $2 ...

Well that doesn’t sound so bad. Though it seems to work a like PBS. I wonder how many people (like me) just don’t pay. Mind you, I walked both ways. My bike is in the locker downstairs, and I did not even think about getting it out.

Lining up for crepes again

Lining up for crepes

And this was at eleven o’clock. However, other trucks use different techniques to deal with crowds.

Waiting for lunch

Waiting for lunch

I got a poached eggs sandwich (with bacon and cheddar) but then had to wait ten minutes while it was prepared. So there is no line up for Yolk’s, but just as many folks waiting. Just not standing in line.

There is a dearth of seating and shade here.

Faith in his product

Faith in his product

One of the guys from Yolk’s having his lunch.

People watching on W10th

People watching on W10th

The grassy knoll viewpoint

Seeking out the shade

Under that white tent are UBC students offering free bike tune-ups. And they do mean free. Although there is still an opportunity to donate if you really insist.

Written by Stephen Rees

June 16, 2013 at 2:16 pm

Posted in bicycles, cycling

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